stock metaphor: ones intimate space (“personal bubble,” onion layers) or, by extension, some cosmic sphere centered on Earth — such as the “radio bubble” (inflating at the speed of light since the invention of radio) or the visible part of the multiverse (as in out-bubble astronomy). Unqualified bubble also refers to our civilizations inhabited sphere — which, long constrained to the solar system, may now be starting its “overdue” interstellar expansion via the probabilistic cosmic leap. ■    “Moon syndrome”: like the Moon, the visible cosmos may be too known by now, too unexciting to actually go: after centuries of modelling and remote exploration (“oh the liberation of telecommuting”) weve seen all the pebbles on that road — “curiosity ate out all the juicy bits”; only far beyond the horizon is there a chance of interesting new physics but thats a one-way trip. After flag-planting missions, the only reason to go would be sightseeing — or colonization; but, comfortably nomadic at home, havent we forgotten for good how to be colonizers? Have we ever been capable of a meaningful “colonization without conquest”? Many predict an initial rush that will slow down, even reverse: “hard to be less expansion-minded than weve become,” to resurrect empires measuring success by geography or demography; for joyful leavers, the predictable outer vastitude is only good for capital-L Leaving — “too complexity-poor to sustain intelligent life.”  ■    A new golden age of frontier or solution without a problem for a “civilization that found its infinity indoors”? A collectives redemption is its end-of-life dissolving into the society at large; suppose we map Earths societal granularity onto the sky, one livable globe per (meta)collective: will there be fleedom enough on each single-flag planet? Will the never-certain stellar leaping sustain sufficient engaging and diffusion to iron out the inevitable social deformities throughout the Bubble? Today, groups willing to move out are often beyond productive age, “emigrating to freeze the memories” of past grandeur; is that going to be Earths final bang — the last scattering of the frozen, terminally faded remains of the civilization across the multiverse? Will we fertilize it — like a star that explodes to disperse its accumulated heavy elements?  ■    The number of worlds grows as the cube of bubble radius but their diversity doesnt: eventually every planet you discover will be similar to something youve already seen. Imagine we end up with one — ten — million livable planets per person; will we remember to do something on those planets instead of looking for more? Forget “livable”: what if the bubbles exponential growth bestows, on every Earth soul, a planet with intelligent life — not even counting the ruins of past civilizations? Its no longer the discovery that is the hard part: forget “an island dweller who got a boat,” were “a boy in the library of Babel” barely learning to read.

< breath  |  buttons on the back >

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License