My Alien Continuum

November 7, 2012 § Leave a comment

Aliens. The images conjured into my mind when this word is uttered have changed throughout my lifetime. Of course, as a young child the suspect was a green man with a bulbous head and an inevitable antennae protruding out of some part of his (for it was always a “guy” per se) body. Perhaps three eyes but I usually leaned toward the two-eyed versions. Of course these aliens would not speak English. To compensate for that, I imagined a translation device that either the aliens or the humans would have in order to bridge this communication gap (I aspired to be a writer in my elementary school years and my stories often times contained our extraterrestrial friends).

As I got into high school, my views expanded somewhat. I no longer confined myself to the humanoid organism. I envision perhaps intelligent lobsters and maybe intelligent marine life. But once again, I was still confining myself to organism homologous to those on Earth. The idea of Silicon or Arsenic life forms (both are under Carbon and Phosphorous respectively on the Periodic Table) slightly expanded my view of aliens until I learned more about chemistry. Once I realized that the intrinsic properties of both Arsenic and Silicon are not feasible in regards to being the building blocks of macromolecules, my notions of aliens once again shrunk to Earth-like organisms.

The final stage in my “alien continuum” brought forth a view of aliens that surprised even me. I now began to change my definition of an organism and even sentient beings. I envisioned large clouds of thought and streams of particles with consciousness both with the ability to replicate and pass on their information. I thought of organisms who see in different dimensions or who comprehend different parts of the light spectrum. The variance on these themes is virtually unlimited. After recognizing this, I realized how limited humans are within the universe. We cannot sense most of the information whether in the form of high pitched noises, UV light or most smells. Even our perception of time is limited. But I digress. Thinking about aliens is…pretty cool.

-Pranav Santapuram


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