The Culture of Earthlings: A report from another planet

One night last week I left my computer on as I usually do, set to put itself to sleep at midnight. The next morning, I saw a report on my browser. I copied and pasted it into my word processor. When I returned to my browser the web page had disappeared. Here is the report, just as I found it.

Julian

PRELIMINARY REPORT ON THE CULTURE OF PLANET H783R4
(THE INHABITANTS CALL IT EARTH)
 SECTION 37: NUCLEAR WEAPONS
(translated into English by an X-T 602 translator under the guidance of the author)

Introduction

Our research team has been observing the planet H783R4 (Earth) for 110 earth-years. In this report I will use earth-years when referring to time. (To convert into our years divide by 4.4.)

EarthPicture taken on our first approach to Planet H783R4

While here, we have had full access to all electronic communication on Earth using the Tele-interceptor model T-368, and to all written communication using Docu-capture model Y-239c). The latter allows us to read every book in any library, every paper document in any file cabinet, and every file on an Earthling’s storage devices. In addition, we have been able to record about 200,000 conversations per earth-year (over 20 million conversations). All of these conversations will be indexed by subject matter and made available to other researchers.

Our X-T 602 translator has the capability of translating the 200 most widely spoken languages on Earth into our language. In addition, the linguists on our team have become fluent in 20 of these languages. They can understand subtleties that the X-T 602 cannot provide. See Appendix 17.4 for some interesting examples.

It will take a long time to fully analyze the data we have gathered. We know however that the government is eager to learn about nuclear weapons on this planet, so we are transmitting this preliminary report before we leave on the long trip for home.

This section (#37) is about those features of Earth’s society that allow nuclear weapons to threaten the existence of the great variety of life forms that inhabit the planet. This is of particular interest to us because about 4,400 earth-years ago we knew that we could build powerful weapons by converting mass into energy, but chose not to do it. Other research teams have reported on planets with living creatures that created and then later prohibited the production of nuclear weapons, as well as planets with beings that destroyed all life on their planet by developing and using nuclear weapons.

Earth is divided into different political divisions that they call countries. As the primary writer of this section I have spent most of my time studying a country called the USA — currently the most powerful and most destructive country on Earth. Features of the USA culture (see definition below) influence cultures all over Earth. The final report will have more contributions from researchers focusing on other parts of Earth.

The USA tested Earth’s first nuclear weapon in a desert. Our spaceship was nearby (invisible of course).

first nuclear weapon test
A picture we took nine Earth-seconds  after detonation

Less than an earth-month later, the USA dropped 2 nuclear bombs on a country with which it was at war. No one knows for certain how many Earthlings were killed by those 2 bombs, certainly over 200,000. These were, however, small bombs when compared to the bombs in existence on Earth today. At present, there are approximately 15,000 nuclear weapons with about 1,800 on high-alert status. Although there have been many nuclear bomb tests by various countries, no nuclear bombs have been used in war since the first two.

Earth is at an interesting period in its development.  It could extinguish all life or it could eliminate these weapons and establish a society without war. It is for this reason that we recommend giving high priority for funding another research team to come here in about 100 Earth-years. I hope to see Earthlings still existing when, and if, we return.

Earth’s Cultures

On Earth, as on our planet, culture has many definitions. Our team, after extensive discussion, decided to use the word culture to refer to the shared beliefs, values, and behaviors that a group of beings use when they interact with their world, and that get passed on from one generation to the next, often with no awareness that the values and behaviors are being passed on.

There are many different cultural groups on Earth. Earthlings sometimes, but not always, refer to these groups as ethnic groups. Earthlings, for the most part, recognize that different organizations, institutions, and countries have their own cultures as do religious, national, economic, and sexual groups. (Sexuality  is a concept foreign to us since we reproduce asexually. Sexuality is explained in Section 8.) Within a culture, the beliefs, values, and behaviors are not completely followed or believed by all members of the group.

In this preliminary report, I describe 4 components of Earth’s dominant cultures that most affect the development and possible use of nuclear weapons.

Individualism

Individualism is the belief that actions are for the benefit of the individual, rather than the society as a whole. Individualism tolerates, and even encourages practices on Earth that on our planet we would classify as immoral. For example, some Earthlings are allowed to accumulate wealth at the expense of the well-being, even the very lives, of other Earthlings. As a result, there are an estimated 100-150 million people on Earth who do not have a home to live in, and as many as 1.6 billion people lacking adequate housing. And yet some houses in the USA sell for over 100 million USA dollars. Another example is that it is permissible for individuals and organizations to pollute the air and water on Earth. This is threatening the existence of many species of life there. Finally, Earth allows the manufacture and sale of instruments that can harm living creatures. All of these are illegal and immoral on our planet.

