I used to be big into sci-fi. I read lots of fascinating stories involving ingeniously crafted aliens. It was very entertaining and thought-provoking.
Like many humans, I looked on with awe as humans found their way into space, peered ever deeper into space (and the universe as it existed long ago), and searched avidly for life on other planets.
Now I find all of that to be a grotesque mockery, since that search for extra-terrestrial life is possible only through our utter disdain for and vast destruction of life on our very own planet.
The only life we know for sure exists.
How many species of frogs, butterflies, trees, bats, birds and myrid others have gone extinct so that humans could establish and operate the vast network of factories, homes, aircraft, trucks, trains and more, required to send rockets (and humans!) into space?
Clearly, humans don't really give a shit about life, in general.
All we give a shit about is us: sentient, self-aware, tool-making us. Special and unique us.
And what we are looking for "out there" are others like us: tool makers, manufacturers, consumers.
If that wasn't the case, if what we really wanted to do was establish contact with other sentients, regardless of how they lived in the universe, so that we could learn from each other, then, let's see:
- It would be considered murder to kill a whale.
- It would be considered slavery to keep a cetacean captive (and performing tricks) at places like SeaWorld and Shedd Aquarium.
- We'd be working awfully damn hard to learn how to communicate with cetaceans.(even if only as practice for the "real thing")
Repeat after me: cetaceans are self-aware.
Too bad, then, that they don't make stuff. Because as far as humans are concerned, if you are not ravaging your planet in order to build things to make your lives more convenient and comfortable, then you are a lesser being. And that renders you simultaneously uninteresting (except as a source of entertainment) and available for exploitation.
And so here it is, 2014, and still our governments can't even agree on enforcing a worldwide ban on whaling, thereby ending the rampant slaughter of these extraordinary creatures (who, we should recall, evolved from land-based mammals, reclaiming a life in the ocean. Amazing!).
Don't worry, though: even if all the whales are dead, we will still have recordings of their haunting, beautiful songs.
And we can still take our children to "educational shows" that feature those cute, smiley dolphins leaping on command and wiggling their tail in delight over being fed a fish.
As if dolphins need humans to feed them fish! This sort of travesty is what passes for the most high-minded, progressive education of our youth.Yuck.
The fact that humans can't even accept cetacean self-awareness shows clearly that we do not respect life and we do not respect sentience. The only thing we respect is the ability to manufacture and consume things, regardless of the cost to the rest of our planet and its inhabitants.
C'mon, SeaWorld: let your killer whales go!
Hey, Shedd Aquarium, close down your abomination, the Abbott Oceanarium!
Oh, and NASA (and China National Space Administration and India Space Research Organization and European Space Agency and...)? Please shut down operations. Now.
If we are going to drive to extinction hundreds, probably thousands, of species, and obliterate the lives of trillions of individuals, let's at least commit the resources that result from those deaths to finding a way to reduce the awful impact we have on our world.