Astronomy

UFO Contact are we Ready



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"UFO Contact are we Ready"
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As J. B. S. Haldane once said (well, he said a version of this, but this version has been attributed to both Haldane and Arthur Stanley Eddington):

"The universe is not only stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine"

In 1960, Dr. Frank Drake devised an equation which, for the first time, attempted to quantify the probability of intelligent life existing elsewhere in our galaxy. This was first discussed during a meeting of scientists from a range of disciplines in Green Bank, West Virginia in 1961. The meeting, called the Green Bank Meeting, is famous for establishing SETI (the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) as a scientific discipline. Drake and his colleagues at the meeting became known as the Order of the Dolphin.

The Drake equation, which is N = R* x fp x ne x fl x fi x fc x L specifies the number of civilizations in our galaxy at a sufficient level of intelligence that communication might be possible. The various parameters were simply a means of providing some order to the various issues that Drake felt needed to be discussed at the meeting, but has since assumed importance as a means of quantifying what had previously been considered an abstract concept. Drake and his colleagues came up with N = 10. As knowledge of our galaxy has improved, the estimates for the parameters have been refined and the current thinking is that N = 2.31 (although what 0.31 of a civilisation would look like is open to debate).

This doesn't sound like much, given that the Milky Way, our galaxy and celestial neighbourhood, is thought to be some 100,000 light years in diameter. It is understood that in the years to come, we may be able to come up with a means of propulsion that could travel at 60 percent of the speed of light. This means that on as yet undeveloped future technology, it would still take about 166,667 years to get from one side of the Milky Way to another, and in that time those 2.31 civilisations may be no longer. Discussions of wormholes and faster than light travel aside, running into one of our intergalactic neighbours is not very likely. Yet if we get our minds around the thought that there are estimated to be some 100 billion galaxies in the universe, the number of intelligent civilisations 'out there' is staggering. Assuming that all other galaxies average the same N as our own, this would mean that at any one time there are hundreds of billions of advanced civilisations in the universe.

Drake and his colleagues essentially answered one of the big unknowns - that there is life out there, that it exists at a level of advancement comparable to our own, and that it is abundant. The question of humanity being unique in the biblical sense was seemingly blown out of the water. Then again, it was always arrogant to think that given the vastness of the cosmos and the sheer number of galaxies, stars and planets, that Earth alone would be the sole repository of life at a sentient level. Drake's equation, while giving a number to the likely civilizations in our backyard alone, also highlighted how isolated we were in the universe. While the probability of intelligent life elsewhere was as close to certain as it was possible to get, the chances of us encountering or engaging in meaningful communication with such a civilization was as good as zero because of the distances involved and technological limitations. In short, we may not be alone, however we may as well be.

Many people are convinced however that we have already been visited by beings from elsewhere in the universe. Not only that, but that beings are continuing to visit the Earth on a regular basis. While the vast majority of UFO sightings have some logical and simple explanation, there are a small number that cannot be explained. The late John E Mack, a former Harvard professor of psychology, interviewed dozens of people who claimed to have been abducted by aliens and there were some common themes and elements that emerged from those encounters which led him to conclude that the abduction experience was very real in the minds of his interviewees and that there was some phenomenon occurring on a global scale that was very profound and more than a touch disturbing.

Mack's research suggested that we are already being contacted. The reactions of those contacted ranged from jubilation to abject horror. Mack did not try to interpret, assuming the abductions were real, what the contacts may mean other than summarising the common themes. Many of those contacted were left with a pervasive view that our relationship with planet Earth is a destructive one and that we needed to mend our ways.

Exactly what ways needed to be mended was often unclear, however it is clear that our wanton consumption of the finite resources of the Earth and the lack of proper recognition of the environmental costs of our actions is beginning to bear fruit. It is just that these are not fruits one would wish to eat - soil salinity, diminishing potable ground water reserves, polluted river systems, declining fish stocks, accelerated species extinction, declining natural resources and now, possibly the worst of the lot, climate change. Our capacity and appetite for environmental devastation appears to go both uncosted and unchecked. While some countries have very good environmental protection laws, many are not very well policed and there are many countries where such laws are non-existent or blatantly disregarded. It does appear that the message is slowly starting to sink in, yet even with science delivering a verdict on the science that is as close to certainty that you can get, the political will to effect change is slow.

Whether this growing environmental awareness is due to the message from our interstellar visitors is unclear. It could well be that the problem has now reached the point where it has become obvious to all but the most self-deluded and can no longer be ignored. But it does prompt the question - if this is the purpose of all the visits to Earth in recent years, why has it been conducted in such a seemingly random and small scale way? Why not do an "Independence Day", park a dozen or so sky obscuring spaceships in orbit around the Earth and declare in no uncertain terms that they are there and that we're destroying the planet?

Thinking about the way that we have dealt with less advanced civilizations on our own planet is one answer. In every instance where a modern civilization has visited the shores of another less advanced civilization, the less advanced one has been either destroyed or reduced to a fraction of its former self. The examples in history are numerous, with just a few in recent times being the treatment of the Australian aborigines by British settlers in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, the demise of Central American cultures in the wake of Spanish expansion in the 15th and 16th centuries, and the collapse of many North American indigenous cultures in the 18th and 19th centuries. Even with the best of intentions, the less advanced civilizations can be decimated through the spread of disease and the introduction of foreign species. Perhaps the reluctance to announce themselves on a more full scale and open basis is borne out of similar concerns.

The other main explanation is that they are at a level of comparative technological and evolutionary advancement so far beyond our own, that we lack the capacity to accept and grasp any such communication or can only communicate at what they would consider a very primitive level. We could be nothing more to them than objects of scientific research. The gulf in communication could be so broad that they don't recognize our attempted communication as such - we're just making noise, like a dog barking or an insect chittering away in foliage. Following on from that, if they have been studying us for as long as we suspect they have, they would be aware of our propensity for violence. Anything that we don't understand is usually greeted with hostility and that such an open and incontrovertible announcement of their existence may prompt a collective response of a magnitude that would result in the destruction of the planet and our extinction. It is not too difficult to imagine every country in the world uniting in an instant to greet such an overt arrival (and threat) by unleashing a hail of nuclear fury.

Other explanations involve more abstract ideas. As we have evolved, our brains have become larger. Continue that evolutionary path a hundred thousand generations into the future and we may be as physiologically different to what we are now as we are to Australopithecus. They could be our evolutionary future and may communicate in ways that negate the need for speech. Many of the subjects of Mack's research reported communication as imagery directly projected into the subject's brain. A kind of telepathy as you will and such a mode of communication would probably not work very well en masse. Another is that these beings come from a parallel dimension and cannot exist in our three dimensional one in the way that we understand and expect. Again, simple mass communication may not be possible.

In conclusion, if the sheer body of unexplained phenomena is anything to go on, we are being visited by beings from another world or dimension and that they are trying to communicate with us on a level that we are struggling to deal with. The communication has common themes, namely that we are not treating our planetary home very well and should desist from doing this. This message is slowly sinking in through a new wave of environmental consciousness and there is hope that perhaps it is not too late to avert tragedy. Whether or not communication is possible on a more overt and universal level could be because:

They are trying the softly-softly approach first, the big stick comes later if we fail to grasp the message; We are not ready to receive such a message, perhaps they are waiting to we reach a collective level or evolutionary stage of awareness; They do not wish to elicit our usual violent reaction to things we do not understand or which are different; or It is not physically possible due to some kind of physical or biological constraint.

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