“One day, we might receive a signal from a planet like this,” Hawking says in the documentary, referring to a potentially habitable alien world known as Gliese 832c. “But we should be wary of answering back. Meeting an advanced civilization could be like Native Americans encountering Columbus. That didn’t turn out so well.” From: Stephen Hawking’s Favorite Places, a new documentary streaming now on the CuriosityStream video service.
Why do we assume aliens are evil?
In some ways it’s hard wired into us. As cave people any unknown species or human could spell trouble. The first time a cave person saw a lion he/she probably became the lion’s dinner. So after a while, a lion was an automatic ‘uh oh, where’s the spear?”
This likely happened over and over again every time a cave person encountered a new species, or humans outside of their own group. Thus to survive, we learned to fear unknown people, places and things. And that made sense back then.
But it hurts us now. Lions and marauders no longer sneak up on most of us in our daily lives. There are those who live in war zones or pockets of cities where their survival is in danger almost daily, and sadly, their being on high alert is warranted. (Though for many I talk to who live in Israel for ex, they choose to exert limits on their fear. They avoid areas which may be dangerous, but don’t dwell on the possibility that a scud missile could crash into their house any day. Because fear sucks the joy, the life out of life. And if they’re choosing to live there, they may as well make peace with the situation.)
But Fear wants to be expressed no matter what. After all it reasons, it has the most important job of all, keeping us alive. And that’s how it hurts us. Fear runs amok, making acceptance difficult if not impossible.
It sees danger in every unknown face we encounter. It blocks us from getting to know each other, from seeing the joy, the peace, and the kindness that exists in most of us.
I prefer to view possible aliens like Neil deGrasse Tyson does.
“In our own civilization we know the consequences of a more advanced culture coming upon a less advanced culture. They get enslaved, they get disease-ridden, and they get put in camps or slaughtered. It disturbs me a bit as an astrophysicist to have we humans portray aliens based on how we know we would treat one another. Rather than on how they might otherwise treat us given our highest and noblest causes. I don’t fear sending out our return address to aliens. Maybe aliens are beyond us in every way, including their capacity to treat one another kindly.”
And I strive to transcend my fear so that my encounters with new humans are bathed in acceptance and kindness rather than fear. (Though I’m batting about 500 at this right now if I’m lucky. )
What tools/skills do you use to be accepting of people you don’t know, or ideas that are different from your own? ( I can always use more tools in my how to be more accepting toolkit!)
Please share your answers by posting your responses in the comments below or on my FB page.
P.S. I now have a private FB group. If you’re not already a member, feel free to join and post your answers there!
FYI: Please share this letter with others you think would enjoy it.
Purple Passion of the Fortnight:
Maybe the first aliens will come from this planet and have purple skin! Oh I’ll be jealous about the skin!
Posted in Acceptance, Self-Acceptance, Thinking Outside The Box by anny with no comments yet.