““Once you’ve reached a certain level of education, the Bible’s quaint stories don’t answer the questions anymore. The hope for heaven and the fear of hell are just that, mammalian emotions. But the reasoned belief that a futureworld will exist is all but certain. And what will the futureworld be like? – that should be our main concern. Instead of worrying about an imaginary heaven as an individual, let’s devote ourselves to entering a real futureworld as Homo sapiens, the wise. At this very moment there might be future souls praying to us to preserve the Earth and its ineffable beauty. Sometimes, when I’m listening to Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony, I can hear the sighs and yearnings of the world’s future citizens, ‘Please preserve the Earth,’ they weep, like the mystical chants of Odysseus’s sirens carried by the winds of time, ‘it belongs to us also. Don’t destroy it any further; it can’t be replaced. Your awareness of the condition of the world is the only thing that can save it. Just get us there and we’ll know what to do.’
“I see everything in terms of the Prime Directive and selfish gene theory. Picture a cruise ship sailing down a wide river of time: that’s really what the Earth is, a cruise ship sailing through space at 70,000 miles per hour with a precious cargo of life that required eons to form. Now picture one dominant species taking over the ship – some kind of mammal… a mouse, say. The reality is that the ship is heading straight toward a disastrous waterfall, bigger than Niagara. The entire population of the ship will certainly crash. The mice can feel something is wrong, but all they keep doing is carving out little niches in the ship so they can reproduce. They work and fight and bark at one another. All they care about is their little territory and a place to raise a family. They aren’t evolved enough to think about what’s in store for them right around the bend in the river.”
She seemed in a half trance, as if spilling out pent-up feelings to her psychiatrist uncle. “But the scenario is even worse, from an existential point of view. It’s not a waterfall that’s waiting around the bend, ‘cause the mice had nothing to do with the creation of the waterfall. The mice are heading for an ugly, poisoned and polluted lake that they created themselves with greed, stupidity, and arrogance. There’s no life in the lake at all: it’s filled with insecticides, mercury, and atomic waste - plastic milk cartons, electronic junk, and disposable razor blades. It’s contaminated with run-off from science fiction, mechanized chicken slaughter factories; run-off from robot phosphorus strip mines – miles long – where money is the only thing that matters. The inhabitants of the ship unwittingly created their own deathbed."