Alien Thoughts About Branding Outer Space

Dr. David RosenBy Dr. David Rosen

Okay, I get it. People are excited. It’s outer space. The unknown. But colonization of Mars?

Let’s take the unknown. The unknown is great when it’s outer space, but when it’s whatever is under the refrigerator or behind the furnace, the unknown doesn’t seem so attractive.

Is the unknown a metaphor for death? Is going to outer space a chance for a dry run? A surrogate conquest?

And here I am flying to Las Vegas, which is number one on my not-to-do bucket list: things I don’t want to do and places I don’t want to visit and people I don’t want to meet before I die. But life has just scrubbed my chance not to visit Las Vegas because of a work-related vortex that is sucking me down. So Las Vegas is an unknown. The excitement of the unknown, really? Not feeling it. Mostly glum resolution, sort of like facing death. Or contemplating living in a colony in outer space.

My real point is that I am flying over the Rockies, a vast space of fairly unknown and unexplored and certainly uninhabited land. It is pretty vast really. Don’t know how its size compares to Mars, but it’s big, if not Mars big.

So why wouldn’t we sign up for a rocket launch that would land us in the Rockies? Been there, done that? Or why don’t we think about creating communities in the vast unsettled expanses of the Rockies? No fun? And does anyone think that living on a vast, red, powdery planet will be fun? Oh, I know. We will figure out a way to be to make it work, be connected, have entertainment, have fine cuisine (although probably not locally sourced at first, we will undoubtedly figure out ways to grow food there under controlled environmental conditions—i.e. plenty of tech required. Got my startup set to start up!).
However, that applies to the Rockies too. Or the Gobi desert. Or any barely or almost habitable place on earth. But let’s build some Trump Towers on Mars. Or Tesla Towers or Whatever.

Now I also know that we need an escape hatch because people are all kinds of bad and once they have destroyed they will need a place to go to survive. Mars. Makes sense, right? About a million of them. So we need to be prepared for that. Sort of like we needed to be prepared for the nuclear holocaust by building bomb shelters. I’m actually thinking if the world is wiped out, I’ll head to one of those underground beauties.

But, really, if we can imagine an environmentally, socially, culturally sustainable, peaceable civilization on Mars, why can’t we produce one here? Something is wrong with the logic.

What will change on Mars or be changed? How will that work?

Like you (maybe) I was beguiled by the idea of a Tesla, steered by a manikin automaton, touring space in its orbital, maybe-never-ending journey. A long monotonous car trip has always been a popular idea of fun.

But then I thought, WTD (What The Dingdong). What a junky self-promoting feat that really is. As my mother used to say when my brother would put soda straws in his nostrils—“Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should.” In truth, his friends thought it was pretty hilarious as E Musk’s friends and admirers think his little stunt is pretty cool.

I think the car, like the Mars colonization, like so much that passes for imagination today, is really brand-washing—a replacement of rational thought with semi-delusional thought engendered by our love affair with brands. Isn’t that right, Alexa? All our heroes are now brand-ishers of the future. And we are willing to follow and marvel at their every thought.

It’s so sad. What does it say about what we have become? I am so sad, it makes me want to move to an unsettled space in the vast Rockies and start life afresh. Come with?