Saved by the Sun

Chinese Sun God

Taiyang Shen, Chinese Solar Deity

A Reuters exclusive posted by journalist Jim Wolf, “Orbital Solar Power Plants Touted for Energy Needs” http://blogs.reuters.com/jim-wolf, describes a fantasy project with the potential to provide civilization with energy for centuries to come.

Indian and U.S. space scientists propose that power plants be placed in orbit to collect solar energy and beam it to Earth. They claim this project is technologically feasible, and could be accomplished within 30 years if expensive research and development is financed.

The sun is Earth life’s primary source of energy. The human constituency accepts that the earth rotates around the sun. No political party challenges the science that the sun is the center of our solar system.

In which Digest This™ category does this story belong: “Defend Civilization,” “Human Leadership,” “Human Solidarity,” “Questions” or “Fairy Tales Revisited”? Turning to the sun for solutions is a fairy tale revisited.

Male and female solar deities were part of human history for a long time. Those who worshiped divine power associated with the sun included Aztec, African, Arabian, Basque, Brazilian, Canaanite, Celtic, Egyptian, Etruscan, Germanic, Greek, Hindu, Hittite, Japanese, Mayan, Native American, Norse, Persian, Polynesian, Slavic and Turkic peoples.

Humanity’s relationship with the sun includes many prominent markers. It was less than 500 years ago when Copernicus, Galileo and Kepler offered science to replace geocentrism (the earth at the center of the universe) with heliocentrism (the sun at the center). The observations of William Herschel confirmed by Edwin Hubble in the 1920s demonstrated that the sun is one of billions of suns in the galaxies.

Energy and Hope

Yet we remain a man-centered universe. As much as we’ve learned about life and the galaxies, humanity focuses on our own critical needs.  Our critical needs include an abundant supply of energy and hope.

We obsess about the end of civilization. The popularity of doomsday scenarios – including the Mayan Prophecy, 2012, Y2K, and the endlessly updated old-time favorites: Judgment Day, Nostradamus, Armageddon and the Apocalypse – demonstrate that we’re living at a time when energy and hope feel scarce. We’re just a bit frightened.

You Make Me Happy When Sky’s Are Grey

Surely our hopeful fantasies deserve equal time with these doomsday scenarios. So let’s welcome this fairy tale about orbiting solar power plants delivering an unlimited supply of electricity. Make a movie about beaming down energy and beam up hope. Imagine, and then create, a society where energy and hope are plentiful.


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