Wanderers with a monk-like mindset

Many of you have seen the short movie Wanderers by Erik Wernquist. The beauty and magnificence of our Solar system can be experienced by us up close and personal. Space elevators, rotating star ships, floating cities, it’s all there in the future of mankind’s hard work — research and development. There is just one thing missing, something that we all know is holding us back, the next generation plagued by it more that the previous…

If you managed to read up to this paragraph, congratulations, that’s more than many people these days do. We all have a certain degree of ADD (attention deficit disorder). Humans have a hard time focusing on long-term tasks. We get distracted, we get bored. We need to change. But how?

Few people have the willpower to endure hardship and defeat while keeping their goal in sight. Even fewer test those limits in real life. To get to e.g. Saturn, we need a lot of dedicated individuals, working as a team relentlessly to achieve technological breakthroughs that will enable us to go at least for a round trip, if not a one-way trip with machines capable of sustaining them till the end of their lives. These neo-pilgrims, these wanderers, have to live ascetically like monks in order for everyone of them to survive.

In the movie we can see the expression of a female wanderer. I see awe, a feeling of accomplishment, but mostly perseverance. Those who go are the ones who can sleep or meditate through most of their journey in outer space and work without the modern entertainment facilities that we often take for granted.

Together with discoveries in propulsion and new materials, we have to advance in pharmacology; specifically nootropic drugs that will allow our minds to endure the long months and possibly years of space travel and concentrate on the task at hand without needing (too much or too expensive) distractions. Currently there are (mostly illegal) drugs like marijuana, LSD or cocaine that exhibit some of the desired properties, but are detrimental in other health aspects like addiction.

I hope that legislation or technology catches on soon, I wouldn’t mind walking on Europa as an 85-year old :-).

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