Earth is a mess, agreed. Which is why we dream of other planets and galaxies where the air is pure, rivers unpolluted, forests unviolated and food not toxic with pesticides and chemicals. Two videos released last week from the US Department of Defense (DoD) purportedly shows an UFO in American airspace being chased by Navy pilots.
“What the f*** is that thing?” one pilot is heard asking in the video.
“Wow, what is that, man?” he repeats. “Look at that flying!”
Since time immemorial, man has wondered whether life exists outside the earth. From ancient texts, science fiction classics to Star Trek, extraterrestrial life is the Holy Grail of space scientists. Though UFO sightings turn out to be hoaxes, the DoD video has sparked calls for more research and funds to explore outer space. Erich Von Däniken, author of Chariots of the Gods, argued that since all cultures have the same legends about flying craft, astronauts, intelligent aliens and mysterious equipment, at some point or the other they must have had contact with ET. In all religious texts, legends and epics, flying chariots and godlike giants make an appearance. Paleolithic cave art depicts aliens, and Medieval and Renaissance art has flying saucers.
So, skeptics ask if life exists in galaxies faraway, why haven’t aliens got in touch? Here it comes, the Fermi Paradox. In 1950, physicist Enrico Fermi theorised that considering the vastness of the universe and mathematical possibilities, there must be alien life somewhere, though there is no evidence yet.
If aliens do exist and have been visiting the world through the eons in their zippy spacecraft loaded with zappy laser cannons and wearing smart suits, it would upend all concepts of God. What would happen if divine beings with miraculous powers prove to be Martians? Man would lose faith. To lose faith is to be orphaned in the universe, and all moral order would collapse.
Is that why religion damns doubters who question miracles and powers attributed to the divine? To maintain the balance of sanity between little knowledge and the endlessly unknown? It is a theologist’s nightmare.Since Neil Armstrong showed man the dream of being able to cast aside the fetters of gravity and travel to space, space exploration has been a multi-billion government and private enterprise with military and real estate implications. Billionaires like Richard Branson and Elon Musk have been spending millions on exploring space tourism and space colonies. Musk hopes to have people living on Mars by 2024.
Warning of atmospheric carbon, World War III, and uncontrolled artificial intelligence, he said recently, “There’s likely to be another dark age... particularly if there’s a third world war.” All holy texts have mention of Armageddon, the end of the earth, Kalki and the end of days. Going by the Hindu and Buddhist cycle of life theory, what will happen has already happened.In Musk’s vision, humans in space colonies will return to rebuild the earth after it has been devastated by the humans living on it. The conundrum is that to save the earth, you have to leave it. Perhaps we ourselves are the aliens we have been looking for all along.