Neil Tambe

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I'm a Detroiter who happens to enjoy writing, national parks, orange juice, the performing arts, and fanciful socks. More than anything though, I aspire to be a good husband, father, and citizen.

What we'd presumably have in common with space-faring aliens

I've been trippin' out over the Fermi Paradox lately. Indeed, it's hard not to. And I've been contemplating - if we were to encounter a space-faring alien civilization in our travels across the universe a few hundred years from now, how similar would they be to us? More similar than we'd want to admit, I think.

They'd probably have senses to detect different things like we do, like light, sound, touch, and others. Maybe their senses wouldn't be exactly the same, but they'd have to have some way of understanding the world around them. They'd probably have discovered and developed some of the same materials that we have, after all, the types of elements in the universe are fixed.

They'd probably have some mechanism in their bodies for capturing, storing, and expending energy. Their bodies would probably have some sort of waste or disease. The universe after all, is not efficient and it is certainly prone to random mutations. They'd probably have some mechanism for reproduction.

If they were space-faring explorers of the universe, they'd probably have a large population. After all, it would be difficult for a single alien or small group of aliens to develop the technology needed to explore space. As a result, they'd probably have some sort of language and some set of social issues arising from many beings having to live and work together.

Surely, it is captivating to think about an alien race's similarity or dissimilarity to us, but here's what gets me. Despite how much we have in common with an alien race, we have much more in common with other humans.

Our emotions, psychological biases, our notions of beauty, art, and God...something, even many of those things have got to be unique. I'd hope that our full humanness is not something that could be replicated by aliens. Human life is special.

At the same time, let's assume that we never find any other space-faring alien civilizations. That even more so makes me believe that humans are special. We could be the only life in the universe that's left. And even if we aren't alone in the universe, we may be the only civilization that ever explores the universe.

So whether we are alone in exploring the universe or whether we aren't, I can't help but think that human life is special. Which means we are all special beings, endowed by God with something magnificent. Which makes me wonder why we treat each other so badly sometimes. I just don't get it.

Please do say hello: neil.tambe[at]gmail[dot]com