My father in his prime, professor of history and whistling cowboy.
Two things appear certain: the earth is not as fresh as it was, and our grandfather’s remote sensing equipment has uncovered some new information about some locations that appear to be like earth. The silver seeds are the best hope we have for the survival of you and me, and our millions of friends. Billions, including people we don’t know. None of them have been born yet.
The first thing our grandfather’s did was to send up lots and lots of unmanned pods, ships that contained everything that a small group of colonists in an uncertain location would need to survive, including a variety of ways to create food, to clean our water and air and to secure appropriate shelter. This type of pod changed as new discoveries made things easier. The first bio-sustained systems were rather primitive.
The biggest problem is that the distance from old earth to the new Elysian fields is further than a human lifetime to traverse. They will not have chosen to make this journey. Everyone arriving would have no idea of what its like to live on a planet, they would only know life on a spaceship and now they have to leave that spaceship. And everyone leaving earth would leave expecting and intending to die on the journey and would have to release all hope of ever seeing “home” or “earth” again. Ever. This would be more dangerous to the human spirit than adapting to the necessities of sustaining life on a spaceship.
But its either that or the unthinkable. Run out. Run out and die.
Our grandfather’s people were a small group of explorers and inventors of new tools, and what they found had profound philosophical implications. They would become the folk heroes for generations of kids in the future. This all started off as one-in-a-million matching or corresponding interests in scientific hobbies. These few people communicated with each other and opened up whole new ways of solving problems. They have faith that their discoveries have much value to be realized. They set out to build a path to the promised land, at the very extremes of science. We can travel and we want a place to raise our kids, the land of safety for our children, no matter how far we have to go.
So what will arrive several generations out, when the silver seed of the spaceship comes to the distant shores, when they arrive at their intended destination? What kind of being will emerge from the journey? Born of gravity, and then living with no gravity for generations. Eating different food. When the spaceship lands, does it strut out of the tin can, or does it cautiously gather more information before emerging, or does it come out singing and dancing? It might think that it needs to come out shooting.
An awkward first impression.
What if we have no choice about any of this, surviving the loss of the earth, inter-generational voyages, and circumstances that require an aggressive response (coming out shooting)?
Try to do this or cease to exist. Is there a choice?
Grandfather made a choice. Now we are making the best of it. There is nothing we can do about it, here we are. We have no choice. Grandfather made a choice. We do make our lives better as we live, sometimes new inventions change everything.
As the project continues the data proving the existence of Elysium becomes increasingly conclusive. Which does not matter a hill of beans until the first pilgrim from earth emerges from the mothership, but that does not stop the sound and fury. Political opposition and resistance to this movement is considerable and the friction makes for much prized broadband juice. Inquiring minds need to know, there is a strong reason to get the wider population interested in learning about science. Everyone can participate, its not like there are only a few jobs in a factory. The new life of science will require much training. How quickly can you learn what you need to know?
We must stop training people to be apprentices and increase our supply of innovative managers.
Five independent researchers found that there is a very specific location that humans could thrive in. If we can get there we can reinvent our whole story and live in a more enlightened manner, with all we know now. Speaking for all humanity is a burden. We can escape the poisoned landscape here. We can give our children a fantastic gift. They will have a clean new world. It will be fresh and comforting. Farms and workshops.
So much hope, but the political machine has needs of its own. There is resistance to this new plan.
The Dark oppression of the Elysium Project: 3 years. The notion of dying and sending your grandchildren off the earth is ridiculed and made illegal and the prisons swell. The thought police give loyalty tests, only the pure may thrive on the homeland. There must be no more nonsense about leaving the earth. This becomes unpopular as more people you know are confined for subjective crimes. Change must come. Hope grows and new technologies are privately developed. New ways of detecting Elysium support are discussed but nothing really happens. Except the prison industry thrives.
