Is the stars bus stop in Australia?

(The World before the 49th IAF Congress)

Do you remember the 48th Congress of the International Academy Federation, held last year in Torino? This year the 49 th session, will be held at Melbourne, in Australia. Who wants to know more about it (I doubt that the press will dedicate to the event the needed attention), can find the essential information at the web site of the IAF. I will attend to the Congress, trying to contribute, in my own small way, to fulfil the tasks listed in this article.

The IAF Congress falls this year in the middle of a very critical world juncture, which demonstrates for who likes to see it many intuitions and analysis that, although disorderly and discontinuously, we since some time try to rise on these pages. In its introduction to the UNO/IAF Workshop, the UNO retains that many decision makers are not aware of the full benefits of the Space Technologies and their applications. This opinion can be referred immediately to the present situation. The hurricane that hit the Stock Exchanges of the whole planet could unlikely be analysed only at the light of the economic basic parameters trends. Instead we are in presence of worries and collective psycologic movements that are very much deeper. The human relationship component, thrown out of the house trough the door and relegated two centuries ago among the curiosities, transient and unessential, by the John Stuart Mill' and Pareto' economists, then gloomily overworked by socialist revolutions dramatically reappears, at the end of millennium, even with aspects that could be ridiculous, if they didn't cause pains and further misery for many people.

Mistreated and crushed, the subject of the human relationships reappears and revenges itself, showing us the most powerful Man of America and in the world with the dropped pants, crying on the… ; he is alone, with his own human weaknesses and his reproductive equipment exposed, standing on the surface of this planet, facing the chill of the infinite space between the stars. This image ends to be an emblematic one, that closes the century and the millennium: a man, alone, with his own procreative (and growth) capability, facing the alternatives to become extinct while entertaining himself or keep on growing up, by advancing into the Cosmos. Thus we see the Stock Exchanges of the whole world, tightened between the trivial small bad habits of the president, the ruin of the post-socialist economy and the more general Asiatic crisis and in spite of all the economist thought schools to sink and to burn billions of dollars in few days. Revenge of human relationships, and politics, too. How couldn't we guess, in fact, the political project of the ones who drive the joystick of the Monica’s robot, driving her, since the beginning we are forced to think , to conserve the decisive dirty dress for four years indeed? For their political projects some United States lobbies (I can't say, and it is not so important, if they are democratic or republican) are burning resources for billions of dollars. I hope that this gentlemen will never say us again that the money for the space programs are lacking!

But the decision maker mentioned by UNO keep on considering the economy as an exact science, and everything else (human relationships, politics, etc…) as an environmental noise, from which to shelter in some way, as from the rain. This pre-eminence of the economy was never proved, in fact, and is ever more sharply proved wrong. Is the bad course of the economy of the ex-Soviet countries due to a lack of richness and working capabilities to turn into account? Not at all: it is because it was allowed to the worst gangsters (most of them are ex-bureaucrats, enriched on the good faith and the resignation of the old and credulous Soviet people) to plant the basis of what it is now called criminal capitalism. Once again the people preferred to rely on the most overbearing persons, instead than on the most creative. In the entire crisis very wide currents support the "strong" men (and not the most intelligent and creative) as the most suitable, because they have the numbers, i.e. the economic power. As a result: the opportunities of progress decrease for the most of the (honest) people, instead of increasing, the indigence increases, the cultural decay gains space very quickly in the society. The long distance goals, requiring enlightened leaders, seems to inexorably depart where it is vital to take the right decisions, risking a backward regressive jump, maybe irreversible.

But the processes are very quick, in the season of the global communication. Even in those countries, like Russia, where the modern communication technologies didn't yet soundly develop, the politics returns very quickly to win the supremacy against the economy, which results I can't guess. But what I wanted to underline, here, is the politic characteristics of the incoming world crisis. The economy does nothing else than to record the ongoing changes, blindly whirling its hatchet on the hopes of development and redemption of the poorest people. And we face a crisis that has very deep reasons: social justice needs, right to the continuation and the development, worries for the health state of our home planet, forecasts of lean periods, due to the growth of the human kind against an apparently closed food and environmental system. It will not be enough, in order to exorcise the ghost of such a crisis, to promote the image of worn-out "engines" of development, based on timeless and anti-historical roots. The "daily" or mono-disciplinary interpretations of the world-wide social-economic situation as if the humanity didn't came from the caves (and, before, from the sea) to head finally to the stars are nowadays soundly ridiculous: the people does not thrust anymore in them, but nobody yet proposes real alternatives. What we need is a real development perspective, a new horizon and new frontiers.

