Scene: In an artificial bubble on the surface of Ganymede (one of Jupiter's moons), an alien explorer describes the planet "Earth" to his species.
Can you give us a general picture of Earth and its inhabitants?
The planet is rather pretty, with lots of natural resources. "Fertile" isn't too strong a word, especially when compared with most places in the local system. There are lots of energy sources, easily accessed, and lots of chemical resources as well. And we think this fertility is why the Earth's inhabitants the "humans" have such distorted ideas about reality.
You mean like the silica worms on Venus, who, because they can't see through their atmosphere, have the idea that their planet is the entire universe?
No, the humans are much worse. They can see and study the entire universe, but they still think they are the center of everything, that their planet is the reason the universe exists.
(collective gasp from audience)
But only the young humans, the larvae, have these distorted ideas, right?
No, that would be true here, but on Earth even old humans have a larval view of reality. Some never mature beyond expecting a deity, or a government, or nature herself, to satisfy their craving for transformation.
What is this transformation? Don't they understand what they are?
Not in the slightest. They believe they are super-beings, or are mystically connected to a super-being, so everything is simultaneously temporary and unsatisfactory, to be someday replaced by fame, justice, immortality, or something called "true love."
Do any of them have our concept of nature as a connected whole, of which all are a part? How do their beliefs differ?
The earthlings have it exactly backward. They think nature exists for them, designed to meet their needs, not that they are part of nature, as we
But it is much worse than that. They can't understand why nature won't meet their most trivial needs, and they are possessed by dissatisfaction. If they look at their planet's moon, it is unsatisfactory because they can't build a house on it. Everything is too hot or too cold, too big or too small. Reality is viewed solely in terms of a human's immediate needs.
How did they stay so backward for so long?
Mostly by looking in the wrong places. You may not believe this, but many of them rely on each other for structure and meaning they even form units, composed of a leader and followers. The leader pretends to need followers, and the followers pretend to need a leader. Naturally, the most dangerous leaders and followers are those who forget it's a game. This game used to be called "religion," now it is called "government."
Are there any regions of more advanced behavior, a place where we could safely present ourselves?
Emphatically not. In fact, there is one area of Earth that is much worse than the others it's called "America." The...