IS ANYONE WATCHING FROM ABOVE?
by Whit Gibbons
May 22, 2005
Trek,” that long-running series about the adventures of the Starship
Enterprise, is over, but people’s fascination with the possibility
of extraterrestrial life continues. Learning how alien creatures survive
in heretofore unheard of environments would be the ultimate instructive
experience. Beyond Earth’s shroud of oxygen and hydrogen, yet-unimagined
adventures and discoveries unquestionably await us, but what if we are
already being watched by extraterrestrials? Imagine a conversation between
two beings who are scientists and belong to a culture that is technologically
eons ahead of us.
is your research going? We have plenty of time left for your study of
fear the study is nearly over, although I have been observing for only
100 million of their years, which equals only a few hours of ours. My
study species may terminate the experiment. I have observed its social
behavior, ecology, and genetics. Because of its uncontrolled population
growth rate and environmentally destructive nature, the end seems near.
Watch the space-time display panel.
you see, these are the strangest creatures we have observed on any planet.
They destroy all life around them, despite their considerable intellectual
abilities. They seem oblivious that their behavior is self-destructive."
behavior indeed. What is their origin?"
these short segments of their history on the video-data screen using their
time scale. They arose as an identifiable species in a region they call
Africa. They became prominent in what they now call the Middle East and
Asia, whereupon they began destroying the forests and the animals that
lived in them."
in every time frame they fight among themselves."
Observe that, like all organisms, they colonize new areas. Here they are
moving into a region called Europe. The particular invasion you see here
in 1066 of this small island called England is meaningful politically.
But major changes began after the 1400s as they moved to the continent
across the large body of water known as the Atlantic."
your data show that the continent had already been colonized several centuries
but the first colonists lived mostly in small isolated bands, and they
had no technology.”
"What are those large animals, and why are the bipeds killing them?
Oh, I see, the screen says the large animals are `buffalo.' But why are
most of those doing the killing not eating the meat or using their pelts?"
is one of the mysteries about this species. No other creatures on this
planet engage in such widespread destruction. Notice that during the next
500 years the invaders completely conquered the new land and eliminated
most of the early inhabitants. Watch also how they continue to cut down
forests although they have already cleared all the land they need for
agricultural crops or towns. Sometimes the reason for destroying forests
yes. Look at those big trees in North America and in this region displayed
as `the tropics.' Why do they not preserve some of those areas? This could
well be the last generation of their species to see a jungle or forest
with giant trees."
of them see the importance of preserving their native wildlife and vegetation,
but others seem much more shortsighted."
is the most peculiar behavior we have observed in this galaxy. I see why
you think the experiment is almost over."
have some hope. Notice the last few frames in which the species came close
to annihilating itself with nuclear bombs. They managed to overcome that
threat, and the global danger has lessened, although paranoia runs high
about attempts to reinstate this form of destruction. They are able to
overcome major challenges and accomplish whatever they set out to do,
but they often rely too heavily on technology.
fact, before lunch we had to reposition our observation post because they
were flying to the satellite they call `the moon.' To survive they must
overcome the threats they impose on their own environment, the very planet
they live on. I like this species, and they are capable of reversing the
current trend toward self-destruction. We'll know before our dinnertime
if they can do it."
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