When I was in my early twenties, I was driving a New Zealand open road at night with my ex-girlfriend in the passenger seat. We were out in the country where there were no street lights. The moon and many stars in the night sky provided the only light other than for the car’s headlights. The serenity of it got me to thinking about something, and I asked my ex what she thought the most interesting occurrence during our lifetimes would be. A tough question for sure, and not one easily answered on the spot. I don’t recall what her answer was because I’m Narcissistic and was only asking so that I could bring up the thought I’d just had so we could discuss it…
For me, the most interesting occurrence, was the arrival on Earth of extra-terrestrial life. Aliens coming to visit!
I’m a bit weird like that. While some people may think of interesting occurrences a little closer to home, such as visiting a different continent, or country, or having a baby… I go straight for Aliens. Or Zombie Apocalypses, another personal favourite.
A question that has plagued me ever since, and likely will plague me for the rest of my life is “do Alien’s exist?”
I recently stumbled upon something related to Aliens which I found very interesting. Not E.T. phoning home. But, the Fermi Paradox.
The Fermi Paradox, named after physicist Enrico Fermi, is the apparent contradiction between the lack of evidence and high probability estimates for the existence of extra-terrestrial civilizations.
In other words, it is the disconnect between the Gagillions of stars out there in the Universe like our own star (the Sun) capable of generating the conditions necessary for life and the absence of other observable life-forms.
The basic points of the argument (thanks Wikipedia), made by physicists Enrico Fermi (1901–1954) and Michael H. Hart (born 1932), are:
- There are billions of stars in the galaxy that are similar to the Sun, and many of these stars are billions of years older than the Solar system.
- With high probability, some of these stars have Earth-like planets, and if the Earth is typical, some may have developed intelligent life.
- Some of these civilizations may have developed interstellar travel, a step the Earth is investigating now.
- Even at the slow pace of currently envisioned interstellar travel, the Milky Way galaxy could be completely traversed in a few million years.
According to this line of reasoning, the Earth should’ve already been visited by extra-terrestrial aliens.
So, the question is: where the fuck are they?
In a favourite blog of mine brought to my attention a few years ago by an old workmate and recently again by an old classmate, Tim Urban has already written an extremely popular and detailed post about the Fermi Paradox.
I won’t rehash what he’s extremely eloquently written, but suffice to say, there’s some really interesting shit to think about, such as:
- Are we alone in the Universe?
- Are we indeed special or rare?
- Are we doomed?
- Are Alien’s watching us and we’re too unintelligent to see or understand this (think animals in a zoo)?
- Are we plugged into a Matrix (participating in a holographic simulation reality)?
As interesting as these things are to think about, I don’t really want to get into deeply speculative mental masturbations on these topics. That’s much more fun to do in conversation.
Instead, let’s take a simpleton’s (that’s me) broad brush look at the probability of Alien existence. When I look up at the night sky I see a fek-load of stars. You probably do too unless you live deep in a metropolis amongst light pollution. I’ve never counted them so I can’t give any precise numbers, but there’s a lot of Twinkles up there. Our sun is one of these Twinkies. I mean, Twinkles. It looks a lot bigger to us because it’s a lot closer than the other Twinkles out there. When I look up and see the vast number of other Twinkles in the night sky I can’t help but think: “it’s simply not possible for there NOT to be alien life out there in some form or another”.
Although, I freely admit I know jack-shit about the Universe, at its most basic level the reason I think this is:
- The Sun = a star
- Stars are capable of providing the necessities for life to develop (evidenced by the fact we exist)
- There are many stars in the sky (evidenced by looking up at the sky at night)
- Hence, there must be many other life-forms existing within the Universe
Statistically speaking, it seems rather impossible for there not to be Alien life out there. Certainly, at the very least I’d say its highly improbable. #QuickMafs.
So then, where the fuck are the Aliens? Why haven’t we seen any?
There are plenty of theories as to why we’ve not seen any Aliens. Tim Urban has already explored these in detail in his post far more succinctly than I ever could. Take a look if that interests you. Instead, I’d like to talk about something a little closer to home, which I think links in quite well to why I continue to wish Aliens would visit Earth during my lifetime.
This week I went to listen to Hillary Clinton speak here in NZ thanks to some free tickets from a friend. I’ll get to how this links into Aliens soon, but first I’d like to highlight something I found very disturbing about her talk. Throughout her talk she spoke of Russian peoples in a very negative way. She spoke of them as being a danger to the world. This kind of talk seemed to me to be propagating yet another Us vs. Them mentality, something I’m quite frankly getting fucking tired of hearing.
