Q & A with a Space Visitor. It Might Go Like This
Seen Any Little Grey Men Lately?
The idea of advanced civilizations coming from distant galaxies to check out Earth is an old topic, and a fun one. I admit one of my guilty pleasures is a TV Series called Ancient Aliens, on the History channel. Yes, I know: History? Aliens? Really? Bear with me a bit.
This is a show populated by people with way too much time on their hands who probably ate way too much sugared cereal as kids and never calmed down. To put it mildly, they have active imaginations. They also seem to specialize in strange sartorial choices and weird haircuts, but I digress. This is my version of looking at a National Enquirer in a grocery checkout line.
But occasionally, they have a theory that makes you think, “Yeah, that seems possible.” Given the vastness of the universe (maybe one of many universes for all we know), it would be silly to think we are it, the only semi-intelligent species out here. It does not seem unreasonable that company has come our way at some point.
Did We Just Have Such a Visitor?
There was much ado about something that sailed through our solar system recently. It was named Oumuamua (pronounced oh MOO-uh MOO-uh), a Hawaiian name (astronomers in Hawaii were the first to see it) meaning “a messenger from afar arriving first.”
No less an authority that Avi Loeb, Chairman of the Harvard Astronomy Department, says this object mostly likely was of alien origin.
Brave guy, Ari. He is taking a ton of heat from his colleagues for this, but he is sticking to his theory. In fact, the condemnation from other scientists reminds me of the church’s condemnation of Galileo for suggesting the Earth was not the center of the universe. Ari’s critics struck me as a bit hysterical.
The object in question, about four football fields in length, passed through our neighborhood in 2017. To the best of our knowledge, it was the first object to originate outside our solar system. It was orders of magnitude brighter than a natural object would have been and it accelerated during transit way faster than could be naturally explained, without any visible means of propulsion.
How fast was it going? How does 196,000 MPH grab you? So, who knows? Maybe we are getting the occasional visitor. One popular joke is that when aliens are passing Earth, they just lock the doors and keep on moving along. That would certainly be understandable.
An Imaginary Visit
All this got me to thinking about having a conversation with a passing alien. I think it would go something like the following.
First, you have to get picked up by an alien spaceship. We all know how to make that happen. Put on a flannel shirt, get a beat up old pickup truck, and drive down some deserted road. Apparently, getting picked up at some point is almost a sure thing. So, in my imaginary scenario, I did that, and they picked me up.
Boy, am I glad to meet you folks. Thanks for the lift.
Our pleasure. We are here, after all, to get to know humans better.
I have to say we have read some discomforting things about these meetings. Let’s just say there are rumors about “probings.” That’s not going to happen here, is it?
Interesting. Just about everyone we pick up asks that same question. What is it with you humans? Anyway, not to worry, we don’t do any of that. There is one other species that does conduct such things, but you would know if it was them immediately. When the ship hovers over you and the portal opens, you hear banjo music. No music, no worries.
Well, clearly you have advanced transportation technology, but are you more advanced than us in all areas? I am a bit skeptical about that.
Actually, we are. Not to brag, but we do know a lot. What would you like to know as proof?
OK, tell me how to properly fold a fitted sheet every time.
We said we were smart, not Gods. Besides, we got rid of things like beds and sheets eons ago. We don’t sleep. We decided sleep takes up way too much time. By eliminating it, we effectively added 30% to our productive lifespan. Besides, some of us were always waking up grumpy and in earlier days we had hair. Who needs a Bed Head?
Hmmm. Speaking of gods, do you have one or more of them you worship?
No, we used to, but we fired them long ago.
What?! How did that happen?
Well, for starters, they were an awful demanding bunch. Secondly, many of us who worked in religion kept mucking around in our politics. Then our politicians started using religion to get their way. In the end, this messed up both politics and religion. Anytime someone tells you God told them something, ask them to put you in touch directly. It’s never a good idea to take their word for it.
So, in the end, we knew something had to give. No civilization can function without politics, so we did away with religion. No one misses religion very much, but there was this one god a lot of us liked. He was really a philosopher – had lots of good ideas. His name was Jesus. In fact, he told us about you – that’s how we found you. He said you were not very nice to him when he was here, so he never came back to visit you.
We’ve noticed you have a lot of religions and gods here, have for centuries. Do they all think everyone else is wrong but them? We suggest your species think about that a little more seriously.
OK, so no sleep and no religion. Anything else we have that you got rid of in your civilization?
Oh sure. One big one would be food. Interesting story, that one. We decided the whole issue of waste and waste disposal was disgusting and that nutrition was inefficient, so we redesigned ourselves to not need food. But, after a while, we brought it back.
Turns out that meals were such an important social element and such a part of our economy, we brought it all back. Besides, it you’ve ever had a great doughnut, you know how sad it would be to say goodbye to that forever.
We are still sorting it out. As an experiment, we left one third of us alone, set up one third to go food free, and transferred one third of us into mechanical android bodies, to see what path was best. It’s a thousand -ear experiment and we are only half way through it, so too soon to tell.
Look, I don’t want to get too personal here, but looking at the bunch of you, its, uh, not obvious what gender each of you is. I don’t notice any of the obvious equipment choices we have. Are you male or female?
Years ago, we figured out how to be both, or more precisely, either. We can change sides anytime. Some stay one or the other for long periods, some change daily. It has its wrinkles, but overall, it works well for us. It certainly made it easier to understand each other. There are costs, though. Our sitcom genre of entertainment died out for lack of raw material.
You have travelled the galaxy and beyond. Do we have anything special here?
Oh, goodness, yes. You are in a back water part of your galaxy – not exactly center stage, you know. But this little planet you have is an extraordinary jewel – it is a rare treasure. You really are lucky in that. You should take better care of it, you know.
You had a fellow named Carl Sagan that wrote about that some years ago. He referred to this Pale Blue Dot. He was right about this gift you. Listen to Carl. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GO5FwsblpT8
Until We Meet Again
Well, this has been fascinating. I have a million more questions to ask, but I need to get home. I hope we meet again.
Oh, sure. It was our pleasure. We surely will meet again. While you were with us, we fit you with an electronic tag so we could keep track of you (sneaky, aren’t we?), as we do with all our guests.
We have a wildly popular TV show back home called Wild Galaxy that is all about your species. People are constantly amazed by your species. “They only have two eyes? They communicate by speaking out loud? They still have Republicans?”
Sometimes you look hopeless to us. Then we remember you invented I Love Lucy, Star Trek, and Game of Thrones. You created Krispy Kreme Doughnuts and wine. We’re pulling for you. Humans have much to offer, if only you don’t destroy yourselves first. Good luck.
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