Member 1463
2 entries

Contributor to project:
The Voyager update project
Laura Kwai Lan Akita (F, 36)
Berkely, US
Immortal since Jan 11, 2008
Uplinks: 0, Generation 3
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  • lakita’s project
    The Voyager update project
    Description has not yet been created.
    Now playing SpaceCollective
    Where forward thinking terrestrials share ideas and information about the state of the species, their planet and the universe, living the lives of science fiction. Introduction
    Featuring Powers of Ten by Charles and Ray Eames, based on an idea by Kees Boeke.

    This project assumes that its authors know what it means to be human and that that definition of human can be applied to all members of the race currently existing on the planet. There are no specifications made about humans from the United States or humans from Guatemala; all are lumped together. In finding the alien in our own race to be a version of ourselves in the future, we ignored people that today are referred to as aliens. In initially conceiving the project, we did not want to do anything that would perpetuate current stereotypes or political divisions. People from Mexico are referred to in this way because we need a name for the place that they come from. They are then differentiated from People from the United States because of their geographic location and the government that shapes their daily lives. Strip away the governments and the country lines and Mexicans are people who live south of us. While we certainly understand that reality is not as simple as this, we decided that being overly optimistic is not necessarily a bad thing. There are certainly enough pessimistic views in the world. We also did not set out to answer any questions for humanity as a whole. Perhaps, also, the immigrant “aliens” living among us are simply too close to home for us to be able to deal with. Mainly though, we felt that it would be arrogant for the seven of us to be making assumptions about other people; to assume that we can speak to and for all. We reached this conclusion after researching the “universal” language Esperanto. We saw many flaws in the thinking that went into creating the language and found it in many ways to be no better than Sagan’s Golden Disk in the assumptions that it made about the people it was (is) supposed to represent. Sagan’s Disk showed our world from the perspective of the people who had enough money to bring it into existence. Esperanto is meant to be a global language but it is based upon Western language structure. It is a language that takes its roots and it characters from the West and uses Eastern language construction techniques to form variations of words. It is awkward for both Western European language speakers and Eastern language speakers because it assumes that by putting norms from the two together, it will be understood by all. Esperanto also ignored the organic nature of language. Languages grow and evolve out of necessity. They are a form of communication, which by nature is about filling needs. The likelihood of people who do not actually need to communicate with one another to learn a way to communicate with each other is very slim. Rather than make assumptions about others and try to tell people about people; we decided to tell people about us (the authors). We realized that everyone has biases, likes and dislikes and in general, we accept this fact. No one expects to agree with another person about everything (we often find it creepy when we agree about more than a couple things) so we felt that there would be much less potential for offending anyone if we presented our picture of humanity through an intentionally subjective lens.

    Our project functions as a work of sociology in that it aims to give a window into our current social structures, interactions and some of the objects and ideas that make these structures and interactions possible. It is a snapshot of people today and can therefore be used later to study people today, in fact; this is exactly its intent. We hope that whoever reads our book will be able to understand how the author of each entry felt about his subject and rather than being told about how the author felt, the reader will be put in his shoes. We want to show how diverse the human race is and at the same time how similar seemingly different humans are to one another. Four writers from disparate corners of the world may write about what each of them does with his friends; all speaking of very different activities; and while the activities and locations show difference, the fact that each author spends time with her friends and makes this an important part of her life remains consistent. This does not mean that the authors are necessarily the same (no two humans, even twins, are exactly the same) but it shows a common thread in people who do not at first glance seem the same in any way. Conversely, it gives a glimpse at the myriad ways one can spend time with friends. The recipes could also serve as ways to break stereotypes about groups of people. A nun, for example, may write a recipe about religion and in her way of writing about it reveal that she actually does not care about religion or helping other people and that she actually got into her current profession as a way to avoid homelessness. A death-metal singer may also write a recipe for religion and in it reveal that he has been a devout Catholic his whole life and that he has a great relationship with his parents. The book is an opportunity for readers (future societies) to be exposed to humans of today in a way not covered in our history books. Telling of a past culture only allows for a base level of understanding. Showing pieces of that culture allows for a deeper, more personal level of understanding: My computer is very important to me. Vs. I am unable to practice the craft that puts food on my table without my computer. Also, certain topics are not covered in traditional archival methods. You may read a world-renowned chef’s recipe for a roast beef sandwich but what about a four-year old’s? How might a Hasidic Jew speak of his first sexual encounter and how does that compare to your grandmother’s?

    Failure of this project means that future humans do not have an understanding of what it was like to be us. It means that the human race may truly lose some of its fragility and texture. Might we, in a time when we can screen our babies for defects before they even leave the womb and decide whether or not they are good enough to keep, stride too fast towards perfection (homogenization?) of the species? Will we forget the beauty that can be found in defects, the mesmerizing quality of a crooked smile? We call some irregularities in ourselves “unique” and others “defect.” If a person cannot talk, there is something wrong with him but if he wears wool pants year-round he is unique. Perhaps it is the other way around. Maybe the person who can not talk simply chooses not to talk, finding other modes of communication just as effective and the person who wears wool pant year-round does so because his body does not register temperature change. These sorts of things could come out in the way a person writes their recipes. If this book goes unappreciated and unnoticed, it will mean that we are moving ourselves evermore quickly toward being robots (in both the emotional and physical senses). It will mean that we have lost our sense of humor and that any trace of appreciation of the journey has been wiped from us; we no longer take joy in the little things. Perhaps it would fail because we have all become the same; there is no appreciation of difference because difference no longer exists. Maybe right and wrong ways of doing things are put forth by our governments and personal thoughts and methods are outlawed. I sincerely hope that this is never the case.

    Success of this project means that we, humans, are still interested in each other for who we are. It will mean that we still see value in knowing of another person without the possibility of profiting from it. It means that we are still able to celebrate our differences and at the same time that we want to see our sameness. We feel connected when we see ourselves in another person or when another person sees themselves in us. It is as if we accomplished something; having a quality or experience that is identical to another person’s. This project is not aiming for a measurable goal like contact with green men from another planet or the ending of world thirst. Its success will not be something that can be pointed to. No one will be saying, “The Handbuk for Humanity changed the world.” Its success will be subtle; to be felt within the self not as a force in the world-at-large. Maybe it can be a reminder for present-day humans, as well as those in the future, to slow down a little and think about the little things that we take for granted, like your morning coffee or a handshake from a business associate. Maybe in this heightened awareness of ourselves we will be able to find more compassion for the aliens living among us.

    Sat, Mar 22, 2008  Permanent link

    Sent to project: The Voyager update project
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    the humanity people. despite any technological advances and integration of artificiality into our beings, we will always, at our heart, be human. we must reach out on an emotional level to a forthcoming technological race.
    Mon, Jan 28, 2008  Permanent link

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