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WHEN FIRST detected the alien ship was believed to be a comet. As it came closer, it was speculated to be an asteroid. When its orbital characteristics changed, and it entered geosynchronous orbit 22,000 miles from Earth, optical telescopes clearly showed it as a spaceship.
The world panicked. Stock markets crashed, shot upward, crashed again. Small nations went to war, and larger nations struggled to avoid war. Doomsday cults and mass suicides sprouted like mushrooms on a rotting log after a cold hard rain. Price gouging became the norm.
And every signal broadcast to the alien ship was unacknowledged and unanswered.
An international 22 member committee was initiated to explore this conundrum. The committee in turn selected nine scientists and charged them with six significant questions designed to elucidate the nature of the aliens. Of course, the most important question to humankind was simply, why don’t they answer us?
As days became months the worst anxieties settled and human life slowly reverted to normalcy. Many took reassurance in the illusory comfort afforded by decisive government action.
Five months and two billion Euros later the scientists made their first and final report to the committee. This report was rejected and the scientists referred back to keep investigating. All of the scientists resigned. New scientists were selected. The first report was not released. The second report fully agreed with the first and the process was repeated. The committee released to the public that the matter of the alien spaceship is “still under investigation”.
The first report reads:
“It has long been believed that humans are the apex of evolution. Certain facts are cited in support, our large brains, our use of technology, the absence of peer species. This belief is so pervasive in the human sphere as to be treated as fact, and yet it is not, it is merely belief. Stated another way, it is bias.
We look at the cetaceans and discount them as possible peers. We look at chimpanzees and patronizingly regard them as almost-humans, and value them to the extent that they can mimic us. We accept that our priorities and conditions are superior, yet this is the rankest anthropic principle.
Herein we review the overwhelming evidence that the aliens have contacted the dominant intelligent species of Earth, and are indeed in conversation. But that is not our species.
While we expect this conclusion to be unpalatable and unacceptable to the mass of humanity it is also irrefutable. Aspects of this conversation have been decoded. A small part of it is concerned with us; the majority of it is incomprehensible and unknowable to us.
An analogy can be made to a chimpanzee sitting in the viewing gallery of Congress, observing the business of government. The chimp may sit attentively, it may fall asleep, or it may leap upward and swing screaming from chandelier to chandelier. Whatever the outcome, we derive smug emotional assurance in the “knowledge” that the chimpanzee does not understand the complex processes unfolding. But it turns out that we are that chimp.
The number of human cells in each human body is outnumbered 10 to one by the number of bacterial cells. Bacteria have been held in low esteem. We have sought anti-biotics to kill them, dismissed them as simple and merely troublesome. We have suffered the bias of the greater complexity of the eukaryotic cell to the prokaryotic. But the answer has always been obvious; the prokaryotic cells vastly outnumber the eukaryotes. If eukaryotes are so much more superior, why are there so few – simply, because they are not necessary. The prokaryotic hive minds are the true dominant intelligent species of Earth, and we now sit on the sidelines while the aliens ignore us, as we would ignore an organ-grinders monkey.”
In the years since the report was declassified, it has been frequently noted that the language and style was carefully crafted to, in the words of one analyst, “. . . ease the pain of lost prominence.” This is also the origin of its label as the Mary Poppins report, offering, as it were, a spoonful of sugar to the human race.
We can all be grateful that the Prokarys in the years since have chosen to speak with us, that they allow us a voice — along with the cetaceans, parrots, AIs and frost minds — in a manner exactly opposite to the way that we silenced other species. We are all citizens of Earth, even if some of us have behaved rather badly.