The prospect of other life existing somewhere out there in the universe is undeniably an interesting one. Does other life exist? Does it want to Skype? Or does it want to harvest our flesh to fuel its industries?
I would take it as a given that the more rational among us might admit that there not being other life out there is pretty unrealistic. With an inconceivable number of stars harboring billions of planets, it would be almost as ridiculous to not find any Starbucks on the high street as for the universe to be barren.
Recent estimates suggest there could be as many as ten billion earth-like planets in our galaxy alone. Factor in the billions of galaxies in the universe, and to suggest that there are any less than billions of other-world civilisations just gagging to rape and pillage us is moronic. As any betting man would tell you, it’s a dead cert.
Certain maverick renegades have even tried to turn this into a formula. The Drake equation is one such (albeit criticised) attempt to guesstimate how many civilisations might exist. Apparently it could be in the millions.
So what are these dudes gonna actually look like?
Seriously though, our expectations when it comes to extra terrestrial life really are quite interesting. For the most part, we yet again take the self-important human belief of expecting them to be, well, pretty similar to us. Because we’re so perfect.
This belief is from the same school that suggests we were the centre of the solar system (false) and designed specially by a god. The design plan for our genitals seems to pretty much amount to building a theme park on top of a sewage plant, so I’m gonna rule out intelligent design.
We are, however, almost entirely generic as a life form. We’re based, unsurprisingly, on carbon, the most productive element, and contain elements in pretty much the same proportion as they exist in the universe. You can tell we’re just another natural part of the universe. It seems reasonable to assume our aliens would at least have similar chemistry.
As for their appearance, you only have to take a look at some of the strange creatures we see on planet earth to see potentially ‘alien’ forms of life. Just think how vastly different to us an ant is, or a fish, or even a chimp. And these animals share ancestors with us.
We share 98% of our DNA with chimps. And yet, even the most intelligent among them can only perform tasks we see as everyday for a 2 year old.
Just this tiny difference in genetics has a massive difference in the real world. Even our closest cousins are far from being anywhere near as intelligent as we.
So think about it, Aliens are going to be vastly different.
If a 2% difference is the difference between Plato and flinging shit for entertainment, then other forms of life are going to be smarter than we can possibly comprehend.
Even fruit flies share 36% of our DNA, and do you we regularly share discourse with them? Do you think they can even comprehend what we are, or how our minds even work?
Heaven help us that we meet a race that is a fruit fly sized step more intelligent than us. Do we seriously imagine they will want to talk to us? Or shall we appear to them as ants, busily working away on our hive planet, slowly eating up its resources until we die out, and another verminous species feasts upon us?
It’s a quite interesting thought.