DiversityIt's hard to talk about Martians and Venusians without descending into stereotypes but I'm going to have to try because my subject is the value of diversity, brought on by a recent trip to New York and a visit to Lady Liberty. I find Martians more tolerable, maybe because they are drier - there is nothing worse than a Venusian at the table next to you, snuffling their stew of boiled grubs and cabbage through their trunk, not to mention the worry that perhaps the Venusian is eyeing you for dessert - but even the Martians get on my nerves. Don't get me wrong - some of my best friends are Martians, and it was a Venusian who set me on my present career path; just don't ask me to eat at the same table, or even restaurant with them. I see I've started off on the wrong foot or tentacle. I do intend to be serious. Diversity is a serious subject and much misunderstood. People think that there are moral reasons for being welcoming to all sentient beings. I don't disagree, but I think there is something much more compelling: survival. I've argued before that the future is inherently unknowable. We can't predict with certainty tomorrow's weather or interest rates, how do we expect to be able to guess what alien invasion, what solar collision, what galactic freeway construction project may happen in the next millenia and wipe out our shared Solar System? I'm sure there are those of you who are now shaking your heads and wondering if I have lost mine. How can we tolerate Venusians who only recently lived by the motto "To Serve Man"? Can there be any common ground with those Martians whose whole life seems to be wrapped up in contemplation of single drops of water? I grant you, that's only a minor sect in Martian society, but it unfortunately points out the fundamental differences between our life forms. Our shared existence is more fragile than we think. We used to think that an asteroid impact could destroy humanity much as it once did the dinosaurs. Now that we have exchanged portals with both Mars and Venus, we have reduced that possibility, but we (humanity alone or together with Venusians and Martians) still live in an indifferent cosmos that could wipe us out with a single stomp of its Godzilla foot. Survival of intelligent life may feel too mundane, or the potential disaster too remote, but diversity also fosters creativity, which ultimately makes better lives for all of us. For instance, the invention of the interplanetary portal was only made possible by the Human, Venusian, Martian and Dolphin collaboration that solved the problem of reconciling the Bayesian Standard Model of Quantum Mechanics with Church's Thesis, and the Dolphin understanding of dissipation of Newtonian inertia. Even our TV shows have benefited: the camera techniques of the reality TV show, Alien Wife Swap, would not be possible without the Martian techniques of triple mentality that became popular recently. We all circle the same sun. We are all carbon based life. If you cut any of us do we not bleed even though the blood of some is green and others yellow? Let us celebrate our differences, look for our similarities and find ways to work together.
5 Aug 2013
Copyright © 2013 Truck Smith