Why do we ask: are we alone?

Whilst camping recently I was staring up at the night sky and asked this: Are we alone? Fuelled partly by alcohol and due to the beauty and fascination of the universe of stars I could see. The question seemed to unravel for me in it’s complexity.

I came across a strain of thought that seemed to offer a faint hope of understanding.

Why do we ask, are we alone?

Why is it that so many minds have been dedicated to this idea of finding other life in the universe. The question itself seems a ‘Normative’ way to consider this problem. We are making a statement on how the universe ought to be. It is a consideration of one species without enough information.

What is it about the universe that we think it unfathomable that we might actually be alone? What is the thing that motivates us to WANT to have other life out there on other planets.

In the morning I observed a very small finch bouncing around exploring for food. The birds precise mathematical dance filled me with fascination. The bird took a second to stop very close to where I was sitting, for a long time it considered me and then darted off far into the distance looking for food in the bark of a tree. It was part of that creatures biology to search for food in new areas, to seek new foraging grounds to be curious, to look for mates to expand it’s world and survive and to be curious.

Humans are like this, we left Africa for new fertile lands in exploration to colonise every continent on this planet.  It is built within our psychology  to ask “Are we alone”  to explore the next valley, next river, next continent and eventually the next planet and again to be curious.

Humans have developed to be hugely social beings our co-dependency and collaboration is one stratagem for survival. It is most likely why the idea of being alone in the universe terrifies us. Simply because it threatens our views so ingrained to how we survived and survive as a species. Just think as a species one of our worst punishments is solitary confinement, essentially for one human to feel totally alone is a punishment close to death.

We seek to not be alone, however not being alone in the universe would imply that we are in reality looking for species very much like ourselves. What happens if we find sentient life and they are not like us? (A possibility). Or  finding that the only life out there are just micro-organisms?  Micro-organisms will only temporarily give us the impression we are less alone, after all we cannot communicate with a lump of goo. We may continue the search for sentient life regardless of results forever searching for it.

It is interesting to me this question ‘why do we ask, why are we alone’?  It supplied me with hours of contemplation while I sat around the campfire.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A day in the life of…

I have been thinking about my blog and the way I want to portray myself.

In a way you put yourself as an ‘authority’ on something when you do reviews and talk about different subjects in life.

Reviewers are pipe smoking types retiring in their library while they contemplate the finer points of the things they review. I would like to dispel this myth and distance myself from these haughty types

My place on this earth is one of peasant proletariat worker, and my days are very ordinary ones. My aim here is to empty out the contents of my day and go over it like a crime scene, and expose them for everyone to see.

5.30am 

This is my alarm clock and it is on my wife's side of the bed.
This is my alarm clock and it is on my wife’s side of the bed.

I wake up early because I start at 6:30 am, at the moment in Australia it is fairly cold 13 degrees in the morning which makes it hard to get up.

This particular morning before I had a shower I found my cat Ling ling who decided that he would really like a pat. I spent a little bit of time tiredly contemplating animals and their link to humans. What he was thinking and how he was so reliant on me. He seemed to really enjoy this petting but I had to get ready and I felt sad like a parent abandoning a child.

ling ling
Ling ling

5:50am

Shower, I spent a fair bit of time daydreaming in the shower, I was contemplating a documentary about poisons that I had watched the night before.  Did you know that Botox was extremely poisonous?

As I got out I was still a little sleepy and half the contents of the cabinet fell out onto the ground including a $20 dollar bottle of sleeping droplets my wife bought.

‘Sorry, shit sorry’ I said as I looked at this strange yellow liquid that smelt very odd. I spent some time looking at the orange liquid on the white bathroom bench top before cleaning it up, it made me think that it may be a kind of poison it certianly looked very noxious.

6:00am

Stare off into wilderness at kitchen table for 5 minutes.

6:10am

This is my house it's usually not this light when I leave it.
This is my house it’s usually not this light when I leave it.

Put shoes on and leave house, For those of you who are wondering “what about breakfast”. I don’t have breakfast that’s just me I don’t do breakfast.

6:12am

Hop in my car. It is a 2002 blue Kia Rio, it’s basically a piece of crap and keeps breaking down, I have very little love for it because when I was an Auto electrician I learnt to loathe all things car related.

Today to increase the enjoyment of my journey I put on a brand new episode of the ‘ Sunday Night Safran’  podcast, which is exciting because they have been away for 6 weeks. I giggled away as I drove in the dark.

This isn't actually my car because it was too dark to take a decent photo but it looks exactly like my car.
This isn’t actually my car but it’s the same colour and model

6:20am

Call into servo and buy a coffee and say g’day to Lyndal lady who works behind the counter. ‘The coffee machine is working today’ she usually says.  I often go to find the coffee machine is not working, or run out of milk.

Just recently I have been taking the disturbing trend of skipping the coffee altogether and having a Red bull. I know- its going to kill my liver one day.

