January 18, 2004

Lunar Return; then onto Mars

Why build a moonbase and/or go to Mars when we still have such suffering and strife here on Earth?

In the movie Things To Come a Moonshot is set against the backdrop of seemingly unending war. Cabal and Passworthy have a son and daughter aboard the rocket that blasts off at the conclusion of the story; destination: the Moon.

As war still rages in various theaters across the world, Passworthy has misgivings and wonders if we should be investing our treasure in the Moonshot.

This the final scene from H.G. Wells' shooting script of the 1936 film Things To Come:

PART XVI: Finale
[An observatory at a high point above Everytown. A telescopic mirror of the night sky showing the cylinder as a very small speck against a starry background. Cabal and Passworthy stand before this mirror.]

CABAL: "There! There they go! That faint gleam of light." [Pause.]

PASSWORTHY: "I feel--what we have done is--monstrous."

CABAL: "What they have done is magnificent."

PASSWORTHY: "Will they return?"

CABAL: "Yes. And go again. And again--until the landing can be made and the moon is conquered. This is only a beginning."

PASSWORTHY: "And if they don't return--my son, and your daughter? What of that, Cabal?"

CABAL [(with a catch in his voice but resolute)]: "Then presently--others will go."

PASSWORTHY: "My God! Is there never to be an age of happiness? Is there never to be rest?"

CABAL: "Rest enough for the individual man. Too much of it and too soon, and we call it death. But for MAN no rest and no ending. He must go on--conquest beyond conquest. This little planet and its winds and ways, and all the laws of mind and matter that restrain him. Then the planets about him, and at last out across immensity to the stars. And when he has conquered all the deeps of space and all the mysteries of time--still he will be only beginning."

PASSWORTHY: "But we are such little creatures. Poor humanity. So fragile--so weak."

CABAL: "Little animals, eh?"

PASSWORTHY: "Little animals."

CABAL: "If we are no more than animals then we must snatch at our little scraps of happiness and live and suffer and pass, mattering no more than all the other animals do--or have done."
[He points out at the stars.]
"It is that--or this. All the universe--or nothingness.... Which shall it be, Passworthy?"

[The two men fade out against the starry background until only the stars remain. The musical finale becomes dominant. CABAL'S voice is heard repeating through the music:]
"Which shall it be, Passworthy? Which shall it be?"
[A louder stronger voice reverberates through the auditorium:]


Posted by Tuning Spork at January 18, 2004 07:36 PM

I'll take the stars.

Posted by: StMack at January 18, 2004 08:27 PM

Hi...I know the tooth ache post is down some, but I wanted to make sure you know about Percogesic. It's OTC pain reliever that kinda targets tooth aches. You can find it pretty much everywhere they sell aspirin, in the same aisle.
It works better for tooth aches than Tylenol, aspirin, Ibuprofen or any other OTC stuff.

I h-a-t-e dentists.

Posted by: Stevie at January 18, 2004 10:19 PM

Thanks, Stevie! But the toothache seems to have bitten the dust (with the help of a few Advil). Teeth can repair themselves, right? (knock formica...)

Teeth shmeeth. Onto Mars!

Posted by: Tuning Spork at January 19, 2004 01:17 AM

Absolutely! If it takes a thousand lives and a trillion dollars, the conquest of the moon and Mars is a bargain.

Posted by: Stoney at January 25, 2004 04:42 PM

"A thousand lives"? Stoney, you sound like a careless man.
I'll assume you were being sarcastic. In which case: I think you've missed the point.
If we wait until every human suffering can be salved then we'll wait forever and forever and ever. In the mean time we could be visiting Mars and beyond.

Posted by: Tuning Spork at January 25, 2004 09:53 PM
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