Aliens May Not Exist

We live in an amazing time. Within your lifetime we may no longer be dependent upon fossil fuels. By 2040 we’ll be driving electric cars or something even more magnificent. Tankers and cruise ships with futuristic batteries and entrepreneurs farming the plastics in the ocean for profit. Someday, in the not too distant future, they will know how to move your consciousness into something permanent and that generation will get to live forever. The capacity for humans to grow beyond biological dependence will afford opportunities for knowledge that confound the imagination. If we can survive the 2100’s there is a decent possibility that we will possess the technology to populate our galaxy. We’re planning to send people to Mars, right now. Global warming may kill us all but if it doesn’t, it appears that we are only at the beginning of what humankind may be capable.

It is entirely possible, though not popular to admit, that we are entirely alone in the universe. Scientists postulate that it takes just over 3 billion years to develop sentient life, and the universe is far older than that. Why is it so quiet out there? With 70 sextillion suns in the universe we should be swimming in Klingons by now. In a universe that is over 13 billion years old there has been ample opportunity for distant planets in distant galaxies to develop to the level where they can send out a message that we should be able to hear. In case you haven’t been paying attention, the recent technological advances in fields like astronomy are staggering. Science can now look at the beginning of the universe. Think about that for a moment.

And the news just gets worse. While most of us would like to believe in a Star Trek Federation, some very smart people have realized that enough time has passed that any civilization which may have developed in the distant past on other planets may be dead by now, if they existed at all. At the other end of the spectrum is the notion that life did exist, but it’s done by now. As hard as it is to imagine, there are solar systems much older than ours and countless fruitful planets could have invented gingsu knives literally billions of years ago. Billions. Logically we must assume that all games must end, and even a successful planet that started even a few hundred thousand years before ours would potentially, based on what we know about how stupid thinking beings can be, have blown themselves to that alien lizard hell a thousand times over. We’re not even mentioning the hundreds and thousands of happy accidents that randomly kept the idea of evolutionary growth alive in spite of seemingly impossible odds.

Imagine the technology we will possess in 100,000 years. You can’t. Think how far we have come since the Renaissance. We are alien gods to the people of the 14th Century; one look at your iPhone and good teeth would be enough to have you burned at the stake for most of our recent history. It is entirely apparent that we are only at the very beginning of human potential, we’re still the hillbilly predecessors in the eventual story of the growth of our species.

In over 13 billion years, it has been postulated, life should have evolved to the level where someone out there could hear or see us – somewhere among those hundred billion stars (and that’s just this insignificant galaxy). Any civilization that has even a few tens of thousands of years head-start could be smart enough to develop technology beyond our imagination. We may not survive the next hundred years if we can’t get those damn corporations and governments to take their heads out of their asses, can you imagine the opportunities for self-destruction we will have in the next couple hundred thousands of years? Can you envisage the potential for self-destruction we will experience in the next five hundred thousand years?

So tell me again, why can’t we find any signs of life out there?

I’m not even mentioning the apocalyptic fears around how such an advanced society would feel about a new upstart in their neighbourhood. Don’t even go there. If this twitches your geek muscles just google Fermi Paradox.

We seem, all over again, to be on the edge of incredible technological advancement. People who are alive right now could have grandchildren from Mars. We still have no idea how the Big Bang works or whether or not dark matter and dark energy even exists. How are photons in two places at one time? Are there really 11 dimensions of existence? How does something start out of nothing? Did Michael Jackson really not see that he looked super creepy and weird? So many unanswered mysteries still await us. Constraints such as the limitations of travel based on the speed of light, or our current understandings of Newtonian and Einsteinian physics, may someday seem quaint and archaic, products of a pre-enlightened understanding of reality and science.

So it may not be that monumental of a stretch to say that we probably don’t yet have all the answers. While it is tempting to believe that we are the absolute pinnacle of human evolution, it may be worth remembering that every generation before us absolutely believed they understood how the world worked and what mattered in life. Priests and prophets and generations of ignorants were convinced that what they believed was the undeniable truth. They were certain.

Just for fun, let’s rip apart the notion of Atheism. One could argue that the belief that there is no possibility for anything beyond one’s limited understanding of reality (and meaning of life) is in and of itself limiting, predicated upon the fragile notion that we are even remotely capable of understanding the depth of the human experience at this early stage of creative evolution. Atheism is predicated on certainty and certainty could be, and don’t hurt me here, a little naive at this juncture.

Putting aside the limiting definition that “this is all there is or can ever be” allows me to leave room for wonder. Perhaps there is something out there beyond my understanding and some day another Einstein will help us understand life on an entirely different plain. Words like faith and fairytale definitions of eternity become possibilities, not because there is any rational proof right now, but based on the fact that we have not yet learned everything there is to learn. Certainty based on our current understanding of physics and reality may just be a touch premature.

And who knows, there might even be aliens.

