Saturday, April 21, 2012
So SRA seemed suspicious right from the start, an arrogant upstart organisation which made up its own names for colors. The system also allowed you to work in only one color at a time - damn fascists.
On the plus side, it was free reading allowed during class time, and one got to choose which selections to read and which to skip within color. Provided you tested on to the next color before exhausting the possibilities, that is. Otherwise, I suppose you got stuck reading girl stuff at the end.
It may have been my first exposure to speculative reasoning. Most vividly, I remember an article (aqua, perhaps) explaining why creatures from other planets were unlikely to have six eyes or six arms; why they would not be giant-size or teensy. Looking back, I can see enormous failure of imagination on the part of the author, who essentially concluded that aliens would look something like us. I liked this whole process, however. A topic where no one knew the answer, but we might figure out which answers were possible or likely, versus impossible or unlikely.
In popular culture contact with aliens follows two forms (the SF writers have provided more variety if you dip into that): either we are meeting space others for the first time and so are they, or the universe has got lots of sentient creatures, among which earthlings figure prominently. That's because these make for better stories. These concepts have been around for quite awhile, and the narratives were already in place before we started thinking about intelligence elsewhere in the universe. The first bears similarity to folk tales of meeting with dwarves or the spirits of trees; the second is like the animal tales, where the human characters are the powerful, dominant ones..
That's ridiculous. Unless God designed some specific lower number of intelligences in the universe for unfathomable reasons of his own, the universe is either generally supportive of complex development sucking energy from a source - in which case there are thousands - or it's not, in which case we're it, by wild chance. There isn't going to be just one or two others. Preposterous.
Thus when they find us, they will be blase, and slightly annoyed at our childish wonder and questions. Then they will eat us and take all the earth's ammonia. Glad I could clear that up for you.
Posted by Assistant Village Idiot at 12:03 PM