It’s a topic a lot of “level-headed” people refuse to touch. And if you even graze it for a second you might be considered, well… out there.
In all actuality, the idea that we are not the only planet with life on it has gained significant traction in recent years. Today most people can honestly say “I believe there may be life on other planets” without being charged with heresy or executed, part of the reason I’m happy to have been born in 1981 instead of 1281.
But openly believing in UFO phenomena is a different story, and I’m not just talking about “unidentified flying objects”. Taken literally, UFO can mean anything you see in the sky that an individual cannot identify. Nothing more.
When I refer to UFO in this article, I’m referring to the possibility of consciously controlled objects entering our atmosphere that are not of human origin, perhaps from another galaxy or even farther, in a way that our minds are incapable of measuring at this stage in our evolutionary path.
To those fervently skeptical and ready to dismiss this article as pure lunacy, allow me to point out a few things. Indeed, the majority of UFO sightings have eventually been explained as nothing more than weather balloons, flares, drones, reflections, etc. But there’s a much smaller percentage that remain unexplained, not by laypeople but by pilots (civilian and military), astronomers and even the Pentagon. Governments around the world have released countless reports of UFO sightings by credible sources, as well as footage taken by US Navy pilots on duty.
The Pentagon even created a secret UFO program in 2007, called the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Programme. But they apparently came to the conclusion it wasn’t worth the cost, and it was supposedly shut down in 2012.
The world renown pop science icon Niel Degrasse Tyson (who, incidentally, has passionately disclaimed any notion that we are being visited by alien life forms) once said something that I found most intriguing. He pointed out how humans share about 99% of our DNA with chimps. Yet while we’ve built skyscrapers and sent humans into outer space, chimpanzees’ most sophisticated feat is perhaps their ability to use sticks and stones as tools, or for fun. No more.
That 1% divergence in DNA might mean difference between the ability to hurl a stone at a tree and the ability to walk on the moon.
Imagine if another species on another planet had DNA with only a 1% divergence from ours, but in the opposite direction. Could they achieve things that our rudimentary brains would be unable to comprehend, comparable to us trying to explain the laws of physics to a chimpanzee?
What would these beings be capable of creating? To them, maybe Einstein’s theory of relativity would be as easy as spelling their own name, and traversing the universe would be no more challenging than firing a rocket over a mountain range.
It’s common to refute such possibilities on the grounds that NASA has yet to provide tangible proof of life on other planets. Indeed, NASA has sent numerous shuttles to explore the universe and come back with nothing of significance. But let’s consider how truly vast that universe is. What NASA has accomplished would be akin to Columbus setting sail from Spain in 1492, only to arrive on the coast of neighboring Morocco, where he briefly scans the Sahara desert, sees nobody, and returns to Spain with conclusive evidence that there is no human life beyond southern Europe.
Just today, June 15, 2020, the day I am writing this article, a new study by the University of Nottingham, published in The Astrophysical Journal, has revealed that there could be “over 30 active communicating intelligent civilizations in our home galaxy” alone. Now consider the fact that there are trillions of galaxies in the universe, or more.
If we are indeed being visited by at least one of these civilizations, or others from other galaxies, why do they find us interesting?
And what could they possibly want?
For one, it may be no different from our safari adventures or scuba diving trips or when we hike through a jungle in hopes of seeing those cousins of ours, the chimpanzees. We just want to explore something different and observe the other species with which we share this planet. Just as they may be curious about other species on other planets.
If extraterrestrial beings can make it this far, it’s obvious they are intellectually superior to us. But does that mean they also have a superior moral code? Or might they be as ruthless as medieval crusaders?
Assuming their intellectual superiority equates to some form of moral superiority as well, what would be their impression of us?
How would they interpret our myopic, and relentless, destruction of our own habitat? What do they think of this “intelligent” civilization that despite 300,000 years of evolution, has been unable to relinquish their tribal instincts amidst global crises of their own making, such as climate change and Covid-19 (it is believed infected bats were the first carriers, and are more prone to viral infection as their habitats are destroyed from human activities).
Would they be surprised by how we’ve pulverized the world’s rainforests, provoking the extinction of countless species while breeding billions of additional animals into existence, only to subjugate them to a life of misery before killing them, only because we enjoy the taste of their flesh?
If they’ve been spying on us from the stratosphere, are they perplexed by how, after nearly 200 years of industrial and technological revolutions, we continue to extract the liquified remains of ancient plants and animals, only to burn them to power our homes, cities, and vehicles, even though we are cognizant of how destructive these activities are to our atmosphere and our own health?
Or maybe, just maybe, their intellectual capacity is so high that they view us like we view a worm slithering across the sidewalk, an intriguing site at best, but nothing to make a scandal over, and definitely not worth making an attempt at communication.
Whether or not we are being visited by extraterrestrial beings -or if they are simply sending spaceships via remote control as a form of curious surveillance- it’s plausible to suggest most civilizations, after reaching a certain level of “intelligence”, eventually end up destroying themselves.
Perhaps only those who exceed an intellectual milestone are capable of surviving in the long run, of controlling their instincts, of overcoming their ethnic and racial differences, of uniting to confront any crises that may arise, and of exploring the farthest reaches of the universe.
Perhaps only those superbly intelligent ones are able to fully acknowledge the sentience of other species, and sympathize with their ability to suffer, whether or not they consider them of lower intelligence.
And if they are visiting us, they know we’re not yet part of that club and may very well destroy ourselves before reaching that stage. This would be an indicator that they are neither benevolent nor malevolent, otherwise they would either try to help us or destroy us before we do so on our own accord.
Whoever is out there, if anyone, they have clearly adopted the role of indifferent observers, for whatever reason.
Or perhaps their intentions are as easy to decipher as the ability to hurl a rock at a tree, all we need is that extra 1% in our DNA to get the big picture.
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