Movies, television, books, comics, and every other type of conceivable media has had an obsession with extraterrestrial life, UFO’s, and all interconnected subject matter for ages. There’s some people that even go so far as to say that ancient peoples have had UFO sightings and encounters with aliens from other worlds (see Ancient Aliens). Some authors and presenters have dedicated their entire lives to study of this subject. The big event that spawned the majority of of our modern pop-culture surrounding this was the Roswell incident back in 1947. Shortly after that, it seemed as though everybody was being abducted by aliens and seeing flying saucers soaring through the skies.
I enjoy a good sci-fi movie, but I’m not convinced that the entire matter is anything more than science fiction. I tend to think that our obsession with aliens and finding life elsewhere is simply part of the human condition. In attempts to validate our own existence we have a need to find other beings existing elsewhere to prove that there is something more to life than what we all know and experience here on Earth. It’s part romanticism, part fear, and a whole lot of hope.
For Christians, I would suppose that if there were to be life found elsewhere that it would potentially destroy their entire faith. Finding out that their god is not the only god or perhaps realizing that there is no god and that everything is occurring by chance may allow them to break free from their stifling shackles and start to live and experience life rather than mindless pursuit and prayer of that which does not exist. Or perhaps it would give them some sort of validation that their mysterious god works in mysterious ways? It’s hard to say when dealing with such an open ended subject.
I’ve never had a true sighting or encounter with anything that I would dub otherwordly, by any means. The closest thing that I experienced happened when I was very young. My sister and I were riding in the mountains with our father. He had this nice Jeep. Back then, it was fairly common for folks to head out into the mountains around dusk, armed with a spotlight, and creep slowly down the road shining the spotlight out the window in hopes of seeing wildlife. It wasn’t out of the ordinary to see dozens and dozens of whitetail each night. You could come across the occasional bear, raccoon, possum, and so forth. On this one particular night, we were with our father and one of his brothers riding across a ridge. The ridge is still accessible today, but you can only travel part way as the one descending section of road is closed permanently due to downed trees and rockslides (I found this out the hard way many years later).
As we made our way across the ridge, someone saw this light in the sky. Further, they noticed that the light was moving almost in parallel with our vehicle. Dad stopped. The light stopped. His brother pointed the spotlight out the window and flashed the beam a few times. Much to our surprise, the light responded by flashing back and equal number of times. Dad drove forward a bit and the light followed. He put it in reverse, the light followed once again. His brother tried the light again, and it responded.
I’m not sure what happened after that, beyond the fact that we left and went home. I was too young to appreciate any grand ‘awe’ factor that would have been present had I been aware of things like aliens and UFO’s. Back then, I just wanted to seem some deer. The memory has stayed with me ever since. I can’t explain it away easily, only recount what we observed. It was a bright light that had no accompanying sounds and moved freely, plus possessed enough intelligence to respond to our light. Had I known what I know now, I’m sure I would have been trying to prove or debunk the light to some degree.
I have appreciated some interesting skyward phenomenon over the years. One of my favorite events was a meteor shower back in 2001 at my buddy’s house. We smoked a lot of weed, drank a lot of beer, and watched a spectacular light show. In 2004, I got to see the Northern Lights for the first time. Being in Pennsylvania, getting a chance to see them was simply amazing. It was in October. Initially it started off as just a reddish colored blob in the sky that changed shape. As the night progressed it turned into this shooting beams of light that came from behind a mountain and shot across the sky. It was really something. I stayed up late until my girlfriend got off work around 2:00 AM to take her out to my place to try and see them. Of course, by then the show was over.
There’s certainly an entire system that exists beyond the scope of our immediate world. The Voyager I space exploration vessel has recently departed our solar system and is travelling in outer space. The fact that the thing was build 36 years ago and is still beaming back data is fantastic. But in all that traveling, it hasn’t yet beamed back any sort of proof that there life beyond this.
The scientists have no way to rationalize or quantify space and often refer to it as infinite. We lack the ability to properly measure the exact expanse. They say that it’s always expanding, growing, and some may argue that it is ‘alive’, to a degree. Obviously, the immeasurable nature of space can lead people to try and create theories as to what’s out there, why it’s out there, and try to chalk it all up to some grand design by some god. For me, it’s impossible to see all of the various facets of living organisms on this planet, the existence of other planets, all the asteroids, other planets, and everything else out there and believe that it was intelligently created by some architect. It’s impossible. Everything is truly random.
Would I like to find that there is life elsewhere? Absolutely. It would not change me in any way. My view on life would not be swayed. Just because there is life elsewhere does not mean that my immediate existence has to be altered. Life would continue to move on here just as it as forever. People will be born and others will find death; nothing can change that. There is no immortality. There is no heaven hiding up there in the sky waiting for some great ascension upon death. We are only but a mere instant. We are a blink in time. The universe does not care about us, whether we live, die, get cancer, or lose a loved one. It is indifferent to us. There is nobody ‘up there’ piloting this ship.
If other people do exist, that’s great. I would love have sex with a space girl! But I also realize that improbability is quite high, even if I did find Douglas Adams to be a fine author.