I love this photo of the Eagle Nebula – gas clouds forming new stars. It’s almost surrealistic – an artist’s imaginary vision rather than a physical reality. It fits in very neatly with my interest in science and science fiction – though not so well with the late astronomer Fred Hoyle’s vision of a static state universe. I was very comfortable with that theory of the universe – but I’m adjusting to the current one called the “Big Bang.” Who knows what we will theorize in another fifty years?
I’d like to think that one day (if we have become sufficiently civilized to be good citizens) that mankind will one day set foot on many of the planets which must inevitably provide habitable opportunities for life. That we are not alone in this universe seems inarguable to me. Even many of the founding fathers believed that two and a half centuries ago. And who am I to contradict them?
I have religious friends who are troubled by the concept of extra-terrestrial life. It is difficult for me to understand the reason for their resistance to the concept. Somehow, I think that to their minds, it minimizes “mankind’s” importance in the over all scheme of things.
My friends are equally confused by my attitude as a person who has a faith-based view of life. The way I look at it, consigning God to the role of being creator of one group of now seven billion on one small planet in a remote corner of a rather ordinary galaxy is to demean the Creator – rather than giving him credit for being Omnipresent.
Considering the job we have collectively done during our recorded history – I’m sure that we have not yet earned the right to walk among the stars. I know that we don’t presently have the technology – and that is good. In my heart of hearts I like to think that there are one or more advanced alien races who are holding us in check until we have developed sufficiently to be accepted as good citizens by more advanced species.
There has never been a time in our history when there has not been a war on-going someplace on earth. Our prejudices causes us to turn in anger against people whose skin color is different than ours; whose religion is different than ours; whose national origin is different than ours; who are in any way different than we are. Imagine our reaction to seeing the anatomical development of other species if we cannot overlook minor differences among ourselves.
It is a difficult road that leads to the stars. And as a species, we have merely embarked on the first step of many which are yet to come.