Being Human: A Learning from Aliens

Blue Marble Earth Mosaic


Editorial Note: As with Myatt’s article An Alien View of Planet Earth {1} this almost two decades old article by Myatt may have some relevance in regard to his more recent philosophy of pathei mathos. We have corrected a few obvious typos in the original article.

RDM Crew
May 2019

{1} qv.


Being Human: A Learning from Aliens

A Cosmic Ethics

Considering the vastness of the Cosmos – millions upon millions of galaxies containing billions upon billions of stars – it is highly likely that intelligent life exists on other planets orbiting other stars. It is also possible that in our own galaxy there are living beings who are more evolved, more intelligent, more powerful, than we are.

Thus, to consider our own human species as the most intelligent, the most advanced, the most powerful, species in the cosmos is not only extremely arrogant, it is also highly irrational, given this vastness of the cosmos and the fact that we have only very recently – in cosmic terms – evolved from more primitive life here on this planet we call Earth.

The time has come for us to use the cosmos – its vastness, the possibility of it being teeming with other, alien, life – as the measure of our own human ethics. That is, to base our ethics upon what actually exists, and not on what we believe, or would like to believe, exists or has happened, and certainly not on our limited, inward, Earth-only, view of life.

Hitherto, our ethics, our morality, have for the most part (the last few thousand years at least) been based upon the concept of God and on revelation. For instance, upon the belief that we humans have been created by an all-powerful deity who either considers us special (He gave His son to redeem us: Christianity), or who has created us and placed us on this planet to test us, so that we can enter Paradise (Islam).

The ethics based on these theocentric concepts is fundamentally homocentric: that is, based on the belief or assumption that the Earth is some kind of gift from God, with us as special, as masters of this world, and thus entitled to use the resources of this planet, including its other life, to aid us. That is, such religious morality affirms it is acceptable for us to breed and kill animals, and other living beings, for food, even though to survive it is often not necessary for us to kill and eat these living things. Such morality also affirms that it often is acceptable for us to kill other human beings, or imprison them, if they have transgressed some “law” and been found “guilty” in some Court of Law according to some “evidence” which has been produced in that Court.

But this is all very inhuman and inhumane; all very uncivilized. That is, it is unfair, illogical, and irrational, when viewed in the greater Cosmic Perspective.

It is these things because we have hitherto viewed them in limited terms, often in very limited, unfair, Earth-only, terms. We must evolve our ethics away from this small, arrogant, unfair, homocentric view toward a view based upon the reality of the cosmos: upon its vastness, with our own species occupying a planet which orbits an ordinary star somewhere on the edge of an ordinary galaxy surrounded by millions upon millions of other star-bearing galaxies.

The Alien Analogy

The best analogy to explain the fundamental difference between the new, cosmic, ethics which we must now accept, and the old, homocentric, ethics, is that of a race of aliens visiting then invading this planet of ours. These aliens – we shall call them Phurads – have superior weapons and technology which make it easy for them to conquer the Earth.

In this analogy, the Phurads have a religion which makes it acceptable for them to herd together “lesser beings” and keep them for food. Thus, we humans find ourselves being hunted by these Phurads for food, as many human beings are captured, and held captive in huge buildings, for the purpose of producing offspring which are then fattened to be eaten.

Further, some humans are taken away, to other planets inhabited by the Phurad, and kept in cages: to be displayed like we humans once displayed wild animals in cages for “entertainment”. In addition, some humans are taken to laboratories where they are kept sedated, and studied by Phurad scientists. Occasionally, it is judged acceptable for a few of these human specimens to be used in “scientific experiments”. Some of these experiments seem quite harmless, to these scientists (such as tagging a few human beings and releasing them back “into the wild” so that their behaviour can be studied) while other experiments are deemed necessary “to further the scientific understanding of the Phurad”. Thus, some humans are used in medical trials, because their blood, or organs, may hold cures for diseases which harm or kill the Phurad, and the suffering and death of several hundred humans (or several thousands over years) is considered morally justified since it may lead to medical breakthroughs, and save the lives of many Phurads.

We humans, of course, take a rather dim view of all these things. What gives the Phurad the right to kill us, eat us, hold us in degrading captivity, experiment on us?

The fact that the morality of the Phurads, based on their religion and philosophy, allows them to do such inhuman things to us is irrelevant to us.

What are we to do? Suffer, and die, in silence? Accept our inferior status? Or do we strive for our freedom and to be treated as equals? But what could we do if the power of the Phurads is such that we have no hope of freedom? Would we still rebel, and rather be killed than suffer the indignity of being kept confined for food? Would we bite the hand that feeds us? Or would we just fall down on our knees and pray for God – or some race of aliens more powerful than the Phurad – to liberate us?

The Human Analogy

We are treating the life on this planet of ours as the Phurads in the above analogy treated humans.

What gives us the right to do this? What gives us the right to breed animals for food? What gives us the right to inflict pain on animals in the name of “science”?

What gives us the right to inflict pain and suffering and death on our fellow human beings?

Are the animals that we breed and hold captive to slaughter for food silently praying to some god? Hoping for liberation from the human monsters who have such power over them? Such an idea, of course, is anthropomorphism, and the fact – known or assumed from our science – that such animals, on our planet at least, do not think, does not make this particular analogy any less valid, in cosmic terms.

That is, the fact that such an animal as a lamb does not and cannot think, in human terms, and so cannot “pray to or even believe in a god”, does not mean that we should not treat that animal in a fair, a just, a rational, and civilized way. Is it entitled to live out its life in freedom? Do we really need to fatten it and then kill and eat it?

Would it be right to sedate it, and then experiment on it because such an experiment might lead to some cure for some human disease?

What is right? What is just? What criteria are we to use to judge such things?

The Cosmic Answer

To live – or strive to live – in a civilized way, in a human way, we have to have ethics: a morality of some kind. That is, we have to have some criteria of judgement, for otherwise there is barbarism, repression, injustice, and a savage, irrational, way of living.

What is the cosmic criteria: what is the ethical standard which the greater, the higher, perspective of the cosmos gives us?

It is the criteria of reason, of fairness, of tolerance: the standard of the honourable thinking being. It is the standard of the living being who is aware, in a rational way, of their own place in the vastness of the cosmos: who is aware of the other life on the planet which is their origin and their home; who is aware of how they themselves have evolved from Nature, how they depend upon Nature.

In brief, it is the criteria of the nexus: of ourselves as living, organic, links between the past and the future of the living being which is this planet. It is the criteria of respect for other living beings, both on this Earth, and in the cosmos.

It is the belief that there should not be any such thing as “ownership” or mastery of any piece of this planet, or other planets, by any one individual or grouping of individuals, since what matters is not ownership, but the well-being of the planet, or planets, the well-being of the living beings which depend upon this planet, and which depend on other planets in the cosmos.

Above all, the cosmic ethic is the belief that every living thing has a “soul”, an essence, a life-energy, which is important for the well-being of the whole, with no one being, or one species of being, of lessor worth than others, and that if it is truely necessary for us to kill another living being, however small, to survive – or even if we kill such a being by accident – then we should respect that being, and indeed lament its death. The way of the cosmos, the cosmic belief, is the belief that we should strive to find ways of living, of surviving, that do not involve killing or harming other living beings.

The Cosmic Challenge

The challenge now is to accept this higher, more civilized, cosmic ethics as the foundation for our personal lives, and strive to create new societies, new ways of living, based upon these ethics.

David Myatt
JD 2451872.315
(23rd November 2000, 1933 UT)


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Image credit:
NASA, Blue Marble Earth Mosaic