Then there is a New white house, showing the first official support of the Elysium project. The tragedies of the past three years will be hard to overcome, but we yearn for new hope, there is growing popularity of the Elysium Mission. The people all support finding a new hope for our grandchildren. The surface conditions on earth become excessively harsh. Now the stories of the heros can be told, struggling during the dark years against the odds, surviving through history to become models for the new movement to find a better world for the kids of the future. This is what to teach them in their schools, out there in the future. A sense of history and moral purpose.
Suddenly, science teachers are heroes and hard to find. The market is ready to jump in. The new science reawakening begins!
Overnight there are small companies with a dream, that can fit into the emerging new civilization, focused on the survival of human life. Hard to argue with those guys. So it grew into a type of market place, developing new technology as its needed.
The first space station was a place of incredible freedom and enthusiasm, all kinds of small parts and huge systems for the marketplace of getting us on our way. Everyone is building a little ship in their garages. Garages get bigger.
All this is fine and dandy, but here is the real zinger that troubles this whole enterprise or cult or whatever you want to call it. Nobody alive here today is going to be walking on that new land.
Everyone who walks off of that space ship and feels the warmth of a sun and the smell of the trees in the breeze, you know the whole song.
So it will be our children and grand children who will find out if all these calculations and dangerous experiments, tragic transportation accidents, and the invention of new food that can be bred like calves right there on board the ship. Living creatures that are tasty and popular, as well as nutritious. Should they be cute too? Breed them in your back yard? They say you should not give a pet name to that which you intend to eat.
What are we going to find out there and along the way? Should we prepare for a hard battle or for a long negotiation process?
New sciences and discoveries and inventions. Some provide information to build upon, some are total wastes, some are profitable for a few businesses, while whole new industries based on training these new technology workers pop up overnight. The kids have a lot to learn, and a long way to go.
The first space ships were fantastic one of a kind constructions that would enable a crew of adventurers to get started right away. Eventually mass production of the best designs made it possible for every high school graduate to find their way into exciting new careers. Hope at last!
Getting to and from the space station is eventually a basic commuter nightmare, with traffic jams and patterns you can fit into. Go to work, go home. We are doing this for our kids, so they can find their way to a clean new world.
Nobody seems to ask about the expected situation when they arrive, are we walking into a new America, with a few troublesome indigenous inhabitants to consider. Or will there be resistance?
Or can we find a way to live among the ones who already live in Elysia? Must they go or will we be welcomed there?
The amateurs were followed by the large corporations, like GM for cars, common interests blended to make the whole thing work. Mavericks and drones, working towards the same promised life.
Should we be prepared to enslave them or to franchise with them? Will we be eating them or will we be staying for dinner? What tools should we bring? What about contingencies? What will it take to survive? We are obliged to make the world safe for our children, and that requires some effort.
Soon new methods emerge, instead of odd one-of-a-kind contraptions, resources are pooled, creating gigantic new industries and scales of production. With political and major industrial support soon there are new fleets of identical ships designed to hold hundreds of people, with an eye to increasing to over a thousand souls in a single vessel. There is prosperity in the face of social changes, from discovery to application, to resistance and oppression, and then a new era begins. That is the plan.
Military supply conglomerates begin supporting new businesses and the study of science becomes a very lucrative specialization, a new social trend and way of life. This is a classic Boom cycle, anything could happen, but lots of boats are being lifted together. This is a great time to be a science librarian.
The first prison ship launched. The program expands slowly as the public enjoys the benefits of a crime-free(r) society.
Now the government is involved in the space 2089: A ritual deportation is underway. There is a much publicized persecution of a tiny handful of individuals. Two or three prisoners among the rest of the earth. Political rivals are loaded up on the rockets and are never seen again. Prisons are soon abandoned forever, and the cities are clean and orderly. Luckily the planet is heavily overpopulated, so this can lead to lots of interest in elite support as well as the cause of space travel itself.
