Wednesday, October 26, 2005

What if We're All There Is?

I've been reading a lot of science fiction lately, but stay with me on this.

What if we're it? What if the creatures of Earth are the only living things in the universe? Authors and scientists long have fantasized that we are not, but we have yet to find any proof otherwise. I think.

Given time, we will use up the Earth's resources. Humans and other creatures on our planet will fade from existence. We just happen to be doing a lot of things to speed up that process, so that humans might be gone much sooner than the rest.

Now, many would like to think that there is life out there, somewhere, and some folks even like to think there are intelligent life forms. The problem they see is that we're just too far away from them for our current space travel methods to bring us together.

I'm not so sure that's a problem.

Don't we have enough awe and wonder here on Earth? I guess exploration is just in our nature. Aren't there former civilizations on Earth who wish they had never seen an explorer, and who did everything in their power to stop them from invading their territory?

Do we explore to find signs of life? Do we explore so that we will have a place to settle when Earth is no longer habitable? Can we maybe try to put that need off a little longer?

It seems the attitude of too many people is, "As long as I get what I want while I'm on this rock, I'm happy."

Would it make people feel any differently if they knew Earth was the only host to life? The only host to intelligent life?

We might be unique in this dark expanse. There might be nobody else.


Simon said...

I know I'd feel a LOT lonelier were I to find out that we indeed were completely alone in this universe. It's just too incomprehensibly vast for me to fathom that as a possibility.

I'd love to see, or even be part of (yeah, right), interstellar exploration. I'd also prefer to see that performed from a human desire rather than need.

Mark said...


"It's just too incomprehensibly vast for me to fathom that as a possibility."

That's exactly the feeling it gives me. I just hope that if we do find someone else, 1) they're friendly, and 2) we don't wipe them out just because they have something we want or because they have cultural beliefs we don't understand. (i.e. Native Americans, Jews, etc.)

That is, if they don't decide to do number 2 on us first. Wait, that was a poor choice of words. Funny, though, so I'm leaving it.

Lilaena said...

Great post - and a great question!

If we're all there is, that makes Earth pretty damn unique, don't you think? Mind blowing to think about. :)

Jim said...

I'm not sure which is worse: knowing that there might be nothing out there, or the idea that the universe may be literally teeming with life, and yet we may never know it. I mean, not just in our lifetime, but ever. Our little rock may fade away into lifelessness and nothing that ever inhabits it will find out, nor will anything out there find us.

Interstellar travel may be physically impossible, not just with our technological potential, but with any technology. (I ain't sayin it is impossible, mind you ... just that it might be!)

Imagine ... millions of inhabited islands in the universe ... and all of us unable to travel beyond the first breaker!

Mark said...

As usual, Jim brings up a great point. That is a mind-boggling thought -- that there might be many other intelligent life forms, but we'll never make contact.

Are there others who have contacted each other? If so, then how has that worked out for them?

The postulations of science fiction authors might be as close as we'll get to knowing.