Friday, October 10, 2014

The human experiment must continue

I was struck the other day by the quality and cultural energy of this music video:

I'm no big fan of Taylor Swift, nor pop music in general, but this video is a great reminder of the absurd and glorious experimental project that the human race is engaged in.

The most compelling aspect to this production is the backup-dancers. I don't have much interaction with this industry, but it's clear that there exists a massive army of people in the US (and elsewhere) who labor and perfect a type of artistic expression that is, at its peak, a marginal contribution towards the overall visual experience. These videos are built around superstars, of which there are few. But they are staffed by backup dancers whose individual talent and drive seems undiminished by their servant role.

Despite what philosophers might say, nobody really knows what humans should do or how we should act. I view the entirety of human existence as an experimental discovery process, with economic, cultural and scientific progress occurring spontaneously via the scrum of civilization.

At the risk of making a bizarre claim, it's this beautifully chaotic and random dance that humanity is engaged in that argues strongly towards a massive investment in asteroid detection and defense capabilities. Asteroids are one of the most obvious forms of existential risk, and the simple fact is this: unless the earth develops defense capabilities, eventually we will be annihilated by an asteroid. Prematurely ending the human experiment, and denying future generations the opportunity to progress along the goofy and wonderful path of artistic and scientific expression would be a damn shame.

Anyone who cares deeply about art, science, ethics, and human flourishing should take a good long look at what global obliteration means for these values, and consider prioritizing efforts to develop asteroid detection and defense capabilities. Call your Congressman and Senators. Learn about the issue. Talk to your friends. And most importantly, help the B612 Foundation fund the Sentinel Mission.

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