Aliens Might Exist, But I Still Have to Pay Rent

An image showing a ufo floating above a city while a man works.

It’s hard to have missed the fact that there’s been a lot of chat about aliens recently. To summarise the situation in popular but wildly inaccurate phrasing, the US Government has basically confirmed their existence.

More specifically, some guys have said that they’ve seen some things that they think might be aliens, but they can’t prove it, but they know people who can, but they can’t tell us about it — at least, not publicly. But trust us, they’re real.

In all seriousness, some very serious people are taking their claims very seriously. US Senate Majority Leader, Chuck Schumer, has amended a defence bill to legislate government agencies turn over anything they have or know about aliens. Congressman  Andy Ogles said on Wednesday that he’s willing to start firing people and slashing budgets if X-Files-type secret departments don’t start cooperating. It’s, at the very least, highly curious and deeply strange.

But does all of this mean that the prophesied day of reckoning is upon us, where the truth is finally out and the ETs are dragged from their CIA black sites to be held aloft before us like Simba in the Lion King? Or is it simply the final death throes of a nation driven to extreme lengths by social media saturation and a steady diet of lead?

I, for one, have no idea.

“It looks like we have a problem here that needs further investigation,” Representative Nick Langworthy said at the US Congress Sub Committee hearing on unidentified aerial phenomena. It’s probably the most succinct summary of events.

There are few bigger questions than ‘Are we alone in the universe?’ Either answer is deeply disturbing, or, at least, should be. If we really are closer to figuring that one out than we ever have been, you’d expect the reaction to be… different.

In sci-fi movies, alien encounters are usually accompanied by pedestrians with thousand-yard stares running down empty streets, or protagonists building mountains out of their dinner. That’s not happening. In fairness, those films usually have giant flying saucers floating over major metropolitan cities, not three guys with very little hair saying they’ve seen some weird stuff.

Although the weight of evidence is barely enough to equalise a feather on the scales of truth, that hasn’t stopped many online from spouting deep convictions that This Is It. And what if it is? What do we do with that information?

Say it’s true. Say there really is a multi-decade programme of government coverups involving Roswell, Mussolini, and the Pope sheltering actual spaceships and the bodies of recovered alien pilots. What then?

There is the suggestion that humans could reverse-engineer alien technology to create unlimited clean energy, solving the climate crisis in an instant. There’s also the suggestion that whichever government does so first will be able to wield unopposable god-like power. Perhaps we get invited to the intergalactic federation of sentient beings. Perhaps we’re forced to pick sides in an interdimensional space war.

In truth, it’s a lot. Certainly, more than the human mind has ever evolved to comprehend at once. There’s a mostly unscientific idea that we now consume as much information in a day as someone in the 15th century did in their entire lifetimes that feels like it captures the modern era well. Against the backdrop of war, famine, plague, the rising cost of living, widening inequality, and the ongoing collapse of the natural order, aliens are just one more thing on the list of ‘stuff to worry about’. They may walk among us, but I still need to pay rent.

Maybe we’re simply not surprised. Given that most of our childhoods are filled with stories of aliens and supernatural beings, it’s little wonder that 65% of Americans think intelligent, extra-terrestrial life exists. 51% also believe that declassified military videos of unidentifiable flying objects are likely to be aliens. Australians are not much better, with 34% believing aliens have probably visited Earth. And it’s not as if we haven’t been primed for such beliefs. After what we now know about the Catholic Church, MK Ultra, and Jeffrey Epstein, why wouldn’t our governments also be gatekeeping aliens too?

But there’s also a sense of hope in disclosure. Fox Mullder’s famous “I want to believe” line is permanently etched into pop culture for a reason. We want magic to be real. We want to know that this isn’t just all there is — as if ‘this’ wasn’t enough. People have always cried out to the skies for answers, hoping for a response. Aliens might not be quite what we were expecting, but we’ll take it, particularly if they can shed some light on the situation down here. If we’re lucky, they might even be able to pull us out of the capitalist death spiral that we’ve locked ourselves into. It’s far more exciting to wonder about the supernatural possibilities than it is to deal with the difficult and harsh realities we actually are experiencing.

Or maybe we’re simply done with living in interesting times. Since the rise of the internet, we’ve become all too familiar with just how ‘interesting’ the world really is. A bit of calm and some normality would be great, thanks very much. Someone tell ET we’re taking a long bath with a large glass of wine.

Aliens may or may not be real. But until they turn up on the lawn of the White House, in peace or otherwise, it’s probably not worth losing sleep over. If and when that happens, they better be offering us some way out of the soul-crushing daily grind.

Related: Do You Believe In Aliens? This New Netflix Documentary May Help You Decide

Related: Scientists Have Found 29 Planets Where Aliens Could Be Listening In On Our Conversations

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