OPINION PIECE


 AN UNEASY OPINION AND ILLUSTRATION–MEASURING LIFE IN A DARK UNIVERSE

by

John Jaksich

DRAKE EQUATION:

Drake Equation | SETI Institute.

N = R^{\ast} \cdot f_p \cdot n_e \cdot f_{\ell} \cdot f_i \cdot f_c \cdot L

The Drake Equation(the link above gives an eloquent explanation) was devised by the Astronomer, Frank Drake—its purpose was to serve as an approximate measure of intelligent species in the Universe. Normally the equation would equal 1 or a question mark—since we are the only intelligent life which anyone seems to know. I put it equal to zero because we may not learn to live a life that is conducive to the existence of all humanity—and it is completely uncertain (to me) if will learn to do so. I wish to not frighten, but to illustrate that which has been expounded by many before me. If one were to ask a “Christian”—the response might be somewhat “black & white”—Love “God,” neighbor and self. Ask thinkers, philosophers, or experimentalists, the response may not be so sanguine—at all—but a pessimistic (i.e. Einstein, Hawking, or Dawkins) tone, at best. But, I believe I have struck a realistic tone. I believe in the goodness of humanity—although it “all-too-often” seems absent?

As vast as the sky seems to those who can directly measure it,we also have a Solar System in which we can immerse ourselves. The start of the space-age was ushered into existence as a political afterthought between two nations sparring for domination in a hum-drum part of the Milky Way. However, as the years have “progressed” since the launch of Sputnik (in 1957) or Explorer 1—it is as if we are still attempting our first launch. Budget cut-backs, economic cycles of feast/famine in the sciences, and humanity’s natural inclination to avoid difficult decisions makes every launch of a probe, satellite, or rover a cause for celebration or delight in the eyes of all. Most scientists would exclaim that we no longer need a cheering section for scientific feats, but a full-fledged, “League of Scientific Practitioners.” After the launch of Sputnik in 1957, the U.S. embarked upon revitalizing its teaching methodology—we did not need to caught flat-footed if Soviet Union wanted to go toe-to-toe with us in the proverbial “boxing-ring.”

Currently, I contend that our major problem might be labeled: indifference. Not only are we indifferent to those who practice or do science—these individuals are labeled as Geeks, Nerds, and are just not “cool” in daily life. It might be viewed as a practice of class-warfare of the worst kind? In my very humble opinion: As our children and teens are swallowed-up by a culture that is obsessed with self-image and “personality”–very few households possess the ability to raise or guide their children to the satisfying careers which may truly be of “the child’s choosing.” An unfortunate statistic is that those households come (for the most part) from higher income families. I apologize if I sound too “Star Trekie!”

As a few of us seem to observe that phenomenon of divisiveness, it may also come to mind that it is much harder for a “lower-income” individual to escape the uneasy trappings of poverty. Take a drive (sometime) to an inner city neighborhood—and you may notice the individuals living there (anytime I have done so—to me, many seem trapped by an uneasy circumstance of their surroundings). I, many times, feel guilt—while at other times I can only imagine why circumstances have evolved to this degree. As a U.S. Citizen and World Citizen I feel society can do more to educate its children and parents on the “rules of success”—it does not need to be based on divisiveness. I once thought that “Life” was just a “board game”—but to successfully navigate life we need to take a kindly consideration of all of our neighborhoods, world-wide. Maybe then, we might learn to navigate the cosmos—as “true delegates” with singular purpose.

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