Someday’s Coming


I remember a moment captured in time. I was making breakfast at my restaurant, The Bad Dog Grill, and I realized I hated my life. It was 7:30 am and I wanted a beer. If I cut my hand one more time, maybe I can go home today. I just knew I would never get out of that kitchen. Then one day I was.

I have spoken with people in prison, or doing time in a bad relationship, who have been convinced I was wrong. This hell is never going to end. I will never meet someone who loves me. I will never want to live again. I can never move on from this. Then you do, though rarely like on television. We sincerely need to have a conversation some time about what recovery really looks like. God never sent me a thunderbolt and one day I didn’t wake up fixed. It’s gradual and tedious and most of us have no flipping clue what “better” really should look like.

Many of us grow up believing that we are supposed to move beyond, not just move on. Somehow we are supposed to forgive that monster or forget about that loss or magically get normal. Those are wonderful motivational posters but in the real world we usually become scarred by life and I’m not just talking about table saws and missing fingers. Life beats the hell out of many of us and it is going to take a religious event or a Canadian Tire pool full of good tequila for things to feel spanky. It is tempting to pine for the innocence or the waistline or the eyebrows of our youth but, and I hate being the one to tell people this, that ship has sailed, been attacked by Somali pirates and sunk by the North Korean military. You are never going to be who you once were and when you think about it, that may be a very good thing. I know you used to be able to run for miles and jump over fences and turn everyone’s eye but chances are you were way way dumber. Do you really want to be 18 and perky again? Willing to give up all that experience and drink the Koolaid?

When I was younger I was convinced I knew the score, and I was an idiot. Sorry to get all technical on you there. I could not give up what I know now for who I was then. That is difficult to write but it rings true for me.

Someday. Someday things will be different than they are today. Before the steam engine you could be attacked by the Huns in one millenia than the Mongols in another and the tactics would be similar because both armies used horses and bows and arrows. The world was defined for centuries by a single warrior, usually on a mount. The players may have changed but the world hadn’t. Time barely moved. The vast majority of the planet never travelled beyond their district. There was no Wifi. When the Mongols used gunpowder against the Hungarians no one even understood what that sound was, and why is there a hole in me? Generations passed with little noticeable difference.

This is not that time. I cannot promise you much, but it does appear self-evident that this culture is addicted to unstoppable momentum. A woman in a bad marriage is far more apt to leave than she was four hundred years ago. Heck, forty years ago.

It may not get good but it probably won’t stay the same. Fewer of us are willing to put up with monotonous misery anymore. There is no possible way soldiers would sit in trenches today, like they did in World War One, unless there was an Xbox and free Facebook. Two months of sitting in water and rats and dysentery and I don’t know about you but I’d probably go over the hill and let them shoot me, just out of boredom and from the constant itching. I hate itching. It may be possible that we are not the strongest generation that ever lived. Those old 90-year-olds killed people and it still would not serve to piss too many of them off, especially on a cruise when they race their walkers and gave me the evil eye. My grandfather left his family for over four years to drive a gas truck to the Front. Did he even have air conditioning? The times, they are a’changing.

Someday’s coming, for all of us. To quote Mr. Smith, “that is the sound of inevitability”. Your depression may not be terminal and that kid may talk to you again, someday. Someday you will know things that you don’t right now and your situation will change just enough that you will look at life differently. What often looks like “things finally going your way” may have at least something to do with how much you change, and that is the best news I can tell you. Sure you are going through hell, but if you are keeping your head just above the waves you are undoubtedly learning important lessons that you would never understand without going through this Armageddon. You are reading a blog by a therapist, so you are probably wise enough to know you aren’t wise enough yet to handle the whole enchilada. Me too. I desperately hope I am not a finished product.

Overcoming your stuff has more to do with just getting in the ring, than it has to do with winning every round. I can’t tell you how many times I fail at almost everything, and my job is to keep getting up in the morning and giving a damn. That’s me, it may not be you. For people with ADHD just keeping your act together is often hard enough without all the gushy little rewards. The empaths suffer so very much, just being alive. Being the strong one sucks. The person who carries the weight of the world is often crushed. Most of us would self-medicate if we could get away with it, Scot(t)-free. We haven’t even discussed one of my favorite themes – the real world is often boring and relentless and stressful. Stir in a few mental health issues, and a loss or two, and you may be tempted to just give up.

Don’t do it. Someday’s coming. It may be years or it could be today (probably not) but change happens whether we like it or not. This is the one constant in the Twenty-first Century. If you are awake you may have noticed the global village is experiencing the most profound cultural revolution since the Enlightenment. The internet, combined with catastrophic cultural changes, has transformed the world forever. There is no way to put the rabbit back in the hat.

I am not going to launch into a diatribe on how we are all headed to hell in a handbasket. There is plenty of time for that. Lately I’ve wondered if there is not a pot of gold in this electronic GMO rainbow. I can remember, even in my lifetime, when you had to go to a library if you wanted to read about anything. The world was slower and if you are depressed or dealing with impossible situations, slow never feels good.

