zxen-xi: blog

We are our neighbours.



from the future

I was high on Arthur Dent when I wrote this.

A pseudo-scientific and mildly comic essay.

One subject that has always sparked great interest amongst philosophers and scientific thinkers is the existence of extraterrestrial life - or more specifically, whether there is life on planets apart from ours or not. A famous example of this is the Fermi paradox - which asks that if aliens exist, why haven’t we come into contact with them yet, given our vast universe?

Sure, the universe is pretty big. Multiply an extremely small probability of life on a planet with the sheer overwhelming number of planets in the universe; and you’ll find that there should be thousands of planets with life - even having sentient species like us. And that is the crux of the Fermi paradox - there should be at least a few species who have perfected interstellar - or intergalactic travel.

There are two sides of the same coin - there are those that argue that if life was so easy to exist, then we would’ve met aliens a long, long time ago; thereby disproving the existence of extraterrestrial life itself.

I advocate the other side of the argument - the members of which offer a series of plausible explanations (highly dependent on science fiction - or is it the other way around?) for this apparent absence of extraterrestrial influence.

How can we say that aliens have never interfered with our planet? Borrowing an idea from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - which states that we humans ourselves are descendants of aliens who accidentally landed on our planet. One might, correctly, wonder how this is possible. Examples of arguments against this include - if we are descendants of aliens, how does that explain the sequence of natural evolution proposed by Charles Darwin?

One explanation for this argument would be that Earth was deliberately colonised. Quoting NASA, “the origin of life on the Earth's surface could have been first prevented by an enormous flux of impacting comets and asteroids, then a much less intense rain of comets may have deposited the very materials that allowed life to form some 3.5 - 3.8 billion years ago.” It is still uncertain how life exactly formed on our planet. Touching religious boundaries, I pose the question, what if aliens ‘played God’ and planted the seeds of life on our planet? We may very well be subjects of a colonialist experiment performed by our (potential) makers. And as for why we’ve had no contact with ‘them’ so far - that could simply be because we are still in the allotted period of development, on the ending of which all will be revealed. Assuming this to be the scenario, there are still plenty of flaws - for example, how could a sentient race have the technology and patience to wait for a few billion years just for our race to mature? To be honest, the answer to this question depends on the race. In the vast infinities of probable evolutions, this specific race could be hyper-evolved intellectual versions of us - think of them as extra-extra-brain-enhanced scientists, patiently observing all events that take place in our world and using that data to further their own psyche.

I propose another theory - we are a relatively infant species while most of the rest of universal life is highly advanced in comparison to us. (I apologise for the uncanny similarities to science fiction, but this is all possible anyways.) Plotting out an imaginary history of intergalactic wars, it’s possible that past species may have interfered in evolution of similarly infant planets (like ours) and (either genetically or mentally) manipulated the dominant sentient species into an evolution similar to them bearing their ideals (basically modifying another planet’s population to become your slaves and colonialise the galaxy). In order to prevent this from happening, a universal peace council/government was created to prohibit any interference of higher species in the development of infant species. There could be plenty of arguments against this (well, obviously, everything has arguments until it is proved - and nothing has been proved.

An alternative scenario is one in which extraterrestrial life is at a similar or lesser developmental level compared to us. We can’t travel between planets - and neither can they, preventing planetary/galactic contact - albeit only for now. This is a highly likely scenario - various planets not too far from our own system have been discovered to possess the necessary factors for creation of life.

Let me divert your attention to another interesting scenario - we are the first, and most highly developed species yet. Given our rate of development - we either die from lack of energy due to overconsumption of fuel or we turn into a highly futuristic society. What do you think will happen? Naturally, we’ll embark on a quest for extraterrestrial life, upon which we may: a) return empty handed, b) discover alien life and colonise the dominant sentient species or c) we play God and create artificial life on our own for colonial purposes as well. (of course, we could do a lot of other things too.) Humans would then be the ruling species throughout the galaxy/universe until a revolution comes (provided we become dictators - which might happen frequently).

Now, what was the point of writing this? (frankly, I don’t remember.)

Well, the lessons to learn are, I guess - it doesn’t really matter whether aliens exist. The three major scenarios are mostly probable - out of which we should fear the first - as our lives are in the hands of other existences (not like we could do much against something that advanced - “Hi, higher species. Are you spying on me while I write this? Oh, well. Goodbye.”) The second scenario would be pretty fun. The third scenario would turn into a failure, as all colonialist regimes eventually did. It would probably be better to help raise races - they would probably treat us as their ‘saviours’/parents and we would be honoured (?) in galactic history. Win-win!

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