Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Martian Values

Recently, I passed someone with a sports team t-shirt that said, "No Mercy! No Wimps!" Merely winning wasn't enough; they want their favorite sportsball team to beat the stuffing out of their opponents and dance in the scattered viscera.

To the best of my memory, the tough-guy, win-at-any-cost shirts and slogans started with actual athletic apparel and associated commercials. Then that "Fear This", trash-talking attitude spread to marketing for sports teams, cars, gyms, and energy drinks. (BTW, the person wearing the "No Wimps" shirt didn't look as if they could even jog half a block without inviting a coronary event.) Worse than that, though, is that this sneering has crept into and corroded politics, entertainment, and our whole cultural landscape. I've seen the poison of that no-compromises attitude sever friendships and render civil discussion nearly impossible.

On Mars, we won't be able to sustain ourselves with any sort of lingering divisions. A with-me-or-against me attitude will literally raise the risk of getting the settlers killed. Each person's contribution will be critical. Via the oft-derided planned TV show, audiences on Earth will see the Mars One colonists valuing trust, mutual support, and collaboration above self-glorification and trumped-up antagonism. I hope and believe that seeing Martian values in action will encourage folks on Earth to stop and assess the way they treat one another, and to turn away from pointless division and aggressive sloganeering as a substitute for substantive accomplishment.