July 19, 2008

Are we lab rats?

Posted in Musings tagged , at 8:42 am by myrlinn

A scifi short story I read a long time ago keeps intruding into my mind recently. Basically, the story explores the idea that we human beings are part of an experiment by aliens, who are curious to see how we adapt to this planet, and to changes here.

How would it change our view of ourselves if we knew our reason for existence is to be, in essence, lab rats? That, instead of being observers of the world around us, we are the observed? That our actions are being recorded, analysed, categorised according to some alien view of the world? We’d be appalled, right?

Yet, that’s what we do to other cultures and nations. We go their countries and label them and their lifestyles based on our own value systems. And we do the same to people who are not of the same race as us, or who are different in some way from us.  It seems natural to us to measure others according to some personal mental yardstick we’ve constructed over the years, and to identify with our group (‘us’), and to classify others as ‘them’. Doesn’t hold out much hope that we’d ever live in a cooperative, conflict-free world.

Am I right? Or am I too pessimistic?

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