Alien Dawn

This photograph was made on October 10, 2011. The mountain in the middle is Mount San Jacinto, which was fortysome miles away from where I was standing. I was thinking about the concept of an “Alien Dawn” around the time I was making the photograph, so the image has only the most tenuous connection to an alien daybreak, but tenuous is sometimes the closest connection available, and I decided to run with the idea.

Allow me to explain where the Alien Dawn concept came from. Currently, the most popular doomsday myth in western culture is that of a doomsday that will allegedly occur on December 22, 2012. It is said that the Maya Calendar predicts that particular event. Much tooth-gnashing and hand-wringing accompanies that pronouncement, despite the repeated denouncement of the idea by the recognized experts.

Even the History television channel keeps adding fuel to the fire, duping large sections of the masses with programming that further beclouds the issue. Apparently, like many other television broadcasting channels, History needs to grab the attention of large numbers of viewers to continue making money. And there are few broadcasting concerns which will not stoop to the lowest possible level, using untruths and sensationalism to hike their ratings in a grab for the almighty dollar. There is nothing new about that.

There are many variants of the mythical Maya Calendar doomsday. One variant proposes that the “gods”, beings from another world, such as Quetzalcoatl, the Feathered Serpent, will return on December 22, 2011, despite the repeated denunciations of the established experts in the field. (the illustration of Quetzacoatl shown here is in the public domain)

It is a ridiculous idea, but for the sake of discourse, let’s consider for a moment the possibility that this doomsday scenario, unlike the many thousands previously predicted throughout human history, will occur. If that does happen on December 22, 2011, if the aliens such as the being known as Quetzalcoatl (a.k.a. Kulkulcan) return to this planet on that particular day or any other, it will change everything.


Even if our world is not physically destroyed, even if the more than seven billions of human lives are not ended, everything humanity previously knew will have shifted. Any alien intelligence capable of bringing culture to us in the distant past, then returning thousands of years later, will be by definition incredibly advanced compared to us, in both technology and knowledge. For one thing, religion will die for everyone but the most stubbornly delusional. For those that need it, what will they turn to? Prozac?

And if one is now a second or third class citizen of the world, a member of the 99%, he will be further demoted by yet another rank. The old slavery will be replaced by a new, different slavery. But slavery it will be, though a different word will likely be used in much the same manner that mass media currently insists on using the word “recession”, rather than the truthful term “depression”.

Of course, there is the obverse possibility. The possibility that the aliens will bring us new knowledge and technologies that extend our lifetimes and open the road to the stars for us. That possibility has a strong allure. It is very attractive to me and it would be very pretty to think it will be so.

But as I continue to think about it, I’m not sure that I want to take the chance on benevolent aliens in this lifetime. (And I’m not sure that I want to learn to speak Galactic, anyway…)