Thursday, July 22, 2010

UFOs and Understanding

What if UFOs are simply waiting for us to continue beating each other up in wars and pollution before they swoop down while we are weak? By the time they announce that the are taking over and subdue us with their superior technology, we may feel like the Indians, Africans and aboriginal tribes facing the European armies and armadas. It will be a change so radical that it will be difficult for many of us to attend.

That is one scenario. Perhaps the second one is that we continue our space program and eventually we meet the inhabitants of other planets and make friends with them. Perhaps trade is developed and we become aware of the multitude of other ways of living out there. Our adventure opens our eyes.

Isaac Asimov once said that any technology sufficiently beyond our current capability will appear to be magic. We have a magical world here and now. There are even more out there.

We take time to absorb shocks. Those who grew up when every home did not have their own phone, are now using cell phones. Those who had some of the first black and white TVs with their constantly distorting screens and fuzzy reception now have big flat screens at home as good as the ones in theatres.

People can get as much information out of their laptop as they could out of a reference library. Although this is true, going to the library was an experience. Photo processing places, which were a fixture on our landscape, are now not needed. Video rental stores are getting hollowed out due to the success of online sources of movies. CD sales have been free falling as people download onto digital players. Writing letters used to be an art form, something special when it arrived, put in a drawer for reading again and again at later times. Now we email.

All of this has been radical for us. But what if something like creating a crop circle was done with the flick of a light switch? What if we could understand each other using telepathy, bypassing all language blocks and education deficits?

There is more that I cannot see right now, but these seem to be the two predominant scenarios.

But wait, here is a third. What if we enter a stage of evolution where we all become as gods and goddesses in the great stories?

The war scenario has been dominant because war has always figured heavily in our stories. But what now if new stories arise and become dominant where there is some sort of trade and cultural exchange that melds us?

How would we live through a ginormous change like that? Crop circle photos always prompt me with questions like this, as do photos of Stonehenge, Newgrange, the pyramids of Egypt. People are still trying to retell new versions of the ancient myths as a way of digesting them and reconciling them with what we know and our sense of reality.

What happens when we tell new stories? Do we get closer to understanding?

No comments: