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Living on one Planet is to engage the whole Human Race in a single point of failure “strategy.” This is stupid. End of argument.


Everything else is a subordinate idea.


Responding to this oversight can be a lot of fun. Going into space will generate more wealth and discovery than we have accomplished in our entire history to date.


It takes about five minutes of thinking to understand why space. But is does take thinking.

It also takes digging a bit into the true history of the space effort starting with it’s modern origins in the 1920s.
Moving into Space is not a government thing - it is a people thing. Once we understand that, the process can begin in earnest. Everyone and every institution (including government) will have a role in it.

Thinking that “it’s all over” with this Planet in terms of geological changes, meteor impacts and possible human stupidity, is totally unsupported by geology, anthropology and history - not to mention common sense. There are estimated to be 100,000 uncharted bodies in the asteroid belt that are large enough to destroy all life on Planet Earth. We do not know their orbits. On March 15, 2002 New Scientist reported:

“One of the largest asteroids known to have approached the Earth zipped past about 450,000 kilometres away on March 8 - but nobody recorded it until four days later.

“The object, now called 2002 EM7, was hard to spot because it was moving outward from the innermost point of its orbit, 87 million km from the Sun.

When it passed closest to the Earth - just 1.5 times the distance to the
Moon - it was too close to the Sun to be visible.”

We should be remembering the Dinosaurs not the Alamo. The real question is how do we do it - how do we go into space by a process we can afford with an outcome oriented toward life?

Getting hit by some object from near or deep space is but one of numerous disaster scenarios many of which are clearly embedded in the “myths,” and in some cases the clearly documented experiences of humanity.

Space can be achieved in a series of steps, each one, useful and profitable in itself.

By designing, building and using a series of environments for communities - each progressively an order of magnitude larger in size and complexity - it is possible to do good in the moment and at the same time to learn-by-doing what it takes to build viable communities and societies on Earth, in space, and on other planets.
In my mid 1975 (Notebook page 22) I outlined such an approach. My reasoning then, and today, is that a series of progressively larger and self contained Mega-Structures would provide superior Earth-based habitats and the practical knowledge-base necessary for building and living in space. This is a pay-as-you-go strategy.
This approach would not solve the issues related to rockets and space logistics, however, I considered them (and still do) to be the easier-to-solve problems. This is not underestimating the considerable technical problems involved nor the genius involved in solving them. Engineering will get us there in time - sooner, if there is an economic environment that supports incremental, profitable development.
A controversial project, BioSphere 2 [link: bioshere 2], has been built and tested. This is not what I had in mind, however, I suspect there is real value in the experiment. I do not understand the controversy that is involved with this venture. It seems to me that everybody not involved in the project is criticizing it from the vantage point of what they would do if they had invested the time, imagination and dollars to do it. Why not take it on it on it’s own terms and learn - even support rather than deter? Radical concept. If you have a better idea offer it, join up or go make you own project happen.
The critical issue with the making of human habitat is requisite variety. An environment for 30 people is not just twice as complex as on for 15 and 60 not just as complex again. Most human organizations grew organically - they emerged. In recent time we have tried to “design” them usually with mixed consequences. The failure has been to impose a too simple linear design process on a too complex problem.
The Taylor Method brings design intent to systemic, complex issues without distorting true emergence and thus generating unintended consequences. It does this by multiple iterations of design with a ValueWeb which represents all the players in the system-in-focus [link: valueweb architecture].

It was projects like outlined in these Notebook pages which lead me the development of the Taylor System and Method.

Standard approaches to architecture, community development, city design, and the space program, do not have the inherent ability to address and resolve the complexities systemic to this kind of development.

