Wednesday, February 28, 2018


A Tumblr user who went by swanjolras:
gosh but like we spent hundreds of years looking up at the stars and wondering “is there anybody out there” and hoping and guessing and imagining

because we as a species were so lonely and we wanted friends so bad, we wanted to meet other species and we wanted to talk to them and we wanted to learn from them and to stop being the only people in the universe

and we started realizing that things were maybe not going so good for us– we got scared that we were going to blow each other up, we got scared that we were going to break our planet permanently, we got scared that in a hundred years we were all going to be dead and gone and even if there were other people out there, we’d never get to meet them

and then

we built robots?

and we gave them names and we gave them brains made out of silicon and we pretended they were people and we told them hey you wanna go exploring, and of course they did, because we had made them in our own image

and maybe in a hundred years we won’t be around any more, maybe yeah the planet will be a mess and we’ll all be dead, and if other people come from the stars we won’t be around to meet them and say hi! how are you! we’re people, too! you’re not alone any more!, maybe we’ll be gone

but we built robots, who have beat-up hulls and metal brains, and who have names; and if the other people come and say, who were these people? what were they like?

the robots can say, when they made us, they called us discovery; they called us curiosity; they called us explorer; they called us spirit. they must have thought that was important.

and they told us to tell you hello.

1 comment:

G. Verloren said...

A nice sentiment perhaps, but largely devoid of reality.

We didn't build our space probes to communicate information, but rather to gather it and relay it back to us. Any potential aliens who find our probes will be able to glean only very limited details about us, and certainly almost nothing of our culture, languages, philosophies, values, et cetera.

Even Pioneer and Voyager, which actually intentionally included crude sorts of attempts to communicate with possible extra-terrestrial life, in all likelihood won't be able to convey even their relatively simple intended messages, and certainly won't convey complicated concepts like what a "Pioneer" or a "Voyager" is.

There is nothing romantic in the idea of our creations being found by others (should those others even exist), while we ourselves our dead. They might marvel at having found us, but they'll never even begin to understand us, unless we ourselves are there to try to bridge the inevitable gaps in communication.

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert... near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed;

And on the pedestal these words appear:
'My name is Ozymandias, king of kings;
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!'
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away