We’ve seen such things many times in the past (Allies vs Axis / Communism vs Capitalism), and indeed in the present (Black vs White / Conservative vs Liberal).
Talk like this coming from someone with such a powerful voice concerns me. While it may be true the Russians are up to no good (certainly Putin appears to be a fairly nasty man), I do not see how using the public stage to create divide can ever be a good thing. Open discussions and arguments are one thing, but flat out encouraging people to adopt negative perceptions towards an entire nation of people seems a wholly irresponsible way to use such a powerful platform.
Because I’m not particularly interested in World War III. I’ve studied history. I’ve seen what the fuck happened in the first two. Not in person, but on screen and in books. And to be totally honest, that’s enough for me. It doesn’t look good. It looks downright not good. Selfishly, I don’t want to be any part of something like that.
So Hillary, I say to you this: I understand the Orange Oompa Loompa became president at your expense (that sucks), I understand no one in your country has free healthcare (that also sucks), and I understand that Gyna (read: China) is getting a little too powerful (meh), but let’s not pick a fight with the Russians because of it eh?
So, you may be wondering, if Hillary isn’t an Alien, what exactly does her speech have to do with Aliens?
Well, the reason I used to think Alien life visiting Earth would be a good thing, is because I saw the potential for an E.T. phoning home to unite humanity. Russians, Americans, Chinese, New Zealanders, Australians, British, Dutch, German, Japanese, Fijian, Indian, Samoan, Somalian, South African, Egyptian, Greek, Kazakastanian… once Aliens came to Earth, none of these distinctions would matter anymore. Hillary wouldn’t be talking about the dangerous Russians, but instead would be talking with the Russians about who or what the fuck these Aliens were up to and how as a species we were going to unite in response to their arrival.
I’ll freely admit this is fairly naïve thinking… Alien’s visiting Earth may not be a good thing at all because…
- If the Aliens were hostile, the fact they were able to visit Earth before we’ve been able to leave it would mean their technology is lightyears ahead of ours and we’d be instantly obliterated by their super-weapons. We’d be dead before Putin had been able to pour Hillary a cup of tea and have a yarn about what to do.
- If the Aliens were friendly, the fact they were able to visit Earth before we’ve been able to leave it would mean their technology is lightyears ahead of ours, which means they would have the capability to destroy us, which means there must be a reason or reasons why they’ve chosen not to obliterate us. Perhaps to farm us for meat? Or more positively, maybe they’re just lonely and want someone to play kickball with? I don’t know.
Regardless of the scenario, it seems to me highly probable that Alien life visiting Earth would bring the world together, albeit only very briefly before we were obliterated (if the Aliens happened to be hostile) or farmed for meat (if they were friendly and hungry) or dominated in kickball (if they were friendly and lonely). Something I’ve wondered is, why wait? Do we really need external proof of Alien existence before we unite together as a species? As “Humans”?
Why wait for Aliens to obliterate us? That seems stupid.
Perhaps I’m a hippie, preaching love and peace and all that crap. But, it’s not really about love and peace and shit. We can be angry at each other if we want to be. Nothing wrong with that. But there’s a difference between being angry and throwing your own shit at someone. Someone wronged you, all good, get angry at them, do what you need to do to right the situation. Just don’t throw your own shit. Because these days your shit doesn’t just stink. It’s nuclear. And it’s in no one’s best interests to be hurling that crap around.
That kind of shit-storm scares the beejeebuz out of me.
But there’s something that scares me even more than that, and that’s the possibility the reason we’ve not seen Alien life is because we are the most intelligent life-form in the Universe. The possibility that it is us who are the Aliens. That it is us tasked with making first contact with other life out there in the great Abyss. That it is us tasked with the responsibility of exploring the Universe.
Why does that scare me?
Because we’re so fucking stupid.
Just imagine… the most intelligent life form in the Universe, instead of uniting, choosing to throw nuclear shit at each other.
Geez Louise, how retarded would that be. Imagine the super-intelligent Aliens 100 billions years from now coming across our nuclear wasteland, wondering “what the fuck did these idiots do?”.
But, I realise I’m getting way ahead of myself. Hillary threw some verbal shade at the Russians. Not a nuke. I get that. But, it’s only a matter of progression.
Despite Trump being quite Alien to me, after listening to Hillary talk, I couldn’t help but think a pretty sombre thought: maybe it wasn’t so bad he got elected?
Wow. Did I really just say that?
What the fudge-knuckle.