The Celter Strategy recognizes the centrality of space exploration to resolving the problems of the earth.
GPS, climate satellites, communications satellites, solar panels, microprocessors and much more came out of space research, but more than that, the clear conception of this as a single world, with a shared ecosystem, came from the spacer perspective. In the villages of the world, Gandhi’s insights on how to restore local well-being and maintain it through swadeshi (autarky) fuse directly to the tools of the appropriate technology movement. In the cities, closing ecological loops, creating genuinely efficient buildings and infrastructure, working with natural forces and developing the necessary technological platforms to make cities truly green all require the Buckminster Fuller vision – the city as an independent “landed spaceship.”
Bucky’s vision was always about solving the problems of the earth in a way which made sense in the technological context of space exploration and space habitation, and many of the problems in implementing his work come from that split earth/space vision. Gandhi’s strict focus on the needs of the village in the here-and-now, and his tragic early death, have constrained our understanding of his long term vision for humanity. We do not know what he would have made the future beyond the Indian Independence movement.
The Celter Strategy attempts to balance two perspectives. The organic, bottom-up development of a healthy, sane standard of living for every human on earth as a basic endowment from the productivity of our species and the planet we live on, epitomized by Gandhi; and the perspective that high technology, epitomized by space exploration, is likely core to our future development as a species, epitomized by Fuller and, frankly, Parsons.
Celter is not amoral. Along with these two perspectives on what lies before us – maintaining the past, and building the future – we must also balance our need to compel responsibility in ecological and technological risk management with our requirements for individual liberty. We have to seriously challenge the legacy governance systems we have inherited to either perform at these vital tasks, or make room for new systems which actually solve the problem. An obscenity like the consensus drug policy, which ignores all scientific data about relative harm of substances like tobacco relative to marijuana does not directly affect our ability to survive as a species, but a governance structure capable of perpetuating such an obscenity is capable of defending any other lie, much to our detriment. Bad government will kill us all through environmental neglect or technological destruction. Celter admits governance as an area of innovation, where research and experiment may bring light into our current darkness. We can push our current systems to the limits of their ability solve our global problems, and invent new ones to take on the remainder.
Lastly, celter is not atheistic, at least not in the sense of “lacking religious sentiment.” While each person’s religion or absence of religion is their own private business, the spark of wonder at the improbability of our evolution, the vastness of the cosmos, the minuteness of our presence in it, and the immensity of our potential inspire the awe and worship with the ancients gave to their gods. In matters of religion Carl Sagan is our patron saint: a man who brought the infinite down to earth, and showed us the sacred through science. It is our sense of wonder and awe which provides us with the moral certitude required to stand up to equally convinced opponents who would govern the globe in the name of vengeful sky faeries. We must be prepared to fight for rational values, and for Reason itself, in a world where data and evidence have little role in creating cultural strategies for dealing with the existential threats our species and the planet face. Nobody’s religion may be law. You may trust in god, but in public debate, you must bring data! Our deepest inspirations are transrational, yet they are made real by reason, and executed in the world by concerted, coordinated will, true to the known facts and inspired vision.
In this synthesis, The Celter Strategy, I believe we can make the future we deserve.Vinay Gupta, Brussels, February 13, 02011
1. It is not called the terrestrial-celestial strategy because “Tercel” is the name of a car.