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Rule #10 - You are the master of your own space and unique time Rules for Embracing Life in the 21st Century
The ocean was part of Ivan's unique study of space and time.

Space and time are fascinating to sci fi writers, physicists and to one Western Kentucky futurist/geographer.

Space is another of those words with multiple meanings. It can be the infinite cosmos or the personal space we live our lives in. (See Boundaries Rule #9). Since Ivan loved both, I'll try to deal with both.

He loved the mystery of space and how man could travel there. Sputnik, the little Soviet satellite that could, so freaked out America that Congress passed the National Defense Education Act, NDEA. The law funded new curriculum and students seeking higher education.

Ivan was one of the thousands of beneficiaries. It helped him earn a degree in geography and fostered a lifelong love of space. The first and only two seasons of Star Trek ran during his days at Murray State. Captain Kirk and company showed him "the final frontier".

The space race was a real race with real stakes. Both sides believed that domination in space could lead to domination of the earth below.. Killer satellites armed with nuclear weapons raining fire were the stuff of nightmares. Treaties banning nuclear weapons in space were negotiated and signed. No one wanted Armageddon.

America's space agency, the National Aeronautics and Space Agency (NASA) wanted to first beat the Russians to the moon. America took that first one small step. NASA also wanted to create a permanent orbiting base, a home miles above the planet where astronauts could work in space. That too was a Soviet goal. The Soviet Union beat America to the punch again, launching a series of stations called Salyut in 1971. America's first space station, Skylab, launched in 1973.

Ivan didn't think much of Skylab. He thought the design was wrong. He drew his vision of the perfect space station. Sadly, NASA never came calling. The space race settled into an era of cooperation leading to the International Space Station. At right, dark energy drawn on a paper plate.

In his last years, his interest turned to privatization of space. He could tell you what companies were launching what vehicles. The space shuttle program ended. Corporations began plotting their own space takeover. Two ideas emerged: design a vehicle to fly from New York to London in a short time and/or design a reusable rocket.

The short hop space ship would go up, up, up above the atmosphere in a bell curve, coming down at a new destination in record time. That idea has morphed into space rides for paying customers. Star Trek's Captain Kirk of Ivan's youth finally got to go into space.

Waste costs money. Use it up. Make it do. Wear it out. The motto of World War II folks at home was being heard by an entrepreneur with big ambitions. Elon Musk founded SpaceX which would launch the first reusable rocket booster. Previously, the booster would fall to earth or sea after doing its job of getting the payload out of gravity. Every new launch meant build new boosters. It took a few tries but SpaceX recovered a booster and used it again. Use it up. Make it do.

SpaceX just got the contract to destroy the ISS when it reaches the end of its life in 2030.

Studying the cosmos is an exercise in wonder. Telescopes better and better help earthlings see what their dreams could not imagine. Black holes. New galaxies. Binary stars. Dark matter. More things in heaven and earth than dreamed in our philosophy!

At left, galaxy Centaurus.

Ivan drew his theories in graphs and charts on any handy scrap. I have preserved two paper plates that he imagined dark matter on and the workings of event dynamics. No, I cannot explain them.

That other space, the personal, is one we can understand. And master. Knowing how and when to keep personal space personal is a lifelong exercise. There are times when our personal space becomes microscopic. Being ill reduces one's personal space and autonomy to less than the size of a hospital bed. Medical personnel by necessity poke, prod and move bodies to see what's inside and how to make it better. Knowing the necessity doesn't make it any less invasive. The goal of getting well makes it bearable.

Einstein, who studied time and space, was one of Ivan's heroes. Einsteins laws set science and science fiction off on new tangents. Bending space to save time became a favorite trope for science fiction. We watched every Einstein biography and fictionalized account. Books by and about Einstein lined our shelves. The idea of someone coming up with a theory whole cloth caught his imagination. He wrote pages of notes on time and its relationship to space.

Event dynamics which he described as predicting future events by studying past trends was another thought experiment that he never quite tweaked to his satisfaction.

At right, event dynamics drawn out on a paper plate.

There are demands on your time that cannot be ignored. School. Family. Health. Community. Demands to do something. Demands to listen, interact, respond. Social media, texts, emails fill up minutes, hours, days. Where does the time go?

You are the master of your unique space and time. How you choose to use your space and time is up to you.

Don't give away either without a second thought.

Addendum: We found Ivan's Rules for Embracing Life in the 21st Century while going through the many pieces of paper he left behind. I was his editor, correcting his grammar, his creatively spelled words and his bureaucratic run on sentences. He didn't share these twelve rules with me so I am not sure when he wrote them or even what prompted him to write them. The rules have made me stop and think. They have pushed me to write again and to share thoughts on each rule and what I think it meant to him. And what it means to me.


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