The "Other" Factor

The natural, hardwired human response to "others" — anyone we define as being outside the bounds of "us" — is rejection and aggression. In large part, the progress in recent millennia toward a global society has been driven by a slow but persistent battering down of the walls between us, and the creation of a larger and more universal "we." This has been done through communication and trade, but also through conquest and assimilation. Time and again, our enemies, branded as subhuman or inhuman while we were fighting, have been accepted as fully, equally human once they were among us (or we among them).

Now, however, our naturally xenophobic brains (and the society we have built with them) are being confronted by an even more perplexing challenge: what if there were a bunch of "people" who looked quite human but were clearly not of this earth? What if, instead, they came from outer space — or even appeared out of some unseen higher (inner?) dimension — and zipped around our skies in all manner of flying contraptions that made our fighter jets look like toys?

What would we do? The first thing we would do — and there is ample evidence, spanning more than a half century, that this is what we have done — is reject them, pretend they don't exist. We would also try aggression, and there is evidence we have done that, too.

But one way and another, the "Aliens" have wormed their way into our collective mind (both conscious and unconscious). They're here, and we're going to have to live with them.

Don't think so? Think it's all a long-running hoax, a joke, government disinformation (to cover up "black" weapons programs, perhaps), or simple-minded fantasy? Well keep thinking … but don't forget to check under the bed tonight.

As usual, I'm not going to try to prove to you that this is really happening — there's no way I could effectively do that — but I am going to state right up front that I have had occasional but very powerful and convincing contacts with beings who appeared to be "Aliens;" and I'm going to share some of those experiences — make of them what you will.

You'll find me referring to these Others as "Aliens," "Visitors," or "ETs" — all common enough terms — but I'll also simply call them "Others."

If these ... beings are here, what are the implications? First, I should note that quite a few serious researchers suspect (without yet being able to prove it) that they've been here all along; in fact, that they may have created us in their image. That is, most of the Others that have been encountered are distinctly humanoid, and that may be why we are humanoid too. (The opposing school of thought would have it that we created them in our image — just made them up, in other words — but I don't think that thesis holds water.)

Whether they have been around from the get-go — whether they are our progenitors, or not — the fact that their presence is so strongly and widely recognized now, is interesting from a timing point of view: here we are perched on the cliff-edge of Apocalypse, and these obviously superior — humanoid — beings show up. Are they going to save us? Take our planet? Some of both? I don't know, but I bet they're going to be players in what comes down (and goes back up).

Here's my fictional take on it all.

But other writers have done it better than me, and none has explored extraterrestrial contact more brilliantly than Arthur C. Clarke. In Childhood's End he posits a (friendly) Progenitor race of 8-foot-tall, black-skinned beings with horns and barbed tails! — thus confronting us with the other little strategy we like to employ against "others": demonization. But Childhood's End also delves into the spiritual possibilities of Apocalypse, as does his famous 2001: A Space Odyssey (and sequels).

Ducktilian cow cutter

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