Abstract vs. practical

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This was a session at Sol 2012.

Hank: I'm more interested in how to use religion to support our goal (getting to the stars) than telling everyone else how to do religion

  • I was raised as a Christian Scientist, was a 7th Day Adventist when I got to college (which let me fit in by being the cook on Sunday)
    • The college had 49 denominations but was totally anti-Catholic
    • Discussions in the dorms were never practical
    • Guys decided which church to go to by where the prettiest girls were
    • I decided this was a bunch of hooey and left
    • I became a medical missionary so I could find a practical mission and purpose in what I was studying
  • Pam Sargeant wrote Earthseed and Farseed, may have inspired Octavia Butler
    • Sargeant's story describes a spaceship that's coming back someday, and a radio tower to communicate with it ... like God and cathedrals
    • The story also includes animals and plants brought along to make the humans feel at home
  • The common understanding of the word "religion" is about the supernatural ... if you say "my religion is to send people to other worlds," people will think you're nuts
  • Should all of a crew sent to live on Mars have the same beliefs/religion?
  • Lion: Making spaceships is not my focus ... I'm more interested in the thoughts about the Religious Method ... but I respect what you said
    • The religious question isn't separate from the practical question ... we need dedication to achieve our practical goals
    • The very concept of higher purpose is always treated with irony by my generation ... we need new psychic infrastructure
  • Hank: without a shared goal, things don't work
    • Biosphere 2 was a success in that they had the shared goal to build it and live in it
      • The people selected were those with the mindset needed to live in isolation as a small group that solves all of its own problems with limited resources
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