Borders and Boundaries

On the NASA website it says that Mars is a “journey…already well under way.” There’s something terrifying about that – the thought that in the next 15 years humans could be walking on Mars. The prospect has a kind of “Tower of Babel” feel to it. A reach too far. One step too many. The bold advance right before everything goes very wrong.

And yet Mars exploration is practically inevitable, isn’t it? Evolution demands it of our species: advance, expand, develop and refine. Or perish. This is the tension of the age we live in; we remain bound by the laws of nature and yet we believe that nothing, really, should be off limits to us.

Still, if recent history has taught us anything, it’s that a progressive mindset is not shared equally everywhere and that tribalism will remain the fallback position when globalism shows its ugly side. Consider the violence, the injustice and regression that too often results when boundaries – physical or mythic – are violated. Perhaps it is wisdom to acknowledge, as a species, our limitations. Perhaps walls and gates and carefully monitored points of entry will always be necessary. Perhaps certain beliefs, cultures, and systems will always be resistant to combination. Finally, perhaps the cost in human life and available resources will expose that the prospect of walking on Mars is nothing more than a dream. Or perhaps not. What fun, after all, is a boundary that can’t be challenged?