Thursday, July 07, 2005

That's academic...

Posted: Jul 7, 2005 12:14 AM
--- Wrote:
What do you think about that, and how important do you think space exploration is? Especially, how much do you think our government should spend on space programs as opposed to social programs, public works, defense, etc.?


hopefully you won't mind but... i was actually wondering about a similar but different issue. there seems to be a shift in American culture, and perhaps in other cultures, toward the glorification of mediocrity and stupidity (eg. Forrest Gump, sound bite politics versus indepth political dissection etc). this was particularly striking to me in the last two elections where it seemed that Bush's campaign centered, to a large degree, on being 'just one of the guys'.

also, i have noticed an increased trend toward the use of the adjective 'academic' as perjorative. (eg. that's academic, where the subtext is 'that's irrelevant'.) somehow, being educated and thoughtful, choosing to reach beyond the now and the known, has become a negative thing.

this, to me, is the larger question in which questions regarding space exploration are nested. what impact, if any, have you noted in your own fields or the media assessment of those fields from such a shift? do you think this represents a fundamental ideological shift? what, if anything, can or should be done to reverse the above (assuming you agree with my tenet)?

this may seem too 'liberal arts' at first glance for this group. but my concern is that, with the relative absence of 'patrons' in modern society and with the focused 'marketing' necessary to get funding from industry, we are headed toward a collapse in investigation of scientific frontiers. without exploration it is impossible to anticipate which avenues may yield the next great discoveries, even leaving aside concerns regarding collapse of intellectual exploration itself...


this post is from a science discussion group. it is a huge concern of mine especially in the light of current politics, the return of fundamentalism, etc.

what do you think?

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