I was watching a documentary today on alien
abduction. They asked the question, if the stories aren't true, why
would someone invent such an unpleasant experience? The show had it's
token skeptic who offered her opinion. She thinks there are
psychological benefits to believing in aliens, particularly the we-are-
not-alone factor. And that got me thinking; why do we seem so
desperate to believe in existence of a superior inteligence? It may be
that it answers a fear that is new to us; fear of our own technology.
In periods past we had other models to hold up to our own epoch.
Ancient man was at the mercy of nature and hence the gods. Even the
ages that directly preceded our own - particularly the Enlightenment -
were in large part an attempt to recapture the glory of past
civilizations. But with the onset of the atomic and digital ages we
have entered a world for which there is no precedent. It seems
possible that much of our attraction to the idea of technologically
advanced aliens lies in the idea that someone, somewhere has survived
this intellectual awkward phase. For perhaps the first time in
history, humans have the sense that their technology can destroy
civilization if not the world. Some people react to this by assuming
civilization is evil and that it's destruction is more or less god's
plan. But god is only a comfort to those who are preparing for death.
Perhaps in this life-centric culture belief in a technological
superior being can serve the same function as the spiritual kind. But
then that begs an archetypal question; if aliens did not exist, would
it be neccessary for man to invent them?