Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI): Looking in the Wrong Direction with Wrong Mindset

By: Ranilo Abando (October 3, 2020) ***

The inner desire in humans to look for companionship is strong. Probably millions of dollars were spent in various SETI programs by various organizations over many years to satisfy human curiosity and, indeed to explore the possible existence of intelligent beings, aside from us humans, somewhere out there in outer space. Unfortunately, after so many decades of looking and listening for the desired signals from outer space, they only got a deafening silence.

There might be a need for change now, not in strategy or technology, but in mindset. Because I think they are looking and listening in the wrong direction. Not only are they looking in the wrong place, they also have a hazy idea of what they are looking for — so much so that even when the right signs are already in front of them, their minds might not even be able to associate those with extraterrestrial intelligence. This is aside from the valid concern that looking for extraterrestrial intelligence in outer space is probably impractical because of the very long cosmic distances and the speed limit in space travel.

I can’t resist bringing back into the discussion the comparison of SETI in outer space to Edwin Abbott’s story of Flatland — that fictional two-dimensional world populated by Flatlanders. Imagine the Flatlanders who went to look for spheres in the frontiers of Flatland but can’t find one. Back in their village, they noticed that some circles are scattered around but they just ignored them. They are unable to recognize that the spheres they are looking for are actually those circles. This failure to recognize is due to the conditioning of their minds for only the two dimensions of their world and the concept of a vertical direction is inconceivable. If only they could see in three dimensions, then they would have found out that the spheres they were looking for are just around the corner.

I think that the remaining funds are better spent in looking for signs of non-human extraterrestrial intelligence right down here on earth. I have a fearless prediction that they will find the signs here because I can see that the clues abound. Some clues are in those seemingly benign stone monuments, that old artwork in the city museum, that touristic ancient shiny stone wall, that sacred book in the church, that dusty Greek mythology book in the library, that short lullaby that your mother sang to make you sleep when you were a child, or that animated movie your little daughter just watched last night on TV. One just needs the trained eyes to spot the clues, the right mindset, and the right guidance.

I’m afraid though that the signs they will discover were not left behind by aliens of the lizard-looking type or those with bald heads and big eyes. The aliens would have probably looked just like us, were born and lived among our ancestors, and died like our ancestors. Many of them may even be our great forefathers. If so, they did not necessarily have to travel from outer space to live on Earth. Remember the implications of quantum entanglement? Physical distance is an illusion.

Where do those extraterrestrials live now? Not likely in outer space, more likely — in inner space.

(Thanks to – Pixabay for the photo of radio telescope above)

Published by rabando

I am a Filipino and a geologist by profession but I have also been an ardent searcher for answers to the fundamental questions of human existence ever since 42 years ago. It has been a long, lonely and difficult journey. Why are we here? Where did we come from? What on earth is this world where I found my self in? Surprisingly, I found out that the answers are right there under our noses. There just need to be some adjustments in the way people think.

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