Hold on. Someday’s still coming. I just wish, sometimes, it would hurry the hell up.

All kids need is a little help, a little hope and someone who believes in them.  
Magic Johnson

Apparently I’m An X-Men

I’m like Wolverine except without the muscles, the talent, the looks and the pokey knuckles. And only in a tonsils way (that’s obviously a real word). Oh, and I can not be killed.

I don’t believe in Karma or fate but I’m not actually stupid enough to announce to both my readers (you see what I did there) and the Interweb that I cannot really be killed. I may not believe in Karma but I don’t want to piss her off, even if I know superstition is dumb. As the philosopher Homer (Simpson) once cried, “Jesus Allah Buddha save me!” Just covering my bases.

Here’s where I’m headed: Many years ago I had my tonsils out. Fast forward a decade or two and I had my tonsils out, again. There are medical records to confirm this but this isn’t rage journalism so I don’t have to provide transcripts. It is true; and very weird. I am almost certain I have tonsils right now.

The few readers who visit here may not have noticed, but I didn’t write for a few weeks. I do this when writing begins to bore me (this is, after all, my hobby) from time to time, so there is nothing remarkable in such a break. On this occasion, however, I had a martial arts fight with my table saw, obviously believing that my black belt skills would stack well against a 20-year-old piece of crap I purchased at Canadian Tire. I was wrong. The table saw really only has one good move, but it is a doozy. I’m almost certain ‘doozy’ is a word. We sparred briefly and I lost, in a fairly substantial way. I give the table saw’s performance ‘one and a half thumbs up’. I am also, as a super awesome side bonus, now intimately familiar with how tendons are supposed to work. I won the Silver Medal for the match.

My thumb appears to be, at least in part, growing back. I haven’t attempted this with any major organs or parts but based on my extensive and definitive research thus far – I should be able to cut anything off and it should rejuvenate. I am not a scientist but I’ve been 100% spot-on thus far. I have not tested this hypothesis but my wife told me the insurance company would have paid me substantial money had I not been such a pansy and done a decent and thorough job. No one likes a half-assed effort. After getting off the phone with my office manager Annette actually said, “Slam some Oxy’s, I’m warming up the table saw!”

So here at home I sit, watching daytime television and practicing my superpower. Why couldn’t I get invisibility? If this doesn’t happen faster I may need to find a radioactive spider. I hate waiting. I consider the ‘tap’ option for paying with my credit card perhaps one of the greatest inventions, ever. I am literally too lazy to put in my pin number. I am not, therefore, amazing at waiting.

One of the recurring themes on this website is clearly my fixation with the misconceptions people have when it comes to personal change and growth. Automated Tellers now take too long. There is a good chance that this is not your only internet window open right now. Three people have texted me in the past three minutes and I’m old and have few friends, or so I once thought. We seem to be on our phones all the time.

There is evidence to suggest that our growing dependence on instant technology is fundamentally changing us on a neurological level. This makes a certain degree of sense if you are a geek like me and think about it behaviourally. I have already changed the channel on my television three times while writing this article (although to be fair I am typing with one hand while attempting to soak the other in saline and daytime television is of the devil). Everyone now knows that we are undoubtedly, at least in part, a product of our history and culture. It is not necessary to exaggerate or even debate this issue, it is an established fact.

The vast array of bombarding technologies and choices are influencing you right now. I do not remember having to compulsively text everyone while engaging in Facebook and Google chats, email and internet searches all day, every day. Texting has emerged as a significant behavioural issue, if not a neurochemical one. Millions literally put their lives at risk so that they may chat about meaningless drivel LOL, LMAO. I never used to talk with so many people, every stinking day. I am vastly more social than I have ever been… or am I? We want it now,  We want it faster, better, more instant, more, more. I want to be able to get ahold of you all the time and be offended if you do not respond to my text for more than ten minutes. In a recent study people admitted they would rather lose their wallet than their phone. That’s bizarre considering how little actual phoning most of us really do. (I kind of lied, the study was done way back in 2009, which is significant when you consider how hard my phone sucked back then)

telephone-gonflable-geant_2.jpgTechnological bionomics needs to be something with which philosophers seriously contend; as we continue to integrate technology into our hard wiring. There are, without a doubt, ramifications for a humanity that carries around a personal computer which screams at them constantly through text messaging and the various other social networking tools. (I was tempted to list actual a few popular ones including emailing, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram; but I knew I would read this article again in five years and exclaim, “Facebook? Did we really still use Facebook way back then? What is emailing?”)

So ya, I may be an X-Man, albeit a minor warrior in the fight against Magneto. I just get hurt easily and take 6 weeks to heal, so I should probably let the chick with white hair go first. At the end of the day it may serve me well to unplug myself just a little bit more; in keeping with pretty much everyone’s New Years Resolution to get outside more, or exercise more, or pretty much do anything that earns me a sun tan. As they say (not exactly), it’s easy to talk the talk, but get the heck outside and walk the walk.