Friday, February 5, 2010

Was It An Inter-Galactic Cruise?

It's not that we started out to watch "Ancient Aliens " on The History Channel.
There was a game and a commercial and a husband who must click the clicker. So we surf... or he surfs, and I sit beside him.

It's very companionable sitting on Douglas, being distracted or not as I wish. I can write to you and I can do crossword puzzles or play Wordscraper and he'll rewind for me if I miss something worth watching so I don't have to spend any more time than I want to spend focused on the pixels on the wall.

Long ago, I divided the world into two distinct cohorts - when entering a room, some will turn the television on and some will turn it off. It's not a matter of bad or good, it's just different. Can you tell that TBG and I came from different camps? Along the way, over the decades, I've come to respect the medium at its finest while simultaneously despising it for wasting a truly remarkable opportunity.

In any event, there he was, Erich von Daniken in all his enthusiastic splendor, insisting that he's right, he's always been right, he can't possibly be anything but right and finally, staring the camera straight in the eye, declaiming that "It can't be anything else."

Bear in mind that the man was talking about space visitors.

I immediately distrust someone who insists that it's my way or the highway. A Linus Pauling quote was the main clue in a NYTimes crossword puzzle I was doing this week, and, as usual, someone else says it better than I can: The best way to have a good idea is to have a lot of ideas.

Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Erich.

What is it that he knows? Not much. Only that extra-terrestrials arrived on his eponymous Chariots of the Gods tens of thousands of years ago. They provided the expertise/technology/means/motive/opportunity to create the pyramids that dot the planet from Egypt to Mexico to India to "remote Pacific Islands." Wondering what happened to the Maya? They were part of this celestial Peace Corps bringing to Earth the gifts of architecture and geometry and the ability to lift 800-ton objects in a single bound. When it was time to go home they beamed up to their spaceships and were gone.

We were drawn in... and then we realized that we were hearing random sentences with no supporting evidence, no textual evidence at all. The pictures they were seeing were there, for sure, but so were the circus tents and flying swans I saw in the clouds above me as I was gardening this afternoon.

Personally, I don't mind the notion of alien visitors. Nor am I bothered by the idea that ancient civilizations developed technology which is incomprehensible to us today. I like the competition between different perspectives and being able to swing to one end or the other as I learn and think and wonder and ponder. For a while, I had the SETI program running on my computer and feeling small helps to put my problems in perspective.

And no one really knows.

I think that's the part I like the most.


  1. That stuff's fascinating, isn't it? Conspiracy theories, magic sweat lodge cures, The Secret...the barkers at the fairground never had it so good. Brings to mind my favorite Don Henley song, "They're Not Here. They're Not Coming." The thing that makes my problems feel small is my husband's telescope. This was fun read today; I've had my head in the meat grinder for days! Thanks for the rescue.

  2. That's exactly what mindless tv viewing does for me -- takes my head out of the meat grinder ;)
    Glad I could help!

  3. I agree with Nance. Thanks for the rescue. How is The Devil's Punchbowl by Iles?

  4. Glad to oblige, ladies! I will take on the role of "purveyor of mindless nonsense to the blogosphere" with all the reverence the title deserves ;)

    I liked the Greg Iles book; I updated the sidebar with a mini-review. Do you read mysteries, too, Mary?


Talk back to me! Word Verification is gone!