One day it was announced very publicly that this is the end of the space program supported by the government. The spigot has been turned off, but nothing seems to have happened, the launches continue without the government and the movement continues on, as it was before there was government support. The remaining earth-based humans are faced with a gigantic labor shortage, on an increasingly hostile Earth. The land is barren and too cold and too hot. There is no permanent drought but there is increasingly toxic water. The air is changing too. Industrial farming is now all about the highest grade mono crop that can be supplied that is nourishing, and taste matters too. Small personal gardening or micro farming is pretty much universal, everyone likes a good fresh salad. Everyone has a humble window-box or a series of things growing all around the house. Its much celebrated, like good cooking.
The Declaration of the Discovery of Doomsday, or rather, what is said to be the confirmation of the end. The Earth is starting to get very uncomfortable. Going outdoors is hazardous so the food tastes funny now. There is no more fresh water and the air is going bad.
Respiratory diseases are increasingly fatal. The common opinion is that to stay on Earth is fatal. Its too hot, its too cold, its too dry, its too wet, its already dead, earthquakes increase, new minerals are processed.
The actual demise of earth, meaning, when conditions no longer support life turns out to be 7933, which is a long time to be waiting around and miserable. Going outside is unthinkable most of the time, walking in some common areas that are indoors requires protection, and water from the old aquifer system is no longer safe. Food and mercantile needs are the best businesses.
There is another mystery. Let us consider the blessed planet itself, Elysium or the Elysia Belt of possible Class M destinations. What are they doing there now, before we start showing up? What if there are people there, or something living that we can understand? The very notion turns out to be a fascinating source of fiction and elaborate speculation.
What do we say to them? Hi! We come from far away and bring you greetings! Remember 1492.
Until the moment someone actually gets there, nobody really knows what is going to be there. Its sort of like death nobody has come back to say definitively, but one day our grandchildren are going to find out for sure. Its nothing like death, its as natural as finding air to breathe. Grandfather said “We seek a new World.”
Now grandfather is dead and I am stuck on this old spaceship. Its being guided by a robot captain and we sure do hope it knows what it is doing.
That is going to be a big moment. (Wont they be grateful! Wont they?) Walking off the ship on a new land. Live or die in a second. This moment is where opinions collide. Stepping off the boat.
Manifest Destiny is an American tradition. We own a place in that new Sun. All we need to do is grab it and hold on.
All this has nothing to do with the need to get there, and how life will be. This is all before getting there. Getting there is going to change everything. What will they find?
Consider the possibilities. Let us start with the most broad concepts. Will they survive the voyage?
Are the creatures there now going to eat us or are we going to eat them, or are we going to introduce them to the concept of insurance, or get them to join the Union? What can we sell them?
What will we need to keep them from killing us, if they are big and mean? These questions provide lots of speculation.
This will be our sleeping towards our New Reward. Or will it be The continuing adventures of the Donner party? The hearings, trials and larger spectacles will make for much commerce, regardless of what you believe about tomorrow.
Once the journey is underway everything must respond to whatever is found next.
One Day The first vessel intended to carry a human crew lands on Elysium. How can we best plan for this moment? What will these persons find and what will they need? Those two questions are the core of the mission.
Chances are most rockets will arrive empty or lifeless, but the numbers will increase, and some are very likely to survive. That was the plan all along. The survival of the unborn is more important to the mission than the will or the penalty of the ones who left earth on those huge vessels.
One Day The first of the prison parties land. Instead of executing convicts it became increasingly fashionable to just send them to Elysium and in some cases (by definition these are all undocumented) omitting the costly trials. Business increases quickly, with bust and boom cycles at each step.
The program goes from some zealots who abandon earth, to a large scale evacuation of excess population. Maybe they are sent away like England used to send prisoners to Australia, to populate the empty land.
