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Source: The Aberree, Volume 7, Issue 1, April 1960
The only available evidence for "visitors from outer space" has come so far from highly imaginative individuals who wish either to achieve a little notoriety or to promulgate their particular religious theories and ethical concepts. We are told that some of these visitors come from planets of this solar system with the intention of preventing us from blowing up our earth and as a result, disorganizing the whole system. Their advice consists, as it must, of variations on the golden rule. It is doubtful if there are any other living beings in this system.
In the case of visitors from planets revolving about far distant suns, which seems the only possible place of origin, there seems no other reason for their coming than curiosity and scientific research, unless they have a genuine desire to share their attainments with others.
The question which prompted this article is whether such highly-developed beings would regard us as "vermin" and perhaps wish to exterminate us. There seems a certain fear that this could be the case.
We use the word "vermin" to denote certain living things like rats and fleas that are obnoxious to us. It is obvious that there are many members of our society who are much worse than vermin, but we feel that on the whole, we are civilized and kindly. As such, we have decided that as these obnoxious beings are conscious beings like ourselves, they should not be interfered with, unless perhaps they fail to pay their income tax. After all, the conditions of society are such that any of us might have grown up very similar to these dangerous individuals.
There would, of course, be no reason to exterminate us unless the visitors intended to colonize the earth or it became possible for us to travel to their distant system. Even then it is to be hoped that there would be a selective system in our extermination.
The real question is in what respect these terrestrials could be so superior to us. It is assumed that in time we could learn to tolerate one another's differences in appearance and smell and that communication would be established.
Suppose that you and I lived 20 or 30 thousand years ago on this earth and were visited by a race of beings at our present level of development. We should have been self-conscious and our minds would have been something like that of a bright child, preoccupied not with inanimate nature but with men and animals. We should have a language adequate for our needs and could have been fine pictorial artists. Our visitors (at the present level of development) would have many ways of handling the powers of nature, but would lack many direct instincts of the primitives and in addition, would have their memories filled with a lot of useless and dubious philosophic and religious theories. No doubt the primitives would have had a matching set of fears and tabus.
It is doubtful if the ethics of the visitors from today would be better than those of even Cro-Magnon man.
Furthermore, at some early stage of the race's history – and it might have started at the dawn of self-consciousness or true humanity – a remarkable thing happened unsought to many individuals and has continued until today. Not as a result of superior intellect and learning, but rather because of a mysterious inborn tendency to surrender the will and abnegate pride of self, the intermediate self-consciousness of certain individuals was at some time in life replaced by a complete consciousness. This consciousness is one in which the many half-consciousnesses or self-consciousnesses occur somewhat in the manner of dreams, except that the analogy should not be pressed too far.
In this way, some of the primitive men and women might have been far wiser than our most distinguished scientists and philosophers today. This answers the obvious question as to how Jesus and the Buddha, for examples, would be compared to the "advanced" men from the distant solar system. Unless these "advanced" men had gained this insight by true humility, they would be only technologically superior but in wisdom greatly inferior. If they had this wisdom, they would be equal to all those now and previously who also had it, even tho their technology was fantastically superior.
Parenthetically, I might add that most people can acquire this wisdom-insight with the assistance of one who himself or herself has it.
We are involved (as the whole universe has always been and always will be) in what could be called a space-time episode. Our visitors would of course also be involved in this. The only way out (since the wisdom-insight is not enough) is to leave space, time, and existence. We dread to do this, and dread the word expressing our release. The word is "death."
What we fear with the distant visitors is that they should be like us only more so, technologically advanced, ethically backward, especially as for no particular reason, millions of people in various parts of this earth are on the verge of burning and half-burning one another. We have advanced beyond the animal kingdom. We are not vermin.
We are insane humans.
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Also by Alfred Pulyan: Letters from a Zen Master, Or Why You're Still Suffering