Do Aliens Feel Sentimental?

I took a couple days off from writing, for the long weekend.  It was a long weekend here in Connecticut because a lot of the kids, mine included, have off from school this week.  While I was away Notre Dame caught on fire, I chaperoned a fraternity Formal party, and I took my kids for one last day of awesome spring skiing.  What do all these things have in common?  Aliens, of course.  What else would it be?  That is what I write about.

Notre Dame Burning

The common bond is really sentimentality.  Thinking about all these otherwise disjointed events I have to wonder if aliens get sentimental.  As always, I am lumping all aliens in together, regardless of race or planet of origin.  I understand that people on one planet may feel very differently about things than people on another planet.  But there must be many more similarities between people who can get from there to here than there are between any of them and us Earthans.

 Last Day of Skiing

Most people will never put on a pair of skis or a snowboard.  For those who do, the ski season is pretty much the months of January and February, maybe a few days during Christmas Break.  For me, the season runs from mid-November to mid-April.  Part of that is because I just love it and cannot get enough of it.  
Last Day of Skiing

Part is also because it harkens back to my younger days, half a lifetime ago, when I would ski 50 days a year.  I feel like I am getting back to where I belong.  I am also sharing something I love, with my kids.  I am passing on a legacy which they can enjoy throughout their lives and then pass on to their kids.  We are the Marceau's and we ski (and snowboard).  That is what we do.

 Frat Party

Friday night I attended a fraternity Formal, as a chaperone.  Since it appears that about 2/3 of my readers are now from outside the United States I will explain that a Fraternity is like a club which young men join when they attend University.  Typically, these Fraternities are steeped in rituals which may date back to the nineteenth century which themselves have roots in ancient Greek and Roman societies.  In order to become a member of the organization, men are required to go through a "Pledge" process where they learn the ways of the organization and its history and they get to know the other members.  Once initiated into the organization, the members are "Brothers" for life.

I pledged Alpha Sigma Phi in 1992 at SUNY Plattsburgh.  Over the following three years this organization became very dear to my heart.  Some of my best friendships were formed with my Brothers.  Even though we have all since moved to places around the US I could pick up the phone today and call any one of my closest Brothers and within minutes it would be like we never left Plattsburgh.

A few years ago, word went out that a new "Chapter" or branch location of Alpha Sigma Phi was opening at Quinnipiac University.  They needed adult advisers to help these young men to form their own organization and then to continue guiding them after its formation.  I answered the call and am now the Grand Chapter Adviser to that group.

Initially, I had no ties to the members of this upstart Chapter.  But I felt so strongly about the National organization and my own experience as an Alpha Sig in Plattsburgh that I needed to step up and help these guys.  Part of this was to help them learn about my positive experiences, like Brotherhood, Academics, and Philanthropy / Community Service.  Part was also to help them avoid some negative consequences.  For example, a lot of fraternities can get caught up in a group-think mentality about the abuse of drugs and alcohol or poor treatment of women.  It is good to establish some guide-rails to help the guys focus on what is important and to steer clear of danger.

Frat Party
Friday night the Quinnipiac Chapter held their annual Formal party.  The event was held at a banquet hall in North Haven, Connecticut.  All the Brothers brought dates and everyone dressed up nice.  Food was served and there was a cash bar for those over age 21.  After we ate and some awards were handed out, everyone danced.

Everyone except me, that is.  I attended as a chaperone and did not bring Mrs. M.  She is not into dancing and neither am I.  Instead, I played with my phone and looked at dog memes, most of the time.  But I also interacted with the Brothers and even gave some advice to a couple guys who asked me about my thoughts on a few choices the organization needs to decide on soon.  It was a fun night and I am glad I was able to share it with these young men.

 We Are Earthans

There has to be a better term than "Earthlings".  It sounds ridiculous.  While the term has roots in the sixteenth century its modern usage began in 1949 with the publishing of Robert Heinlein's Red Planet.  The term then went on to widespread usage in science fiction writing in the 1950's and beyond.  What makes is sound so unusual is that we do not use the -ing suffix anywhere else in the English language to indicate where someone is from.
  • People from America are Americans
  • People from Canada are Canadians
  • Mexico - Mexicans
Then we have the ishes and eses.
  • England - English
  • Finland - Finnish
  • Spain - Spanish
  • China - Chinese
  • Japan - Japanese
  • Portugal - Portuguese
And then you have the French.  People from France are French.  Why do you always have to be different, France?

