Unwavering love is what we need to live well together
Wchre living an extraordinary time, with the persistence of the pandemic plague and its successive variants of COVID-19. Then there are the wildfires in the west, hurricanes in the south, flooding in the northeast, and the citizens of Earth at odds on any issue it seems.
Makes the idea of starting over on Mars appealing.
Oddly enough, this is something NASA is preparing for with its 1,700 square foot Mars Dune Alpha habitat at Johnson Space Center in Houston. The climate-controlled environment will simulate life on Mars in a way that mimics the art of living reminiscent of Matt Damon’s role in “The Martian.”
NASA is looking for four intrepid souls to spend a year together while being isolated from the rest of the world. They’ll need to be exceptional people between the ages of 30-55 (I graduated) with a master’s degree in math, engineering, or science (again), physically fit, and emotionally strong (well, whatever).
“Attitude is key,” says former Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield. The people chosen must be “super competent, resourceful and not depend on others to feel comfortable”.
NASA is hoping that the higher profile of these human “lab rats” bodes well for the experiment. The Russian version of the alleged Mars mission did not go so well, Hadfield says, because “people looked too much like ordinary people.”
Apparently, it’s the daily life of people that bothers.
We have learned a lot about ourselves as Earthlings through our exploration of space, including how wonderful and fragile our planet is. If we can learn to live together here by means of an experience elsewhere, I totally agree. But why not consider such a real-time exercise among ordinary people here and now?
We have the incubation labs: smaller social environments like flesh families, faith communities, and neighborhood blocks. Brothers and sisters by blood and spirit, as well as close neighbors. We can look after each other while respecting the individuality of each type of relationship.
Former US House Speaker Thomas “Tip” O’Neill used to say, “All politics is local.” By that he meant that people do not vote for politicians for their big ideas or their abstract ideals; they vote for leaders who care about them and their small-scale lives.
Learn to forgive your brother, reconcile with your mother, make peace with the deacons pulpit, congratulate the president of your neighborhood association, apologize to your daughter, compliment your son, kneel at the communion railing next to someone who talk about yourself, get the best out of someone you suspect, wish you harm, ask questions more than make statements, share your possessions with those in need, seek to serve rather than be served: these are not there are just a few random daily practices that ordinary people can do to live well together.
We don’t have to go to Mars to learn survival skills. And we don’t have to be anything other than ordinary people.
What we must have is only this – tireless love one for the other.