"It is clear that human history will end; the only mystery is when. It is also clear that if the timing is left to nature (or, if you prefer, to God) and humans hang on until the bloody end, the race�s final exit will be ignoble..."This comes from an Economist article.
"Far future generations might prolong the process by posting colonies beyond the earth�s orbit, but these would be sad outposts at the end of the solar system�s long day, clutching memories of a lost planet and of billions of immolated souls..."
"The great violinist Jascha Heifetz was great not least because he quit the concert stage at his peak, before the show became stale or the audience drifted away. ... And only one species is capable of choosing a similarly graceful exit; all others march on like robots. To call time on the human race by choice, not necessity, would be the final victory of the human spirit over animal nature, an absolute emancipation from the diktat of DNA. Precisely because no other known life-form could do or even conceive such a thing, humanity must."
I kid you not.
But just in case any of this Weehakee-Woo-hoo has convinced you at all let's inject a little rationality into all of this.
Alright - to start off Humans aint just a race.
That's right. I know that's a hard concept for many to understand. But we aren't just a "Village" or a "global community" or a "society." No doubt we are part of a community, but that's not the beans-all and ends all of what it means to be human.
Humans are also individuals. As such, I'm thinking that making sure not just that the "race" comes to a noble end is in order, but ensuring that the INDIVIDUAL comes to a noble end is a good one. And I'm thinking that would come by making the most of the time you have and not simply laying down and dying for the sake of some messed up sense of a honourable death.
Of course he doesn't use the word "honourable" which would indicate an "ethical" or "moral" death, but rather he used the word "ignoble".
Let's see what the definition of ignoble actually is: "Not noble in quality, character, or purpose; base or mean.... Not of the nobility; common."
So the author worries that our final exit will be "common" and "base" while not as enlightened as it could be.
So what is ignoble about dying a "common" or "natural" death? Well we don't leave at our "peak."
I've been told that before. You always want to leave a job at your "peak." You always want to leave on a "high note" so as to be remember well.
But what's the purpose of being "remembered well?" I can offer up two reasons here: because you want to live on knowing you did it right, or because you want to live on being known as having done things rightly giving you more opportunities in the first place. I'm sure that violinist he quotes would get an awfull better reputation by leaving on a high note then she ever did by leaving at a low one - - And she probably got more gigs by doing it.
But what does it matter what people remember, or what great opportunities we'll have if we're all dead like doornails?
The author then goes on to say that if we expanded beyond the green hills of earth the colonists would be a constant reminder of those old "immolated souls." To immolate, at least I think in the context he's using it, means to destroy.
But ironically, there is another meaning to immolate: to sacrifice. In fact, what a more perfect double-meaning? Hummanity's end on this rock could be offered up as a sacrifice for humanity's future in the great beyond... Wouldn't that be leaving at a "peak"? Wouldn't that be a "noble" death?
I'm just thinking here...