I don’t want to write about this topic. Yet, every writing class I’ve attended or “how to write” book I’ve read has always instructed writers to write about the things you least want to write about, because therein lies the deepest, most meaningful topics.
I won’t lie to you – this probably won’t be my deepest or most meaningful topic – but I will write about it nonetheless. It is a topic that I don’t usually speak of out loud, and certainly don’t write down or text – because then there is proof.
You’re probably already clicking away from the page. “Oh, she’s one of them,” you might think.
If you’re still reading, you either have nothing else to do or want to know why I’m writing about aliens. First, why I don’t like writing about them.
My husband jokes about my lack of alien talk. After dark I won’t even say the word. I don’t like the way it sounds. Do I believe in them? I really can’t say. For one thing, my scientific knowledge isn’t as good as it should be – I never excelled in math and science in school. So, it isn’t like I can prove there are beings on other planets. I also can’t disprove it. Yet, there is much in my life that I can’t prove or disprove – so I just leave space open “just in case.”
It isn’t like I have a huge fear of them, I just sort of have this superstitious feeling that if they exist, I probably shouldn’t say too much about them. It’s like when you’ve heard something about someone you just met – instead of spreading that gossip around, it’s probably just safer to keep your mouth shut.
I’ve probably just read too many Stephen King novels. In fact, maybe that’s who I should blame. Or my father, for reading Stephen King novels. When I was about nine or ten I remember my father having an illustrated Stephen King book. I can’t remember the title, but if I remember correctly, it was an anthology of some of his novels with perhaps ten to fifteen pictures that went along with the pictures. I can still see the depictions of the aliens scaring me as I attempted to figure out why my father kept this book in our house. Years later I would have an affinity for Stephen King novels and can’t put them down, even though they scare me most times.
So, it probably isn’t Stephen King’s fault, but maybe society’s. We are a fearful bunch. We want to “be prepared” for whatever is out there. I’m of the opinion that if something exists, let’s keep it peaceful. If it doesn’t, let’s not go messing with other planets – because we can’t seem to take care of the one we’re one right now.
Now, I am able to watch some movies with aliens – or at least our best depictions of aliens. I especially love watching Stargate SG-1. Perhaps what I love (besides the ongoing tension between Major Samantha Carter and Colonel Jack O’Neill, the wit of Teal’c, and the general humility of Dr. Daniel Jackson) is that the aliens are portrayed in many different ways – perhaps like humans. There are some that are kind and some that are out for destruction and greed. Some are scary and “strange” looking, but most look just like humans. We would be lucky to have the Asgard on our side.
Where did all this come from? Why am I thinking about aliens. Probably Space Force. I heard a podcast on NPR’s Here and Now yesterday in which Neil deGrasse Tyson was interviewed (Here it is.) He was asked about whether or not we should be prepared to fight if aliens were to appear on our planet. I absolutely loved his answer. He said, “If they come here, they are certainly more technologically advanced than we are. If they treat us the way we treat one another then they will completely exploit us, enslave us, put us on reservation, slaughter us. They will have their way with us if they treat us the way we humans have treated each other in the history of civilization.” Right?
Neil deGrasse Tyson not only answered the question, but he did so in a way that makes us face ourselves in the mirror. To talk about aliens and outer space and UFOs can seem sci-fi and fun and maybe even silly. It seems very “out there” rather than dealing with what is right in front of us. Yet, he took a topic and made it about a serious look at humanity. He also didn’t answer with some over-the-head scientific jargon that people would stop listening to. He was relevant, and fun.
It’s the truth. What are we doing as a society? Why aren’t we treating each other with more respect and love? We are tearing each other apart through words and actions and Twitter feeds. We are competing for resources and only focusing on ourselves. We are not listening to each other. Those of us with privilege are not using it to help, but to harm. We have to take a look at our actions, because our track record as humans isn’t so great. Aliens or not, we need to be kinder to one another.