One day you get into a conversation with a complete stranger, and in passing mention that you believe there could be/has been/is/will be, life elsewhere in this universe; life that exists on at least one other planet circling amongst the trillions of stars, within the billions of galaxies expanding ever outwards, in this marvellous expanse of wonder we love to call home; then a high percentage of those complete strangers — on this particular spinning ball of blue-green luminescence which has (over the eons) contained a morass of life, will laugh at you and walk away shaking their heads in disbelief, wondering how anyone could be so foolish.
Before you dismiss their short-sightedness (or my stupid naivety) however, ask as many people as you feel comfortable asking, how many of them wholeheartedly believe in god(s), angels, demons, the devil, a higher force, a lower force or that crock with a pot of gold. Then, once they nod or shout to the rafters that they indeed do believe, ask them how many times they have seen or heard or had two-way communication with 100% certainty, hand on heart, “yes it was” said entity!
If they don’t hesitate before hitting the affirmative, use that special speed-dial number for the sanatorium and watch as their surprise proudly transfigures into spluttering disbelief as they’re carted off for a good long cooling down stretch.
But with potential planets (whether habitable for us or not) probably numbering in the billions, I think there is something out there, whether at the mindless microbial level or the highly millions-of-years-more-advanced-than-us level and we’re actually in a part of the universe they’ve penned off and designated as a zoo; which, for some bizarre reason, is the one idea which fills me with the sort of desire that would have me wheeled off for my own safety, as I start to roll around banging on the floor in hysterics.
Perhaps if more of us looked up at a clear night-time sky and managed to see the spectacular star strewn ribbon of stars that is our own milky-way backyard, maybe then we’d have a greater appreciation that there is more to experience, more to see, more to positively hope for than our normal isolistic, inwardly gazing, navel-centric point of view, usually allows!
If you were party to a nasty vicious attack on your home, your property, your loved ones and you had the money, wouldn’t you go as far as possible to not only find out who perpetuated the crime, but “why?” Then fall savagely onto the next stage finding out what you could have done to prevent it and take action to the fullest extent ensuring it would never ever happen again?
Of course you would.
So you would have have thought that a government would turn heaven and earth (I can see by that glazed expression starting to fog your forehead that you know where this is going), spend huge sums of money finding out exactly what went wrong and doing all the other things an individual would do? Of course they would, except if that could expose to the light of day a potential dirty underside to 9/11.
After thousands died, with not one hijacked plane intercepted or shot down, with over 15 military exercises running on that day, how much was actually spent on finding out what went so tragically wrong? About $15 million dollars. How much did the senate spend trying to find out why monica’s knees were dirty? About $50 million. How much was spent on the space shuttle columbia enquiry? About $157 million.
Let me say again. The greatest act of terrorism ever to be perpetrated on the ‘land of liberty, the land of the free’, merited only $15 million for an open and shut enquiry.
And, to add more petrol to the inferno (if any were needed), there has never in the entire history of recorded catastrophes, with so many mangled bits of wreckage and twisted pieces just waiting to be minutely poured over; been such a rapid dispersal to smeltering plants around the globe, of as much evidence as this. In relative terms, it was quicker than a corpse been hoiked from a murder scene a second after the coroner’s arrived; in case the body decomposes to quickly. Tell that to people and you’ll generally be met with a blank look zipping from one part of their insides to the other, just waiting to connect to a spare none pre-programmed thought, before they roundly denounce you as an agent of all that’s unholy and in league with socialist scum just waiting to bring everyone down to the levels of animals, after you’ve had your wicked way with them! Which is just a little bit to harsh a reaction when all that’s required is full and frank openness. But as we’ve learned over centuries let alone decades, the terms “full”, “frank” and “government” don’t usually inhabit the same orbits.
What about the uk? We have more cctv’s dotted around taking videos and pictures than any other country on the planet — including the repressive, dictatorial ones. You would have thought with all that surveillance, as well as beat walkers, car drivers, bike riders, special constable dispensers that the crime detection and arrest figures would have made dixon of dock green spin like a dynamo with pride and terrorists arrested within a whisper of breathing a few molecules of c4. Strangely there’s been nothing of the sort. Even on the 6th may 2009 when a question in parliament was asked…
“Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) arrests, (b) prosecutions and(c) convictions have been made under the (i) Terrorism Act 2000 and (ii) Terrorism Act 2006 in each year since their implementation. ”
the reply came back.
“Mr. Coaker: The information requested is not currently available…”
Which for a government so caught up with league tables, spin tables, finding the best day to camouflage the worst news, is akin to finding out that one of your ancient school diner ladies, really doesn’t know how to cook lumpity custard!
