Imagine we are not alone in the universe. It is not that hard to imagine! In my own humble opinion it is a lot harder to imagine that we are alone than that we are not. Now imagine we are not alone and imagine you are one of them. One of the aliens, living somewhere else in the universe, waking up every day looking at a different sun and every night at a different moon. Hell, maybe even several different moons. The sky may be blue where you live and it might be any other color, because it's all a matter of atmospheric reflection and whatever gasses are in your atmosphere will paint your sky a certain color. Imagine the oceans and mountains and forests and desserts, the snow and the rain and lots of sunshine in the summer, however all of that has come into existance on your planet.
Imagine all that. It is not that difficult. You have seen it in movies.
Now imagine that this civilization started about a million years before ours. It is actually not unlikely at all. In the scope of billions and billions of years, since creation of the universe, it is merely a couple of days before ours. But still a million years by our measurement. Imagine it is a peaceful place. Imagine what your friends look like, what the food tastes like. Imagine what the countryside and the cities look like, what they smell like and what they feel like when they are the most vibrant and alive. And now, remember the development of the past 100 years on earth. Remember how trains came, cars, planes, satellites, space stations, radio and television, Internet. How we started to care about human rights, animal rights and the environment. In about a 100 years. Now imagine this place you call home being a million years older. Imagine how advanced it is! Imagine that you took all the good things we've learned in the past 100 years and made them 10000-times better. Imagine human rights, animal rights and worrying about the environment no longer being issues, because the civilization is so advanced that these are only funny memories passed on by consciousness from a long gone epoch of your evolution. Like thinking of the dinosaurs. Imagine how the population is adjusted to the space, how intelligent and very well mannered and ethically well programmed machines take care of business and produce the necessities all based on organic or environmentally correct principles. Pollution is not an issue because you have found fuels that go even beyond our imagination. Imagine how harmony flourish and the energy flows and how it speeds up the evolution of the consciousness and you do the right thing every time because the wrong thing doesn't even come to mind. Imagine how there are no drugs, no alcohol and no cigarettes because there would no longer be anything to run away from. You share because you are a part of the civilization and without the civilization you would be nothing. Ok, maybe I used a little bit too much paint on that picture. At least imagine that this civilization is very advanced and that they have taken some of our ideals to new levels. This is your home, you are happy, your family is happy and your friends are happy. You actually really like this place. Fill in the blanks and apply any part of the richly painted picture as you like and rest with that thought for a minute.
Your civilization is discovering the galaxy, because the nearby solar system has been explored long ago. And one day you find something! You find another civilization, or at least the signs of another civilization. First you pick up very simple radio signals and you locate them to a planet in another solar system. But the signals you receive are based on technology so old that you find it hard to interpret them and the interpretation reveals a lack of understanding and ideas your civilization rejected as nonsense 900.000 years ago. And they don't respond to the signals you send back, at all, probably because they don't understand them. You move in close and watch them at a distance, monitor their radio wave based communication to figure out how to communicate with them. Quickly you learn that they are so inferior that you will most likely never be able to communicate with them at all. That they will not be able to apply your understanding for many, many years to come. Their tendency to abuse any source of knowledge will destroy them if you offer them your wisdom. And they have nothing but regress to offer your civilization.
So what do you do? They don't have anything worth offering and any offering you have is like to be abused and cause death and destruction? You could destroy them in a second but why even bother. Their planet is tortured and mishandled and you are not looking for a new home ... just new company, new ideas and understanding and maybe an answer to the big question. Surely you won't find it here.
Most likely you would just leave them alone. Look in on them once in a while just to see how they are doing. Maybe even take some samples to keep track of their progress hoping that one day you will be able to find a common ground on which you'd be able to grow together in harmony. Maybe you'd blow up a colliding meteor now and then just to protect them, make it look natural, just keeping them out of trouble they can't handle without interfering too much. Maybe you'd even send down some observers in an attempt to affect them in a positive way. Maybe you would try several times, adjusting your attempts every time for better result. And lets throw a few thoughts in the direction of Jesus at this point, just for the fun of it. And let's leave it at that.
But very likely you would leave them alone. Like you leave the beggar in the street, like you throw him a penny when you pass but don't take too much interest because he has nothing interesting to offer you anyway and he is probably to much trouble to bring home. And you forget about him when you have passed. You don't want to see him lying there dying but what can you do anyway. He doesn't understand your world. Maybe one day he'll realize that there are other ways but it is no good offering all you wisdom or money to him.
And then you are back on Earth. I don't have to paint the picture
because you already know it and with a little luck you actually like it.
Think of your family and friends, the forests and the mountains, the
countryside and the cities and the place where you grew up. And call it
Sit down on your favorite bench in your favorite park and think about the possibility that we are not alone. That there is
someone out there a thousand times smarter than us. What would you want
them to do? Would you want them to share their wealth and wisdom? Would you want to understand or would you just want to be
left alone with the ideas you already have?
And what if they were just slightly more advance than you?
How do you feel?
How do you think the beggar feels?