One way ticket

I remem­ber learn­ing swim­ming when I was a child. After a few days of pad­dling and pranc­ing in the water, I began to leave the side of the pool for a few brief sec­onds and come back again. Longer peri­ods of side-hold­ing-absti­nence fol­lowed, but still for short peri­ods of time. The side on the oth­er end of the pool seemed too far away to risk it.

Even­tu­al­ly, an expe­ri­enced adult swim­mer took me to the mid­dle of the pool, and sim­ply released me. I almost drowned, but fought against the water furi­ous­ly, strug­gling to stay afloat, and at the same time, try­ing my best to reach the side of the pool again.

Con­clu­sion: I could have learnt swim­ming on my own, if I had the courage to reach across for the oth­er side.

As Homo Sapi­ens, we evolved on the ground. We feel safe when we’re on the ground. Our lan­guage reflects it — ground­work, “swept the ground from under my feet”, “ground real­i­ty”. Sol­diers “hold their ground” against an ene­my. A defen­dant “holds his ground” in the tri­al. “Grounds for action”, “Grounds for sus­pi­cion”, and so on. (By the way, ever won­der how that which refers to the round Earth which goes round itself is “g-round”?)

Air-sick­ness, sea-sick­ness, fear of heights, fear of fly­ing, etc. are all reit­er­a­tions of this plain, sim­ple, fun­da­men­tal truth.

Only excep­tion­al humans have the sagac­i­ty to embark on voy­ages when the “oth­er side” is not just invis­i­ble, but unknown. Colum­bus is one of the most famous of such explor­ers, who sailed for India, and dis­cov­ered the US.

But when and who will have the courage to embark on the first inter-plan­e­tary mis­sion from Earth to Mars? Espe­cial­ly when one of the first lunar explor­ers says it will be a one-way tick­et?

Buzz Aldrin stressed that plan­e­tary explo­ration will only begin when mankind rec­on­ciles itself to the prospect that explor­ers may not return to Earth.”

What a fright­en­ing thought! Just like reach­ing that oth­er side of the pool.

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  • Very inter­est­ing per­spec­tive, Unqui­et Mind!
    In surgery, there is some­thing called an ‘explo­ration’, which is basi­cal­ly doc-speak for “I don’t know a horse’s ass of what is wrong, and am gonna cut him asun­der to find out!” Thank­ful­ly, in today’s world, such explo­ration is dying out, and is ground for trou­ble, and the agi­ta­tion caused to the rel­a­tives brings many a leg­end-in-my-own-mind sur­geon to ter­ra fir­ma!

  • Ground for trou­ble”, brings to ter­ra firma…quite a res­onat­ing choice of words!

  • Of course, after such an arti­cle, could I do any less? 😉