Three important questions for future research are:
1.   How does individualism get started in a culture?
2.   Does individualism exist in all of the countries that have nuclear weapons or are there other cultural factors at work?
3.   How can a culture dominated by individualism be changed before it destroys itself?

Note:  It may be very difficult for colleagues reading this report to fully understand the individualistic aspect of Earth’s culture. Even after 110 earth-years of intense observation, I have difficulty understanding it. On our planet, we are committed to sharing our planet’s resources equally and preserving all essential ones forever.

Distraction/amusement

Earthlings have difficulty thinking clearly about long-term threats to themselves and their planet, such as climate change and nuclear weapons. One way they avoid these issues is to spend considerable amounts of time and money engaged in activities that distract them from the problems in their society.

What they call “sports” is a good example.  The most popular sports involve spheres of different sizes.

sports balls

Some people get paid large salaries for playing these sports or games. Many others watch them on television or in arenas. For example, in one sport they try to hit a small hard white ball into a cup. While this will likely seem odd to the reader, odder still is that others pay money to watch the game in person, and many Earthlings watch it on television.

The most popular game on Earth is called football by most Earthlings, but soccer by USA Earthlings. In this game, teams try to kick an inflated white ball into a net at either end of a grass field. Observers get very excited about these games and sometime fights break out during or after the games.

The most curious game to me is where one group of men run with or throw a prolate spheroid shaped ball across a line at one end of a field, while another group of men try to stop them. In the process they often cause severe physical damage to one another. This sometime causes brain injuries in later life. I have tried, without success, to understand this game and why it is so popular.

Super Bowl 1973A picture of the stadium where this game was played in 1973.

Another curious activity is watching videos of people without clothes on doing strange things and making strange sounds – sounds that they never make in public. This distraction mostly engages male Earthlings. (The characterization of most Earthlings as male or female is explained in section 4.)  The videos are called pornography. We do not have pornography on our planet.  I doubt that any of us will ever be able to make sense of this activity.

Many Earthlings have never participated in protesting any of the injustices in society or the many wars that have been fought in their lifetimes. Many resort to overeating and drinking alcohol (an addictive liquid that interferes with brain functioning) to avoid feeling their emotions. (See the section Emotional repression below.) On the other hand, we have documented Earthlings working to stop activities that are destroying their environment, bring about social and economic justice, end oppression and war, and deliver healthcare to underserved people in countries impoverished by war and subjugation. The number of protestors seem to be increasing lately.

War

War involves large numbers of people (mostly men) and expensive equipment (called weapons). Many people are killed. During a recent war that Earthlings call “World War Two” approximately 60 million people were killed. Even a small nuclear war might kill billions of people. I find it difficult to understand that countries will organize huge amounts of resources to kill other Earthlings. We have some recordings of Earthlings, particularly young Earthlings, expressing this same feeling.

Our research teams have observed many planets that have war, but almost always on these planets the military kills other members of the military. I find it very strange that on Earth the military purposely kill large numbers of non-military Earthlings. I know that I am not being an objective researcher when I think “What is this universe coming to?”

Based on our research, I conclude that a major cause of war is the belief of many Earthlings that they are better, more valuable, or more deserving than other Earthlings. This “better than” belief occurs mainly in regard to skin color, but also in regard to religion, nationality, wealth, and gender. The ancestors of modern Earthlings appeared about 6 million earth-years ago. Modern forms of Earthlings appeared only about 200,000 earth-years ago. (This explains the primitive form of their society.) They evolved in the southern region of their planet and spread over the entire planet. The groups that remained in the southern hemisphere have darker skin color than those who moved to the northern hemisphere. Earthlings in the northern hemisphere, in general, believe they are superior to the ones in the southern hemisphere. A curious feature is that many educated Earthlings deny that they have beliefs of this nature. Our research, however, provides evidence that they do. And there is a long history (about 600 Earth-years) of subjugation, colonialism, and oppression of darker skinned people by lighter skinned people.

Another aspect of the “better than” phenomenon is the conditioning of young male Earthlings to prepare them to volunteer to kill and be killed for their country. This requires installing feelings and beliefs that their country is better than other countries and is worth dying for. Earthlings call this patriotism. This has a long history on Earth. Our research of the literature of Earthlings found that Horace, a famous poet who lived in the Roman Empire over 2,000 earth-years ago, wrote “It is sweet and fitting to die for your country.”

