On the Singularity of Worlds


(VOYAGER Spacecraft) Going where no one has gone before. (Photo sourced from Wikipedia.)

On September 5, 1977, a 722 kilogram space probe called Voyager I was launched by the United States’ National Aeronautics and Space Administration. On board the spacecraft was the Voyager Golden Record—an audio-visual disc containing sounds and images meant to convey our (Earth-bound) terrestrial life and culture to any extraterrestrial life form that might happen to find it.
 
The chances of this record actually being played are so small as to be practically impossible. First, we don’t know if extraterrestrial life forms exist. Second, if extraterrestrial life forms do exist, we don’t know if they will be intelligent. Third, if they happen to be intelligent, we don’t know if they’ll fall within the trajectory of the Voyager I probe. Fourth, if they happen to be fall within the trajectory of the Voyager I probe, we don’t know if they’ll actually manage to play the disc or even if the disc will still be functional by that point (the nearest star on the probe’s path being a good 40,000 years away).
 
The reason I’m bringing all this up is because a lot of times, writing on this blog feels like sending a Voyager Golden Record. Jimmy Carter, the president of the United States at the time of the probe’s launch, phrased it quite well in the message he included on the disc:
 
“This is a present from a small, distant world, a token of our sounds, our science, our images, our music, our thoughts and our feelings. We are attempting to survive our time so we may live into yours.”
 
The point is, beyond communicating to an audience (an audience that may or may not exist for all I know), this blog is about surviving time. Very often, it ends up being a present from my present self to my future self: a gift from a world that will someday be small and distant, that captures this current world’s “sounds,” “images,” “thoughts” and “feelings.” And one day, I’ll rummage through this blog and be surprised by what I find: selves made strange, foreign and alien by the passage of time.
 
And I’ll be glad.
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