My approach suggested (Notebook page 23) building a series of real living/working environments, starting at the MLU [link: minimum living unit] and Domicile [link: domicile project] levels, and progressively evolving them along several dimensions: the sophistication of the structures, autonomous systems, size, community cultures, internal economies and architectural values.
At the time, there seemed to be a market for this approach. Two things happened that shifted attention elsewhere. First, the demise of the space program. Second, the emergence of the growth 80s, and then the manic 90s when humanity seemed to convince itself that all natural constraints had somehow vanished. Slowly, near the end of the first decade of the 21st Century, some sanity has returned unfortunately imbued with too much depression.
In time, these land-based structures would get progressively lighter and more self-contained, and could be matched up with launch, rocket and space-systems technologies. Then, in-orbit habitats could be built (only, however, if both efforts were designed from the beginning to do this). This integrated process is a way to accomplish something like O’Neals Space Colonies while having solved a number of social and biological problems in advance.
In 1977, I was interviewed by Norie Huddle then representing the L-5 Society. In it, I was critical of the social and biological assumptions of O’neal’s work because I believed these aspects were under rated in both their importance and complexity. I presented the L-5 society with a different model of space development and a different set of underlying Design Assumptions about it. The interview was never published. I have put it on this website [link: taylor huddle space colony interview].
Optimism was high in the 70s about humans in space. It is re turing now after 30 years of neglect. What turned us away and why is our focus slowing turning back now?
I have never believed space to be a hostile environment - to me, it is just the opposite. Keep the air in, avoid space debris and watch radiation and you have a stable, safe environment to develop in. One that is full of resources by the way. Earth, by contrast as wonderful as it is, is a high variety, and on the human scale, an unstable environment. Earth is the dangerous place to live! A great place to visit.

In addition, much of human development - at least at our present crude level of building - has an extraordinary negative impact on Gaia beyond modest levels of density and scope. Earth is a wonderful place for a small population to live and many to come to and enjoy. Lets turn the paradigm around: live and develop in space, vacation and recreate on planets. Earth is our mother and nest - comes a time, in order to grow, you have to move out of your home and go build a new life.


Many of us, of course, will choose the Earth-style of living and that is fine as long as this is done with a steward’s mentality. The important thing is that we humans understand that now this is a choice. In a short time, it will become an economic, biological, ecological necessity. Given a disaster it will mean survival. Next time you talk to a dinosaur - ask him, or her.


August 30, 2007 update:

A new theory postulates that there was an ice age impact in North America which decimated the majority of the large species on the continent [link: ice age blast ravaged america]. And, a prize offered for a remote sensing spacecraft for tracking space rocks [link: uk plan to track asteroid threat].

Are we learning?


July 26, 2009 update:

A new article [link: space travel: the path to human immortality?] written by Tad Daily supports the thesis of this page simply and clearly. This and other pieces indicate that the single point of failure premise may be gaining in social equity.

This is improvement yet there remains three troubling issues. First, not a great deal is actually happening yet. This is not an agenda high on Humanity’s list. Second, as important and compelling this argument is - and one which I have been making since 1974 - it shows that we, as a species, remain both careless and reactive - two traits which are dangerous in combination. We simply do not pay attention to what threatens us and then overreact when disaster strikes. Third, as I point out over and over in my A Future by Design, Not Default piece, at best a generation passes before an idea becomes accepted and another before it is responded to and the solution ubiquitous; and, Humanity is not paying much attention to the Human Enterprise.

The defensive reasons are well made here. The positive reasons far out weigh them. These are hardly in the public debate such as it is. I strongly suspect our future is among the stars not fighting over who controls this one planetary piece of real estate. What shut down the quest into space? Why did we go to the Moon, then stop for a generation? There were arguments about the cost. Well, look at the wealth generated and squandered in the last 40 years and the wars fought with no conclusion. As I have said: if Humanity can afford to act as we are, we can afford anything.

We may be learning, but far too slowly.

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GoTo: Zone of Emergence Model

Matt Taylor
Flying from Detroit to San Francisco
December 1, 1999


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posted December 1, 1999

revised April 12, 2010

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(note: this document is about 75% finished)

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