They are doing this on our behalf, without consulting us, droned the guy on the radio. What could he be talking about? Brexit? They are sending out messages without any idea of what the consequences could be for our culture. Definitely Brexit. If alien life is out there we are basically sending them a signal that says, ‘here we are, come and get us.’
Could still be Brexit… but no: turned out the guy was talking about signals sent out in the hope of contacting alien life. He was worried that instead of making friends we might be advertising our existence and possibly inviting an invasion.
My first thought was, my god – what a paranoid vision! But then it made me think because yes, to be fair, they are doing this without consulting the rest of us – though how world-consultation might be achieved is not clear – but also there does seem to be an assumption that this is a risk-free process. Do we see the rest of the universe as benign and ourselves as the only wicked species? I think perhaps we do. Could we be wrong? Of course we could.
Not knowing what to think about this, I consulted the oracle.
Me: Do you think it’s dangerous to try to contact alien life?
Jeeves: You already know what I think.
Me: Oh, do I?
OH: Yes, I told you before.
Me: Oh well that’s all right then. Obviously I know
OH: Obviously. (Come to think of it, OH is sounding more like Sherlock than Jeeves. Not nearly polite enough.) Anyway, I blogged yesterday.
Me: Oh, what about?
OH: About Dalek.
OH: No. About Galek
OH: No! Galek!
Me: What the hell is Galek?
OH: Galek! The language!
Me; Oh for god’s sake! You mean Gallic!
OH: (stubbornly) It’s pronounced Galek.
Me: You’d always rather be correct than be understood, wouldn’t you?
Anyway, back to the aliens – because OH’s view is, as I was subsequently reminded – that any species as wicked as us would have wiped itself out already, so whatever remains must be benign (definitely more like Sherlock). I’m not sure I go along with that as we haven’t yet wiped ourselves out, (though that may only be a matter of time) so why would these other hypothetical races? And yet the idea that people some people view alien life as potentially hostile is utterly depressing to me, giving rise as it does to visions of star wars and galaxy wars and the whole disgusting scenario being played out over an ever-widening area. Are we really no better than that? If that’s the best we can do then we probably should be wiped out.
One of the most interesting aspects of the play I went to the other night (I’ll say more of that in a minute) was the number of peace initiatives which sprang up before and during the First World War. I hadn’t heard about any of these and needless to say none of them managed to stop the carnage before it ground to an inevitable halt. What scares me is that war has its own momentum and that once you put measures in place it’s very hard to stop it. But god knows we have to try because if we start regarding alien life as hostile before we’ve even discovered it, what hope is there for us?
Anyway, the play was called Remembrance. Written by Bill Brookman the narrative centred on letters between a Sergeant on the front and his wife at home, the action spanning a number of wars between 1916 and the early ‘sixties. It was a story not only of war but of the Home Front and the emancipation of women and the action was interspersed with songs and hymns, some of which the audience joined in. It was a great evening.
And a propos of female emancipation here’s a statue of Leicester Suffragette Alice Hawkins made out of Lego: