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Our uncharted lands


Ungod
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I remember that when I was little I used to imagine how life was in other countries. I wasnt thinking of nearby places, but at the distant and exotic lands (China or India or Mexic). Before I had a computer I managed to read a few books that made me imagine such things. And even with a computer you could still put your imagination to work - until internet became available.

Now, even if I tried, I couldnt dream of China or the Sahara. I mean, I am a few clicks away from these places. Pictures, videos - hell, with the video cameras, I can take a tour of a city in France, for example, any time I want. Now imagination on that side is gone - we have the data/information. 

 

And that is fine, but I have serious doubts that we no longer dream of unexplored lands. There has been a shift, thats all. My question is: towards what? Parallel universes? Faraway galaxies, planets full of green little aliens? I was watching a greek mythology course from TTC and prof. Elizabeth Vandiver said our myths on aliens derive from our need of having something more to explore, much as the greek stories about the countries from ”the edge of the world”.

 

When your world becomes small, you look in the distance. The sf literature, however, is underground now - I think it was a big hit 40 years ago, but that dream is dead already. So, what have we shifted our imagination towards? Where do we find uncharted lands to imagine how life is ”over there”?

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When I was l in middle school and high school I dreamed of going to Africa and South America to find and study plants that had yet to be found. I did a study abroad to a tropical island to catelog plants. It was awesome. I still want to travel to do those things. And if the opportunity came to travel to another planet to study plant like life I would go.

One of my problems now is deciding on what kind of masters degree I want. I like learning about all aspects of plants that I have a hard time narrowing it down to a certain characteristic.

And the moment you think you know something in science is when someone out there strives beyond the boundary of societies knowledge. There is always something new as long as we have our imagination.

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When your world becomes small, you look in the distance. The sf literature, however, is underground now - I think it was a big hit 40 years ago, but that dream is dead already.

No no no no. You're very wrong! I am a huge fan of Sci FI  (probably 90% of my readings are Sci Fi novels) and I can assure you that Sci Fi is defo not dead. On contrary, it's flourishing. And with the current development the ideas they come up with are truly amazing. And there are tons of awesome contemporary Sci Fi literature. My reading list grows every week by at least 1 book.

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No no no no. You're very wrong! I am a huge fan of Sci FI  (probably 90% of my readings are Sci Fi novels) and I can assure you that Sci Fi is defo not dead. On contrary, it's flourishing. And with the current development the ideas they come up with are truly amazing. And there are tons of awesome contemporary Sci Fi literature. My reading list grows every week by at least 1 book.

I used to read a lot of sci-fi in gymnasium and college. Back then it seemed to me a lot of people were seeing space as ”the new frontier”. That, or I was too little :) What I know is that around that time there was the moon-landings and launghing sattelites and stuff and I deduce this enthusiasm was shared by many. Now, it seems we are back to earth, we know more of our limitations and while this literature was ”a hit”, it looks to me like its more of a niche.

 

I stopped reading SF a long time ago, you are obviously better informed, but does is seem like the space is still the place that we want to explore? Not only the readers of sci-fi, but readers in general. 

 

When I was l in middle school and high school I dreamed of going to Africa and South America to find and study plants that had yet to be found. I did a study abroad to a tropical island to catelog plants. It was awesome. I still want to travel to do those things. And if the opportunity came to travel to another planet to study plant like life I would go.

I guess a science man/woman doesnt care much for the ”land”, but more of a particular aspect of it (rocks, plants, tribal customs etc). 

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I would say that currently space is just the set-up and more and more writers use it as a scene for exploring other things. Few weeks ago I finish a book where one of the many narrative threads talked about an universe where you could turn back time as many times as you wanted and fix your mistakes. It was a hard to reach universe so outside people were trying to get to it. The truth about that place, when it was finally revealed, took me by surprise. It was simple and elegant. Not fancy shamncy theories. Simple. Easy to understand. A real beauty imo.

 

So no, I believe space is not something that awesome anymore (well, it is) but we can find a lot more easier to get to and new, exciting things closer to us and more "grab-able" than the vast void.

Like the human mind :D. Which sometimes I think is as vast as the void :D. Not to mention having more black holes :D.

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Yeah, it seems the seventies and eighties dream that I caught a glimpse of (colonising space etc) is dead indeed. We are turning our attention to things closer to us? Which ones -  this is what I would like to know. I find it hard to believe human mind is the new frontier - Freud is still mentioned and until he is gone from our books, there will be no advancement.

 

Speaking of imagination and the desire of exploring, I dont feel like travelling anywhere anymore. Let us say I am not satisfied with pictures and I want to see Pamukkale (random example). Well, I dont like turks and I dont want to give them money. Or maybe I would like to see that chinese scenery with those mountains coming out of the water ”live”. Am I really going to spend some thousand dollars just for that? And it is just for that, because we now know a lot about others who are even thousands of km away from us. Knowing so much, I can plan today the ”perfect” holiday - except for the thrill part, which isnt there anymore.

I dont feel like going anywhere, for reasons that differ from case to case. I wonder whether this is my special case, or we are more.

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Speaking of imagination and the desire of exploring, I dont feel like travelling anywhere anymore. Let us say I am not satisfied with pictures and I want to see Pamukkale (random example). Well, I dont like turks and I dont want to give them money. Or maybe I would like to see that chinese scenery with those mountains coming out of the water ”live”. Am I really going to spend some thousand dollars just for that? And it is just for that, because we now know a lot about others who are even thousands of km away from us. Knowing so much, I can plan today the ”perfect” holiday - except for the thrill part, which isnt there anymore.

I dont feel like going anywhere, for reasons that differ from case to case. I wonder whether this is my special case, or we are more.

 

I often wonder if those who make excuses not to do a thing are scared of something. The examples you have given make me think of imagination vs reality.

 

Imagine I have in my head a picture of something that inspires me, if I make an effort I can go to see that thing for real, and the event would become an inspiring life experience. Then doubt sets in, what if, when I look at this thing in the cold light of day, it does not live up to my expectations and disappoints me? So I start to make excuses to convince myself that my imagination is enough and I forget to aspire to anything more than that.

 

Why would I do that? Perhaps the increase of an incredibly cynical society confining me to its own "realism". I would hate that, to become stagnant. But I don't get that impression from what you have written.

 

Is it that you see constructing ways to consolidate anything that inspires your imagination as simply being not worth the trouble? If so, perhaps rather than planning, and thinking, too much, you should pick up your bag and go where the road takes you.

 

"second star to the right and straight on 'til morning" :)

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Is it that you see constructing ways to consolidate anything that inspires your imagination as simply being not worth the trouble? If so, perhaps rather than planning, and thinking, too much, you should pick up your bag and go where the road takes you.

 

Thats the problem - I know where the road takes me. 

Nowadays, a trip to China is equal, in my eyes, to a weekend with some friends in a mountain lodge. Because of all the info floating around, you can no longer afford to be ignorant. Google ”tourist in India” and read the first 15 titles. See what you get.

 

As I was saying, you cannot dream of distant and unexplored lands anymore. So you trun your attention to something else to dream about.

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