When legendary broadcaster Orson Welles gave his suspenseful 1938 War of the Worlds radio broadcast, it caused a perhaps overblown but nonetheless real panic among Americans who mistook it for news reportage. And while “invaders from Mars” laying waste to the world now seems unlikely, scientists are worried that a similar broadcast in the future could be relating a real alien invasion — and not just one from across our porous southern border.
Astronomers have listened for signals from alien civilizations since 1960, when the Cornell University astronomer Frank Drake co-opted the national observatory at Green Bank, West Virginia, to launch Project Ozma. S.E.T.I Advocates are perhaps driven by frustration after 60 years of listening to the Cosmos and hearing nothing but cosmic crickets. But might our messages serve as a homing beacon for beings less like the cute E.T. and more akin to the rampaging aliens in Independence Day or Darth Vader and his Death Star? That’s the worry.
But is it a worry that is grounded in reality, no matter what Stephen Hawking might proclaim? It makes sense on some levels and then not on others. The only verifiable source of life which we have is our own bubble on Earth. So when reasoning by our own example…be afraid ….be very afraid.
The reason being is that life is very often hostile to other life. Look at the trials of life in nature and the trials of life in the newspapers. Man’s inhumanity to man … All Lives clearly do not matter.
Predators kill their prey. Many herbivores are highly aggressive and will attack and sometimes kill other animals (e.g. boars, hippopotamuses). Many animals fight, injure and potentially kill members of their own species (e.g. males fighting for mating rights). Chimpanzees go to war with other groups of chimpanzees. Anthills to go war with other anthills.
Look at humans. We are pretty damn hostile to other life – we’ve exterminated countless species, and other species we keep enslaved in conditions of horrendous suffering so that we can eat them (e.g. chickens, pigs).
This is not done out of deliberate malice. No one said: “Let’s go wipe out those damned dodos!” It is done out of convenience – an aggregate of small actions and inactions that each serves to make someone’s life nicer in the long or short run.
I saw a chart comparing species by the number of human deaths they’re responsible for in an average year. Sharks weighed in at the bottom of the list, with only 10 human casualties a year. Humans were about tied for first place with mosquitoes, each of them weighing in at close to a million. If you viewed a species like this flying around in the boundless expanse of the universe, wouldn’t your first impulse be to grab a can of Raid and let them have it?
But does it have to be that way?
What about the nature of any (hypothetical) extraterrestrial life? Does brawn win over brains? Does life take life all over the Universe?
Here are a few points to ponder:
1) One hypothesis points out that the incredible level of technology any space-faring species must have achieved indicates that it has successfully navigated its innate tendencies (if any) toward violence, evolving wisdom, and social skills. A species like this would welcome with joy a new species — not kill it.
2) Another hypothesis points out that any extraterrestrial species is bound to be so different from us that we could never be able to achieve mutual understanding or even recognition. A species like this might be inimical to our interests — or even our survival — not because of hostility, but because of indifference or unawareness. They might exterminate us the way we blindly make other species extinct when they are under our radar. According to this theory, there is no special reason that they would consider humans (or any other earth species) as interesting — or even visible. In that case, they might bump us off accidentally while they used our atmosphere, for example, for some strange actions only they understand.
3) A third hypothesis suggests that the motives of an extraterrestrial species may be as alien to us as the motives of insects. They might ferociously pursue their horrifying goals of killing us for food or egg chambers or whatever. They may need all our organics, or all our females, or all our air or water. Or they may have inscrutable goals, but instantly fly into a screaming death attack — stopping at nothing, including machine gun fire — if, for example, we try to control the neat stacks of geometric prisms (which exude a deadly toxin) they are placing everywhere.
So extraterrestrial creatures may be benevolent, indifferent, or malevolent. On what basis can we make a prediction? On what evidence would we rely on to assert a conclusion?
I can not provide any evidence but what I can provide is a point of view.
I am a firm believer that the more intelligent something is the more avenues, aspects, possibilities one can go through or mull over in any given situation. The smarter one is, the Universe becomes less and less black and white. Infinite shades of probability grey exist which are not available to creatures without advanced perceptions, advanced intelligence. The choice of violence and destruction is just one option in an ever-increasing venue of options that are available for the advanced intellect. In that perspective, I believe it will always be more advantageous to create than destroy. Advanced life will respect life in all its forms and handily work out any conflicts that may arise to create win-win scenarios. In the light of ever-increasing accounts of UAP’s. This may be why we are still here and pondering such a question.
YOU must note that I am NOT referring to Humans, I am referring to INTELLIGENT life in the Universe.
We are not it. We have only been out of the proverbial caves for the most fleeting instant of cosmic deep time.
But who knows, I always reserve the right to be wrong…
If an alien species invades Earth and destroys or enslaves humanity, it will most likely not be out of malice but out of convenience. Grand Admiral Gorignax does not hate humans, but he really wants that third conquest medal. His brother-in-law already has three conquest medals, and Mrs. Gorignax has been nagging him about it to no end. You don’t want little Gorignax Junior to go through the horrors of a divorce and custody battle, do you? I’m sorry, but in order to preserve this family, those humans will have to go.
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