greetings, comrades. i am sorry i havent been posting very frequently. truth be told, i havent had many ideas, and i have been very busy knitting and stuff, which sounds ridiculous, but its true. that being said, i did come up with an excellent post idea last week and i have finally found a moment to sit down and write it. huzzah!!!!!
so, in the current issue of the walrus, which is the only magazine i bother reading, there is a brief article about the SETI (search for extraterrestrial intelligence) Post-Detection Taskgroup. put simply, this is a group of people from various fields (not just astronomers) who are listening away with various technologies in the event that aliens ever contact us, either on purpose or by accident. in the meantime, they come up with possible theories as to why they might be contacting us and what we should do if this ever happens. they also have (apparently rather heated) debates as to whether we should be soliciting alien communication by sending messages out. not surprisingly, this group includes philosophers, theologians, psychologists and even science fiction writers (?) in addition to the scientists.
there are two main schools of thought about why aliens might intentionally contact us. the first is that they are good and highly advanced and seeking greater knowledge of the universe, and the second is that they are evil and have most likely destroyed their own world and are looking for a new place to set up camp. based on these two ideas, the SETI taskforce spends its days trying to predict the behaviour of our alien friends before we ever meet them. both theories are interesting and have their merits, but i would like to introduce a point here that no one seems to have considered, and even if they did, there is really know way of addressing it.
my point is this: it is a fact that we are incapable of concieving of something outside of our own biology. we only have universal truths like "good" and "evil" because those have arisen out of our own experiences as carbon based lifeforms on this here planet. beings from other planets could and probably would have their own universal truths because of the differences in their biology and thus its unlikely that their version of higher consciousness would even be anything akin to the version we all inhabit.
to put it all more simply, go and watch any sci fi you like. every single alien can be related back to some kind of terrestrial creature or creatures. this is because our human brains are limited by our biology and our understanding of the world around us. on our planet, there are a fixed number of elements and strict physical rules as to how those elements interact with one another. what is to say that there isnt an entirely different set of elements and physical rules governing life on other planets? there is really no way of knowing. this seems just as likely to me as anything else, and so i would argue that it really isnt possible for us to try and predict the motives or behaviour of these aliens because our motives and behaviour stem ultimately from our unique set of "universal" truths.
ultimately, though, we have to work within our (probably) limited parameters, because what other choice do we have? regardless, there are a whole pack of people making piles of money to sit around listening to radio silence. right on.