Men fear thought as they fear nothing else on earth – more than ruin, more even than death. Thought is subversive and revolutionary, destructive and terrible; thought is merciless to privilege, established institutions, and comfortable habits; thought is anarchic and lawless, indifferent to authority, careless of the well-tried wisdom of the ages. Thought looks into the pit of hell and is not afraid. It sees man, a feeble speck, surrounded by unfathomable depths of silence; yet it bears itself proudly, as unmoved as if it were lord of the universe. Thought is great and swift and free, the light of the world, and the chief glory of man.
—- Bertrand Russell, Why Men Fight
“Our opponent is an alien starship packed with atomic bombs,” I said. “We have a protractor.”
—-Neal Stephenson, Anathem
If you drive down I35 from Dallas to Waco, Austin, and San Antonio, you can’t help but remember the Starship Pegasus, at the exit to Italy. A bilious representation of the famous Starship Enterprise reimagined as a roadside attraction. At one time, it was a greasy spoon restaurant and entertainment venue, but for years it has been a weed-infested patch along the highway with a slowly deteriorating doomed spaceship made of concrete and galvanized sheet eternally earthbound.
A while back, I drove down there to visit the open house at the Monolithic Dome Institute (and realized that the Starship was made with one of their domes), stopped and took a few photos.
Now I read that the thing has been demolished – the plot bought by the McDonalds across the street and served up to the wrecking ball.
It has been a useless eyesore for as long as I can remember – and wasn’t destined to be anything more.
Still, I can’t help but be sad at the loss.