Quantum of Solitude: Do Aliens Know That They Are Not Alone?

How Much Longer Must We Hunt For ETs?


“Science fiction offers various dystopian visions of isolation in which the everyday turns out to be an illusion, and we are “really” …distracting ourselves as we scrape out a living in a burning, post-apocalyptic wasteland” – Hari Kunzru.

“In fear every day, every evening
He calls her aloud from above
Carefully watched for a reason
Painstaking devotion and love”

Arthur C. Clarke once chillingly spoke of just two possibilities: 
“that we are alone in the universe, or we aren’t, and both are terrifying.”
These days, Brad is alone, not lonely – there is a telling difference. 

As both family and “friends,” are out of touch with me, there is no need to fret. In actual fact, it’s a turn of events actually quite relished; it’s not terrifying in the slightest. 

Apart from my wife (long-distance calls @ the mo) and the barrista, with whom my occasional indulgence for mocha is made, the Larynx of Brad never gets used.  

“Alone with my thoughts” is a prospect to savour – working on lots of ideas for fiction and blog-posts is what keeps me going through these dark times. 

Ant yet – for the time being, anyway – in a universe teeming with about 100 billion galaxies, each with roughly 100 billion stars, humans are the only species with which to converse. Bah!

Where are our cosmic neighbours? 

The proliferation of alien beings in all shapes and sizes throughout SF has always shown an optimistic, speculative vision of what might be. It fuels this unending fascination for the possibility of extraterrestrial life. 


“If I were an alien society just 100 years more advanced than us, my astronomy text books would surely contain huge tables of habitable worlds. Earth would be among them” – Seth Shostak.

On the overcrowded train, it would be all too easy to feel lonely. In a miasma of laughably-called social media, nobody talks to anybody any more. 

Most commuters now immerse themselves in the wonders of their smartphones – escaping into their own worlds. They are all, potentially, friends yours truly are “yet to meet,” but they are never going to look up from their Snapchit and Pokemons to be social…

This is where the ethics of reality augmentation will begin to kick in.

There is the theory of the “filter bubble”: our tendency to create an echo chamber around ourselves, reinforcing ideas and perceptions we appreciate, and blotting out the hate and bigotry that is all the rage right now…

Social media has “allowed people to make hashtag bunkers for themselves.”

The dude was cool, the dame was hot; if only they’d put away their blasted devices and just talk to each other – they looked like such a perfect couple. 

They are what you would call inseparable, but just don’t know it…

“A blindness that touches perfection
But hurts just like anything else”


“…With the celebrity that has come with my books, and the isolation imposed by my illness, I feel as though my ivory tower is getting taller. So the recent apparent rejection of the elites in both America and Britain is surely aimed at me as much as anyone” – Stephen Hawking.  

“But if you could just see the beauty
These things I could never describe

Lots of people – seemingly aimless and irritable – are shambling their way through the barest of existences…

It’s as if the ability to feel, to laugh, TO LIVE has NOT been passed down.

Everybody Wants More.

Would interaction with a being from another world help fill that social void?!

The James Webb Space Telescope (to be launched in 2018) will explore the atmospheres of exoplanets for chemical signatures of life. Radio astronomers have long been searching for traces of transmissions from an extraterrestrial source – when do they expect to receive any positive results?

Can they he announced at, say, some time in our lifetime?

Perhaps aliens stay their distance because they are embroiled in their own tech gadgets… 

No, but seriously. 

If their technology is superior, as is a common assumption, they are probably aware of the global downturn in the socio-economic and political climate.

And are intelligent enough to stay away…

Finally, to those naysayers not prepared to believe/accept that we are not alone, then surely, there must be a greater determination to eradicate the countless ills that have besieged our world far too long?

Do we really want to be the only inhabited world in the cosmos? That makes war on our own species…?

“There ARE infinite worlds both like and unlike this world of ours…

“We MUST believe that in all worlds there are living creatures and plants and other things we see in this world” – Epicurus (c. 300 BCE)

10 thoughts on “Quantum of Solitude: Do Aliens Know That They Are Not Alone?

  1. Very interesting post, my friend! I’ve found it interesting to watch the rise of technology and social media. Although in some ways it makes us more connected, it also makes us less connected on a personal level too, since people talk less face to face. I love electronics because they help me connect to friends and family across the country and the globe, but sometimes these electronics distract me from my family and friends right here at home. It’s good to have a reminder to look up and enjoy the world around me! 🙂

  2. This is a BRILLIANT post! it works on so many different levels. I can say I’ve never honestly pondered (at least not at any length) the way aliens would think about the question of life on other planets. And your commentary on social media is spot on and something I wrestle with myself. I actually give my students a project where they have to try and unplug for a whole weekend (sundown on Friday to sundown on Sunday) and write about what they experience. Some make it through, others don’t. But they all have very interesting observations about trying to disconnect like that.

    • Thank u so much, Michael!
      This Post came about cos my latest BA comics roundup cld not get done (it IS on its way – trust me!), so glad to learn that this turned out to b a worthwhile alternative
      Wonder how your students wld react if Brad tried pluggin IN for a whole weekend…
      “Some make it through, others don’t” – I wanna watch th SF action movie w THAT tagline: WHOA!

      • Hahaha…I hadn’t thought of that but it does sound a little ominous doesn’t it? That’s great. It would also be interesting to see a dialogue between you and my students to explore the difference in existence between plugging in and being unplugged. I used to NEVER use social media or even text. I loved it! But, sadly, I’ve caved and now I’m on them more than I’d like :/. I often miss the peace and authenticity that comes with a far less technically connected existence.

      • It wld b interesting in that dialogue between Brad To Th Bone and your padawans to see th looks on th faces upon learning that someone in this crazy mixed-up galaxy DOES exist without tech appliances!
        “The peace and authenticity that comes with a far less technically connected existence” sums up my personal contentment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.