I suggested the other day that maybe there's no other life out there. And it's certainly my preferred solution to the Fermi so-called Paradox. Life is just hard to make.
But this evening,having the choice between Grunwicke's "Sensing The Divine in a Bowl of Soup" alternative liturgy; or watching Rev on the telly; or something else - I went for something else. I was in the need for some light-hearted fiction, so I'm watching the Channel 5 alien night, rather than the documentary on BBC1.
Discussing aliens, a woman with a stern look on Channel 5 told us that they are not to be feared. They may have so much to teach us, she said. And I wonder.
Maybe I'm extrapolating from human nature. I dunno. But human nature is all I have to go with. I'm thinking the Europeans going to America. And Africa. The Romans in Britain. The Vikings in Yorkshire. The Saxons in the Isle of Wight. Stag do's in Lithuania. So - if an alien expedition found this little blue-green planet on the unfashionable (according to Douglas Adams) fringes of the Western Spiral Arm of the galaxy, why might they be here?
They could be on a mission to bring peace. Or they could be here with the intention of exploiting the planet, either killing us as a by-product or enslaving us to produce for them whatever it is they've come looking for.
They could be heading across the darkness of interstellar space, on a risky and terrifying voyage at immense distances from home, having homed in on a broadcast of Eastenders, because they think we're nice and we might want to say "hi". They might want to share their star-hopping technology with us. They might have some insights into how we could live better.
They could be heading this way, having seen World War II films, Independence Day, footage of Tony Blair justifying the invasion of Iraq, Putin suggesting the West is the problem, people throwing bananas at Dani Alves.... and wanting to share their technology with us? Would anyone seriously think that any alien intelligent enough to cross the galaxy to find us would want to tell us how to get out and about more?
No, if you see any aliens, they're coming to exploit or destroy us. If we meet aliens, there's only one option.
We're gonna have to kill them. It's the only way.