ALIENS AND FUTURE SHOCK:
WHY THEY DON’T MAKE CONTACT
(originally published Feb 2014)
Was the answer to why aliens have yet to make open contact with humanity answered in a forty-five year old book by visionary Alvin Toffler? Does the revelatory “Future Shock” give us the reason why the alien flirts with us but does not engage us? Do they know that humankind cannot bear too much reality too soon? Would meeting the alien bring to us the Premature Arrival of the Future?
In 1970, author Alvin Toffler introduced a concept so profound that its implications continue to be felt as we continue our march into time. “Future Shock” is a condition of physical distress and mental disorientation, brought on by the inability to cope with rapid or sudden change. As Toffler states so succinctly, it is “an individual and societal psychological state which is detrimental. It is induced when too much change is introduced in too short a time.”
There may well be specific biological, cultural and other limits to our ability to “take in” such complex information and insight. Too much received too quickly that is too “different” puts too much of a demand on our ability to perceive and reason. We would be fear-stricken, and our decision-making competence would deteriorate. We may even become irrational. As humans we do not always embrace wholesale change, and we like the familiar. We lack the needed mechanisms to cope with the cosmic.
TO EXPERIENCE THE ALIEN IS TO EXPERIENCE THE FUTURE
To experience the alien is – by its very nature – to experience the future. If they are coming here, rather than us visiting them, they are at an instant advantage. This means that they are at once an ancient race and a future race. Relative to us, their evolution and history reaches back far longer – yet they are, at the same time, of the “future.” It is a paradigm that would make even the wisest brains hurt.
An act of open contact would “collide” history, the present, and the future in ways that maybe “aren’t yet meant to be”. By meeting the alien and experiencing its technology and culture, one would be experiencing Distant Time and the Far Future in the Here and Now. Meeting in the present those who are older than us and more advanced than us is the ultimate disruption of the flow of time itself. Things are not meant to unfold in this way.
To be instantly plunged forward 100,000 years from now and experience the world to come, in a world older than our own, would not be an exciting or adventurous thing. It would be a most terrifying thing. Our ability to handle this would be questionable because our wiring is tight and our minds are not malleable. People overwhelmed by change suffer and discompose. They can feel left out and left behind, frustrated, jealous and ineffectual. They can become distrustful and afraid.
MEETING “FUTURE BEINGS”
Many enjoy speculating, researching and analyzing things UFO. But for many, the actual “thing” itself would be too disruptive. That is, most are able to consider the UFO, but most would not want to have their families actually taken up in one. We are comfortable to ponder the alien, but few would have the gumption to seat one at the dinner table.
We have a quaint notion of UFOs as simply nuts and bolts – but we are not yet ready to comprehend their true nature as things that are yet to be.
These aliens, or future beings, doubtless know this. They know the adverse repercussions:
Acknowledgement of the alien would necessarily mean that there are those who are older than humankind and that are smarter than us on every level. They have already been there and done that. Our history is small and insignificant in comparison. We would in an instant realize that we are not the Center of Everything. Would we individually and collectively question or minimize our value and worth in the Universe? To always feel “lesser?” What would it be like to be forever the student and never the teacher?
COVETING THY NEIGHBOR'S GOODS
Perhaps we would not be their students. Perhaps they would not share. And this would cause perhaps greater problems than if they rapidly introduced us to the things of “future life”.
Technology that is not shared creates anxiety and suspicion. Every War Department knows this. The alien knows that we would covet and vie for his future goods. A whole field of study has arisen in recent years called “Disruptive Technologies.” A “disruptive technology” is one that is so fundamentally and monumentally superior to prior or existing technologies that its new platform creates mass obsolescence and necessitates mass change. The alien does not wish technology transfer because they know it would “transfer” us in ways that would – for now – be disruptive and undesirable.
As much as technology has freed us, it is slowly killing us. We have yet to handle technology responsibly. We enwrap ourselves and our young in it. And when we connect with it, we disconnect from the pulse of life. We rush to weaponize technology. And in order to get technology, we put deadly chemicals into our air, soil, water and food. We rape the very Earth that sustains us. The visiting alien must be a sustainable one – and they know that we are not.
Over four decades ago, Alvin Toffler accurately anticipated ‘future things’ that have both helped and harmed us, such as:
The emergence of digital communities (i.e. Twitter, FaceBook, online forums)
The ability to know about events as they happen anywhere in the world through hyper-connections (i.e. CNN, online news)
The increased incidence of large-scale environmental disasters (i.e. oil spills such as the Deepwater Horizon BP spill)
The isolation of children cocooned in personal technology (i.e. video games, smartphones)
The rise in public meltdowns (i.e. school shootings, road rage)
Toffler’s insight is foresight. And this insight can be applied to things Alien.
Still active at 85, Alvin Toffler remains a Futurist. He writes that he has undergone “culture shock”. He has “felt that same jarring dislocation that some travelers experience when suddenly plunged into an alien culture – such as when jetted to an exotic foreign land.”
True “alienation” would occur if that culture was brought to our own turf without our own doing – and not on our own timetable. Perhaps it would be all too much, all too soon…