Reading the essays and articles that make up the content of the Simple Reality Project, one could get the idea that some choices are more important than others, and that many choices are pseudo-choices, simply delusional. For example, for those people who are eager to discover intelligent life on other planets they might want to consider whether we earthlings could ourselves claim to be “intelligent life.” Or to paraphrase Thoreau’s response to the excitement created by the new telegraph technology spreading across America in the mid-19th century, before we spend money on the new system of telecommunication we might consider whether we had anything worthwhile to say. Or even more importantly is what we have to say even true.
Cutting edge communications technology in the 21st century includes the radio telescope. The largest such instrument is at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. In 1974 a radio-wave message was sent 250 trillion miles into deep space to a cluster of 300,000 stars known as M13. Why M13? “We now know that the universe is teeming with planets occupying what exobiologists call ‘the Goldilocks zone:’ not too hot and not too cold, with ‘just right’ surface temperatures capable of supporting liquid water.”
Not all scientists agree that searching for signs of intelligent life on distant planets is a good idea. Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking, for example, warn that intelligent life might not be “friendly” life. “They argue that an advanced alien civilization might well respond to our interstellar greetings with the same graciousness that Cortes showed the Aztecs, making silence a more prudent option.”
A choice has just appeared between choosing fear and silence or intellectual curiosity and radio-wave outreach. Adding Thoreau’s observation to that of Hawking we now have two important considerations before we continue trying to contact those who might be living in deep space. Do we have anything worthwhile to say and would it be dangerous to even reveal our existence?
While the scientists continue their arguments, those of us who might be skeptical about the fruits of science specifically and the intellect in general might want to change the focus of the argument. Those of you who read the articles on Paradigm A and Paradigm B linked to essay # 4 learned that context or worldview determines one’s identity and thereby influences our choices as decision-makers.
What if the cravings for communication with extra-terrestrial life on other planets or the fear of such communications were both fruitless and delusional reactions? In the context of a perfect Creation the curious scientists will have to admit that their intellects are far too inadequate to do more than enjoy “playing” with their aspirations and theories and the “sky-is-falling” Chicken Little “paranoids” would do well to surrender to an intelligence that has Creation all under control.
Relax everyone! We can all go forward in time and space and explore how to solve the problems on our own planet relating to creating a sustainable Global Village. First things first. Let’s talk!
Insight # 5: Given that all of the apparent reality of form whether modern cities or distant galaxies are relatively short-lived, that is to say impermanent, perhaps we should look deeper into Simple Reality and be comforted by the observable fact that energy is indestructible. Then we can turn to the wisdom of our truly insightful teachers such as Nisargadatta Maharaj and internalize the eternal Truth that—“I am That.”
- Impermanence in ABC’s
- Johnson, Steven. “To Whom It May Concern.” The New York Times Magazine. July 2, 2017, pages 35 & 36.