On Space Aliens and the Winter Solstice
May the Winter Solstice lights illuminate your season.
Photo by Mary Anna Hickling
I'VE BEEN MULLING OVER the whole idea of the Winter Solstice, and I've come to think that it may be the key to our future.
"It's something we have in common, something we share..."
Have you ever wondered if we were smart to send out that space probe—the one with all the information about us, and where we could be found?
What if we're only giving directions to a species so much more advanced than us that they will see no reason to even consider our well-being?
What if they analyze the probe and think, "Wow. Whoever sent this out must live on a planet we could use?"
Our own death warrant?
But I don't think so, and here's a list of reasons why:
- Global warming.
- Nuclear warfare.
- Extinction of species.
- Economic instability.
- The gap between the rich and poor.
- The resistance to health care reform.
I look at all of that, and it makes me optimistic.
Everything on that list was created by human beings, along with music, art, theater, medicine, computers, psychotherapy, sports, democracy, freedom, diplomacy...
The list goes on.
And what that means to me, as I sit here on the evening of the solstice, is that we are at a crossroads.
We simply have to grow up.
We have to figure out how to stop being Republicans or Democrats, one race or another, one religion or another, one nation or one culture or another, long enough to be simply humans together.
First and foremost, we must figure out how to come together and solve the problems on that list.
Because, if we don't we won't survive.
And we won't be able to solve that list unless we learn to value, not only the person next door, but the species next door.
Unless we learn to value the entire system of life on this planet for itself, as worthy in itself, and respect it, we will end up doing ourselves in.
Someone said once that if humanity were to vanish from the face of the earth life would go on, but if ants were to vanish, humanity would be doomed.
I don't know if that's true, but the broader idea is sound. We are part of nature, and we can't continue to ignore that fact.
We are part of each other, and we can't continue to ignore that, either.
So this crisis we find ourselves in is a sort of final exam.
Any species out there that picks up our signal, and has the wherewithal to find us, has already passed that exam.
If they didn't, they would have destroyed themselves at our stage.
So we don't need to worry about them.
But we do need to worry about us.
And that's where the Winter Solstice comes in.
It's a holiday season that all cultures have celebrated, from time immemorial.
It's something we have in common as a species, something we share—a joyous something, a moment of celebration, of merriment, a passage into the next year.
A time of hope, as the darkness reaches it's darkest, because that's when the light begins to return.
And it belongs to all of us.
It's a sort of symbol of that unity we need to find, if we are going to pass our finals.
And I think we will.
Even though we've got some serious cramming left to do.
So I wish you a joyous holiday, whatever you want to call it, and I hope, whatever your tradition, that you find it hopeful and full of love.
And I wish you a joyous Solstice as well.