Friday, March 28, 2014

Extraterrestrial Exterminators

One great aspect of the human race is that we are, in general, naturally curious beings. This curiosity is apparent in discussions of space not only today, but also seemingly as far back into our history as written records allow us to look. We have always been intrigued by the seemingly endless possibilities that lie in space, especially the possibility of extraterrestrial life. As we develop technology that makes space travel increasingly possible, the purely philosophical debates of extraterrestrial existence have taken on aspects of possibility and practicality. So the question becomes, if we are capable of seeking out extraterrestrial life, should we?

This is a very tough question to answer, as there are innumerable arguments both for and against this type of space exploration. I recognize that the traditional oppositions to space exploration (cost and danger among others) are valid and require answering to. However, my main concern with seeking out extraterrestrial life right now is that I simply don’t believe that the human race is ready for contact with another species. I hold this view based purely on historical events as well as the current state of world affairs. As a species, we seem to be physically incapable of getting along with each other. This fact is apparent in our endless history of war, genocide, and simple lack of harmony in our interpersonal as well as international relationships. People like to believe that humans nowadays are more advanced and mature than our ancestors. I disagree. How is a species that only 70 years ago attempted to completely exterminate an “inferior” community of people in any way mature? The answer is that we are not. Because of this lack of maturity I don’t believe that we are ready to be in contact with extraterrestrial beings. If we cannot even get along amongst ourselves, there is no way that we can be expected to get along with a completely alien species. Who is to say that, if this extraterrestrial species is considered to be “inferior” to us, we will not become the exterminators in the interest of our own personal benefit?

Despite my extreme pessimism about the current state of the human race, I do remain highly optimistic about the future. I strongly believe that the day will come when our race will become enlightened and our violent ways will all but come to an end. When that day comes, we will be ready for extraterrestrial contact, and I hope that that contact will be achieved. However, I don’t see that day of enlightenment coming any time soon. Despite my earlier rant on our current immaturity, I do believe that we should be engaging in space exploration. Even though we are only just now scratching the surface of space travel, what we do now will set the fundamental foundations for all future space travel. By setting these foundations, our species will hopefully have the technology and capability of contacting extraterrestrials when that day of enlightenment comes. We need to act as the brave trailblazers that set out into an unknown frontier now so that future generations will be able to more thoroughly explore space. My only hope is that by the time that our technology is advanced enough to come into contact with extraterrestrials, that we are mature enough as a species to handle that contact.
Tristan Lockwood