Turn the Survey Inward

September 21, 2014

Philip K. Dick’s story “Survey Team” was so prescient for its time that it has completed the cycle and now seems passé.

He sees a future where we are stuck in an endless cycle of resource abuse, casting out to other planets to replace what we have wasted. These explorers discover our ancestors had already ruined one planet (Mars), and a splinter group moved on to a third planet, farther into space, where we could possibly find resources to replace our ruined Earth. The protests of the character Mason at the end fall on deaf ears:

“It’s wrong!” Mason shouted. “Two are enough! Let’s not destroy a third world!”

Nobody listened to him. Judde and Young and Halloway gazed up, faces eager, hands clenching and unclenching. As if they were already there. As if they were already holding onto the new world, clutching it with all their strength. Tearing it apart, atom by atom… (Pg. 51, The Early Work of Philip K. Dick: Volume 2: Breakfast at Twilight and Other Stories, Prime Books)

That’s a great ending – and we have been inundated with that message for so long that most people, just like Judde and Young and Halloway, are immune to the moral protests against our behaviors. We are in a mindless survival mode now.

Azrael lesson for the day is to identify what is already in your life that is important to you, that gives your life meaning, and focus on that.

“That irreparable change a death makes in the course of our daily thoughts can be felt in a vague and poignant discomfort of mind.” Pg. 86, Nostromo.

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