In architecture, a folly is a building constructed primarily for decoration, but suggesting through its appearance some other purpose, or of such extravagant appearance that it transcends the range of usual garden buildings. – Wikipedia
Human beings have been rocketed into space for decades, therefore I no longer recognise the spectacle that it supposedly still is. Man stepping foot on the moon was before my time, but I’ve watched Apollo 13; I saw “the space race” as something impressive (although perhaps that was how it was supposed to look, as presented by the media). The Hubble Space Telescope was launched (and repaired) in my childhood and I’ve always enjoyed looking at the pictures it has provided, and what they have taught us about our universe. Robotic vehicles have been sent to Mars and rovered around on the surface – the technical feat of that is perhaps more awe-inspiring to me than the thought of the so-called “scientific data” accumulated, although the pictures are nice.
When Christopher Columbus and other Europeans sailed to the Americas, that was likely fascinating news at the time, and world-changing for those who began to inhabit “the new world” (and everyone else since). These days we think little of travelling by aeroplane from one continent to the next; it happens multiple times a day (although fewer people are enjoying it compared to a couple of years ago).
Eventually space travel will surely become as routine, but for now, in my opinion, it has become nothing more than mere folly and a grotesque display of childish ego and accumulated wealth. I see little in the way of “scientific advancement” because we travelled to the Moon decades ago, and somehow fell back a few rungs on the ladder since then, to once again see humans “getting into orbit” as impressive.
Just prior to this latest round of “achievements” by Richard Branson of Virgin and Jeof Basos of Amazon, I watched a talk by Elon Musk of Tesla (who is soon to follow) where he essentially did a mathematical run through of how many 100-tonne rockets will need to be sent to Mars in order to star inhabiting it. I immediately saw the utter nonsense of it all.
This was during 2020 when the average person was supposed to be in “Lockdown”; probably not able to go to work, having to wear a mask to go shopping, and not being allowed to meet face-to-face with family or friends or go for a walk in the countryside, let alone be allowed to travel to another country without having to spend two weeks in
prison “quarantine”. While I have tried not to involve myself too much in such nonsensical charades, let alone be bothered by it, I felt a great injustice in the world where the billionaires and those in positions of power could seemingly keeping doing whatever they wanted.
In addition to the Lockdown debacle, there is the one of “climate change” and saving the Earth’s resources (some have linked the two together), but again, we see big tech giants going about as “normal”, constructing their multiple follies (because it’s not only the craft that launches them into “space”, but the multiple test vehicles before them) and the burning of fuel – even if fuel is claimed to be “green”, or parts being reusable, there is still an energy cost in the manufacture or re-purposing of these things.
An economy-class flight from New York City to London, for example, emits the equivalent of 11% of an individual’s average* annual carbon emissions … For all of 2020, there were 114 attempted orbital launches in the world, according to NASA. That compares with the airline industry’s more than 100,000 flights each day on average, and COVID-19 impacted that number. … A SpaceX flight, for instance, generates the annual carbon footprint of 278 average world citizens. – marketwatch.com
*Many of us live sub-average lives when it comes to carbon emissions, yet we’re all penalised because of those that use more than their fair share. Take electricity costs as an example; my electricity costs went up this year because usage went up across the board during the particularly harsh winter. That was the reason given to me by my electricity provider, yet I used no more than during previous winters. Petrol prices as another example went down during the first Lockdown due to the average person using less. Surely then, if the people with money to burn literally do that, then that negatively impacts the rest of us.
I’ve seen video clips of both the Virgin “space flight” and the Blue Origin one, and two things had me cringe; 1) the fakeness of how the spectacles were presented to the public (Bezos asking his brother was clearly staged and asking Wally Funk was probably done for media image/portrayal, and Branson’s walk to his craft among a small crowd of clapping fans [I find clapping crowds to be something particularly awkward for some reason]), and 2) the childishness of the “look at us floating in space… giggle giggle” How is that impressive? I seen that done aboard aeroplane flights that reach a certain altitude and then go into free-fall, indeed I’m pretty sure Branson himself has done that more than once and I think anyone can pay to go on such a trip. It just looked like a bunch of kids having fun at a theme park, but at everyone else’s expense.
The reason I deem it to be at everyone else’s expense is because material “wealth”, I have come to determine, belongs to us all. Every time we buy something from Amazon or subscribe to a service, or use those of Virgin, or buy a Tesla car (or in any way deal with one of the myriad of related companies), we’re imparting some of our earned wealth to them. These giants (as they’re portrayed) then accumulate this wealth and use it for their own benefit/enjoyment. And why not? We pretty much all do something similar on a smaller scale; earn money and spend it where we see fit.
The problem I have is when individuals have more than their fair share, or accumulate their wealth through unscrupulous means. That might be anything from blatant theft, tax evasion, receiving government grants or contracts, or exploitation of a workforce (there are probably many more things that could be added to this list). In 2020 the world’s wealth shifted to the richest 1% and away from the rest of us. Even if you were lucky to still earn the same in 2020 as you had in 2019, you actually got financially poorer.
Another reason why I believe space flights [by those that can afford it] is nothing than mere folly is because I don’t believe it is the only path forward. It is only the path of rampant materialism, and the denial of (or distraction from) something more. Some are even questioning if space was even reached…
There also seems to be something weird about the emblems used which Scott Manley displayed in the above video. This is something I have picked up on before with regard to the Apollo and Mars mission insignias.
“Astronauts” get awarded badges such as the following:
These images, however, are far older than Manley states. As much as Erich von Däniken has been labelled a crack-pot with his books about Ancient Astronauts, he has brought to the attention of many, including myself, ancient depictions of what appear to be ancient air craft, space/time vehicles and their other-worldly passengers.
I don’t think our modern day “astronauts” will ever reach the gods, or travel like them, not while burning rocket fuel at least.
Bezos has been awarding his own people with pin badges representing a feather (also seen on the Blue Origin logo)…
The symbol of the feather has a deep spiritual meaning across many cultures. They represent a connection to spirit and to the divine universe. Native Americans believed that feathers fell to earth as gifts from the sky. … Because of a feathers’ connection to birds they have always been a symbol of flight and freedom. – Source
Freedom, while the rest of us face less.
The sycamore seed has also been used:
A sycamore tree symbolizes strength, protection, eternity, and divinity. In Egypt, it is portrayed as representation of Egyptian goddesses in the book named “Book of the Dead”. – Source
The hijacking of religious and spiritual symbols for nefarious purposes has been going on for decades (rainbows and swastikas to name but two more) and seems set to continue.