At some point, when thousands of people are being sent into space each week, towards the promised land, the balance tips and we realize that we need to stop exporting our workers, the program slows, and a hundred years go by. After sending a thousand people at a time, in huge mass-produced vessels, headed towards the new promised land, the whole thing falls out of fashion, and the fate of humanity is thought to be better served by fixing up the old world, cleaning the pollution and bringing back the wilderness, the green trees and fresh water. Much progress is made, but there is so far to go. The earth has lots of poison to clean up. The true brave souls need to stop looking up at the stars and roll up their sleeves and get to work, making our home beautiful.
And the earth responds and things do start looking better. New birds and lush plant life, less harsh weather, more successful crops, after a long drought things appear to be getting back to normal, cleaned up and put right.
Suddenly a disaster dooms the earth itself, and the program quickly becomes the last hope as the earth crumbles and falls into the sun and solar wind, lost. The end of everything. Get on that ship and slam the door and hit the gas, there is no more firmament, and now the only humanity left is the one that is traveling to the promised land.
What is it like from the point of view up there at the New World? Minding your own business, tending to your own disasters and life’s work, and suddenly there are these unmanned pods filled with various wonderful things, food and things they have never seen before. New technologies.
First a few pods, then a few more, then it rains pods. Then the first pioneers land, the grandchildren of the first inventors of the journey.
Were they right about the new earth? Does it exist? What do we find there?
This is the singular most significant moment, the arrival of the originals. The moment they step off of the ship, they would be singing many psalms that probably would have been written on the long voyage, through the long dark nights of the journey to the promised land.
The matter of prior occupants. What is going to happen to the folks there now? Are they folks or are they environmental threats to be overcome? Do we make friends with them, or eat them, or do we anhilate them? Or do we plan to enslave them, as our ancestors used to do? Maybe we sell them insurance, or teach them about the wise old shepherd in the sky who watches over us all.
Either they blend in or they have to fight to survive, and fight carefully. To much time allows for resistance to grow, if we hit them quickly we can have the whole thing to ourselves. Or do we live among them and learn how they have come to thrive, they have solved all of the problems we would need to solve, maybe killing them first is not such a good plan. Will we have a choice?
Do they look like us or are we different?
What might happen to the people on the ship, might their appearance change or might they behave in a whole new way? Like wrestlers, with the biggest meanest one calling the shots for them.
Or maybe there are power struggles on the ship and the next one, and each one of the many ships on the way now.
The first New Ones arrive and are weak and need help, they would not appear to be a threat.
Someone to show mercy to, a helping hand, assistance to bring them from the wilderness into the world of Elysium.
After the first friendly helpless ones so grateful for charity, come the more angry ones, in larger quantities. They do not negotiate, they just take what they need.
Then the old world is forever lost and the new order will have begun.
Are we a force for good or are we brutal and ugly? To live we must be brutal and ugly sometimes.
To live and bring our children, this is enough have in common with our group of individuals.
What is a group?
As these ships begin to rain down, there will now be a flood of the descendants of these large human transportation units. These are aggressive people sent because of their crimes or because they were unlucky enough to represent any form of opposition to the political party in power.
Thousands of space ships launched with the capacity of over one thousand human souls each. The provisions supporting this population will be insufficient. Only a few will survive, but those few will be a powerful force. They will be clever enough to adapt to the changing circumstances. Most wont make it, but a few will. And they are going to kick some butt to earn some of the New Earth..
One day the arrivals of the last human Elysium pilgrims to leave earth.
They are all faced with the same questions. Many questions. One big question.
When we land, what if they are not happy to see us?
Its a long way from home.
Every moment holds promise for unexpected productivity, finding the opportunity is the dance.
I am grateful to Maggie LaNoue for providing this website.
I am grateful for the Meloney hospitality that I received during a time of crisis this past spring.
I am grateful to my health insurance for the excellent care they give me.
I am grateful to be here in this residence and to have an automobile.
I am grateful for the support of my friends.
