“Two possibilities exist: either we are alone in the Universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying.” ~~~Arthur C. Clarke
Was Clarke on to something? Or had he written too much science fiction?
Stephen Hawking agrees, at least in part, with Clarke's contention that extraterrestrial life may be a horrifying possibility as we have no guarantee of their benevolence OR even of their capacity to recognize human life on Earth as intelligent and meaningful life.
I am not sure I understand.
So, to the point of this forum: Is the idea of extra-terrestrial life a welcome idea, a terrifying idea, both, neither, something in between?
If you have fear of the unknown, it is a flaw you need to work on. You need a reason to fear something in the first place.
Clarke and Hawking do not point to fear of the unknown.
Each points to the history of encounter and suggests that for less technologically advanced societies encounter can, and does, often result in annihilation. One has only to engage in only a superficial study of encounter in the Americas to understand what concerns Clarke and Hawking.
Well, Clarke at least OBVIOUSLY has fear of the unknown, wouldn't you say? I don't necessarily respect the opinion of a mouse.
If I KNEW or suspected the aliens were hostile, I would be afraid. I would be leary if I didn't know their intentions, or until I was sure of what their intentions were.
First, we all have to remember that our little blue marble is in the back end of the back water corner of the Universe. Amy life that beyond our own solar system is going to be sooo much older than us. After all, the center of the Milky Way Galaxy is still a wee youngling compared to parts of the universe that are closer to the origin of the Big Bang.
Now, all that being said. Any vastly intelligent life will most likely originate from closer in to the B.B. origin. The tech that would be needed to travel such great distances would simply have to be so advanced that I can think of no reason why they would even bother to use our marble as a rest stop on the side of the intergalactic highway.
Now on the other side of the argument, assuming that intelligent life originated near the center of the Milky Way( and they somehow survived that stew pot) the tech they'd need to travel to Sol Subburbia would not need to nearly as advanced as if from the near center of B.B. I'm a firm believer that if your a true explorer that you would not be a conquer. I don't think we'd need have much worry about who or what they might or might not do. Biggest worry I see is infectious diseases or something(like what Europeans did to Native Americans upon first discovering America). I honestly fear what we as "humanity" would do to them in search for advanced tech/understanding.
Thank you very much for your thoughts!
I tend to agree that explorers---particularly intelligent explorers capable of traveling the galaxy or perhaps even the universe, would be benevolent or at least interested in learning something of the places they explore.
I too worry about the pathogenic complications of contact, as as you note, of human conduct toward intelligent life that might approach earth.
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