Prompt: Critical or creative response to Oil on Water, Pumzi, and “The Petrol Pump”
Watching Pumzi in class today sparked some thinking about existentialism. If humans could start anew, living in a bounded area, couldn’t any animals (even besides humans) have begun civilization in a similar manner? An even better question might be: couldn’t such disaster, whether leading to full extinction or not, have happened before?
After all, the earth is very old. Some say it is hundreds of millions of years-old, but we truly do not know how it came to be. Due to the abundance of time and natural disturbances, how can we possibly conclude that another civilization, in human or other form, did not occupy the earth just as we do or did not make the same technological advances as us? Whatever sparked life as we know it on earth could potentially ignite it again, especially long after humans become extinct.
Furthermore, an article that appeared last year in the New York Times examined the possibility that civilizations may have existed on other planets. Almost all stars (such as the sun) host a solar system including planets, and about a quarter of those planet contain sufficient liquid water for life to form. As a result, the probability of other life is much higher than initially imagined.
This brings about a laundry list of questions: How would we interact with other civilizations? What would be our rationale for communicating with them? What could we learn about life, and do we want to learn it?
We cannot help but wonder about life and its origins. What we do know, however, is that humans have tried to manipulate almost everything that they have come across. Thus, we should keep in mind that if we do ever learn about life or other civilizations, we should do so with extreme care.
Frank, Adam. “Yes, There Have Been Aliens.” New York Times, 16 June 2016, www.nytimes.com/2016/06/12/opinion/sunday/yes-there-have-been-aliens.html?_r=0.