Monday, September 18, 2006

Reaching For The Sky

A once more popular phrase, “Looking for intelligent life in outer space? We still cannot find any intelligent life here on Earth!” always lived in the philosophy of Derek Schmidt, a tired, bureaucrat going to his research building and answering wide eyed college student dreams with brochure-worded questions on what are the plans for the space program and how far has the research gone for the extra terrestrials. Like anyone working for the government, he knew diplomacy enough to be promoted into a spokesperson for a space program research who has no real plans of flying a space ship out in the sky, but to only fulfill every employees’ dream in that office, to keep getting their paycheck every 15 days until they retire, where they will get their pension.
It will be difficult to know what Derek really wants to say in his mind, as he keeps his false smile and sense of humor to answering our interviews, he seems to know how to evade all other questions, or make things vague, like a religious leader. But he knows something, and while he might not know much about what is their space program really doing, he has something in his mind he must have been keeping there, along with what all the other scientists think.
All it actually took was getting him out of the office, like a good friend, and two glasses of beer, he’s off to talking.
Apparently, the space program has only gone as far as making paper and aluminum wrap renditions of a space ship, they filled the bottom part of the space ship with enough fireworks to send the space ship a good 3 miles into the air, and placed the first creature to be sent to space, a hamster, on the cockpit. 20 seconds after, when the fireworks bought from
Chinatownstarted to show its colors, was just wonderful colors in the morning sky, just like the 4th of July. The spaceship was definitely obliterated, and the hamster fell disgustingly dead into a cake of a 7 year old’s outdoor birthday party. While this scared the kids, the adults ended up wondering where in the world did a blown up hamster come from, out the sky.
But more than the several attempts of shooting creatures from firework rockets, and the Lego model of “a more flexible way of making a spaceship” idea, was the ongoing philosophy found in a man who was once a wide eyed college student wanting to go to the moon, now, 20 years later, not seeing that happening apparently his whole life.
“What is the definition of intelligent beings anyway? We are not that intelligent, we are governed, like animals, in a more complex form of instinct, living off our need to survive and keep all the body organs happy. What would intelligence be, then?” Derek, like many rational scientists, do not seem to believe in free will. “In the infinite vastness of the universe, there had to be a more advanced group of beings somewhere, who also have a sky, and being more advanced, shot off themselves instead of hamsters into orbit, to visit other beings as well. But if the other creatures are not as intelligent, would they be visited? Is it possible, that in their search of intelligent being they have decided to skip our world as we are not as intelligent as we thought we are? Would we do the same?”
“What if they don’t have a sky to look up to? Or they never did look up? Would they ever wonder what is beyond their planet? What lies out there? Or do they ever care? WHY HASN’T ANYONE VISITED US? More confusingly, why are Americans the only ones who are seemingly being abducted and prodded in the anus all the time?”
He has been a rather frustrated scientist, who has spent his whole life dedicated to raising his family, his only remaining purpose, with his dream not becoming a reality after all.
The drive home was rather usual, just like every drive. It is a little more wary to look up the sky, as you don’t know what may fall on your face. But irregardless, when something would fall on you, it will fall on you, and you will still have to look up and wonder, like an idiot, on where it came from, without considering to properly go take shelter and watch from a safe distance, that it might fall again. But it is our hard drive on curiosity that has evolved us after all, the stupidity of going beyond our instinct to try to seek protection, and instead dream and wonder on what is out there, that has evolved us to who we are.
And it just makes us wonder, what was the hamster thinking a few seconds before the rocket blew up? Being miles from the Earth, looking into the sky.

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