Monday, July 8, 2013

They Said It Was a Weather Balloon

Sometimes I only know that a certain day has a certain significance because of the Google Doodle.  Today is one of those days.  While deciding what to write about today I went to (it's a search engine, in case you haven't heard of it) and saw the latest doodle, which features a somewhat cute little alien in a little flying saucer.  Yes, today is the 66th anniversary of the Roswell UFO Incident.  I mean, uh... The Roswell Weather Balloon Incident.  Yeah, that's it.  A weather balloon.

As I mentioned in my article about ghosts a few months ago, I don't so much believe in this type of stuff so much as I want to believe in this type of stuff.  Still, though, when it comes to extraterrestrials, I find it harder to believe that there isn't any other type of life in our universe.  Whether or not other life-forms would have technology advanced enough to reach our planet is certainly debatable.  I'm going to explore my own thoughts on all this alien jazz.

One thing that perplexes is me is the relative close-mindedness that people approach the concept of extraterrestrial life with.  Most people, scientists included, seem to operate on the idea that only a planet that can support life as we know it on Earth could possibly sustain other types of life.  But who's to say that life couldn't have evolved in infinitely different ways somewhere else in this vast, seemingly endless universe?  There could be lizard men out there somewhere.  There could be a planet inhabited by intelligent clouds of gas (so, like a bunch of Rush Limbaughs, but intelligent).  Hell, they found fossils of bacteria on Mars!  Who knows what might be buried deeper under the surface of our planet's space-neighbor?  The way I see it, there's new types of insects and sea-life being discovered on Earth all the time.  There's places in the ocean that we haven't been to yet, but the farther we go down into the ocean, the stranger the stuff that lives there gets.  If life can take on so many insanely different varieties just on this one planet, there's no telling what the hell might be out there in space.

Perhaps Earth is the only planet in our universe that has life on it.  I mean, the odds of the conditions being perfect for the first protein molecule to be created and eventually grow into a giant animal kingdom must be enormous.  Yet it happened here.  But even if our planet is the only one that creates and sustains life in our universe, maybe there's another universe out there where another planet got lucky.  Maybe our universe is a baby compared to an older universe, and most of the planets in the older universe contain some kind of life.  The universe is so big that I can't think of a word to describe how big it is.  But that certainly doesn't mean it's the only one.  Perhaps our universe is just one cell of billions that make up some kind of colossal universe creature.  I guess that might sound like stoner talk or crazy-homeless-guy talk or uncle-with-dementia talk, but go ahead and prove that that's not possible. Go ahead, I'll wait.

So, for the sake of argument, let's say that somewhere out there in another universe or another dimension or something that life exists.  Could it be possible that they've visited Earth?  I've heard the argument that even if life exists somewhere out there that they couldn't possibly have technology so advanced as to travel across the universe to check out Earth.  That, to me, is an incredibly naive argument.  Compared to Earth, mankind is a relatively new thing.  So it's possible that if life exists on another planet that those beings have been around for way longer than man.  Considering how rapidly we've advanced technology on Earth (sometimes for better, sometimes for worse), it would definitely be feasible that their civilization might be at a point where they could figure out how to travel through the cosmos.

There's been hundreds, maybe thousands, of UFO sightings.  Some of them could easily be brushed off as hoaxes or mistakes.  What I find puzzling about the whole thing is the existence of Area 51 in Nevada.  To this day it remains shrouded in secrecy.  Conspiracy theorists often accuse the government of storing an alien spaceship (and possibly alien bodies) from the crash in Roswell, New Mexico at the Area 51 site.  The government, naturally, denies this.  They claim that the site was/is a place where testing on experimental aircraft takes place.  I can buy that, sure, but why is it still so top secret?  If they were working on a craft in the 50s and 60s, and if we still haven't seen any results from their work, obviously what they were working on half a century ago isn't going to ever be produced.  So why can't anybody see it?  If there's not some freaky alien shit going on there, there's certainly something shady going on.

There's the notion that the government of the United States and several other countries around the world are involved in a massive coverup to hide the fact that extraterrestrial visitors have already been to our planet.  There's the counter-argument that this makes no sense; why would the government have any reason to cover that up?  That counter-argument, in my opinion, is bogus sentiment.  Since when did our government follow any sort of rules of logic or decency?  Aside from the cliche of "we don't want to panic the public" seen in countless movies, I can easily imagine a Cold War era military program covering up the alien landing so the USSR didn't find out about it.  After all, any time a new technology is invented, the first thing our government contemplates is how they can use it to kill people.  I'm sure the government would do the same thing if they had alien spaceships, weapons, or viruses in their possession.

I can think of a more practical, and more believable, reason for a massive conspiracy to deny the existence of alien visitors.  If the aliens had figured out how to build and power a craft that could travel all the way across the universe, the fuel must be amazingly efficient.  Finally, our dependence on fossil fuels would come to an end!  But there's the problem...  The rich-as-fuck oil people wouldn't be able to squeeze any more pennies out of us as they destroy the Earth to suck out every last drop of precious fuel.  And since the oil industry is one of the handful of conglomerates that controls our government...  Well, I don't need to spell it out for you.  You get it.  Should I be expecting a knock at my front door from two thugs in suits with shoulders as wide as the men are tall?  Probably.  Luckily, I've got a back door and lots of windows.

I don't know for sure if extraterrestrial life exists, but I can't imagine that it doesn't somewhere in some form.  I don't know if aliens have visited Earth, but I do find the number of sightings and the number of plausible explanations to be mismatched.  I don't know if we'll ever get all the answers.  One thing I do know, however, is that I'll probably spend a good chunk of the day reading about alien conspiracy theories.  Also, I won't be answering the door.

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