Will the real intergalactic threat please stand up!
In Hollywood, aliens from outer space are often portrayed as amoral beings with no concern for flora or fauna and whose sole purpose is to pillage and usurp all of Earth’s precious natural resources in order to guarantee their own survival.
Interpretations of aliens like these usually involve a plot to either enslave or wipe out all of humanity whom they see as a trivial infestation sitting on a treasure trove of minerals, gases and other materials worthy of coveting.
Yes, we regularly cast beings from other galaxies as soulless, uncaring creatures who could give a shit about anything other than their own best interests. Or as I like to call them…Republicans.
They have no desire to learn about our rich history or appreciate our artistic talents. With the exception of one stranded Starman who got stuck here by accident and was lucky enough to look like Jeff Bridges, they don’t even want to sample our Dutch Apple Pie. The indignity!
You gotta think they’d fit right in on Capitol Hill.
Now, if I were more qualified to render a psychological opinion, I might say we were guilty of projecting our own personalities just a little bit on those three armed devils we must eventually outsmart using nothing but Morse Code a flare gun and a can of Spam if we are to survive.
Their back story usually involves a history of peace and prosperity followed by some military uprising or biohazard that brought about the demise of their own idyllic planet, forcing them to take to the skies in search of a new home to colonize. Either that or they are auto-bots incapable of compassion and in constant search of more, more, more and our little planet just happened to be around the next corner. In short, Earth is thus reduced to the equivalent of a Circle K on the outer edge of the Milky Way and mankind is nothing more than disposable minimum wage earners.
This prejudiced and as of yet unjustifiable interpretation of extra terrestrials got me to wondering how we might conduct ourselves were we to suddenly figure out how to travel to other planets.
Given that we cannot collectively agree that our own planet is in serious ecological crises and we remain unwilling to do what is really necessary to fix it… Is there any reason to believe we would travel to another planet with rich resources and not pillage and plunder the shit out of it for our own egocentric gain?
Given that we do not treat every member of the human race equally and with dignity and respect, and given that we regularly wipe out large groups of people who do not believe as we do… Is there any reason to believe we would not look to rule another species with no regard for their culture, history or right to survive?
Given that we have teetered on the brink of blowing ourselves to kingdom come because we can’t live in peace, and are allowing big corporations to pollute our waters and lands with complete disregard… Is there any reason to believe at some point we won’t be forced to abandon this planet in search of another to inhabit and control?
If we continue on our current course, I think the answer to all of the above is: No, there is no reason to believe that we would be any different from the nightmarish monsters of those summer blockbuster sci-fi movies.
Fortunately, we do still have time, although it is getting short. Time to realize that we can either become the cliché aliens who don’t give an interstellar crap about anything other than conquest. Or we could be the benevolent ETs who know the Universe, and even our own planet, is vast enough for every kind of being with every kind of belief and every kind of desire.
For the record, I want to be one of the ones that make bicycles fly into the sunset over the ones who make skyscrapers explode.
My hope is that we will reach a tipping point where enough people want the happy ending instead of the tragic back story, so that if and when we land on other planets, it is not with malevolent intent.
If that doesn’t happen and we can’t get out of our own way, the rest of the Universe is probably better off if we never learn the secret to intergalactic travel. Because if we did and we didn’t change our ways, we’d just fuck everything up.