Aliens qua alien
I. They’re not there.
- They wiped themselves out in wars of annihilation.
- The plague got 'em.
- Famine got 'em
- The glaciers got 'em.
- The von Neumans got 'em (and are coming our way).
- They all became dependent on government handouts and then the government went bankrupt.
- They mucked up their environment a bit too much and choked on their own pollution.
- They genetically modified themselves and screwed up, bad.
- They downloaded themselves into computers and there was this power bump…
- They adopted an existentialist, materialist philosophy, saw no reason for going on, and drank the Kool-Aid.
II. They're out there, but not here.
a) cooperation in a “network of mutual dependencies,”b) the emergence of a functional unit comprising all individuals involved in the network, andc) the development of a boundary to bar or expel stragglers.
- Humanism triumphs. The aliens are excellent artists and literary critics. But they are not ham radio operators and do not form amateur rocket clubs
- Bureaucracies triumph and new technology is not covered by any of the procedures.
- God-kings triumph. The aliens spend their lives preparing the king for his afterlife. If you’re good, he’ll save you a spot.
- Oligarchies triumph. Everything is geared toward the maintenance of power. New technology may shift the power balance. Can’t have that.
- Democracies triumph. They got to their moon, then quit and spent the money on themselves.
- They're not curious. Most Terran cultures were markedly incurious about the natural world, even while they devised many practical and useful rules of thumb. [e.g., If you beat the drums during a solar eclipse, the sun will eventually return. What if you don’t beat the drums? Why take such a crazy chance? You may sense the limitations of such an approach.]
- Circular reasoning. The hypnotizing circular motion of the heavens convinced them that the world is a series of repetitive cycles. Everything that has happened will happen again. Natural laws are transient.
- They believe there is no God, so chaos and unreason are at the root of everything. Natural laws are illusions or coincidences.
- They believe there is a host of competing and contradictory gods. Natural laws represent temporary compromises among these gods.
- They believe there are dryads in the trees, nymphs in the springs, and the stars are alive, divine, and influential in daily life. If nature has minds of her own, she must be placated, not studied.
- They worship the phallus. This interferes with thinking straight.
- They believe there is a creator God, but he is not rational. Therefore, the created world is not rationally ordered.
- They believe there is a creator God, but he does not act through nature. Apparent natural laws are simply “the habits of God.” He might change his mind.