I think I've been a bit preoccupied with violence, of late. Not wanting to call violence into my life, or into being, I thought I might shift the trajectory of my thought somewhat, and comment on a thing that perplexes me.
Some people firmly believe in the immanent presence of aliens. They believe in the presence, in the skies, of mechanical devices that contain beings who did not evolve on Earth. I know at least one man, who is otherwise a fairly grounded being, a good father and an artist, who believes he went through something like an abduction. It is estimated that just about as many Americans believe in aliens in our skies, as believe in God. Despite the fact that this does not square with physics as we currently understand it; no mechanical device is capable of traversing the distance between stars with habitable planets as we understand them, in the lifetime of any living thing with intelligence as we understand it. It is hard enough to fly to Mars, in the relatively cozy confines created by our Sun. If any human made it to Mars alive, and sane enough to pursue scientific objectives, after the six or so years the journey would take, he or she would have to be eminently samurai-like, or unconscious most of the way. Returning alive would be something like a miracle.
To put this in perspective, the star Gliese 581, one of the 100 closest stars to our Sun, only 20.5 light years away, is said to have a potentially habitable planet in orbit around it. The humans who made it there, traveling by conventional means, say about 40,000 mph through interstellar space, would get there in about 3 billion years, in about the same amount of time it has taken life to evolve on Earth. They would have to evolve into some kind of half-silicon, tiny gray egg-headed thing, to still exist by the time they reached that one planet that we thought might be habitable, esp. should it turn out to be more like Europa, or Mars, to endure the bitterness of it. Then again, Mars might actually seem like a kind of paradise, to any being that never knew any reality but the inside of a space ship. Of course too, that planet won't probably exist, 3 billion years from now.
There are Einstein-Rosen bridges, or worm holes - or the speculated such things, which cannot be confirmed for lack of evidence. Theoretical pathways through the fabric of space-time, that would allow mechanical vehicles to travel vast distances in a short period of time. Unless these bridges are fixed in space, and there are pathways within the near reaches of the solar system, or inside it, or it is possible to call them into existence, it is impossible to imagine accessing one. And where would you go, if you knew of one and you entered it? Wouldn't you be opening up the Earth to whatever might exist on the other side, whatever that might be? Would you survive, or would you be pulled apart particle by particle, as in a black hole? Whatever possibilities there might be, no such bridge is known to exist.
There is another idea, which I first encountered in Graham Hancock's Supernatural, that there are no such beings immanent, outside of the vast interior of our consciousness. There is no historical reference to little gray beings from space, prior to 1950's America, when tales of alien abduction began to emerge. The prevailing scientific notion is, alien abduction is hallucinatory, dream induced fantasy. Hancock does not condescend this way. Rather, he assumes that the little gray beings are like emanations of the unconscious, literal beings, appearing to us not as they are but as we are inclined to perceive them. He suggests these same beings appeared to our ancestors as half-men, half animals, or like gods, or like humans, contacting us through dream states, hallucination and trance. Today, we are conditioned to see little gray beings, half-alive, half-machine, by the industrial mechanical nature of the Age, the opening up of the physical universe in our consciousness, and our own modest space travel. And the reports of these aliens and abduction, and their sad semi-lifeless amorality, as the fear that we might become like them. He argued that aliens do not exist in the physical reality of our solar system, but they do exist, as beings in some other kind of dimension, or elsewhere in the universe, using consciousness as the vehicle.
I am inclined to think that life exists wherever conditions are appropriate for it, more a universal rule than the exception. If we continue to explore the solar system, I suspect we will find life in many places, however humble that existence, like the life we have found at the bottom of the sea, or flourishing in arctic waters, or in steaming, molten hydro-vents, where we did not believe life could exist. I'm inclined to think there is abundant life and probably intelligent beings in every galaxy, of which there are hundreds of billions. And if there is any kind of vehicle with which to traverse the universe, it is as likely as not, consciousness.
There are many who believe discloser is imminent. That is, the idea that world leaders have been aware of the terrestrial existence of aliens from other planets, and that there has been some kind of agreement between said leadership and these aliens, that the aliens not reveal themselves for a period of time, perhaps at such time as the world economy is bankrupted and the world is irredeemably polluted. At such time as we are deeply weakened, and can be taken over more easily. Various people are said to be aware of and hastening this end, through various machinations. I see no such awareness in anyone in leadership anywhere. I see only people who believe they are in control, who are mostly fooling themselves.
Mostly, I have convinced myself that there are no aliens in our skies, nor have there ever been, nor will there ever be. If there are such things as Einstein-Rosen bridges, the solar system is as likely to stumble into one, as we are ever to find one in our veritable back yard, that we can traverse at will. It is more likely that if they exist at all we will never really know it, anymore than we can conceive of say, quantum non-locality. In short, we are alone in our corner of the universe, on the only planet we will ever know. So we might as well get used to it, and start treating it like it matters. The whole idea of aliens in our skies, as nothing but an extension of our loneliness, and our desire for a messiah, someone or something to come save us from our predicament.
But just about the time I get smug about it, I think about crop circles. One doesn't have to spend more time looking at images of crop circles than it takes to finish a cup of coffee, to begin to question everything we think we know about anything. I know what people say about them, that they are created by people using wooden boards and rope, which sounds to me like an argument designed to protect one's shell from cracking and one's ego from spilling onto the computer. One discovers on the second cup of coffee, that no supposedly sober person will study crop circles, or even comment, without passing them off as irrelevant. Like hallucinogenic substances, they are off-limits, taboo. Not to be considered, because they cannot be explained rationally, with any understanding that doesn't defy the limits of existence as we know it.
Such is my perplexity made of. But if crop circles aren't created by aliens, then it's a process involving some grand duplicity by humans, who are generally too egotistical a creature not to take credit. Why will the artist not show his/her/itself, and how? It is very mysterious. (I have considered too the idea that the Earth itself is doing it. But that's an idea even more far-out than aliens, and I don't take it very seriously.)
I hear that in Glastonbury, England, where there seem to have been crop circles in abundance, they are expecting the return of Arthur. I want to go there, for the same reason I want to eat mushrooms. Because I am perplexed, and because I can't really know outside of my own experience.
And if there are aliens in the skies, and you are good, why the hell are you being so coy? What the hell is taking so long? What the F are you waiting for?