Fearless Dream

reflections of a pragmatic optimist, lover of freedom

Month: November 2015 (page 2 of 2)

Escape Sequence: First Draft

I mentioned the idea of an “escape sequence”, that in a theorized historic cycle might characterize the series of developments and preparations that lead to the pursuit and fulfillment of a new frontier. Sketching out an imagining of what such a thing might look like, here’s the rough framework of six sequence stages that I’ve come up with so far:

  • Activation: Long-term observation persuades a sufficient number that their free society’s foundations are damaged beyond likely repair. Individuals begin to decide that escape to a new frontier is or will soon be necessary, activating a sort of failsafe protocol built into our human nature that has, time and again, kept the spark of our pioneering spirit alive. These individuals begin to find one another, form alliances, and devote their efforts to the next stage, with their goals and priorities adjusted accordingly.
  • Logistics: Identification and assessment of suitable candidate frontiers. Methodical first-stage planning of possible transit mechanics, provisioning, necessary seed tech and hardware, resource availability and manufacturing and resource extraction/refinement potential at destination. Self-selection, networking, and training of first-wave pioneer crew. Development by same of colony’s charter, with careful safeguards designed to maximize the time before next sunset.
  • Construction: Vehicle assembly, systems testing, launch site preparation, vehicle loading.
  • Exodus: Liftoff, ascent, and transit.
  • Settlement: Landing, temporary first-wave shelter. Construction of resilient permanent shelter. Resource surveys and first extraction and processing operations.
  • Ignition: Productivity growth passes a key inflection point. Innovation and trade thrive freely in an unencumbered environment.

Where I see us right now is somewhere that spans Activation and Logistics. The ultimate goal is Ignition, with every preceding stage dedicated to its eventual achievement.

It’s a very bare-bones outline, to be sure. The last few stages in particular elide a tremendous amount of challenge and complexity. But it seems to be providing a useful framework for me to hang my thinking on, as I walk through what needs to happen to bring the next frontier within reach, and to ensure the greatest possibility of success. I’ll have refining and possibly rethinking this model in mind as I proceed with my search for answers.

Figuring Out the “How”

It’s been the main question on my mind, and the central question of my life for a while now: If, as I’ve supposed, there’s a historic cycle wherein freedom-loving civilizations eventually succumb to rust, and those few who hold the population’s remnant of pioneer spirit must periodically seek a way out to a new frontier, and if the chain of developments and preparations leading up to the next exodus can be characterized as a sort of “escape sequence”, then what are the implications for those who seek a new frontier that is not yet within reach, and will likely not be within their own lifetimes? What does it mean to “be” escape sequence? What can individuals like us, who share a preference for the wide-open freedom of the frontier life, contribute to bringing the next frontier within reach for our posterity?

For me, it means I’ve got a job to do, and it’s been urgently important to me to figure out what that job is while there is still time for me to do it.

If I want to help realize the potential of a future frontier, and make movement to that frontier eventually possible, how will my efforts be most effectively spent? What field should I be working in? Aerospace engineering, perhaps? Any field of technology that might be relevant? What projects should I be working on? What’s not already being done that should be? What hasn’t even been thought of yet?

As part of this, I wonder: What kinds of preparations for exodus to a new frontier can even be usefully made or anticipated at this early stage? Speculative engineering? Supply logistics? Acquiring skills and assembling knowledge? What can we do today that will help things along years from now, and bring that future closer? Given the great difficulty of predicting the future, how much can we be reasonably sure of, or hope to influence by our actions now? Helping the next generation learn useful skills? By and large, the answers may be things we should be doing and will be doing anyway. But there must also be pieces of the puzzle unique to this calling and endeavor, that have to be identified and figured out. I’m in the process of finding those, in a search that has very much preoccupied my thoughts. As new possibilities and lines of thinking occur to me, and as I find new resources and work by others that sheds light on possible answers, I’ll be sure to post about those discoveries here.

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