Peace is a magical word. I often wonder how an imaginary visitor from Mars or beyond who lands on Earth for a visit would react when he sees the way we humans interact with each other. A few days after landing he would most likely report to the mother ship that earthlings are the most strangely behaved creatures in the universe and that no universal logic applies here.
The Alien visitor, we'll call him "Alien Bob", (aka "ET Bob") will probably report that earthling are certainly on the right scientific trajectory. Their achievements are basically in line with their human evolution give or take a few hundred years. He would probably assess that "Humans as they call themselves may one day solve much of their many challenges." The report, however, would probably include a survivability disclaimer: "that is if earthlings even make it to the next earth century"
ET Bob would no doubt be perplexed with our existence paradox. Something that his solid alien logic cannot settle.
His report to the mother ship will include that: "Billions of valuables which they call dollars are spent to improve and advance earth dwellers' lives. This includes those who walk on two legs, the ones that walk on four legs or those who move inside a liquid they call water. At the same time, hundreds of billions of these dollars are spent to destroy what they themselves are trying so desperately to preserve."
The rest of Alien Bob's report would not be too flattering to us either. "Earthlings live in groups called nations. In many parts of their small planet they are not able to live next to each other without evoking hostile behavior which humans call war."
ET Bob's analysis would be that perhaps this bizarre behavior has to do with certain abnormalities or an evolutionary blunder. "Something in their brain chemistry compels them to erupt every so often for the purpose of hurting or even annihilating each other. The tools they use for this purpose are now capable of destroying their entire planet many times over."
I was surprised to receive an invitation from Alien Bob to discuss his findings with me over breakfast. I accepted. We met at Einstein's Bagels a few Sundays ago. He seemed to be a nice alien, well spoken and polite.
He opened the conversation: "I have been watching humans for quite some time. I even abducted a few of them for closer examination but the mystery remains. While your level of brain and emotional complexity is reasonable for this galaxy, your inner need to destroy each other is perplexing. That's why I asked you to meet me , Rabbi David. My mother space ship asked for additional data clarifying this point. You, being a Rabbi and all, most likely will have all the answers."
Little did he know....
"You see Alien Bob," I said, "Earth Dwellers' major problem is lack of parallel moral evolution. Human evolution of decency and morality varies in different parts of our small world. We have certain inner forces that seem to dictate our attitude towards each other, despite our growing scientific understanding of our world and ourselves. We call these controlling forces nationalism and religion. These human controlling forces vary in intensity and goals in different parts of the world. These forces can be can be stirred up relatively easily and with great intensity. Like igniting a fire, some humans in fact stoke these differences in order to evoke strong emotional behavior. This, ET Bob, is what you have observed as hostility and hatred."
"But why such a strange behavior from fairly sophisticated Earth dwellers"? Alien Bob insisted.
I thought for a while and then said: "There is really nothing wrong with the forces of nationalism and religion as long as they are not getting out of hand and become exclusive, because then they become extremely destructive. This usually happens when a nation or a religious group falls victim to brain altering, known here on earth as brainwashing by their leaders.
"I don't understand any of this" Alien Bob answered.
I continued: "Many of us around our world understand that we will have to find a way to live together or risk destroying our earth. We call this realization, "Peace". Unfortunately, many others have not arrived at this evolutionary stage yet. With more and more of us coming to this realization we are waiting for the rest of them to catch up with us."
While Alien Bob nodded his strange looking blue head, I knew that indeed, there was no way he understood any of it. I smiled: "Don't worry if you don't understand what I said, none of us, on the side of peace really understands any of it either. We too are trying to figure out this strange behavior."
Alien Bob was in a rush to get back to space to continue his journey of exploration. "You know", I said before we he left, "maybe next time you are in our neighborhood in a few hundred years things will be different and our strange behavior will be corrected.".
"Maybe", he said. "For your Earth's sake I hope you are right"
After Alien Bob left I could not help but feel that he was not just a space traveler but perhaps a celestial angel who came to plant hope for peace in our hearts.
I hope he will come back very soon.