Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Some thoughts on ET

                                                           Some thoughts on ET

Why am I so fascinated by extraterrestrials possibly inhabiting this Cosmos? What is the appeal? It is surely beyond mere curiosity, scientific or otherwise? I think it strikes at the heart or the root of who we are or think we are, and what humanity’s destiny is going to be. It resonates with the mystery and wonder of being.

We go out of our way (especially with controversial METI) to make contact with these other intelligences but when I think about it, if I had to meet one face to face I’d be scared out of my wits. Think about it. If one were to encounter a ghost, a human spectre, one would be very afraid, one’s hairs would stand on end; you’d either be paralysed unable to move or talk, or you’d run for dear life – recently in Japan a woman seeking a shortcut in a very narrow alley was trapped, she screamed for help; the couple living in the apartment hearing these shrieks abandoned their apartment convinced it had become a haunted home. So my point is how much more afraid would we be if a real alien were standing (on legs?) before us? At least a supernatural ghost or spectre is or was human!

My personal quest for ET hasn’t gone beyond reading and surfing the net. My computer setup is inadequate for citizen science and my time is very precious to me. I sent numerous e-mails to the SETI Institute but to date I have received no reply from them. I inquired about courses etc. I wish them every success but of late I have become a little doubtful of the enterprise. By the way, as a general rule of thumb: don’t send e-mails to people you’ve never met!

For SETI to work it looks increasingly like it may take centuries or even millennia. Do humans have that kind of staying power? Then again a signal may be detected at any time. This is the hope, of course. Speculation is endless with regard to ET. It’s fun but brings us no nearer to making actual contact. Still, new ideas are very welcome. What does one do? It seems likely that the closest any of us is going to get to ET is simply to gaze up at the night sky and wonder. Imagine if you can a sky not too dissimilar from ours but instead of one fairly large pockmarked whitish orb there are 2 or more of them suspended ethereally, gravitationally; or perhaps you’re the moon and the sky is dominated by a ringed gas giant not unlike Saturn. Wow stuff, hey!

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