Specter of the Monolith: Nihilism, the Sublime, and Human Destiny in Space-From Apollo and Hubble to 2001, Star Trek, and Interstellar

Specter of the Monolith: Nihilism, the Sublime, and Human Destiny in Space-From Apollo and Hubble to 2001, Star Trek, and Interstellar

by Barry Vacker

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780979840470
Publisher: Center for Media and Destiny
Publication date: 07/11/2017
Pages: 222
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 1.25(h) x 9.00(d)

About the Author

Academic Bio. Barry Vacker teaches critical media studies at Temple University in Philadelphia, where he is an associate professor in the Klein College of Media and Communication. A professor for over 20 years, he earned a Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin. Vacker has authored numerous articles and books about the trajectories of art, media, science, culture, and human civilization on this spaceship we call Earth. You can find these works online (https://temple.academia.edu/BarryVacker) and in Amazon.

Existential Stance. Vacker is an existentialist without the angst-a momentary self made of star stuff from a supernova in a remote part of the Milky Way. He is the center of nothing and utterly insignificant in the universe of two trillion galaxies and a zillion space films. Specter of the Monolith contains his philosophical perspectives on how we might begin the search for humanity's meaning and purpose in the cosmos, drawing inspiration from space films like 2001 and Interstellar; earthworks like Star Axis and Spiral Jetty; and thinkers like Sartre, Lyotard, Tarter, and Sagan.

Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION: THE MONOLITH AND MOONWALKING

1. Earthrise and 2001

2. “A Rope over an Abyss”

2. Specter of the Monolith

3. Moonwalking into the Future

4. About This Book

PART 1: SPECTER OF THE MONOLITH

1. CONFRONTING NIHILISM AND THE SUBLIME

1. NASA’s Ultimate Challenge

2. Pre-Copernican Centrality and Cosmic Narcissism

3. Cosmic Nihilism and the Sublime

4. The Apollo Moment

5. The Earth “Selfie”

6. Confronting Nihilism with Genesis

7. Apollo: What Happened?

8. Voyager and Hubble

9. JFK’s “Moon Speech”: Humanity’s “New Knowledge of Our Universe”

10. When are we going to grow up?

2. SPACE FILMS AND HUMAN DESTINY

1. A Philosophical Launch?

2. The Final Frontier

3. Star Trek

4. Planet of the Apes

5. 2001: A Space Odyssey

6. Gravity

7. Interstellar

8. The Martian

9. Space Films: What Can We Hope For?

10. “Momentary Microbes” and “Spasmodic Smiles”

PART 2: MOONWALKING INTO THE FUTURE

3. POST-APOLLO CULTURE

1. From 2001 to the Planet of the Apes

2. Two “Moonwalkers”: Neil Armstrong and Michael Jackson

3. Elvis: Aloha from Space

4. Future Shock: The Premature Arrival of the Future

5. Spirits in the Sky

6. From 2001 to Moonraker

7. Star Wars, Space Shuttles, and Space Stations

8. After the Year 2000

9. Cosmic Centrality 1: The “Dual System of Astronomy”

10. Cosmic Centrality 2: The Dual System of Technology

11. Cosmic Centrality 3: The Dual System of Existence

12. Stephen Hawking: “Philosophy Is Dead”

13. Challenges for Philosophy, Secular Culture, and the 21st-Century Space Age

4. THE COSMOS AND 21st-CENTURY space narratives

1. The New Space Age

2. Space Narratives

3. Where Have We Gone?

4. Extending Consciousness into Space: Across 100 Billion Light Years

5. Sending Bodies into Space: “Millions of People Living and Working in Space”

6. Space Exploration: Spending Money and Making Money

7. The “Ancient Astronaut” Theory

8. The Extraterrestrial Philosopher

9. A Sane 21st-Century Space Narrative

10. Philosophy in Space: Who Speaks for the Human Species?

11. We Are Space Voyagers

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