When mainstream scientist start utilizing ‘aliens’ as explanations for phenomenon they don’t understand, I have to wonder if we, humanity, have reached a threshold and we are on the verge of a new era. I personally I have frequently turned to aliens and metaphysics to explain mysteries. I know science, I’ve got a pretty solid base of science, a smattering of physics and astronomy, a lot of biology and geology, and a great deal of the ‘soft’ science of sociology and psychology, but I still spin fiction for answers. But when I read some of the science literature, from tech journals to more en vogue ‘nature’ journals, and see threads of ‘aliens’ I get really excited. Yay, I am not alone.
For example, so you know I am not making stuff up, which I already admitted I usually do, but I have been known to misunderstand things, too, and make some tremendous, unwarranted leaps. Take the distant star, KIC 8462852. Yeah, that’s its scientific barcode label. What’s interesting about this star? Well, they’ve been studying it for over four years with the Kepler telescope, and they have noted artifacts that are circling the star. Not uncommon. So far, every star we have scrutinized has ‘artifacts.’ We have not ‘seen’ these artifacts, but measured their existence though the diminishing of light and extrapolated their position and mass based on light and star wobbling and a bunch of other data. Basically, when scientist say there is a planet, it’s 99.9 percent likely it’s a really a planet. KIC 8462852, however, has artifacts that don’t look like planets, don’t look like dust clouds, nor does it resemble any known ‘artifact’ that we can find in our own solar system. Having exhausted all the usual subjects, scientist turned to science fiction and proposed a theory: we’re looking at megalithic structures built by aliens so far advance that they’re in the process of building a Dyson Sphere around their star. Basically, we are measuring shadows and saying ‘aliens!’ Welcome to the modern version of Plato’s cave.
Pretty cool, eh? And before I get to the latest, newest ‘alien proposal,’ here is what interests me. Do you know just how many stars fall within the purview of Kepler’s optic reign? Oh, me neither, but assume it’s some bizarre, ‘astronomically’ high number. (Pun intended.) Okay, what are the odds that this quaint, not even visible to the naked eye, star would get noticed, much less become scrutinized by scientist in the first place. It’s not radio metrically interesting in the least. It’s not even surrounded by other, more remarkable stars. Finding this anomaly at random is like winning the lottery. Either someone had advanced intel, ‘look here, tell us what you see,’ or the evidence for aliens is so pervasive that we’re not going being able to chunk a dart at a star without pinning the tail on someone. Hold that, I’ll come back to it.
Okay, the most recent ‘alien’ explanation deals with Fast Radio Bursts. FRB’s. These are random radio signals, that as of yet have not been pinned down to any one source, and until recently, never repeated in the same place. There a dozen explanations offered, mostly mundane, but are now going alien. One speculative answer is that they’re alien radio communications signals, and the new one is that these are alien lasers pushing solar-sailed vehicles to the stars. I am not making that up. Scientist have suggested we, ourselves, might reach Alpha Centauri using solar sailed ships, with tech available to us today, and they would be powered by laser on earth or the moon. The biggest problem with this project, which is reachable in our life time, is continuity of funding, because so far, few human endeavors have ever gone more than 500 years before imploding, and so what is the likelihood of an endeavor that may take over a thousand years to see its fruits lasting? I mean think of it this this way; the United States of America is an experiment that is barely over two hundred years old and even now we’re worried about its stability and longevity. Europe has architecture from past civilizations that are older than our nation. The castles in London that are still occupied by royalty, older than us!
A while back, a scientist said he found a pocket of alien life here on earth. This was after someone said they found evidence of ancient life in a Mars rock. What was found was a bacterium that had incompatible DNA to the rest of the life on earth. Until that discovery, ‘ALL’ of Earth’s life was known to be coded with DNA, which has four base pairs: Adenine, Thymine, Guanine, and Cytosine. Someone found life, a bacterium, which had swapped out Adenine with Arsenic. As you know, Arsenic is a poison, but at the bottom of this lake, this particular bacterium was quite happy with its Arsenic. Until that discovery, we had speculated that life could be based on silicon, but arsenic wasn’t even in the running! It was heralded as alien in the headlines, but then the headline switched, not alien, just mundane old earth life, and smaller writing, under the head line, like the terms and conditions and warranty termination dates: the definition of life just broadened to include arsenic. In a world where Pluto is no longer a planet due to improved measurements and definitions, I don’t quarrel too much. It is probably terrestrial, a track that’s been around for millions of years, just in isolation, and we just lack the knowledge of all the possible variations that life can take because of the success and predominance of that which we see, but this is definitely life, just “ not as we know it, Captain.”
