Spotlight

Are we alone?

Imagine what it would be like to meet other life forms

Kat Avilla, staff writer

Imagine you’re in a field, all alone. You call out, but no one hears you.

Imagine every human on earth calling out to the stars. How loud would that be?

Would anything hear us?

I’m not asking if there is life beyond our planet or not. I’m just wondering what that it would mean for us, humans, if there is or isn’t.

Humans have been around for 300,000 years. During that time we have departed from being hunter-gatherers to developing Artificial Intelligence. What we’ve done is simply marvelous. The changes society has gone through are great.

But we really have nothing else to compare it too. Normally, humans consider themselves the top dog of Earth. Why not? We’ve domesticated animals, perfected agriculture, and explored oceans and the solar system.

We’ve made steps towards understanding the universe that surrounds us. The universe is big and there are millions of planets and stars out there. There should be planets out there within the right distance from a sun to have liquid water and where that water could pool together.

So far NASA has been able to discover more than 3,200 planets with the right characteristics to support life. But this is in the few small bits of the huge expansive universe we’ve been able to study and observe. If we get lucky, we might discover a planet similar to earth with life soon or maybe in decades with more advanced technology we’ll find those sparkling gems in space.

What would we do when we find life?

How we would engage with the other person? Would we have to redefine the term ‘person’?

It would be a sudden change in outlook on life and the human experience as a whole. What are the differences in our morals to the new being’s? How do they govern themselves? What is their culture like?

I imagine it would be similar to the conquistadors coming to the Americas and meeting the Aztecs, except we don’t know if they’ll look like us.

Hopefully, it won’t be an exact repetition of the Age Of Discovery.

What if they are more advanced than us? What should we do if they are a threat? What if they’re peaceful?

What would they think of us? Would they look down on the way we have set up our societies?

Where the top feed scraps their scraps to the bottom. Push them down. Tear down their spirits and label those seeking change as unruly.

I wonder if it takes something more threatening to make us realize what we’re doing to one another. Or would it be the alternative? What if there’s nothing?

What if we’re it? What if there’s nothing out there in that vast cold empty expanse that is the universe?

If there’s nothing out there, then the end is really the end. What if we kill off all the animals, all the trees, pollute all the water, the air, and darken our skies.

What if we drive one another to the end and all that is left on the world – in the universe is the cold empty silence of nothing but gas and minerals.

In all honesty, either situation is a little scary. We either have company and no one likes to embarrass themselves in front of company or we are all alone in a room on fire.

This is not fine. We have to clean up our act and our home. Not just because we might be expecting company, but for ourselves as well.

It’s our home, regardless if there are others.

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Are we alone?