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  Columnist: Fred Flynn

Image credit: Hajor, Wikimedia

We make ourselves alone

Posted on Thursday, 13 September, 2012 | 10 comments
Columnist: Fred Flynn

All things considered, it seems likely there is other intelligent life in the universe. The long standing questions have been: why don't we hear them communicating with each other and why haven't they contacted us? This article addresses the second question.

One does not have to think very hard to imagine that we are not interesting. Our egos don't like that idea, but what could we possibly offer, what exchange can we imagine that would benefit a species, an advanced species from another world? My conclusion is that the reason we have never been publicly contacted by another species is that they have no reason to talk to us. Sure, we love ourselves and we used to think we were the center of the universe and still, even in our wildest fantasies and movies it is always humankind that saves the day.

Our arrogance is astonishing. It is our civility that is lacking.

I would think it likely, instead, that we have been quarantined. I am a humanist, I have a sincere love for humankind, but we are deeply flawed and could be very dangerous if we leave the cocoon of our world anytime soon. Imagine George W. Bush with the ability to attack, not just Iraq, but a different species under false pretenses... It is a very sobering thought.

Would an alien civilization even consider us to be civilized?

In all honesty, I think not.

It is no invalid criticism of the human race to say that the last thousand years have been a Chronicle of Blood. It is what it is.

We are a wonderful species, to ourselves; we are a deadly species to chickens; we are a kind species to dolphins and pandas and any other animals we decide are cute, but are we really worth talking to?

I have a lot of trouble believing that an alien species would come and abduct any of us (unless they really think we might become interesting sometime in the future, and which is something very vague for me). I have a lot of trouble believing that an alien race would invade our world. There is nothing on our world that makes it valuable to anyone but us. Some people have said 'they' would want our water. There is more water on Europa than all the oceans of the earth, and that's just a moon of one of our planets. We say that water is something that is rare and precious, but our own evidence shows that's just not true.

We can draw some conclusions about what characteristics an advanced race would have that possesses the ability to travel between the stars. I will discuss only one characteristic. One, if they are warlike it is probable they would not survive long enough to ever master the physics we have not understood, to be able to cross interstellar distances. When the biggest thing on your mind is killing the guy next to you, you don't tend to have time to think about particle physics and string theory and whatever wild ideas might come from the future that none of us know about. Survival locks your thinking to the present. They would not be warlike, and if by some wild bet if they were warlike they still wouldn't want to zap us into extinction because, again, we don't have anything they want. We are very tiny in a very huge universe.

We know we are not the center of the universe, but in our hearts we still believe that we are. In many ways, humans are their own urban legend.

It's not an exciting thought that we could be boring and primitive to an extraterrestrial community, but it can be an encouraging thought for us to become what we aspire to be, being peaceful people who value each intelligent life as much as our own, but we definitely have a long way to go before we are the people we want to be. We are very young in a very old universe, and one day we will know it with utter certainty.

I think we will be contacted; we will meet someone from another world. I hope it happens in my lifetime, but I am not holding my breath on seeing the current state of rigid affairs. I do not think it is going to happen until we are ready, until we have shown ourselves and anyone who might be listening or watching that we are truly a civilized species.

Would any of you call the cell phone of a tribal cannibal? Of course not.

Until we become civilized our phone is simply not going to ring -- and it shouldn't.

Article Copyright© Fred Flynn - reproduced with permission.

  Other articles by Fred Flynn

The principle of ascension
Columnist: Fred Flynn | Posted on 10-7-2012 | 3 comments
"We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time." T. S. Eliot. A...

Gigantism in the ancient world
Columnist: Fred Flynn | Posted on 8-28-2012 | 16 comments
Gigantism in the ancient world occurred in the kingdoms of the insects, plants and animals. It has long been a mystery and topic of conjecture: why were these l...

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