Saturday, June 18, 2011

Why Mars Matters

America is not America without a frontier. We're the kind of people who need to be constantly pushing the outside of the envelope, creating a frontier, settling it, getting restless and moving on. It's in our nature to move West. And the only West left is out in space. That-a-way. Out yonder. Back East is a museum. It's getting as bad as Europe. But out West, you can stretch out and breathe. Tim Leary knew. He toured America, playing electronic music he claimed would prepare the human mind for a voyage into deep space. The Department of Justice put him on tour to recant, to take it all back. And he did. He told us the government was firmly in the hands of men and women who only a few years before had been stealing hub caps at Atlanta rock concerts. He said he was about to play some tapes to rearrange the molecules of our brains, to prepare us for deep space, for the long voyage ahead. Anybody who didn't want to go had better leave. I trusted Tim, and I wasn't ready for space, so I left. I never heard the Leary tapes. I doubt I'm fit to travel into space. But some folks are.