it seems like we are simply refining by incremental bio-engineering steps, the minimum survivable volume into which we can shoe-horn human beings. When it comes to great adventures such as space-travel, designing space for fragile human cargo is a tricky business, needing careful study and necessary compromises. But absent a compelling purpose, why do we still think this way when we are manufacturing the minimum survivable environment for human cargo in medical care and so many other endeavors involving humans?
It becomes an obsession, not even a choice, to attempt these horrors where it is not absolutely necessary. When we create these horrible spaces into which we place the human spirit, and demand that it survive, people become somewhat disordered, and often behave in an inhumane manner.
The ACLU is all over it, of course, when it involves warehousing prisoners in tiny containers. But the rest of the culture turns a blind eye to it in many other instances. We have come to worship, in a sense, this “space suit” into which we cram human beings and are crammed in turn. It no longer makes sense; instead, it has a mystical meaning to be placed in this survival gear which is fitted, stepwise, over one’s lifetime. It has a name attached, and little badges which show our occupation and purpose and such. There is no pretense of deference to our humanity.
I have little doubt that by 2020, the clinic visit will be recorded on video and transcribed on DragonSpeak “for accuracy and confidentiality,” of course – like the rest of the electronic medical record. We will recite carefully from the lists, so that we don’t accidentally check a check-box that we did not recite, for that would be dishonest. It is usually at this point that rituals diverge rapidly from reality. The liturgical words are forgotten, and the texts are glossed with a pronunciation guide. It is the recitation of the prayer that brings the magic, not the comprehension of the words. It seems that every religion develops its own dead language after a time; Industrial Medicine will do so, words such as “epistaxis” and “fasciculation” becoming forgotten to all, but dutifully recited in the clinical visit.
Perhaps that sounds a bit dark – but in every period during which a civilization declines, reason is supplanted by superstition, and ours is that we can create environments in which no human can survive; all will have their own “space suit” to shield ourselves from the ferocious rays of our world. That seems to be our particular path. But no matter how a civilization dwindles, those civilizations in which human beings cannot flourish, cannot be sustained. Each civilization has its own unique path to disappearance; and regarding the many civilizations known, like the various species of life studied, a vast majority are now extinct.
We may do this, if we choose.
Props to Darkstar, David Bowie (Youtube)