Here we are, the human race, tucked away in our secluded corner of the universe, out of touch with any other living things in the vast expanse of our cosmic neighbourhood.
If there are any other species out there, advanced enough to be watching us at a vast distance, they would surely be bemused by what they could see.
Upwards of 7 billion of the dominant species, divided, squabbling and self-obsessed as they trash their planet and ruin the lives of all the other species sharing their habitat.
But that isn’t quite the whole story. Would our extra-terrestrial eavesdroppers give credit for human achievements? Science & technology, art & culture, sport and entertainment?
There is Joy amidst the mayhem. Would they see that too?
Therein lays the tragedy. Or perhaps it is a comedy. Does it really matter what happens to us?
In the class of human studies, those beneficent aliens might zoom-in on our tendency to divide as a critical flaw in our evolutionary make-up. We seek out reasons to belong to factions. We have a talent for loading those factions with grievances and then nurturing them into hate.
I daren’t even cite a few examples for fear of hysterical misrepresentation.
The grievances are often real enough, of course. What might perplex our onlookers is the way we deal with them.
If, instead, our natural reaction was to preserve and protect our underlying unity while looking for solutions together, we might take a decisive turn towards a better future.
In my latest novel, Infinite State, a race against time between a conspiracy of conflict and the drive for unity is center stage. It is a work of fiction of course, or is it?