In the USA, political leaders often say that the USA is the “best country”. They routinely end speeches with “God bless the United States of America (USA).” I have not been able to figure out exactly what that means, but they say it a lot so it must have some significance to them.

You may wonder how Earthlings’ culture of war led to the creation of nuclear weapons. On a planet whose beings are fond of war, whenever a tribe or country has the opportunity to develop more powerful weapons, they will do so since it gives them an advantage in war. This pattern operated when the USA had the opportunity to develop nuclear bombs. They did not foresee the likelihood that other countries would develop equally powerful weapons leading to the risk of mutual annihilation.

I am surprised that Earthlings have survived the last 70 earth-years given the belligerent attitude of political and military leaders in many countries, and the number of errors that came very close to starting a nuclear war.

Emotional repression

Most cultural groups on Earth obstruct and often prevent Earthlings from feeling and expressing emotions. Young Earthlings, including infants, are actively prevented from expressing emotions. They are criticized, and sometimes punished, for crying or showing fear or anger. Some Earthlings are even told to not laugh. This is very different than on our planet and we can only speculate on how it started.

A consequence is that most adult Earthlings do not appear to fully feel any emotions about the possibility of a nuclear war ending all life on their planet. Most of them seem numb to the existence of nuclear weapons. We have rarely observed Earthlings discussing nuclear weapons with friends or relatives. Nuclear weapons are usually not talked about in their educational institutions, or even in religious institutions.

Earthlings use of chemical substances that cause changes in perception, mood, consciousness or behavior) has increased greatly in the last 20 years.  Earthlings using these drugs can hardly feel anything, no less the horror of nuclear war.  On our planet, when we discovered these chemical substances and their negative effects, we found ways to provide emotional support, so that the substances were not needed. It would benefit Earthlings, if when a being feels “bad’ [depressed or sad] they had easy access (as we do) to teams to help them express their emotions and recover.

I believe, but cannot yet prove, that emotional repression is a major cause of the individualism that I described above.

Other observations

Earthlings are very curious and creative. They have evolved with an inherent desire to cooperate with each other. That trait helped them survive and make tremendous progress from the days when even more of their species were hungry and struggling to survive, as reported by our previous research visits. They have learned to read and write, develop agriculture, mathematics, technology, and science, build magnificent structures, and explore their planetary system. They have produced great works of music, literature, and art.

Most Earthlings appear to care deeply about one another.  They help each other in times of crises — both individual crises such as illness or death of a loved one, or regional ones such as a hurricanes or earthquakes. Unfortunately, as societies, they have not been able to apply that caring to eliminating nuclear weapons or stopping activities that accelerate global warming. Even Earthlings working for social, economic, or environmental justice often fail to recognize the importance of also speaking out against nuclear weapons.

The best thing about Earthlings is that they continue to use their intelligence to try and solve problems. I like that!

Respectfully submitted,
Senior Researcher 839-0047

END OF SECTION 37

Note from Julian:

I hope that you have found it as valuable as I did to read these observations from Senior Researcher 839-0047 who has done an excellent job of identifying important cultural issues that threaten our existence. I invite you to write to the Comment section about cultural issues that you notice that contribute to the situation we find ourselves in with regard to nuclear weapons.

More importantly I urge you to take action to eliminate nuclear weapons from our planet. You may feel that this is impossible. However, cultures do change. Twenty years ago no country recognized the legality of same sex marriages. Now over 25 countries do. Only 125 years ago New Zealand became the first self-governing nation to grant women the right to vote. Now women have the right to vote in most nations, although in some they encounter severe obstacles.

Change is inevitable. Beneficial change is possible. It usually does not happen quickly, and there is often great resistance. Most importantly it requires that individuals take initiative. The questions below are aimed at helping you decide what you want to do.

Questions to think about or discuss with friends:

  • What cultural aspects have you noticed around you that contribute to people accepting the existence of nuclear weapons?
  • What do you want to do to attempt to change the culture that the observer reported?
  • How has society conditioned you to accept irrational or unjust situations in the world?
  • How do you want to speak out against them? What is in your way?

 

One thought on “The Culture of Earthlings: A report from another planet

  1. Dear Researcher 839-0047,

    Well, this was great fun!!! I chuckled a lot reading about our planet noticing only a small number of ways in which we are quite irrational. It’s nice to know that rationality is universal, quite literally. I look forward to a time when Earthlings regain their full rationality and eliminate nuclear weapons and treasure all life on the planet Earth. And I will do what I can to assist.

    With love to you, wherever you are!
    Joy

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