Monday, April 27, 2009

Am I Adding Any Value Here?

I've discovered quite a few things about the space advocacy community. They tend to be a very independent, bright bunch. They are not afraid of exploring new ideas--indeed, many welcome them--but they can also be very much self-educated and attached to particular ideas once they get hold of them. Among us you will find experts in propulsion, space elevators, space mining, space solar power, Mars exploration and terraforming, and so forth. So I sometimes wonder, with all these smart people in the room, where I fit in.

Obviously they have a need for a technical writer, or I'd be at best a hanger-on. But more importantly, I've specialized in philosophy. I keep asking the deeper questions:

  • Why are we doing this?
  • Are we certain this is a GOOD thing to do? Why?
  • What are the implications if we're right/wrong?
  • Who will pay for X?
  • Who will benefit from Y?
  • How else might Z hardware be used?

And so forth. I've read a lot of science fiction but also a lot of "big picture" histories to anticipate what actions might happen next if certain actions are taken. In short, I've specialized in politics. That's not entiely a bad thing--somebody has to--I just wonder if my exposure to it has made me more cynical or pessimistic about the whole enterprise. If anything, I've learned which questions, while sounding naive, are not stupid questions. Progress, of a sort.

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