The world of the Scientific Research, and the Space Community inside it, by their side, behave as if they should deal only with the Economy. Our society suffers for cultural delays in all its parts, enclosed the ones that moves more than others from ethical motivations, like the research environments. Historically the Research saw the economic power as a wayward god, closing or opening the financing tap depending on the economy tendency. Moreover, the scientists exorcised their complex to see themselves as a luxury, thus superfluous when things go really bad, by keeping an enviable, elegant and serene detachment from the "things of the world" (a little like some monastic orders). Gentleman, wake up! You are part of the society, and you are needed very much, now! You have some (politic) responsibilities, which only you can solve, in a future so immediate that we can call it present. Do they know, the Scientists, that they have an enormous, and increasing, political (and not only scientific) role in the solution of the humanity's problems and of the incoming crisis? In my opinion, no. Nobody told them it, and this concept doesn't spring up automatically from their research work. Does the big public opinion feel that there is a big need of an injection of science in the politics? Maybe not at mass level, but some intuitions can already be caught, somewhere.

The professional politicians, who worry conserving their chairs, must demonstrate their ability to manage the economic affairs, both public and private, whatever is the season and the social-economic situation; they pay few attention for the long distance goals; they don't believe that, among their tasks, there's the care of the human relationships, not in analytical key (social and anthropologic analysis), nor in ethic-evolutionary, or propulsive key. As it already happened other times in the history, during cusp-moments, when the long distance goals coincide with the worries and the immediate interests of big populations, the professional politicians in charge show themselves absolutely unsuitable to bear the rudder. As the technical-scientific culture evolved (and, for some aspects, de-evolved) the knowledge is even too much segmented and specialist. The common politician, in this context, appears as a survived monster, speaking a ridiculously pretentious language, anti-scientific and never supported by concrete facts. The new leaders, able to understand the present situation and to analyse its general terms, to give the correct relevance to, and to summarise/integrate different specialist analysis, should candidate and start to prepare themselves now! Personally I don’t believe that, nowadays, this new politic personnel can magically rise up from the ranks of the professional politics, definitely unprepared for the need: most likely it will be expressed by the technical-scientific environments. The culture of the Let_Eachone_Make_His_Job and to avoid to give opinions on what we don't know well enormously helped the technologic and scientific development, but also helped the rise of that minimalism, that weak_thought, that considers categories like the Destiny of the Humanity, or the big epochal challenges, as too bombastic or anyway out of the range of any serious scientific discussion. It is a task of the Politics to help a new approach to the big subjects of discussion, nowadays too faraway, isolated, from any discussion. It is a task of the Politics, a new-humanist politics, suitable to our time, to renew the paradigm of the "Let_Each_one_Make_His_Job" with this other: "Let Eachone Make His Job, but not alone".

If it is true that all the epochal crisis lead to big revolutions, the opportunity of our time is now evident: the space revolution, and the following birth of a new economy. This is the social-economic event the greatness of which is visible by everyone and thus bloodless able to make revive the activities and the human relationships in a new, greater, ecological niche, in an open system, which can finally give to our species place to grow up. Such revolution will be world-wide (or it will not be), and will be a new, very powerful, ideological engine, able to re-launch the basic principles of the economy as no other event could make in the past. If this perspective, several tasks (all difficult) follow :

  • to make understand to the Research its political role, and the need to take its motivations and its ethic-professional language outside from its specific, in the society, in the schools, at direct contact with the people;
  • to make understand to the Politics the need of a global and integrated analysis, to value the know-how and to serve as coordinator of a big cross-fertilization project; more in general, to evolve to a modern role of service, analysis and coordination, leaving the obsolete functions of the domination, control, tax collection;
  • to make understand to the Economy the urgency of include the human relationships and the politics among the variables of its foreseen equations and, moreover, in its ethic motivations;
  • to encourage the society's institutions and "normal" people to take their motivations and needs in scientific discussion sites;
  • to prepare all the realities going to be cross-fertilised to the healthy reciprocal intrusion, urging them to the civic-awareness and to the tolerance, to try to understand languages different from the own.

Each discussion site, better if world-wide (IAF Congresses, WSP, UNISPACE), and not only the ones with a space subject, should then be used to promote an holistic vision of the Humanity's problems and their solutions. The members of the Space Community, first of all, understood their politic role, should go out of their sites and move to other sites, other symposia, other places of the human relationships (and of the politics) and there to propose, after all, nothing more than what they are already used to discuss: it is in fact the common destiny of each social avanguard to realise sometime, with surprise, that his own working tools and arguments, considered usual, are suddenly become interesting for the wide public. Each scientist already has, after all, a militant spirit, because he belongs to a category that moves from ethical basis: he should now to extend his own concept of militancy over his specific environment. Asia, the development of which is in crisis, put basic questions to the IAF Congress. Will the Congress be able to give answers at the level of the questions? And will the Congress allow to propose and discuss the detected subjects and tasks? By my side I will do my best, for the remainder I will tell you after the Congress!

Adriano Autino



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