To be honest, I don’t get so scared of aliens. True, there are the predator & Ridley Scott- Aliens which are designed to look scary and monstrous, but they don’t create any sense of fear in me. There’s definitely a sense of awe & wonder about them, but never fear. Maybe that’s because the amount of fantasy & sci-fi that I read & watch that’s made weird looking creatures pretty commonplace to me. I think that would be true about most of the people of today’s generation with the barrage of fantasy & superhero movies & series being thrown our way. 

And then there are the alien abduction encounters; anal probing, human experimentation, lost time and so on & so forth. Unfortunately, they seem so outlandish a notion that you can’t help but laugh at it. Wait… I sincerely apologize if you’ve been abducted & anal-probed by aliens. I understand how you must feel right now. Just imagine the kind of pricks the aliens must be if that’s what they really do – abduct people, have their way with them; anal-probing, nasal-probing, getting all different kinds DNA & other samples from us and God-knows-whatever-else-fancies-them, and then they send you back. With partial or complete memories of what happened. They know nobody’s going to believe any of it or at the most people are just going to chalk it up as an unsolvable mystery and make memes about it like “Epstein didnt kill himself.” And there’s so many people who’ve experienced being abducted by aliens and other stuff, that you’re bound to doubt the authenticity of so many claims. 

Finally, there’s the visual proofs that we’ve been fed by UFO-logists and conspiracy theorists. A disc-shaped object in the sky, an impossibly-fast flying object that passed by a jet plane pilot, bizarre lights seen and captured in the night sky; all of these feel strong enough evidences of alien life. Or do they? In this age of advanced photo/ audio and video editing tools being available online, can you really trust what you see or hear is true? When you can’t even trust your date to look like she does on Instagram, how can you trust such photos to be unedited & authentic?  

And that’s the real horror of an alien encounter. The mistrust it creates amongst people. The way alien abduction encounters get trivialized by the people because at the end of the day nobody can produce hard evidence Nobody would trust your story except maybe close family and friends. An even bigger horror is when even your family and friends don’t trust you. And then it makes you obsessed on proving your truth. You’re willing to go to any lengths in proving existence of aliens. You forget everything and everyone else. Movies like Close Encounters of The Third Kind & Ad Astra depict the harsh & horrible reality in such scenarios.  

And such situations raise questions- is this the goal of the aliens? To sow seeds of mistrust and confusion amongst humans so that they can do their work in the shadows? Do they purposely target people with less credibility in society so that they’re not exposed? If it’s true, what’s their end goal? What do they want from us?  

Many scientists and philosophers have tried to ponder the question of the lack of any evidence of extraterrestrial intelligent life. Consider the following simple calculations –  

  1. There are 100 Billion stars in the Milky Way, out of which 2500 stars are found to have solar systems like our Sun.  
  2. There are at least 100 Billion galaxies in the known universe.  
  3. Considering the lowest estimates, if each galaxy are found to have only 2500 stars with solar systems, that would make around 6.25 Million stars with solar systems.  
  4. Let’s make a final assumption now, that each star has on an average at least 5 planets in their solar system. That makes it a whopping 31.25 Million Planets which could be having intelligent life. And this just the part of the universe that we know about.  

(All figures and data taken from official website of Nasa) 

Based on the above calculations, it can be said that the probability of life on other planets is quite high. This is just a simple calculation I made, however there’s a probabilistic theory proposed called Drake’s equation which was developed to calculate the number of active, communicative extraterrestrial civilizations in the Milky way galaxy.  

However, if there’s such a high probability of extraterrestrial life, why haven’t wer come across any yet?  

There are many theories which try to explore that topic however, a couple of them struck me as really horrifying & I’ll talk about them here. 

Zoo Theory/ Zoo Hypothesis 

It’s pretty straightforward – Imagine animals being caged in an enclosure with a one-way mirror as a wall on all sides of the enclosure, from which the animals can’t see outside but we, the humans, as observers, can see what’s happening inside the enclosure. In such a scenario, as per the zoo hypothesis, we the humans are the animals and the aliens (who are obviously much more highly evolved than our race) are the observers. 

The scary thing about this is – if it’s true, they can easily eliminate our civilization at their fancy, especially after having studied us as subjects. Or maybe some benevolent alien civilization had protected us from other colonizing aliens by alienating us from others. You might ignore or walk away from an enclosure of animals if you don’t know they are there, right? However, what if those animals suddenly started barking their heads off randomly, without knowing you were there, just to grab anybody’s attention? You would be forced to look at it and confront it after a point. And that’s exactly what we’ve been doing since the last 100 years or so. We’ve been sending radio signals, messages and what not, trying to communicate with anyone, good or bad, just anyone in the universe. 

And just imagine what would happen if it comes into notice of those colonizing aliens or some other malevolent forces in the universe. 

Dark Forest Theory

This theory is based on applied game theory and it’s a bit similar to prisoner’s dilemma. 

Imagine the universe is a dark forest in which every civilization is like a hunter moving around in the forest. Even though as we’ve found above that the possibility of extraterrestrial life is high, every civilization is purposely maintaining radio silence for fear of getting eliminated. Every form of life prefers their own survival and takes steps towards maintaining that. This paranoia is explored deeply in a novel which is the second of its series by Liu Cixin and the following paragraph perfectly sums up the Dark Forest theory – 

“The universe is a dark forest. Every civilization is an armed hunter stalking through the trees like a ghost, gently pushing aside branches that block the path and trying to tread through without sound. Even breathing is done with care. The hunter has to be careful, because everywhere in the forest are stealthy hunters like him. If he finds another life – another hunter, angel or a demon, a delicate infant to a tottering old man, a fairy or a demigod; there’s only one thing he can do: open fire and eliminate them.” 

In such a scenario where every civilization is working hard to keep their locations a secret (thus creating what’s known as the Great Silence), we, humans, have been sending out radio signals broadcasting our location since the last 100 years. We’ve been even sending broadcasts of some 50’s comedic sitcom – ‘I Love Lucy’ to anyone willing to pick up in the cosmos. Seriously? Imagine you’re walking in a jungle and suddenly you’re attracted by the noise made by a herd of weird animals and you reach them. At that time, are you going to think how funny they sound and try to decipher their language or fear for your life and open fire and kill them off before they can detect you?

We’ve all heard of the famous phrase – “Curiousity killed the cat.” I just hope the same doesn’t come true for us. 

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