Starship Earth

by Donovan Sullivan <DSULLIVO@WOODHILLS.LEGENT.COM>, 7 Jun 95.

While reflecting on several other threads in wholesys recently, and formulating a response, I started using the 'starship earth' approach. I don't claim any originality, I think Bucky said this some time ago, but I was struck by how useful an analogy it was.

For example, starship earth has different decks. The people on those decks have different cultures, based on which deck they are on, and what their 'job' (in an extended sense, their job, their avocations, their hobbies, their assistance) is.

People can move between decks.

Some of the people don't know there are other decks there. See 'The gods must be crazy' movie for depiction of a culture that didn't know there were all these other 'decks' there.

Different decks have different capabilities such as communications, transport, instrumentation, supplies, services etc.

The crew tends to have some of the same needs however. Regardless of deck.

1. The crew needs life support.( air, food, potable water, bathing water, water for other reasons,raw materials, protection from raditiation, gaseous poisoning).

2. the crew needs freinds, family, and other crew members.

3. the crew needs to communicate, and learn.

4. the crew needs the truth, and trust, and virtue, honesty, and keeping of words, minimal harm, assistance.

5. the crew needs repair capabilities.

6. The crew needs spiritual, philosophical 'food'.

It's not clear where starship earth is going. It's not clear that anyone is running the ship. It's not clear that the crew should trust others in the crew who want to run the ship.

On the starship earth, the speed of communications between crew members varys dramatically. From no communications, to virtually instantaneous.

Some of the crew in the past has tried to take over the entire ship, as they knew it. Relics of the cultures created by the past crew still exist in present, making it confusing to other decks. It's very hard to see that a practice by your deck, isn't done by all decks, but many are not. Such as driving on the right/left of the road, what games are watched heavily, soccer / american football. Relics of common law in the us, the napoleanic code, other legal systems.

The crew doesn't agree on a common set of laws, or a common command / service (to command is to serve) structure. Or even a common language. Or even common measurements.

Some of the crew is cleaning up some of the decks, and creating a new culture on the ship. This is fought by the crews who want to continue the old cultures.

There is a lot of damage to the ship, and a lot of the crew is dying, but there aren't enough damage control parties, or medical personnel / basic life support providers to fix the damage or make sure unnecessary deaths aren't prevented, and the crew brought back.

If there is a command center where you can tell accurately what is happening on the ship, it doesnt' seem to exist, or the displays are turned off, or not connected or need servicing, since they are providing much inaccurate data. It's not clear how much life support we have left.

The education systems on the ship don't see to train the crew very well.

The people on the ship don't want more crew, and in fact think there should be less crew, but no one actually knows how big the crew should be.

The ship started off with a large gene pool with many species but seems delighted in killing off a great deal of that pool. This would be okay, if the crew could create the gene pool again, but this crew doesn't know how to create new parts of the pool.

The crew often blames "NATE TOUR", perhaps one of the original builders or captains for what's wrong with the ship. If some of the crew doesn't understand something, or feels that the ship is going wrong, they say NATE TOUR will get the ship, or don't mess with mother "NATE Tour'.

I guess if Nate is pretty powerful, his mother would be even more impressive. Since NATE Tour and his mother are so powerful, we'd better learn how to live cooperatively with them.

There are some larger points I want to make with this analogy (it's not reality - it's an analogy):

1. If this actually was a starship it would be the most screwed up one I ever heard of.

2. Any changes to all of the crew on all of the decks have to contend with the huge variance between capabilities, speed, and culture of the individuals that make up the crew.

3. Let's fix it up any ways. I like this starship, and Nate and his mother.

Donovan L. Sullivan
Damage control / Engineering crew member
American Deck
Starship Earth

copyright (c) 1995 Donovan L. Sullivan