6.:29am

Brian chairs the morning meeting and is my boss
Brian chairs the morning meeting and is my boss

Walk up driveway and clock into work, morning meeting. Bell goes at 6:30. My boss Brian (who reluctantly let me take his photo)  chairs our morning meetings. Sometimes the meeting is important, usually it’s just a gossip session.

The meeting starts with a safety moment where people just basically talk about their weekend or some idiot on the road. Every now and then something important happens like a big boss comes down to our section and explains some major change.

I work in a train factory, in a section called ‘cabs’. The cab is a fiberglass hull full of electronics that are on the front of the trains.’ We have a contract to build 160 public trains, we are up to 127.

With no further trains planned people in the factory are beginning to get nervous.

this is the cabs that go on the front of the public trains
This is cabs they go on the front of the public trains

7:00am

earth wiring
Earth wiring

My job for the day is earth wiring, basically I have to cut 50 pieces of varying size wire and place those yellow numbers on each end and put crimps on them.

It’s the easiest task I have to do, but surprisingly repeating the same task like this over and over becomes increasingly difficult the more you do it. The job becomes so repetitive that the only option is to day dream.

During my day dream session today I started to contemplate the politics of trade unionism in the workplace today, discussing finer points with other workers every now and then.

Today’s topic that took center stage was the subject of the American frontier and the vision of a better world or new world. I tried to contrast Australia’s colonial settlement and compare that to the American dream and the ‘Go west ideal’. Basically I decided that Australia never went west it kind of hit a desert and gave up, seeing that vast expanse of desert was just so soul destroying.

I wondered about how this effected the Australian psyche having bugger all arable land to settle on and by then the morning tea bell went off.

Often I dream about art and design seeing I spent a lifetime turning my career around and gaining a degree in Visual communications but today it is the philosophy of the poineering spirit.

9:00am

Morning tea, morning tea is so short that it is hardly worth mentioning. In this time I have a cup of tea and then sometimes just read a little bit of a book if I can.

9:15 -12:30   Fellow workers

This is junior
This is Junior

This is Junior, he is my main work buddy,  usually he is up this ladder.  This particular day he was fairly quiet up there because he was on the phone messaging his wife (Nobody can see him).

Junior’s heritage is Maori and from Samoa which I find fascinating to talk about in regards to culture.  Junior is a Jehovah’s witness and sometimes I have to navigate very carefully around the subject of religion, mostly Junior is very good about it and we hardly ever talk religion. (He knows I am a fairly ardent atheist). Junior can be very funny and we both are always joking around about different things.

Curly
Curly

This is Curly or Keith Boyce, apparently they call him Curly because he has only one hair on his head. Some guys also call him ‘poppy’.

Curly is one of those people of an older generation who is a bit of a know it all. Junior and I often play jokes on Curly which he takes fairly well.

Curly can sometimes be a fun person to be around he always has a story and he usually brings the whole group together in his own way. However he can also be a little bit nasty and small minded. He does from time to time make brutally racist comments which Junior and myself have found very offensive.

12:30-Lunch

Chris
Chris at lunch

This is Chris, he sits across from me at lunch and is my fellow electrician. Chris is a very good electrician but he also has the record for being the clumsiest person in our section often tripping or falling over.

He is also probably the most conservative person I have met in this workplace.

We talk about real estate every day even though I find the topic essentially very boring. He often gets very upset over different things and I am basically not allowed to ask him about being Catholic anymore.

Afternoon downhill run -1:00 to 3:30

Different images from the afternoon.

Philosophically minded worker, in the toilet.
Philosophically minded worker, in the toilet.
This is a window where I work
This is a window where I work, I often look out it and think about abstract art.
I have never witnessed anyone band their head on it yet.
I have never witnessed anyone bang their head on it yet.
Outside the shed Boring huh!
Outside the shed-Boring huh!

2:45 packing up and going home!

At the end of this particular day I had to unwrap the wiring loom of these red bubble wrap things, hundreds of them.

Sometimes I have nightmares about this red bubble wrap.

IMG_0438
Red bubble wrap I hate you!

Before knocking off we have to ‘colour in’.  The colouring in sheet is about bosses being able to keep track of what we are doing.

At first it was a way of saying ‘do your work’ but it is never mentioned anymore so I think now it has become a rough guide for office types who don’t know what the hell we are doing on these trains.

Colouring in sheet
Colouring in sheet

3:30–Home time

Clock out line before knocking off
Clock out line before knocking off
Walking home
Walking home

4:30pm

I am deciding on building a new deck on the back of my house and Chris the builder spent most of the afternoon planning out exactly what it would look like, it started to rain and you can see the rain drops on our plans.

Plans for deck
Plans for deck

5:30pm – Bedtime

I started writing this blog post, editing and re-editing it.  Between that I posted a picture of Ling ling on Facebook.

I later paid my registration for the KIA and then ate a toasted sandwich.

This is my day, I could go into more detail about it but it probably really would bore everyone to tears.