So, up above, I said I was going to come back to something. Either the powers that be know more than they are letting on and they leaking stuff out in small portions so as to inoculate us to the coming realization that we are not alone, or we are all really caught up in a paradigm that blocks us from seeing the reality that life is more rich in variety and possibilities and so diffused through the Universe that we need new definitions because we can’t see the forest because of the surrounding trees. I can see arguments for both, and maybe it is actually both. I have always been irritated with ‘the powers that be’ equation because that track implies that humanity ‘can’t handle the truth’ and we would all run amok in the streets if scientist announced ‘we are not alone.’ I personally think the ‘powers that be’ don’t give the human race enough credit. I believe more than half us believe there is alien life or spiritual life, to which I don’t make a distinction, and so adapting to the reality there is more is not going to be a hardship.
That said, I was giving that last bit a run in my head. Here is what I came up with. I was born in 1968. By the time I was mid-way into elementary, there was a huge push by the government to switch to metrics, so we could join the world in a common system of measurements. The backlash against ‘forcing’ us to learn metrics nearly resulted in riots in the street, and the social push back resulted in a whole generation of no one mastering either. I have an idea about metrics, thanks to star trek, but I also kind of just muddle through English measurements, having mastered neither. Did you know that one of the Mars satellites that blew up was due to the fact someone failed to convert metrics back into English measurements? No, really. A four hundred million dollar plus mission was destroyed because America failed to master metrics. Kind of weird, right? And so, faced with this evidence, I wonder if the ‘powers that be’ aren’t correct in their stance the people of earth would go crazy if we told them the truth.
We are, as a species, on a threshold. We are at the point where we can’t stand divided. Literally, our world, both the real physical world and our social worlds, our very lives are imperiled by our divisions. I am not the first to say as much. Ghandi, John Lennon from the Beatles, Martin Luther King, oh, just an inexhaustible list, really, but those are my favorites. And with any threshold, there is resistance, because it means change and we are not fond of change. Also, if you read the book, ‘who moved the cheese’ and been inspired by conspiracy, here’s another hard fact: we’ve been sold a bill a goods and we all want to cash in, but quite frankly, 8 billion people are simply not going to have the ideal two car garage picket fenced home with 2.5 kids… Not with today’s technology, but the kind of technology that could make that happen results in mass unemployment, because humans will be made redundant thanks to 3-d printers and replicating tech, and so again, no matter how you chalk it up, our paradigm has to change. Our ideas of work and productivity have to change. In a world where no one is ‘employed’ the moral ethic ‘he who doesn’t work shouldn’t eat’ is not only inapplicable, it is an unethical standard. Contextually, if a person won the lottery, they are given a pass, they won the permanent vacation. The threshold we’re crossing, everyone wins the lottery, or no one does.
United we stand was written into our founding societal documents, but I don’t think anyone ever takes it seriously. People get riled up if you mention any kind of unifying field that even hints at something that sounds like ‘the new world order.’ Every culture on earth has found a way to divide humanity, the haves and the have nots, by our skin color, by our size, by our gender, by our age, by our beliefs. One of the first questions we ask a stranger is “from where do you come?” or “what line of work are you in?” How many of us lead with, “Hi, my name is John, what’s your favorite form of water and why?” (Water comes in lots of forms, water, ice, gas.)
I think all of us feel a change coming. Some of us see the end of a nation. Some of us see war, famine, misery, darkness. Just look at our movies. Even Star Trek, the once utopia has gone into darkness. How many good messages do you hear every day? Just listen to my message: the aliens are coming. (OMG, I know right?!) If we go with Hollywood visions, that might not be so good. But what if it is? What if it’s the Vulcans? That wouldn’t be so bad. But I am not so sure I want aliens, per say. That almost seems too easy an answer, as if I am defaulting to someone else coming and saving us from our own immaturity as a species. But if we, together, realized they are out there, and they are watching, and maybe have been watching, and consequently, we suddenly unified as a species, that wouldn’t be a bad thing. One world order? Well, what other sort of order can there be? We live on one world, and we will live on it or die on it. That’s it.
Are there aliens? I don’t know, but if you ask me what I believe, life is so annoyingly ubiquitous that we have lost sight of what it means to be in harmony with others. In biology class, while discussing organelles, the professor said you could drop these structure in nutrients and as long they had the stuff they need to work, they would function indefinitely. So, my next question was why don’t we live longer, then. Why do you humans have such a short life span and what makes a giant tortoise so special? He explained the telomerase, which is basically a fuse in each cell, that burns like a candle, shortening with every division, and after so many cell divisions, the cell is essentially programmed to die, but, in essence, there is really no limitations, and that tech in our lifetime might double and triple the human life time. (That’s old news, and it’s been on the cover of many of Time Weekly.)
Someone rebelled against that kind of immortality in class, saying that would make life meaningless. People would take it for granted.
I argued, we already take it for granted. Maybe if we lived two or three hundred years we would make better decisions because we would have to face the consequences for our choices, as opposed to passing debt onto our children’s children. What does this have to do with aliens? Well, if there are aliens, or spirits, and they’re watching us, we now have a new measure, better than metrics. For better or worse, we will be judged for how we treat each other, how we treat our planet, and how we treat life on our planet. All those alien destruction movies where we’re the good guys and the aliens are the bad guys, well, in psychological terms, that’s called ‘projection.’