I just read an article that completely blew my mind. It was pure speculation, yes, but it certainly made me think. Entitled “Is Physical Law an Alien Intelligence?” it discussed how advanced technology, as posited by Arthur C. Clarke, would seem like magic to a less advanced civilization.
It made me think of A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, by Mark Twain. Of course a 19th century man, if sent back to the time of King Arthur, would seem magical to many. Any time you have advanced knowledge, you’ll be a source of fascination to those who do not.
But the article above takes it even further. What if the technology is so advanced that we can’t see it or conceive of it at all? What if there’s actually intelligent life out there that’s so developed that it manipulates the universe in ways we’ve yet to explain, but have been actively confused by?
As I mulled over this article it made me wonder how beings like that would perceive us. Maybe we’re so primitive that they don’t see us either. I thought about that as I watered my tomato plants.
Do tomato plants know when they’re being watered? Do they know what the source of this water is? Can they distinguish water from my hose from water that comes from the sky? Do they care?
The fact is, I don’t understand tomato plants. I don’t know what makes them tick. I don’t comprehend a living thing that can’t focus outward, or for that matter, focus at all.
But as speculative as that article is, it made me think about how arrogant we humans are, believing that we’re at the top of some pyramid, and that all life must be somehow inferior to our own. It’s just as likely that that’s not the case.
It’s rather unsettling, though, thinking that in the cosmic scheme of things, I could very well be your basic tomato plant. It sure makes me think twice about the tomatoes in my salad.