Mr. Cooper goes beyond audacity in his insistence that Margret Augustine is not really the CEO and President of SBV or the Project Director of the Biosphere 2 project. Males of appropriate age apparently fit his stereotype of "leader" better than capable 38-year-old women.
Clarification of the purpose of the Biosphere 2 project is in order for readers who never would have guessed it from Mr. Cooper's account. Learning how to live in harmony with the biosphere--on Earth or on new horizons in space--is the Biosphere 2 project's expressed unhidden agenda. Toward that end, Space Biospheres Ventures has dedicated every effort to build the best possible laboratory for ecological research, development and education. Scientists and journalists are welcome to make their own evaluations and predictions. Time and experimentation will demonstrate the truth of any predictions, but more importantly provide an opportunity to learn--from our successes and mistakes. SBV will be content to be judged by the objective achievements of Bioshpere 2 . . . Kathleen A. Dyhr
Director of Public Affairs
Space Biospheres Ventures
Marc Cooper replies: There is nothing in Dyhr's letter which factually rebuts the main thesis of my report: Biosphere 2 is run by a cultish group of recycled theater performers who have much greater interest in establishing a corporate colony on Mars than they do in creating a more livable Earth. Let the reader note that while Dyhr attacks two of my sources (out of more than three dozen) as unreliable, she never says exactly what it is they told me was untrue. In any case, my characterization of SBV as a cult was based primarily on its own "scientific" publications provided to me by Dyhr. It is flat wrong to allege that I criticized bona fide scientists for the sole act of having accepted funds as consultants. What I did question were the individuals and institutions, both public and private, who, knowing full well that SBV is far from what it represents itself to be (or who ought to know), close their eyes, extend their palms, and dutifully zip their mouths. In exchange for funds from SBV to help float their own pet projects, they lend their credibility to Biosphere 2--a project I still fully contend is more science fiction than science, more theme park than ecological experiment.
To the Editor:
Marc Cooper can truthfully attack me for believing going to Mars is part of the human destiny, as well as maturing to a more responsible relationship with the Biosphere; that the future is built by constructive people in every generation; that art and science can work well together; that almost anyone can learn to run his/her own business whether or not they have a Harvard degree; and that competence is determined by performance not paper. To all of these charges, I give my full assent.
However, it is entirely false that I ever ran any mystical program as Mr. Cooper asserts. When Laurence Veysey--Cooper's "most authoritative" source--visited Synergia Ranch for five weeks 20 years ago, I had written a play entitled The Guru for Kathelin Hoffman, who then as today is the owner and director of the Theater of All Possibilities. The Guru is a comic satire on the authoritarian guru figure of the '60s and early '70s. It played to good-sized and laughing audiences in Santa Fe, Atlanta, Coconut Grove, and London that same year. Mr. Veysey names his fantasy figure in his book after the guru figure in my satire: "Ezra." Neither are his fantasy projections limited to lifting the character's name--Mr. Veysey came in search of spiritual gurus, and he found them. I suppose it helped sell his book which was, after all, subtitled Anarchist and Mystical Countercultures in America. Never having been much of an anarchist, I guess that left only one category for me--casting me as a mystic character call "Ezra" out of one of my 30 plays. Veysey admits in his text that he never checked a single point with me, nor does he state that I was not even there for three of the five weeks he was at Synergia Ranch. The 1985 Fort Worth Star-Telegram article which Mr. Cooper cites so heavily not only relies on Veysey's account but also his technique--extracting quotes from other of my plays and interspersing them throughout the article, without context, implying they are my beliefs. Neither quoted by dramatic counters to these heavy-handed characters. Think what this method could do for Shakespeare scholarship!
It is also false that I ever said anything about a dying civilization or expressed gloomy views about civilization's destiny. Following the insight of Buckminster Fuller, I do think there is another new civilization emerging, what Fuller called "Synergetic Civilization," that is more planetary in scope. Far from gloomy, I have a profoundly confident attitude toward what James Henry Breasted, the great scholar of ancient Egypt, called "the unsinkable buoyancy of the human spirit."