There’s something infinitely meaningful about extraterrestrial intelligent civilizations that gets sidestepped for conversations of contact. Forget contact for a minute. Let’s just think about their existence. Oh yes, they’re there. Top professors at top universities proclaim to lecture halls of hundreds of students that there are probably at least a few intelligent civilizations in our galaxy. That’s a pretty revolutionary claim that’s becoming mainstream in astrophysics.
So somewhere in some galactic crevice of our Milky Way there thrives another intelligent civilization. Maybe they live under an ocean or in the atmosphere. Maybe they communicate via telepathy or have achieved teleportation. Anyway- what are they doing? If they have any technology, then they’re probably trying to understand the universe and their planet and their species… just like we are.
Well, so what? Remember that planet earth and everything we’ve ever known is going to be devoured by the sun in a few billion years and perhaps every trace of our civilization might disappear forever. That’s cause for letting yourself fall into a big black hole of meaninglessness. Remember that religion is really the longing for the infinite and if science is telling us that we are truly finite, well, that’s a kind of a road block in our path to immense cosmic meaning.
But that’s not the end of the story. So if there are other intelligences that are doing the exact same things we’re doing right now (searching for truth and meaning and developing greater technologies) and if some of them outlive our civilization- then some form, some version of us and the things we value is continuing on in a very real way when we’re gone.
If there are civilizations in other galaxies too, and if we indeed live in some kind of infinite, eternal cosmological landscape, like for instance the Multiverse, then biological and intelligent life is… eternal. So, the same result at the heart of eons of religion and superstition… is coming from science.
To sum up: ETs in every galaxy + the practice of science or similar human endeavors on said ET planets + eternal or ongoing cosmological space-time geometry = eternal life. There is eternal existence for some form of the important things we’re doing now- the search for truth and meaning. When our lives are over, when our planet is gone, the things humanity has dedicated it’s existence to will still be alive somewhere in the universe.
So possibly, there’s eternal biological and intelligent life in some form… and that gives us a sliver of some sense of cosmic meaning. But nothing that I do will be passed on after earth dies, right? Well… maybe, but not so fast. You see, as a species, we’re infants, we’re babies. But guess what? We already know where the earth-like planets are. Incredible! And in a few hundred years, telescope power will have advanced so greatly that we’ll be imaging these earth-like planets directly. That means that if there’s another civilization in our galaxy that’s thousands or even millions of years older than us… they know we’re here. Yeah, you can bet on that. Not only do they know we’re here, they most definitely have the advanced technology to peer into planet Earth and watch every single thing we do…
Yes, the aliens are probably watching you. Good luck sleeping tonight.
We might be the equivalent of frogs to them. But we’ve probably evolved and adapted to our planet differently than they have and that might interest them. They watch us for the sake of science, for the sake of amusement, and maybe even for the sake of… new ideas. Do you see? The extraterrestrial intelligences are probably watching each other, watching us, sharing what they see, and perhaps propelling our ideas into eternity.
Scientific eternal life (even if the aliens aren’t watching)… much, much more amazing and fulfilling than a cloud-scape of fairies and angels and gods that has absolutely no logical or evidential basis whatsoever that we can never go to in real life. But the stars, the other extraterrestrial intelligent civilizations- we will one day go there.