Terri's Cellar Door

Stuff that happens to me, Terri.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Fermi Paradox, Where Are They and the Prime Directive

People sometimes think I'm a little nuts. I mean, I come off as a normal person. I'm kinda funny and people respond well to that, but, well, let me give you a little example of what happened when I was at a party:

Some Random Guy (SRG): (laugh) Well, Terri, what do you think, are we alone in the universe?

Me: Oh no, of course not.

SRG: Yeah, and they're here probing everybody and snatching up cows, right?


Me: Seriously. If you think about it. I mean, we exist around the sun, right? So, what are the stars? Every single one of them is a sun. The night sky is filled with an innumerable number of stars, and if only a 1% of them has a planet that's habitable by beings, it's still a huge amount. So, in all those planets, in all those stars, in all those universes; well, there has to be another planet with life on it, even if we haven't found it yet.

*cricket, cricket*

This is where I tend to lose people. I mean, it seems like a logical theory: that out of all the stars in the universe, there must exist a habitable planet where life can exist. I don't think that it's that far off the wall. However, people are reluctant to admit that there might be life on other planets, even if it is presented in a completely believable, and non-crackpot way. Aliens occupy the realm of the Easter Bunny and Santa Clause in the modern mind. One is more likely to run into a fairy or an ogre than an extraterrestrial (or EBE as there are known). I actually have quite an interest with that and EBE encounters. I had my own once actually, seeing a UFO when driving between Winston Salem and Greensboro, NC. I say UFO, with the intention of conveying that I didn't know what the object was. I was driving and thought maybe the sighting was a fluke. Suddenly (about a minute later), my brother said, "You just saw that UFO, right?". I was forced to agree with him, and was left wondering what we had seen. Let me put some things straight right here: Do I believe that on some planet, somewhere, conscious beings exist totally separate from the Planet Earth? Yes. Do I believe that the beings have made contact with humans on this planet? This is where things begin to get a little tricky. I could point out dozens of credible, reliable witness testimonies about abduction and EBE encounters. However, I do like to leave things open for speculation, and don't accept anything at face value. This kind of brings us in a roundabout way to what I wanted to really discuss in the post today. That is the Fermi Paradox. I learned about the Fermi Paradox a while back and it's always puzzled me. basically it states that because the universe is millions of years old, intelligent life (if it exists) should have already been developed. Further, if developed, they have had more than enough time to create faster than light technology. If developed, then they should be able to come to Earth and interact with it's inhabitants in a globally recognized way. The main point is summed up by the question, "Where Are They?". If there are aliens, then they should be here, and we should know about them. But this brings me to the second part of this discussion. In the Star Trek Universe, there's something known as the Prime Directive. The Prime Directive basically states that anyone who has anything to do with Starfleet or the UFoP will not interfere in the processes of beings without faster-than-light travel. This quote by Captain Picard sums it up;

"...The Prime Directive is not just a set of rules; it is a philosophy... and a very correct one. History has proven again and again that whenever mankind interferes with a less developed civilization, no matter how well intentioned that interference may be, the results are invariably disastrous."

I want to take it out of the realm of a fictional tv series, because people tend to brush you off if you say that, but think about the implications. The Prime Directive exists to protect both sides of the issue. The savee can suffer all kinds of harsh effects from the sever interfering. Not the least of which is a complication on either sides of any present conflicts. We (Earthlings) may be simply too backward to be interfered with by any more intelligent life forms. Think about it: we can barely keep ourselves in check here. We have wars, children are starving, and will being able to travel the stars save our species? It is only the hope of trying to fix problems on our own planet can we seek to reach the stars. If there are beings out there who might be willing to interact with us, we are certainly not presenting an interesting partner in communication. The Prime Directive (or more accurately, something like it) may be the reason that we're not seeing an activity out in space. So, it is up to us to seek out life out there, and make it on our own.

"The Prime Directive serves many purposes. Not the least of which is to protect us. It keeps us from allowing our emotions to overrule our judgement."
-Captain Jean-Luc Picard


Blogger Marlewen said...

If I had met you randomly at a party, I would have been right there with you in the discussion. I guess this why we're friends, eh?

Let me point out that the idea of aliens comming to Earth scares the ever-living shit out of me. I mean, seriously, I can't stand to watch the shows that come on about sightings and stuff. Much like my fear of spiders, I blame this fear on a movie my mom made me watch when I was younger. This doesn't stop me from believing the theory that there's just too much space out there for there not to be anyone else out there. It's very arogant to believe otherwise.

And does UFoP stand for United Federation of Planets? Seriously, I'm guessing at that because I don't think it was ever said in the episodes I watched. I mean, I didn't watch a lot, but I've seen at least one season of each series....cept the newest incarnation.

5:48 PM  
Blogger Terri D. said...

I forgot that not everyone in the world is a Trekkie and will know what the UFoP stands for. Corrected. Thanks Marls. lol, Marls and Harls. I just got that.

6:06 PM  
Anonymous Harley Q. said...

lol. Um, exactly. I totally agree with everything your theory says and stands for. I think it's a bit narrow minded to think that we're the only civilization in 456484131248645 universi (universis?). So, what Marls ( :) ) said, that's why we're friends. If people came up to me at parties and talked about this, then I would have a bit more fun at them, even though I'm still socially phobic, but, if we looked past that. Anyway, yeah.


8:15 PM  

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