Humanity and Beyond

Stacie Adams writes on Smirking Chimp:
Rocketship X-M

A week or two ago the internets were ablaze with the news that not only did famed physicist Stephen Hawking appear to believe in the existence of life on other planets, but he was also of the mind that we should avoid them at all costs, because in his opinion they would be of the face sucking, giant lizard variety.

Many expressed dismay at his sentiment, but it’s really not that fantastic. Hawking’s theory is that if the universe is infinite, it would make sense mathematically for there to be other life forms in existence at various stages of development. His second point really isn’t that bold either. Why do we, in our limited knowledge, assume that advancement entails humanity?

Look at our species. As we advance, are we becoming more or less humane? And look at our history. We happen upon a new land, and what do we do with the native inhabitants? Do we allow them to live peacefully, or do we pull out everything in our arsenal and utterly fuck up their day until they are just a stain on history? Why should other life behave any differently?

The farther we go, the less human we become. Many people wish to relegate horrible atrocities to the past, but the truth is these things never stopped…

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  • tony

    The universe infinte??? NO! It is well established that it is finite.

    • empty

      Haha!

    • J.C.

      I know, right? Geez, these people will never believe us, no matter how many times we tell them its only 6000 years old

  • GWF Hegel

    “Look at our species. As we advance, are we becoming more or less humane? And look at our history. We happen upon a new land, and what do we do with the native inhabitants? Do we allow them to live peacefully, or do we pull out everything in our arsenal and utterly fuck up their day until they are just a stain on history? Why should other life behave any differently?”

    It is difficult to know where to begin with this flawed thinking. We act the way we do because of the way our affairs are arranged. Peoples who have had different ways of satisfying their basic needs and different ways of life behave differently when they encounter other lands and peoples. In the modern world, all of our affairs are interlinked by a single global economic system, which requires constant expansion and new raw materials. If the aliens operate in such a system, then – if space and resources on Earth mean anything to them at all – we will no doubt forcibly be integrated into it in one way or another, or possibly exterminated. The hope is that they will have safely extracted themselves from such a system. Star Trek is not the only imagining of a world in which technological advances or other cause have decimated the modern economic order, so that wage slavery has been eliminated and the character of resource requirements have changed, making room again for the flourishing of priorities and values outside of economic rationality. That is why aliens may behave differently from humans-under-capitalism.

  • J.C.

    I know, right? Geez, these people will never believe us, no matter how many times we tell them its only 6000 years old

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