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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Evil Humanlike Aliens. Seriously?

What is Hollywood's obsession with 'evil' aliens? And what's with almost all Hollywood's 'intelligent' aliens having some kind of resemblance to humans? In fact this doesn't limit to Hollywood. Even most of the Sci-Fi writers are culprits of being stuck in this template so to speak.

One could argue that a rocky planet, as opposed to a gassy one, is a must for life. One could also argue that having a set of free limbs is a necessity to evolve into being called intelligent. Or having a fairly large brain or being able to work with fire. But really, those are weak arguments for they are based on the assumption that life in the universe is life as we know it. However when you think of the scale and the diversity of the universe there is no reason why life elsewhere should be life as we know it. And theoretically there is no reason why life elsewhere should bear even the remotest resemblance to us let alone looking just like us. Think about it; all life on earth is related. Not just you and me, if we go far back enough we can find a common ancestor of you and the alpha male of a lion pride in Serengeti or of me and the first dinosaur to die on that unfortunate (or, rather fortunate) day where a meteor wiped them all out. Point is, all life on earth is related on some level and yet they look so much different to each other. Think of a cheetah, a dragonfly, a jellyfish, an amoeba, a bird, a dolphin, a tapeworm, a wasp, a spider and a woman. They look so different they might as well be from different planets. So why should we bear the remotest resemblance to aliens whom we have no relation whatsoever with?

I have a theory as to why.

I think the reason is that Hollywood and Sci-Fi writers take the easy way out. It is indeed such a difficult job to construct a new life form from scratch just by using your imagination. If you don't believe me, try describing an animal to a person whom never have seen it just by using words. You'll find that a mighty difficult job. I know I have. Conjuring up an alien is far more difficult. It's much easier to go with the shape you know best, stick an antenna here, change color there, a bigger head perhaps, probably bald as well and you're good to go. Alternate would be to think right from the beginning. What kind of a planet they live on? What is their biochemistry? What do they breath? Do they breath at all? Are they also DNA based or is it something entirely different? Would they fit the scaled we know of or would they be giants? Or microscopic for that matter. Will they have something equivalent of language as we know it or would they communicated in an entirely different way? Would they be single entities or would it be a collective intelligence? Would we even recognize it as life if we encountered it? Think of a tapeworm and a human, only, this time we are the tapeworm and aliens are the human. I'm pretty sure the tapeworm has no idea whatsoever who and what a human is. Who are we to argue that we are any different confronted with an intelligent alien race? There are all kinds of questions like these that the writers don't bother to answer. It's much easier to go with the little green men.

The evil aliens of Hollywood is also due to this lack of imagination. It is far more easier to think of evil aliens who wants to kill you for no apparent reason and then fight them back than think of doing something constructive with them. After all you'd think that a species capable of traveling all this stellar distance is intelligent enough to put petty wars behind them. Technically earth should be of no interest to them. The earth is made out of most common stuff in the universe, and with the data we have now scientists think it is very likely that the planets outnumber stars in the universe. That's a lot of planets if you ask me and law of the averages says that there should be gazillion earths out there. Why should our earth be of so importance to them? Only plausible reason I can think of is as a research project for an alien PhD student. Lab rats might come to some people's minds, but really, I'm willing to take the risk. Maybe I'm an optimist but I'd like to think they'd be more civilized than evil warmongers the Hollywood like to portray them as. If we ever come into contact with intelligent aliens chances are that we'll probably learn something from them. In fact it's highly unlikely that they'll fly here in fleets of their super fast disc-like (why is it always a disc?) spaceships anyway. I'm not counting the possibility of interstellar travel out, just that it's more likely we'll come into contact with life elsewhere with something like radio signals first.

So, Hollywood, and writers, I'm not impressed. Give me something better next time.

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