Column: Get to, not away from


A student asked me why people want to go to Mars. I said for the same reason people saw a map of a flat earth with sea dragons at the edge and decided to hoist the sails and go anyway…For the same reason people wanted to head west to the new (but already inhabited) new world…For the same reason people took wagons to the Great Plains, saw the Rocky Mountains and said, “hmm, wonder what’s on the other side…”
For the same reason they looked at the Chilkoot trail and said “we got this.”
We’re curious and excited about territory that’s new to us. Once Alaska was on the grid people wanted to do the next thing things like the tallest mountains then the tallest mountains on every continent then the tallest mountain on every continent without oxygen then the tallest mountain on every continent the fastest, oldest, youngest, whatever-est. Then BASE jump from Everest or sky dive from space. Some of us are just not content with settling into the grid and trying to find purpose there. When curiosity isn’t ruined by suffocating, mindless distraction, people want to do crazy things.

That’s not all a direct quote, but what I said was along a thread I’m still working out hours after school.

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