Despite the distinct lack of concrete evidence (or its suppression ... depending on one’s point of view), it’s becoming more and more difficult to deny the possibility of extraterrestrial life somewhere out there in the far reaches of outer space (cue up some John Williams or the Star Trek theme).
Then again, maybe they’re already here.
Sorry, but for those of you hoping (dreading) another political rant from yours truly ... well, I decided to have some fun this week instead.
I’m reminded – when it comes to alien cultures and the possibility of their actual existence, of course – of the cult classic that is “Men in Black,” when Will Smith, portraying Agent J, states that when he was in third grade, “Everyone said I was crazy ... but I knew our teacher was from Venus or something like that.”
To which Tommy Lee Jones (Agent K) replies, “Ms. Edelson. Jupiter, actually. Well, one of its moons.”
Sorry if I got a bit sidetracked there, but who hasn’t had a teacher like that at some point growing up? I know I did.
My favorite quote from the movie, however, comes from the one and only Rip Torn (as Zed) ...
“We’re not hosting an intergalactic kegger down here.”
Intergalactic kegger ... that’s a good one.
Regardless, you have to admit there are some pretty influential – not to mention extremely intelligent – people out there who truly believe that we are not alone.
Am I one of those who believe, you ask? Well, let’s just say I’m certainly leaning that way, considering a universe (let alone galaxy or solar system) of our size would seem to be an awful waste of space, right?
Ever see the Jodie Foster in “Contact?”
Cosmologist, author and theoretical physicist Dr. Stephen Hawking, for one, seems to think we should lay off the whole concept of initiating contact with an alien species, just in case they happen to be of the “not-so-nice” variety, and would rather take over the planet versus having a good old-fashioned sit-down over coffee and cookies. And since I’m fairly certain he’s the smartest guy on the planet, I’d be the first to say, “Whatever you think best, sir.”
Which means that – at least on a hypothetical level – Dr. Hawking believes they really might be out there.
And by “they” I mean them, it, those ... you know ... aliens.
Add to the vast size of the universe the latest in astronomical news, with hundreds – if not thousands – of Earth-sized planets (some located in the so-called habitable zone) being discovered seemingly every day, and the probability of alien life increases exponentially. That’s not to say these alien species will look anything like E.T., the alien to beat all aliens from Ridley Scott’s ... err ... “Alien,” or Jeff Bridges (you know ... “Starman”). In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised in the least if our first encounter with an extraterrestrial life form turns out to be a single-celled organism of some kind. Or maybe lava-men ... or rabid, undead dinosaurs.
Regardless, it’s probably only a matter of time until we know one way or the other. And yes, of course I’m hoping they turn out to be rabid, undead dinosaurs (I just had to type that twice ... sorry).
The discovery of alien life simply seems like the next logical step in regards to scientific discovery, if you ask me. And when you think about it, it really wasn’t all that long ago that people thought the Earth was flat. Actually, there are still people who think the Earth is flat, just visit theflatearthsociety.org if you don’t believe me. Before that? Those who thought the Earth was the center of the universe, and that the sun revolved around us.
In the end, it’s important to note that for all of our scientific knowledge, for all the discoveries and truths we’ve unearthed over the centuries, there’s still plenty out there of which we know nothing. In “Men in Black,” Tommy Lee Jones also states that, “Fifteen hundred years ago everybody knew the Earth was the center of the universe. Five hundred years ago, everybody knew the Earth was flat, and fifteen minutes ago, you knew that humans were alone on this planet. Imagine what you’ll know tomorrow.”
Science fiction? Maybe. But then again, who ever thought we’d all be walking around with Star Trek communicators in our time?
You know, like cell phones.
Follow me on Twitter ... @evesunbrian.