Because you know that if they had 100% cast-iron, irrefutable evidence, it would have been cawed from the apex of parliaments rafters about how wonderfully successful the many rafted citizen reducing anti-terrorism barrage measures have been. But it’s been somewhat silent on that general topic; either that or i have simply been looking in all the wrong pages.
So what about other measures?
There are now over 500,000 communication (phone and email) intercepts by various uk authorities on the country’s citizens every year, just in case some of those bad apples are thinking disturbing and disruptive thoughts before putting a brick through a window, or stoop to nicking (thefting) a chocolate bar (worth 50p) so forcing the heavies to spend £20,000 in costs, bringing the case to court!
People who diddle the welfare state out of £2,000 are fined and given a record (as they should), diddle over £10,000 and they're more likely to be clamped in irons for half a year if not longer and their assets seized — as they should be. But work in the city and cock something up in the name of trying to make a whopping profit, and not only are you more likely to keep your all-gotten gains (unless you really push the boat out and swindle for two-fingered billions), you'll be head-hunted to repeat the trick of bankrupting your company or at the very least working your way to a position of bringing the nation, the nation’s economy and if you can feasibly help it, the global financial system, crashing to the ground. If that fails, and you just don’t have what it takes, there's always a post in a quango waiting to be filled, so cushioning the hardship of the feral world outside.
In 2008, 1,125 people in the world were worth an estimated $4.4 trillion. Of those, the top 50 had 18% of all those lovely noughts, or just a bit over $792 billion (with the top 3 at about $114 billion). In comparison, the bottom 1,000,000,000 had a net worth of about $365 billion. Or, to put it another way, 1 billion people on the planet were (by 2008 market valuations) worth less than half the accumulated wealth of the worlds richest 50 people. Who said free markets don’t work? They’ve been working perfectly and doing the job they were meant to, for years.
And so, onto…
Hm, climate change! Does it really matter if we've caused it or we’re just helping along a natural process? At the end of the day we'll still be affected. We'll still need some effective way to alleviate effect the entire gamut of change will have. How many of us — apart from the tin-foilers — have food to last more than a week, who have enough food to last for years, let alone months?
When transportation systems, routes, food production areas, are severely disrupted or even destroyed through weather events, how long will food stocks last? One week? A month? How long before rioting starts? You only need to mention the possibility of oil refinery workers going on strike, or oil tanker drivers putting weights on brakes, for people to go mad on stocking up and fighting to get the last item on shelves.
The arctic is acidifying and is now (according to estimates from the university of alaska) 25% more acidic than 300 years ago, as coastal living inuits start abandoning villages as their land transforms into mushifrost.
Things are happening.
Indeed things always happen, it just depends on the rate of change. With this (so far) not been on the scale of the fictional piece “the day after tomorrow”, which if things were to occur at that pace would — for a while anyway — have lasered all our attention; but drip-by-drip, all around the world, lots of record-breaking weathery events just keep on occurring. Whilst each and every minute of each and every passing day, we continue to generously pump more and more of the environment changing stuff into the atmosphere, worlds oceans and seas.
Yes things are changing, let’s hope our ability to adapt changes just as swiftly, so avoiding a seamless calamity of homosapien proportions.
For those whose knowledge of science is stretched by the “mint in a coke bottle” experiment, believe whatever you want to believe, but always try to ascertain evidence on your physical plane that bears it out, bearing in mind that experiencing something outside of your cumulative experience will immediately be coloured by what you know, what you think you know, your beliefs, your mindset and even by what your peers believe.
How many of us are going to visit alaska over a twenty year period to monitor and see the results for ourselves? Or take out a trusty little chem-kit to test for changing ph levels of seawater, or even regularly monitor the air we breathe — freely flowing around our own back yards?
Segway all over the place.
Maybe cod and haddock fish stocks aren't in major decline after all and we can continue fishing them like there is no tomorrow. I’d so prefer that scenario, as after trying pollock, i’d rather eat slices of old shoe leather that had remained mouldering at the bottom of a compost heap for an epoch; before having another bite of those chewy offerings.
Maybe buildings could incorporate tower high aquariums with 200m+ drops — full to the brim of lovely tasty fish, all ready for frying and eating — whilst acting as giant recycling & solar filtration facilities.
It seems the only other living things which appear to be adapting and contentedly thriving (from reports and statements), are seagulls, jellyfish, cockroaches, mice, rats, feral cats, feral dogs, mrsa, e-coli, salmonella, feral children and lastly cows, pigs, chickens or sheep because we eat or use them for food or clothing.
Many of us have forgotten that there really is more to life than the treadmill of the headlines. We've been so successfully conditioned into what to believe that the treadmill is the only thing many of us accept as real, and will even willingly give our lives for.