Friday, September 07, 2007

First Born

Life from somewhere else has been an interesting human facination for a long time now. We have fantasized about life from other planets, other planes and even other universes. We have fantasized of life without material bodies, and life within inanimate objects. We have searched for a logical continuation of life after death, and a logical beggening of life from before birth. We have enlivened creatures that never existed... zombies, unicorns, centaurs, mermaids... the lot. We have aliens and we have robots. Humans have basically looked for intelligent life everywhere, but overwhelmingly, every human knows, that our race is one of a kind.

We are alone in a universe that we will never really completely explore. We can hope, maybe to reach out to the closest stars after mind bogglingly large voyages spanning generations of human inhabitants in colonising spaceships. This at least, for now, is an absolute eventuality. It may begin to happen in the next century or the next millenium, that does not matter. What matters is that some day our descendants are going to go out there.

The universe is young. So is our race. We have barely touched the moon, and as a race, we cannot be stuck here on Earth for ever. The Earth is not permanent, it is a clump of dense matter orbitting a larger clump of denser matter. Life, however, has the potential to outlast the Earth, and even the sun. Attaching our race to the planet is out and out suicidal. We have to leave, and we will, someday.

Life will then take its own course. Speciation occors on different banks of the same river... imagine the gulfs between two bases. Maybe we do not need to head out to another planet. Maybe we don't need a destination at all... just a vessel in an enormous trajectory will do, and something like this is the most basic of all possible plans of action for the preservation of our genes.

What if we are living in the dawn. The early ages. What if our life is indeed unique. What if every strand of DNA in the whole wide universe is entrusted to the gravity of the Earth? As the first sentient life forms in the universe, we might be the very creatures we fantasize about. What if, it is the responsibility of men, to seed the stars. By all accounts, we are the first born.

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