Earthese and Earthish sound even weirder than Earthlings and could also be terms which refer to a way things are done on Earth, e.g. "I did it the way Eugene suggested because it felt more Earthish."

Terrans and Terrestrials also sound funny.

I am going to go with Earthans, from here out.  It seems like the -an suffix is the most modern, like the way we refer to most people from the Western Hemisphere.  It is also a better descriptor than Humans because someday Humans may inhabit Mars, the Moon, or even other planets.

We are Earthans. 

Notre Dame is Burning

Today, Catholics worldwide are mourning the extensive damage of the French cathedral, Notre Dame.  More than simply a symbol of a religion, the cathedral is a stunning feat of Gothic architecture which attracts many millions of visitors, each year.  The 800 year old building was built to a height of over 200 feet, at a time when most buildings had only one floor and no mechanical equipment existed to aid in its construction.  The building survived two World Wars and a revolution.  Losing it now would have been a loss for all Earthans.  Fortunately, the fire was contained and most of the invaluable works of art inside have been relocated.

Catholics are especially saddened by this event.  Devout believers of the faith may feel the building is connected to their Messiah.  Any damage to this, or to other symbols of the faith, are like an injury to Jesus himself.  To them, the loss is palpable.  Half a billion euros have already been pledged to restore the relic.

Humans have a soft spot in our hearts for people, places, and events which have been in our lives for long periods of time and which have shaped who we are.  Perhaps you have an attachment to a certain building.  Or you spent years learning a religion or participating in an organization which you put your heart and soul into perpetuating.  Or you worked hard to master a sport or hobby, throughout your lifetime.  You want to pass these on to your children and other people.  This is sentimentality.

Do Aliens Feel Sentimental?

It is hard to say what aliens feel.  To explore this, we first need to differentiate between aliens which are organic beings and those which may be robotic.  For all we know, it is just as likely that some organic beings are born without feelings, as it is that some robots are built with this ability.

My dog has feelings.  I caution my kids that the dog knows when they are laughing at her.  She gets upset if a toy is taken from her.  She is disappointed if she is lured into the house under the false pretense of receiving a treat.  She also goes nuts when we leave the house for even a few minutes and then come back to her.  If this "lower" life form can exhibit human-like emotions, then feelings and emotions are not unique to humans.  If they are not unique to humans they may exist elsewhere in the Universe.  These emotional beings from other planets may look down at our planet and have some appreciation for what we have built here, both physically e.g. Notre Dame, and as a society, i.e. religion and fraternity.

But not every life form on Earth is capable of emotion.  My family and I do a bit of fresh-water fishing.  We dig up earthworms in the garden to use as bait.  Worms do not have brains.  They are not capable of feeling love or loss.  They may be uncomfortable in bright sunlight or dry conditions.  They may feel a slight pinch when they are impaled by a fishing hook.  But it does not register as a thought or emotion.  In theory it is possible that over billions of years a worm-like organism could evolve to the point where it is capable of building shelter, farming for food, and engaging in commerce.  These beings would not have the same appreciation for our institutions as we do.  They may descend upon us like a plague of locusts and simply devour everything in sight.

What about robots?  A sentient robot, programmed to mimic human-like emotions, may behave the same way as a sentient organism.  An emotionless robot would be like the worm.  I hope that if we are visited by the Transformers, they are more like my dog than an earthworm.

Which is it that is visiting us?  So far, despite thousands of reported contacts, we have not experienced any property damage.  That is, we have not documented any damage.  It is possible that fire, like the one at Notre Dame, or natural disasters like earthquakes or tornadoes, can be "set" by aliens.  I do not believe that has ever happened because doing so would have to have a purpose - a punishment or a lesson someone is trying to teach us.  If we do not know the lesson then the only point for attacking us would be as an attempt to dominate us or simply an act of sadism.  Again, so far so good.

Could a conquering race visit us in the future and destroy our landmarks and institutions.  Sure.  Why not?  But with all the visits we have already had, there must be more going on, out there.  There has to be some sense of preservation which is either universally accepted or universally policed.

Conclusion: Yes, aliens feel sentimental and at least some of them are watching out for us.

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