You have spent about a year on our planet. Do you remember your first impression?
My first impression was… chaos. And yet at the same time I spotted many signs of organisation. It’s like on the macro level there is no intelligent design, but on the micro level many things are organized perfectly. The human economic system on the macro level resembles a casino, but practically every city has properly organized public transportation. So humans are clearly capable of organizing functioning systems, yet when you take more and more steps back and oversee the whole it becomes clear there is no unifying plan. It was also particularly hard for me to determine which humans or which institutions have the most power when it comes to decision making.
Were you able to find out?
If I wanted to decapitate – no worries am very peaceful and so is my race -‘the government of the world’ I would not be able to. I could sent emotional shock waves around the world by killing some world leaders. The president of the US has a lot of symbolic value, for example. But in the end the impact would be small. There is no clear cut central leadership.
Then where does political power lie?
It’s mostly an emotional system. There is an elite. Humans like to call them the one percent, but I would argue it’s more than that. Maybe ten percent. These people have certain ideas, values, points of view and plans. Humans are supremely emotional. They are not good at rational thinking, although many label themselves as very rational and reasonable and not emotional at all. Because humans admire nothing more than material, outwardly success the words of this elite have lots of impact. Their ideas trickle down to the rest of society. The result is that humans CHOOSE not to be free. They CHOOSE to keep a system going that benefits the elite most of all. Most humans throw away their lives doing some job that at best they enjoy a little bit. They keep the wheels turning of a system that is hardly to their benefit. If someone from my planet were put in charge of this planet and had total power humans would not have to work anymore. Well, maybe two or three hours per week. They would get everything for free in return for two or three hours of voluntarily work. But there you see how human nature makes ‘paradise on earth’ impossible.
In what way do humans make such an easy going system impossible?
One of the most fascinating things I have discovered is this: humans would rather slave away for 40 hours (and it’s always more than that) per week and have the feeling they are earning their own keep, then work only two or three hours and see everyone on this planet have their basic needs met automatically. Sharing the fruits of one’s labor is anathema to humans.
What if some non-human slaves would do that little bit of work to keep this super organized society of abundance going?
Then we run into a different problem, related to the one already mentioned. A lot of humans are competitive. They want to ‘beat’ others by owning more things or having more status. Lots of humans play a real life version of the game of Monopoly. Humans are the only intelligent species I have encountered that enslaves itself and doesn’t even realize it. I think a big problem is that humans are very bad at knowing why they decided to do something. When you ask a human why it did something they will always give you some reason. But if you dig deeper you find out that they actually did it for a completely different reason. Humans find it extremely hard to see themselves objectively. Some give it a try and work with a therapist. But even a therapist cannot tell them the truth or the client would simply be shocked, react with disbelief, argue or run away. Even a therapist has to let the client come to the truth in a very slow process. I have overheard many therapy sessions. Humans find it very hard to go after what makes them happy and without damaging others or themselves.
I am getting images of a being that is running around blind stabbing in the dark.
Yes, in many cases that would be accurate. Humans also play many different versions of themselves. When you observe the same human in many different setting you could easily get the impression that you are observing a different human every time. Humans morph based on the social setting. Nobody has to be even looking at them for their behavior to change. Even merely the idea that someone might be watching them will strongly influence their behaviour. For example, someone may religiously mow his front lawn thinking the neighbours would otherwise judge him. This person may then very ostentatiously mow the lawn every week not knowing that the neighbours couldn’t care less, do not rate his behaviour as positive and in reality even make fun of him, but the person assumes that in the eyes of his neighbours he must be one upstanding member of the citizenry.
What you’re describing is ‘keeping up appearances’. But would it be better then if this intuitive form of social regulation was abandoned? It’s not always perfect and people end up doing unnecessary things, but if this mechanism would be entirely gone what would stop that person from throwing all his garbage on the street, running around naked and using the neighbour’s garden as his toilet? You are only describing one negative aspect of a mechanism that has many upsides. We don’t pick our noses in public for example.
You think you don’t pick your noses in public. Anyway, my answer to that is: a truly intelligent being would not risk spending time mowing a lawn to impress people he does not even have a real connection with. Humans rarely know the names of their neighbours. Yet their opinion still matters to them. And that opinion is merely assumed. That human would never go over to his neighbour and ask: ‘Do you admire me for mowing my lawn?’. He would never get an honest answer anyway.
We have flaws, yes, but these flaws can also be endearing or comical. These flaws are often the ingredients of our best comedies and sitcoms.
I have given you innocent examples. This same flawed mechanism has led people to invade other countries and brutally murder millions.
Hmm. I take it you are not a fan of humans?
It pains me that this species does not realize its full potential. Almost never on the individual level and definitely not on the collective level. Humans are easily deceived, do not consider the collective living standard enough, find it very hard to share. It’s frustrating to see how a few minor tweaks could rapidly advance humanity to a much more prosperous, safer, inspiring and nurturing community with less chaos.
What would be some of those tweaks?
If humans could only start ignoring superficial info and focus on substance, on info that matters. Humans choose their leaders based on body language, tone of voice and superficial signs that someone is ‘strong’. The result is that only narcissistic humans have a shot of going all the way in politics. They can be completely incompetent and even malignant as long as they show enough of those superficial signs that they are ‘strong’, ‘determined’ and have some plan. What humans call charisma to my eyes just looks like a silly form of collective hypnosis.
Is there any hope?
I am saying this with a lot of reservations, but the story arch of humanity bends towards progress and positivity. It’s going slowly and humanity often falls back a few steps, but generally things are getting better. Especially over the last 70 decades there was a lot of positive change. What I have noticed though is that humanity is in a process of undoing those positive accomplishments. On an individual level humans will struggle harder to create what’s traditionally considered to be a good life. Have a well paying job, a house, several cars, kids, a college education for those kids, regular travelling in style. It will be harder to get for lots of humans. At the same time more humans will give up on that model and find alternative ways and goals. The extreme and ever widening gap between the super rich and other humans could lead to some global catastrophe, some dystopian world (humans feel this in their bones, because look at the cultural output, many movies and books that feature a dystopian future). But humans could also just opt out. Unplug from the matrix and do things that undermine the current paradigm. They will be materially less well off, but more in tune with their human needs, especially the need for connection and spiritual growth, the sense of being part of something bigger, bigger and benign. In short, lives organized more around love than around materialism and ego. It would even be possible to also create that abundant material standard for all humans. But so far selfish human characteristics have made that impossible. Selfish is the wrong word, because a selfish human ends up doing things that in the long run also hurt himself and his family. It’s ironic to call that behaviour ‘selfish’. Selfish humans are self-sabotaging in many ways.
Will you miss something about our planet?
It was interesting for me to see beings with so many contradicting characteristics and so little self-knowledge struggle to create a happier life for themselves.
Humans want to be good, they want to do better, in theory they want a better world for everyone, but something makes them self-sabotage. They take two steps forward and one backwards. Another problem I forgot to mention is that humans can be bought. Somebody can have a clear cut stance on an issue but for a substantial monthly pay check almost any human will be willing to defend the opposite position of the one he previously held, before his income depended on it. The way a human forms an opinion is very self-serving.
In one word, how would you describe the human world?
Messy. Or wait, make that ‘striving’. Humans are always striving. There is this drive to do something. A clear plan is most often lacking, but humans have this need to do something and figure things out. I admire that. Am just sad to see how very messy the result is.
Thank you for this interview.