Friday, May 18, 2012

God above

What will happen when extraterrestrial intelligence makes itself known to us?. That debate has been had in films, TV, books and even some of the most learned gentlemen in our midst have opined on the subject - Stephen Hawking wonders if they will plunder the Earth for its raw materials.  Hmm, not sure. There might be more for them to plunder elsewhere.

The debate has also been aired in learned journals which tried to reach a consensus on whether it will be a good or bad thing. The good news? They probably won't destroy us. Probably. And all this might be moot because we might not be able to communicate. The bad? We don't know what impact it will have. We can prepare, but its not clear how much help that will be when the flying saucers land.

I'm currently wondering what would happen if a Cthulhic deity or two came to Earth. What if they were unleashed by accident on Earth and we had to live under their shifting, tentacled shadows. I like the idea of Yog Sothoth or one of the other Great Old Ones hovering over a city, bathing the metropolis in sunlight sifted through its hideous form.

Their arrival is similar to that of the ETIs in that they are alien exccept they are explicitly interested in destruction and sacrifice for their own cyclopean, and unknowable, ends. I also like the idea of a world slowly being ground down by the blubbery gods, no immediate worldwide cataclysm just the slow and sure warping of life as it starts to revolve around their maleficent.

It would mean the end to most of Earth's religions and the rise of many new ones - though its worth wondering about the value of faith if your god is hanging in the air only a few thousand feet overhead. 

Physicists would also have to ask themselves a few questions. Not least about non-Euclidean geometry and how these entities can even exist. Does physics leave room for them anyewhere? Under a quark or behind a black hole, perhaps?

The most interesting part is the form of the resistance. The arrival would throw human values into sharp relief. Which values, though? Would those who like the gods be like the fascists in the 1930s, except more convincing because, with a little human sacrifice or two, they can fulfil the promises they make?

Resistance would be about sympathy, empathy and compassion. It would see people fight for a greater good even if they knew it was hopeless. Resistance would be about fighting and dying almost certainly for a lost cause.

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