Potential Futures

Dark Matter science is a marginalised pursuit in the public eye. Those who study and read of the studies of it are either obsessives or the curious. Education on the fact that four-fifths of known matter is missing is not pushed at any compulsory education level despite it being a fundamental truth of our existence and affecting our spiritual and philosophical self-awareness.

  • In the modern world, science is pursued only on the basis of commercial or political viability.
  • A project such as the definition of dark matter is very low-yield, The results would have no direct consequence politically or commercially.
  • The work is long-term, the chances of defining dark matter in the terms that politics and business work on is very small.
  • It carries a sense of the unknown, a philosophical voyage of discovery for those involved where the only reward is knowledge and understanding.
  • There is no short-term gratification.
What if dark matter physics went to the forefront of societal importance. Political and commercial aims were changed to an altruistic pursuit, or perhaps even a selfish one. What would it take?

The Utopia:
  • A fundamental shift in the minds of the public/political/commercial circles to an altruistic need to pursue a very human endeavour. This would require the solving of all current problems facing these parties; a utopian world where the pursuit of science is held in the highest regard.
    • Too unbelievable.
    • Rasies too many questions about how this world came about in the first place. Interest is distracted, the fiction is too large.
    • Possibly a very open-ended space to work in, raises possibilities of considering the worth of humanity once societal ills have been solved and even if they can be solved.
  • Perhaps the pursuit of dark matter is what solves societal ills. A switching to an altruistic way of thinking and believing in humanity results in these short-term pursuits being perceived as petty and unimportant.. A paradigm shift towards a further vision in fundamental human pursuits.
    • Led by the scientists originally studying dark matter. An almost religious shift towards this belief.
    • Perhaps there are perceivable real-world benefits to dark matter, although this somewhat undermines the purpose of the utopia. Perhaps it is some sort of unlimited resource.
The Breakthrough/Dystopia:
  • Previously unforeseen benefits to dark matter make the science of paramount importance. It suddenly becomes a competitive race to define it first in the style of the space race or the arms race. The winner would have an unlimited resource and the worse of human competitiveness comes out in the pursuit of it. A rumour escapes from labs causing a panic and the internationally competitive nature of some research groups means that scientist corrupt the truth in pursuit of money and glory.
    • Plays on the futility of competitive claims on things like the moon and arctic drilling space which are of no immediate use to anyone.
    • More believable, especially in light of things such as the space race. It's more in key with human behaviour to pursue something utterly pointless for the sake of glory than to pursue something for the sake of knowledge and humanity.
What if dark matter was found to have some fundamental value?
  • Would we pursue it's conquering for selfish commercial aims? On a state by state, business by business basis?
  • Would we unite, as the scientific community prefers too, to form an international project for the sake of humanity?
This is probably the most interesting area to look at.