There’s an old sarcastic joke everyone seems to make: “Aliens haven’t contacted Earth because they just see us tearing each other apart with politics, war, and religion.”
I say sarcastic, but even among the science community, it seems almost meant to be philosophical, to say that we here on Earth are the worst of the worst in the entire universe, and to me, that’s an extremely stupid assumption to make.
I can only believe that elsewhere in the universe, other intelligent species have developed their own cultures and politics, and have had their own wars and genocides. They have their own economies, their own science and space programs, their own injustices and historical figures.
Earth is not special. Earth is not the worst of the worst. When we joke about the aliens not contacting us because they see us killing each other, that’s to say death and destruction are solely Earthly phenomena, that all these other alien species turn their noses up at us in disgust, or look down on us with pity.
No. I think out there among the cosmos, there are other civilizations fraught with exactly the same types of issues we face on our world. I think “human nature” isn’t limited to humans at all, but could be the “nature of intelligence”; that is, all intelligent societies there may be across the universe are riddled with flaws and blessed with strengths.
There will always be a being who wishes for power over others. But so too will there always be a being who wishes for others to have power. Out there, wherever in the universe other civilizations exist, I confidently believe there are lifeforms fighting anti-intellectualism in their own alien societies. Beings who are developing their own technologies to travel across the stars and embark on adventures of their own. Beings who gaze in awe up at the stars and wonder if there are other civilizations after being told again and again their planet, is the center of the universe, their species, the supreme. I hope we find each other, because I know when we do, it will be the best of each of us, those who built the biggest dreams and had the greatest visions.
If we ever do encounter other intelligent lifeforms, I don’t think either of us will start a war, or run away in disgust. I believe from that day forward, we will share one goal:
To never lose each other.