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A Real Eschatology
Entry 1698, on 2015-01-29 at 20:45:37 (Rating 2, Comments)
Advanced warning for UFO nuts: this story isn't true. It's a parable. Now, read it anyway!
For many years I have been an amateur astronomer which means I am often outside looking at the sky at night. Last night at about 11 pm local time I noticed a bright light high in the sky which rapidly descended and got brighter. Suddenly an alien spacecraft landed in my back yard. Imagine my surprise when an alien exited the craft and, using some no doubt advanced technology, began talking to me in very understandable English.
The alien, who called himself "Kang", explained that he was from Eta Carinae and had been monitoring our planetary communications and had noticed that my blog was one of the few small pockets of rationality and truth amongst all the nonsense. That was why I had been chosen as the one person they wanted to visit on our planet.
He went on to say that he was part of a galactic anthropological study which had been watching Earth for a while and had become increasingly confused by our culture here which didn't fit the pattern of similar civilisations on other planets. He told me that certain cultures had the potential to become irrational and dangerous and were carefully monitored and on some occasions these had to be controlled.
I was a bit concerned about exactly what form this "control" might take and was told that it often required elimination of the species causing the issues (one attribute of Kang's species was honesty). More subtle forms of adjustment had been attempted in the past but these had failed for various reasons. It had now got to the point where the elimination option had to be considered.
They had visited me in a final attempt to understand human activities and maybe cancel the impending elimination if I could produce a sufficiently good case defending my species. This wasn't a responsibility I particularly wanted but I didn't see much choice except to take up the challenge so I asked for a list of the issues the alien race found so problematic.
The first problem was how we allocate resources through our economy. Kang told me that no one could understand why our leading nations spent more money on advertising sugar water beverages than they did on cancer research, considering that cancer was a leading cause of suffering. More generally he wondered why a society capable of allocating so much more resource to solving big problems instead wastes it on worthless and frivolous uses.
The second problem was the widespread irrationality shown by the majority of people on Earth. A large percentage of people are religious or follow some form of new-age nonsense and freely admit to believing in one ridiculous fairy story or another even though our society has discovered the methodology for discovering what is real and what isn't. Worse, many of the irrational population use those crazy ideas as an excuse to harm others, in ways ranging from just trying to control how they live to the extreme of murdering them.
Next, we have allowed an economic system which originally evolved to allow our complex society to run efficiently to gain a life of its own and now society has to fit in with what the economic system demands rather than the other way around. The sort of person who does well out of this arrangement is often the most immoral and greedy rather than someone who makes a genuine contribution to society.
And as a result of short-term and local thinking we have allowed the planet to become polluted and threatened its delicate ecological balance through climate change. There are relatively simple ways to fix these problems yet no one is prepared to do anything because it doesn't suit the powerful groupings who currently benefit from it.
We have allowed mediocrity to predominate. There is a whole class of person which performs no useful function yet controls those who genuinely try to make a positive difference. This class of bureaucrats has created a system which has become an end in itself, which ensures mediocrity prevails, and almost guarantees that genuine progress and excellence is impossible to attain.
There were a lot of other points too, which I will just briefly mention here. Our art has become stagnant, for example every new movie is just a clone of something else with a few minor elements changed. Politics has become detached from the people it is supposed to serve and even what should be the best political systems have become corrupt and controlled by powerful interest groups. Science and exploration have lost their edge and we abandon worthwhile projects because of the whim of someone who controls a totally arbitrary budget.
And so it went on. A litany of hard truths demonstrating our failings.
When he had finished I was asked for my response, but what could I say? Kang's assessment has harsh but true. We have failed as a civilisation. We have allowed stupidity, mediocrity, and corruption to triumph. We don't deserve to be saved.
The elimination starts tomorrow.
Comment 1 (4300) by richard on 2015-02-02 at 11:35:25: Kang - or Klaatu? :-)
Comment 2 (4302) by OJB on 2015-02-02 at 11:58:53:
I was thinking Kang, from the Simpsons (evil but incompetent), but thanks for the reminder about Klaatu - he was pretty cool.
Comment 3 (4304) by OJB on 2015-02-02 at 12:05:42:
Actually, having just reviewed the plot of "The Day the Earth Stood Still" it obviously should have been Klaatu. It fits a lot better!
Comment 4 (4308) by richard on 2015-02-03 at 16:43:18:
Thanks for the Simpsons reference - I should have known that one too! There are no wrong names - It was a parable - and specifically yours! So no quarrel there at all. I was just reminded of Klaatu.
I especially enjoyed the script quotes in IMDB - thinking they were really good wrt your parable (link).
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