I am grateful for the part time job at the radio station KXXO Mixx 96 FM.
I am grateful to live in a community where I can grow and learn new things.
I am grateful for my own mysterious creative talents and abilities.
I am grateful for history and the lessons available to us by remembering the truth.
I am grateful for all mercy shown to our homeless sisters and brothers, they will teach us how to live without our ordinary comforts.
I am grateful for the off button so that I can turn off the bad news that seems to be increasing constantly.
I am grateful for the ability to create better circumstances every day.
I am grateful for electricity, we must remember that without it we all will have to learn again how to survive the same perils our ancestors did.
I am grateful to my parents for all they left me with and the upbringing to always see the best in the future ahead.
I am grateful that you are reading this now.
Thank you. I wish you peace and prosperity ahead.
Next I hope to find a great job, even better than the past ones, and to be open for romance. I will learn to help others more. I will lift others up in any way I can.
To be an artist usually means that you work all the time and especially when you are dreaming, but you rarely get paid for it.
It all started when we were having trouble getting young Bucky to brush his teeth. He does like candy, and bubble gum is a favorite. So when the Yummy Bubble Gum Flavored Toothpaste came out we bought some and it sat around for weeks before we could get Bucky to even try it. He did eventually, and guess what — he liked it!
Did he ever. Soon it was no problem getting him to brush his teeth, and he began to use larger and larger amounts squeezed out onto his toothbrush. We had to watch him and restrain him from piling on way too much. In no time we went through that first tube. So we bought another. We began to suspect that he was brushing his teeth quite a bit after school. We were buying a new huge family-sized two pound tube of Yummy Bubble Gum Flavored Toothpaste every time we went shopping. Soon it was a whole gigantic tube each week. Then it was two tubes. We found a place that sells it by the case. He was just wild about the stuff and was brushing his teeth five and six times a day, sometimes he would have an extra snack so he would have to brush his teeth again.
Normally we give him an allowance; if he saves it up he can buy a new video game, or a treat like candy, or whatever he wants to buy. He has an asthma problem, so if he saves up for three weeks he can renew his prescription for an inhaler. His doctor gave us a prescription for an extra strong inhaler so he can breathe at night and when running around playing with his friends. But it’s his money and he has to decide what he does with it, we are very strict. He must learn about managing his own resources.
We decided to try to confront him about his strange alarming enthusiasm for the Yummy Bubble Gum Flavored Toothpaste, and sure enough he yelled. After school he would break all the windows in the house and car, as well as all the mirrors in the bathrooms, loudly complaining that he just wanted to brush his teeth so he would not have any more cavities. How could we argue with that logic? Dental health is very important of course.
Anyway, we began to suspect something was going terribly wrong when we found piles of dried up empty squeezed out tubes of Yummy Bubble Gum Flavored Toothpaste under his bed. He denied everything and began to keep his door locked all the time. I hear its normal for kids to act that way, so we know he is just going through a phase.
We got a call from the Seven Eleven next to the school, he was not buying candy with his allowance, he was buying more and more tubes of the Yummy Bubble Gum Flavored Toothpaste. At this point we were hardly shocked. Right about then a newspaper article came out about a clerk who used to work there but who disappeared one day and was never seen again. Little Bucky just turns red and goes out into the yard whenever we try to talk about it with him. The police were not helpful at all, but they soon stopped coming around so often. They still park out in front most evenings.
Anyway, we just did not know what else to do, and when we tried to talk to him about it he would fly into a rage and demand that we stop bothering him. All he said was that he wanted good teeth and a nice Yummy-bright smile. We would peek at him brushing his teeth and find him sucking it right out of the tube. He would go over to his friend’s houses and have their moms buy tubes of Yummy Bubble Gum Flavored Toothpaste, and then secretly suck down whole tubes at a time. We were getting more calls from his friend’s parents. They were alarmed and they wanted us to do something about it, or at least pay them for all the tubes of Yummy Bubble Gum Flavored Toothpaste that he gobbled down. Soon they would not allow him to come over to visit any more.
We tried stopping his purchases at the source; we talked to all of the new staff at the Seven Eleven over by his school and told them not to sell him any more tubes of the stuff. At first they were not convinced, but soon they too became concerned about his special appetite. Next he was just stealing boxes of the stuff, walking out with several tubes at a time and taking them to a wooded area where the bigger kids go to smoke after school. After we put our foot down over that he was soon just sucking down whole tubes right there in the store. He really loves the stuff, to this day. Its toothpaste, so what could be the harm in it?
After lots of struggling and much acrimony over the kitchen table day after day, we decided to talk to a professional. We talked to several child therapists and psychologists and they all gave us different explanations of what was going on. We finally found one who told us what we wanted to hear. It was not easy to find this angel. Persistence is rewarded.
Well, to make a long story short, we decided that it was not doing our family any good to be fighting about it all the time. My blood pressure was getting dangerously high and every weekend was ruined by all of the trouble over Yummy Bubble Gum Flavored Toothpaste. All that broken glass was getting expensive but we found a place to buy glass in bulk and I learned to replace it myself. For the bathroom we bought some unbreakable steel mirrors so that problem was easily solved. My wife was constantly sobbing and would lock herself in the bathroom for days at a time. She was on her way to a Nyquil drinking problem and God only knows what else she was doing in there. Something had to be done before little Bucky had one or maybe two dead parents. The neighbors kept calling various social services organizations in the area and we were in and out of court constantly during this time.
For his next birthday we decided to try another approach. His favorite cake is called “confetti”, which is an angel food cake with colorful candy sprinkles all through it. We decided to frost the cake with his favorite flavored sweet goo, Yummy Bubble Gum Flavored Toothpaste, of course. It takes more than one large sized tube for a two layer cake, with extra thick coverage in the middle and on top. Because you can squeeze it directly onto the cake in interesting and decorative patterns, and that makes clean-up so much easier. Have you ever tried to wash a knife with dried Yummy Bubble Gum Flavored Toothpaste on it? Soaking or chipping with a chisel does not help. It takes special solvents that we have to order directly from the toothpaste company, but it’s just easier to throw everything away and buy new cutlery.
The glitter sprinkles really add a nice touch and I bought a special light which really sets off the whole presentation. We are experimenting with different kinds of glitter.
Now we just have large crates of Yummy Bubble Gum Flavored Toothpaste delivered directly to our door in bulk each week, and there is peace in our house once again. It’s a family favorite and we always have a cake or two in the pantry, as well as all the ingredients to make more. His teeth have not actually shown much improvement though. In fact, he has so many cavities that we had to shop around to find a willing dentist who offered us a special deal on a full set of juvenile crowns. When his adult teeth do come in they will be immediately replaced with some kind of new special superior designer artificial teeth that the dentist has been telling us about, paid for by the Yummy Bubble Gum Flavored Toothpaste Customer Service Representatives and the American Orthodontic Products Advisory Board, but that is our little secret and we are not supposed to be talking to anyone about all that. Bucky just got a call today about being in some advertisements for their product; it’s quite a lot of money, more than enough for his special new teeth. They want to send a photographer and put his adorable face on the new label design.
These pictures were taken by me walking around Schuylkill County in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania during the Halloween season of 2009. These folks have a very special tradition of celebrating the season, each borough has its own parade and they coordinate with each other so during the week of Halloween the kids can go to a parade every night. That is a LOT of candy. Most of the decorations have been on display for generations. Some of the pictures were taken through glass and have strange superimpositions.
PETOSKEY MICHIGAN 1979
The Theater of Transformations, me with Lorraine M. Tong. This photograph by Jan Nagel was taken in the Spectrum Center located in Petoskey, Michigan above the old Food Coop and Mercado restaurant.