April 23, 2016 at 5:40 am by Frank White
Recently, I have been working on a new book called The Cosma Hypothesis. It builds on The Overview Effect, which focuses primarily on our relationship with the Earth in space, and considers our relationship with the universe (Cosma).
Underlying all of this work is the effort to develop a coherent "philosophy of space exploration." At this point, the main breakthrough is to consider this new philosophy to be non-anthropocentric, i.e., aimed at understanding how humans can benefit the universe as well as how the universe can benefit us (the latter being the starting point for most justifications for space exploration and development.)
Slowly but surely, we are beginning to understand that we are part of an ecosystem, which is defined as:
"A community of living organisms in conjunction with the nonliving components of their environment (things like air, water and mineral soil), interacting as a system. These biotic and abiotic components are regarded as linked together through nutrient cycles and energy flows." (Wikipedia)
This is a fine definition and it doesn't really need to be changed, but I wonder how our thinking might expand if we thought of ourselves as being part of a "Wecosystem." A wecosystem is really the same thing as an ecosystem, but adding the "w" to it emphasizes that human beings ("we") do not stand apart from it, but are in fact a part of it.
In line with the Cosma Hypothesis, we should also bear in mind that, just because we leave the Earth, it does not mean that we are no longer embedded in a wecosystem. That system may now be somewhat larger and more expansive (a solar system vs. a planet), but our existence continues to be within it and everything we do resonates through it.
(To be continued)