We Have Cabin Fever

Reason the Fourth: We Have Cabin Fever

This post is Part 5 in a 5 Part series about why space travel should be made a priority by governments, world leaders, private companies, engineers, scientists, and teachers. Click here to read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4. Thanks for visiting!

It's a small world, after all. It's a small, small world.

In fact, I want to go back in time a bit to 1964, when the It's a Small World ride was designed for the New York World's Fair.  Walt Disney was trying to emphasize harmony and unity among all of the nations of the world. Even the song itself was composed specifically to harmonize the five different languages it is sung in during the ride.
It's a Small World

"Because of the repetition and because the Sherman Brothers used a musical technique called counterpoint, where the same chords are played over and over again but with different melodies, the song they wrote is catchy and unforgettable," it says on Disney World's website.

And it blends all of the nations together in a seamless experience which will be stuck in your head for the next several years.

The ride was meant to connect nations under one idea, that we all live on the same rock, about 95 million miles away from the sun. You might say we're all stuck in one earth-sized cabin in the cold, vast, arctic cold of space.  And it doesn't matter how big your cabin is if you've got too many people living there. 

And whatever Walt Disney hoped for, we do not live together peacefully.

In a time when globalization has made the world one big neighborhood, everyone knows everyone else and can connect as easy as clicking "request friend" on Facebook or "follow" on twitter. We cat fight about things so obscure or so specialized that most people hate each other for reasons they can't remember or don't fully understand or both.

We snap at each other like siblings who have shared the same room for too long. We go to war over land and oil and money and religion.... It's not like war is a new idea that sprung up because we've been on Earth too long, but maybe if we had more space. Well, unless you fancy season-long days and ice cold temperatures, deep sea pressure, or the scalding heat and blowing sand of the Sahara....

There is no more room.

And that's when we turn our gaze up and peer out of our cabin's skylight. Suddenly, the siblings' feuds die down. We are united by one goal: find out what is beyond that pane of atmosphere.

Separating all the waring cultures of Earth might not actually solve all of the issues. You can't stop people fighting for the things they love, nor should you. And there will always be differences between us. 

But the one thing we all have in common is the Earth below us and the sky above.

Wouldn't it be nice to face outward for a while? To look away from our tired arguing and fighting and debating and nagging and find something new and fantastic, simply for the pleasure of discovering something new?

The immensity of space, that vastness of unconquered wilderness is inspiring to me. To use a writerly analogy, it's like a brand new journal, fresh and clean, just waiting for you to mold it into your own image. In it you will discover much, create much. It is a grand beginning.

We must take the plunge and venture forth. (I feel a Star Trek reference coming on.) We must "boldly go where no man has gone before." 

And if we find intelligent life out there, all of a sudden all of the People of Earth will become one People. To risk sounding like a wishy-washy-lovey-dovey hippie, we could really use something to focus us like that. If we are going to be a truly global society, we need to start acting like one.

To wrap it all up, space travel and exploration is an essential part of what makes us human, what makes us special and different. In The Lion King when Timon, Pumba and Simba are digesting a big meal after a good day and laying back looking at the stars, Pumba and Simba have very "human" answers as to what they are. Pumba is completely correct (for the wrong reasons and comic relief) that they are "balls of gas burning billions of miles away." Simba takes a more spiritual, cultural tack, repeating what Mufasa told him as a cub: that the stars is where their ancestors dwell, watching down on them. Timon is the only one who answeres like an animal. He tells the others with his characteristic confidence that the stars are "fireflies stuck up in that big, bluish-black thing." Perhaps more telling is his preamble to this. "Pumba, I don't wonder. I know." He is not curious, he does not question, he simply gives himself all the explanation he needs and moves forward.

But we are curious beings. We have a need to know things and we get there by wondering ceaselessly.  We want to know why we are, who we are, where we are, if we're alone....

The study of space can help us answer these questions, and ask more. Looking upward and outward and forward is part of our being human, and having conquered Earth, space is truly the next frontier.

It's a big, big, universe
So many dimensions
And unanswered questions...

Not to mention, life
What an invention,

by Darren Criss
from the sci-fi comedy
YouTube musical
Act 1, Part 6

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