This is a long essay on why humanity needs access to the stars, for political, economic, social, and health reasons. It’s well worth the read as an impassioned argument for living life off this planet.
For every problem, there are specific solutions that address the immediate obstacle, and meta-solutions that incorporate the very nature of the problem into future approaches. At the furthest extremes, the specific is a simple negation of the individual occurrence of the problem – if you run into an obstacle, turn around and go back the other way – while the meta is a pure evolutionary algorithm, virtually a definition of life: When obstacles are encountered, iterate in all directions and default to the pathway with greatest energy profit / least net loss. Where the future of humanity is concerned, the ultimate specific solution to our problems is equally simple and pointless (extinction), and a multitude of possible beginnings lead to this same, singular end. The ultimate meta-solution, however, though it contains an infinite number of unknowable futures, begins in just one direction: Up.