I Want to Believe

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I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of life on other planets. Growing up watching the X-Files, I think there is a generation of us who became mildly obsessed with the idea of extraterrestrial life. I don’t even know what I’d say my feelings on the issue are for certain. I have a lot of hope that there is intelligent life out there, but I’m also programmed to be afraid of what it could mean for us if there is. I have a deep seated fear that I’d be the girl on the rooftop of the hotel in Independence Day holding a “WELCOME” sign who got vaporized into blue dust. There’s also the whole element of government cover ups and secrecy that the idea of aliens invokes. I hate to think about what the powers that run this globe are capable of on their own, much less when you add in interstellar powers.

Even with my mixed emotions, what’s always fascinated me about the search for extraterrestrial life is the idea that there is no logical way aliens don’t exist, yet it’s still such a fringe thing to believe in. The formal version of this question is known as the Fermi Paradox, which essentially asks, if it’s so easy to conclude that we’re not alone, then why is it so hard to prove? The vastness of space and time are incomprehensible to us, and to think that we’re the only living species in multiple dimensions and universes of untold proportions is just ludicrous, yet the existence of other worldly species is not something we can “prove,” at least not in an indisputable way. We do have plenty of evidence of people experiencing things that defy logical explanation, yet we’re far from a general consensus that extraterrestrial life forms exist.

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One thing I think contributes to widespread disbelief is the primitive part of our brains that would implode with the weight of such a big revelation. We tend not to believe new ideas that are big and vast until there is a general consensus telling us that it’s ok to believe it (i.e. the world is flat, the earth is the center of the universe, etc.). I think the fragility of the human ego also makes it easy to dismiss or debunk stories that prove we might not be top dog of the whole universe. Believing that we are the sole intelligent life form gives us a sense of empowerment, which I think is why so many movies and shows about aliens are dystopian in nature. I think we’d be more open to believing if we weren’t so afraid.

I was recently exposed to an interesting idea that got me thinking about answers to the Fermi Paradox. On the Gulf Breeze episodes of Last Podcast on the Left, Henry Zebrowski discusses the idea of aliens being inter-dimensional versus interplanetary in nature, which might help explain why it’s so hard to gather proof they exist. If aliens are communicating with us from other dimensions instead of physically hopping in space ships and flying to our planet, it would explain why they are so hard to capture and why we haven’t found more ships, debris, or physical evidence of their visits. Also, if you consider how challenging cross-cultural communication is between different human groups, especially factoring in language barriers, it seems almost impossible that we’d be getting clear messages from every extraterrestrial encounter that occurs. It actually seems more likely that many encounters would be garbled messes that don’t seem to make logical sense and are thus so easy to “debunk.”

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In any case, I’m glad there are people out there making credible cases of extraterrestrial life and keeping the topic alive for those of us who are endlessly fascinated by it. The Netflix documentary Unacknowledged with Dr. Steven Greer is one of the most interesting accounts of alien stories I’ve ever seen. I think I need to watch it a few more times to let everything soak in. Dr. Greer’s organization has compiled data, testimonies, and evidence of extraterrestrial life spanning as far back as the 1940’s. He also advances the theory that alien encounters started to dramatically increase around the time that humans developed weapons of mass destruction. It makes perfect sense to me that detonating nuclear weapons would send some sort of shock wave through space that would make other civilizations want to check in on us and make sure we weren’t endangering more than just ourselves.

Until we have a different mindset about it, I don’t see humanity embracing extraterrestrial life anytime soon, but I will never understand how people are so quick to dismiss the notion entirely. To me, it just seems more logical. I understand the fear that gets in the way, though. I hope that whatever encounters we have with aliens are peaceful on both sides because it would be so disappointing to finally have accepted proof of their existence only to launch into an interplanetary war. If anything, I hope alien civilizations can teach us things we need to know, like how to multiply resources instead of killing each other over them or how to help our planet thrive instead of killing it. Until we know more, I’ll keep on scanning the night sky hoping to see something out of the ordinary, and maybe I’ll even join MUFAN for some mutual support from others who are honest enough to say they want to believe!

Reflections

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