Friday, May 13, 2016

The Human Space Program (111)

Think of the Human Space Program as a "central project" for all of humanity, a way to harness the best energies of the best minds and hearts on our planet in the exploration of the universe. What could be a greater thrill and a more powerful unifier than this idea?

I learned about central projects from my friend Bruce Shackleton and included a passage about them in my book, The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution. 

"Since beginning the Overview Project, I have come to see space exploration as part of a long tradition of central  projects. According to a book based  on research sponsored by Apollo astronaut Edgar Mitchell's  Institute  of Noetic Sciences, central  projects,  such  as the construction of the Gothic cathedrals and the Egyptian pyramids, are catalysts for social and personal transformation.

These projects, although involving visible  material artifacts, were actu­ally  the vehicles for more abstract social and  psychological aims. The great  cathedrals, besides serving as  highly  visible  central projects to attract the  best  and  most adventurous minds  of the age, also served to educate the consciousness of the larger  population. 1"

We need a central project for the 21st century!

(To be continued)

(c) Copyright, 2016, Frank White, All Rights Reserved

(1) The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution is available at and

Friday, May 6, 2016

The Human Space Program (II)

The purpose of the Human Space Program, in my mind, is to lay out a strategy for exploring and developing the solar system that is consistent with the underlying principles of the Cosma Hypothesis. By that, I mean that we embrace the philosophy that we need to think of space exploration not only in terms of what it will do for humanity but also what it will offer to the universe.

The Cosma Hypothesis stands on the shoulders of the Gaia Hypothesis, which was originally developed by James Lovelock. He advanced the concept that life is not simply "along for the ride on Earth" but that living systems are an integral part of the planet.

Put more precisely, Wikipedia says the following:

The Gaia hypothesis, also known as Gaia theory or Gaia principle, proposes that organisms interact with their inorganic surroundings on Earth to form a synergistic self-regulatingcomplex system that helps to maintain and perpetuate the conditions for life on the planet. (

To take it a bit further, we can say that the Earth is alive, conscious, and intelligent because life, consciousness, and intelligence are all part of the Earth system through Homo sapiens and other sentient beings. (Combining the terms consciousness and intelligence, I use the term "contelligence." All of these elements exist within the universe as well because they exist on Earth. What we do not know is where these elements exist beyond our home planet.

Therefore, determining where life and contelligence exist is a central feature of the Human Space Program.

(To be continued)

The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution is available at and

(c) Copyright, 2016, Frank White, All Rights Reserved