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An Outer Space Perspective on the Human Race
Sometimes it takes a different perspective to see what's really going on inside our beautiful blue atmosphere. Earth, viewed from space, is an inspiring sight and it invokes philosophies of the human race hurtling through the void, alone, and all in this thing called life together.
But we live on a planet currently dominated by that most self-centered of species, human beings. One of our favorite past times is to mash each other into pulps of celluloid when we don't agree on something. A few decades ago one group of human beings determined to eradicate another.
If our communications are reaching any listening ears out in space, they'll have heard the hateful rhetoric heaped on one another from points all over the globe. They'll have seen the indifference of one group toward another's plight.
They'd probably respond like this:
Alien #1: Look, that one herd is putting away resources for the future when the herd next to them is dying because they have nothing.
Alien #2: The other herd should have put resources away, too.
Alien #1: But they're all the same, like you and I are the same. Would you let me die if you had the means to help me live?
*** laughs from both at the concept of indifference to a fellow alien's survival ***
There's nothing wrong with nationalism, so far as the world stands today. I imagine the reaction to having one world government with one world language would be accepted by humans in much the same way as the aliens reacted to letting someone of their own species die. It's hard for us humans, at this point in our evolution, to want that.
Cultures have taken thousands of years to become what they are to us - cherished memories. They're a way for us to connect to our past, to show any that may come after that our ancestors lived on this land, and they accomplished much. Love of one's nation is passed onto each child as soon as they can understand what their parents are saying to them. It's no one's fault.
But if people of any nation decide they are going live on this great blue planet and ignore the others of their kind, they aren't thinking ahead. It's wonderful to have pride in one's own homeland. To revel in it's history, good or bad and to worry about its success. To be a part of something that has a definitive past and an uncertain future, all dependent on the people within its boundaries. But to confine one's interest and goodwill to those boundaries is to ignore the ultimate fate of humanity.
The Ultimate Fate of Humanity
Everything in the universe, so far as our technology has determined, has a beginning and an end. For certain, life is finite. We've yet to discover immortal intelligence among the stars or on our own planet. This means humanity has a beginning and end, too.
Each individual human being lives, on average, for a handful of decades. It's perfectly normal to get wrapped up in one's own existence. It's the nature of being an individualistic life form. This makes it hard for anyone to honestly care what happens when they're gone. They might have had big dreams of where human existence will ultimately lead, but the act of living, of taking care of one's own self, is demanding. Soon those dreams fade and it's off to school, work, and everywhere else one must go to lead a reasonably comfortable life. Grand thoughts of events that, in all likelihood, won't effect us have no business occupying our thoughts or actions. Or so it would seem.
The reality is that each individual is part of something much bigger. Bigger even than one's nation. Bigger than their continent, bigger than which of the Earth's hemispheres he or she lives in. We're all a part of the legacy that we each leave behind. Each person a stepping stone that the next generation will use to come to their own conclusions about what it means to be human and what legacy the species will leave behind.
"When you're finally up at the moon looking back on Earth, all those differences and nationalistic traits are pretty well going to blend, and you're going to get a concept that maybe this really is one world and why the hell can't we learn to live together like decent people."
Frank Borman, Apollo 8 Astronaut (Newsweek, 1968).
"The world itself looks cleaner and so much more beautiful. Maybe we can make it that way - the way God intended it to be - by giving everybody that new perspective from out in space."
Roger B. Chaffee, NASA astronaut killed in training for the Apollo 1 mission.
Hurtling Through Space Together
Would everyone working toward the same goals make Earth a better place to live. Who knows? What's a good bet, though, is that it would make the end of humanity far more interesting. The same way it makes a good science fiction story more interesting. A united human race standing against impossible odds.
It might sound corny and far-fetched, but together human beings can accomplish amazing things. Those neighbors, who might seem far away and different from your group, can accomplish anything you can. They're the same. Resistance isn't futile...resist the urge to ignore a fellow human being's plight.
Don't be part of the reason why our ancestors might look back, perhaps at the end of the human story, and wonder why we waited so long to care about each other and the ultimate fate of humanity.