Saturday, March 19, 2016

What Time Is It - Getting There

1817 Draisine - Wikipedia - History of the bicycle

How do we Get from "Here" to "There"?

In tribal times the question probably seemed strange.  We are here, what is this "there" of which you speak?

As agrarian society rooted and grew, human and animal power sufficed for daily over land transport even as large cities formed.  For at least the first few thousand years of agrarian civilization, mechanical transport on land was not even considered a possibility?  Possibly it had just never been necessary.
"Drais' interest in finding an alternative to the horse was the starvation and death of horses caused by crop failure in 1816" - wikipedia
The draisine allowed mechanical transport at the rate of about 8 miles per hour for one person and a light load.  Despite being prohibited by some authorities at various times early on, human powered machines continued to evolve - officially termed "bicycle" in 1860.

After shown to be possible, personal mechanical transport over land has evolved to the point that speeds of a mile per minute are "normal" less than 200 years later.

Application of mechanical concepts to flying machines, climaxed with the SR-71Blackbird, top speed approaching 4000 feet per second.  It actually was faster than speeding bullets of it's era.  Introduced in 1966, the Blackbird is no longer in production.

Our current ability to compress space-time with mechanical equipment and energy, were god-like powers in the not far distant past.  But just because something can be done, does not necessarily mean it should be done.

Today the tribal situation is reversed.  We are "here" and almost everything we need is "there".  It may be time to reflect beyond a fascination with what is possible, and ask "why would anyone want to do that?"

Compressing time-space at high rates with mechanical equipment and high energy inputs is fascinating no doubt.  But when what was formerly fascinating becomes a requirement for human existence, was something gained?

How we get from "here" to "there", makes a difference.

"Rather than asking how the earth’s surface can be preserved for people, they ask how reservations necessary for the survival of people can be established on an earth that has been reshaped for the sake of industrial outputs." - Ivan Illich, Energy and Equity - The Radical Monopoly of Industry

"There are no environmental problems. There are only environmental symptoms of human problems" -Robert Gilman  

No comments:

Post a Comment