"It is my thesis that flying saucers are real and that they are space ships from another solar system." -Hermann Oberth,
Dear (eventual) Grandstickies & Great-Grandstickies,
No letter, part two of the story I started the week before last. Gentlereaders, for your convenience, part one can be found here.
End of part one...
"Grandma"/alien interviewer: "OK then! Shall we get started?"
Subject: "I'm sorry, before we get into it, can I ask another question?"
"Of course, dear."
"You said earlier that there was nothing special about the planet Earth, or America for that matter, but you are studying us, and you said you can't get enough of America, right?"
"Well, why us then? Why me?"
"As I mentioned, dear, a software program chose you, an algorithm. I've interviewed all sorts of folks before we met and I'll be interviewing all sorts of folks after we go our separate ways.
As to my fascination with America, the US has the largest economy on a planet that's in the middle of an economic boom that started roughly 200 years ago and continues at an ever accelerating rate."
"So is that what makes us special? Is this a rare phenomenon in the universe? Well, of course, I've no way of knowing just how extensive your knowledge is, and how much of the universe you're familiar with..."
"What's special is the time, not the situation."
"I don't understand what you mean."
"Well, all sorts of planets, and all sorts of what you call countries, have gone through what you find yourselves in the midst of. Millions of years of evolution results in self-consciousness which invariably leads to some form of what you call civilization.
If a given civilization, or more likely a given group of civilizations, manages to hang on long enough to reach a certain level of technology and prosperity without destroying itself, or each other, they reach the same stage Homo sapiens currently find themselves trying to muddle through.
We call it the... well, you could never pronounce her name, but it's a tipping point. It's the um... name of a woman whose name you needn't worry about, tipping point" says grandma, grinning. "She was a highly regarded individual in what you call the social sciences."
"I see... well, I'm sorry, but now I have two more questions, I..."
"That's alright dear, go ahead."
"Well, first of all, you said "she" and you at least appear to be a 'she,' is that um, normal? I mean, is male and female the way of the universe? I read a lot of science fiction when I was younger and..."
"I can't speak for the entire universe dear, only a region of the galaxy Earth and Tralfamadore happen to share. Tralfamadore is only, roughly, about a thousand or so Earth years, at most, ahead of you Earthlings in the, how shall I put it, the evolution game?
But to answer your question, yes, male and female seem to be fundamental principles, but it gets complicated... Are you familiar with the words yin and yang dear? I think that concept would help you to understand how things work."
"Sure, but I don't all that much about..."
"I don't mean to be rude, dear, but you could, perhaps, google it? What was your second question?"
"Well, obviously, the tipping point thing. What's that all about? Earth is at a tipping point? History is full of tipping points, what makes this one special?"
"I, or rather we, know of no planet on which the natives, so to speak, who have managed to achieve the level you have on Earth, have not experienced the tipping point that you and yours are currently facing.
That is to say, when unprecedented, and expanding, prosperity and technological development occurs in the midst of no shortage of competing political, religious, ethical, etc. ideologies -- which have access to easily accessible worldwide communications networks -- things get, um, interesting.
Also, considering that you're hip deep in atomic weapons, and many of you are engaged in the same sort of high-functioning chimpanzee pathologies that led to your first world war -- that really wasn't all that long ago, dear, and kicked off a century of gleeful bloodletting -- things might get really interesting."
To be continued... Poppa loves you.
Have an OK day.
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©2018 Mark Mehlmauer