Huchingson, JE. 2004.
BH 14:91-99. CELD ID 21505
|Celestial voyaging to planet earth: Space, time, and being in the context of spaceflight|
The space time continuum of Einstein's General Theory of Relativity is universally pictured as a warped, rubberized sheet, contorted into various shapes. This geometric image "spatializes" time, thereby robbing it of its basic character as true temporal process. An alternative view may be found in the irreducible historical character of time based on the Divine-human encounter found in Abrahamic religions. Here, the profound emphasis is on time as event, rather than duration; and space as place, rather than extension. Being, in turn, becomes process, rather than static existence. It is the "taking place" of unique transforming encounters. The biblical journey is made by a chosen people through the wilderness to a homeland, a place of singular importance. In contrast to this, human flight into outer space is the impoverished experience of encapsulated entombment in a vessel as it endures passage through the homogeneous space-time continuum on its way to heave-knows-where. Ironically, the most transforming event of the space program has been the discovery of the fullness of the Earth viewed from afar on the way to somewhere else. For some time to come, our precious, fragile, and imperiled home planet, not the moon or Mars, will remain both the origin and destination of our celestial journeying, and the key to our understanding of time, space, and being.