Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Are There Other Countries In Outer Space?

I am the visionary layman. To my eye, this imagined alien culture is frightening. I don't know why they're climbing, maybe to paint that building. I'm afraid they might fall and get hurt. Hope they don't. 

In this short space, I can't say everything I think about alien cultures. Most of it would be familiar to you anyway from old movies. The robots, one-eyed octopus people, weaponry retooled from vacuum cleaners, and horse-creatures that have evolved simultaneously with the people, their backs conforming to people’s butts. Which is something to be thankful for, that when we’re looking for something to ride, our bottoms and the backs of creatures are simpatico.

To me, the presence of life on other planets is a given. Two keys, one, our own existence. Add to that our own problems with reproduction and you’ll see the lesson. It takes about three minutes of pleasure, depending on how stoved up we are, to saddle us with kids forever. The terrible ease of human reproduction, along with that of the other species on earth, is probably all we need to know about everywhere else. Just fall in bed, bang, a kid! It’s always amusing to me to look at upstanding moral people and know what’s “secretly” seething within. When I was a kid we thought the proof against sexual reproduction was the fact the Methodist pastor had kids. As it turned out, yes, he did, he went there! Morally worse than bartenders, who've done it all.

With this in mind, let us turn to our main concern today, whether there are other countries in outer space. We shall answer affirmatively immediately. What use would it be to say NO? There is absolutely no evidence that there aren't countries out there. While we have something more than a strong hunch that there are. There is strong evidence that we exist. The existence of aliens is conjecture, yes. But compare it to that time when you were a kid and found a dollar on the sidewalk. You have no doubt that if you searched an infinite span of time in an infinite number of places that you'd find another dollar. Maybe more.

Any grouping of people, historically done for the raising of families, joint defense, and increasing the odds of mutual survival, speaks to me of a certain universality. Say they're shirts and skins like in school. The groups naturally take their place in the gym, clustering together and conferring, "How can we beat those bastards?" Countries have similar anxieties. I don't see nature being different just because of a different location, outer space. Like the old waitresses of fiction who wait tables through the midnight shift, then turn tricks until the wee hours of the dawning day, nature does what it's gotta do wherever it is.

Society -- countries -- is the individual family writ large. Family life concentrates the drive for individual survival, making a thick stew thicker yet, and the country is its logical end. So we start with survival, then perpetuation through reproduction and the family, and then joint defense. Six of one... You see it everywhere, even Jerry Springer reruns. This guy’s in love with the other guy’s girl, she’s been pregnant and born various neighbor kids, and each one insists on survival. Her skanky boyfriend looks virtually brain dead, himself a genetic nightmare, but bottom feeders always have huge survival skills. In the same spirit, my family used to hog fish overgrown catfish. You crawl up the river, pet fish along their side, and then fling them to the bank; they never see it coming.

As far as I’m concerned, outer space has a similar dynamic. Which is easy to understand, because, doubtless, they're likely more like us than different. In fact, right now, this very minute, they’re out there lounging around in outer space trying to imagine the exact same thing about us! Are there people on Earth? And if so, do they have countries? Do we have countries?! Only everywhere you look! We split up the land, we fight for it, we conquer others, we take what we need, then we make a defense of it. Of course we allow others to take it from us, if they can.

I’d be sincerely interested to know other things about the alien countries there are, of course. But right off, I’d assume that for the most part the things they want — comfort, security, sex, meaning — are the same things we want. With the lesson being this: The best way to study alien civilizations is to know a lot about ourselves, then make a checklist and when we visit other planets, check it off, this, this, this, yep, another planet of insecure horny bastards casting about to find meaning in things beyond themselves, the same ignorance we have here everyday of the week.

All right, having established the existence of countries in outer space — the only way I would ever retract these statements is if it were proven to me that there weren’t sentient beings in the endless reaches of space. And to go further, absent other creatures, I would also concede there aren't countries either.

No comments: