By Audun Stølås
Welcome to this planet, that we who lived on it, considered as ours. We called it the Earth and called ourselves Earthlings.
Let me first congratulate you on having reached our planet. It must have been a long and strenuous journey. There were few of us who lived on this planet who thought that it was possible that beings from other planets would ever be able to come to Earth when we thought about the long distances in the Universe. And then we thought of the many conditions that had to be in place for life, and preferably intelligent life, to arise and evolve on a planet. Based on this, there were many who thought that we humans on Earth were the only living creatures with a certain intellectual capacity in the Universe. But about this issue it was divided opinions among us. Some highlighted the huge number of planets in the universe and believed that some places there had to be intelligent life. That you now have managed to come here, is very impressive. It clearly tells us that you have a great insight into nature and have reached a very high technical level. Now that you are here, I hope you will take the time to try to figure out how life on Earth has turned out. We sincerely want anyone to know about us.
I hope you do not take offense that I have referred to you as beings. It's not bad or derogatory intended. But since none of us had ever met any of you, we had only our imagination to relate to. There you were often described as little green men.
How our cartoonists could portray you as little green men
Now we finally have the opportunity to correct such caricatured images, if it is so that there are still humans on the Earth. I do not know what state the planet is in now, if there are humans on it, if it at all is life.
If it should be so that the only live you can see are some beings creeping on the ground on four legs and has a hard shield on the back, it is not humans. We called them turtles. Some of them are quite large. They took it easy in life and lived long. But do not worry. They are not dangerous. On the other hand, it is not any good reason to strive to become better acquainted with them. It is not so much to get out of them. They have not, as we humans had, language to communicate with, at least not a language that we humans can understand.
This is a turtle
The human beings were of two different types, or gender as we called it – man and woman. The human on the picture is a woman, by the way one of the most beautiful among them who was known by most people in her time.
Perhaps it was just that having a language that was unique to us humans on the Earth unlike anything else in the Universe.
But you should know that it took a long time here on the Earth before the first linguistic message was formulated and communicated. According to what our scientists came up with the Earth was formed 4.6 billion years ago. Along with the other planets in our solar system, it was made of dust and gas left over when the sun came into existence. The researchers also concluded that there was life on this planet within one billion years after it was formed. But it would still be a long time before the first humans made their entrance on stage. Modern man, which we gave the name Homo sapiens – the thinking man – appeared in Africa 150.000 to 200.000 years ago. It has since spread across the Earth. The first track we’ve found of people in Europe, have been dated back to 40.000 years ago.
This is the Earth.
It is estimated that humans have evolved from an ancestor and ancestress, that we had in common with the apes. But at some point in history the human brain suddenly developed formidable. The human brain contains around 100 billion nerv cells, and each of them is connected with 10,000 other nerve cells. Although no one understands how it could happen, the network of nerv cells makes the humans capable of thinking, shaping thoughts in a language and communicate this to other people. On top of it all, it also equipped the humans with a consciousness. This awareness gave humans the ability to reflect on themselves. It can be aware that it is itself different from all other individuals. Humans are aware that they are going to die one day. They have the ability to discern between good and bad, right and wrong, beautiful and ugly, what is valuable and what is worthless, what is magnificent and what is not. The religious among us extend this with a praise to God as creator of all this.
No one knew quite how it was possible that awareness at all could appear of simple nerve cells when there were just many enough of them. Some thought that the human consciousness had arisen by chance or mistake, that it really was not intended that humans should have a consciousness. Whose intension should should that be? It was discussed whether consciousness was strictly the result of the chemical and electrical activity in the brain or whether it was something more. Was consciousness only a manifestation of matter or was it something else? Is our consciousness the same phenomenon that in the religion is called soul and spirit? An unifying answer was never given. Human consciousness emerged as a marvel. It should invite us to wonder, but we took it merely for granted and reflected no more about it.
The human consciousness can be said to be the self-reflection of the univers. It was assumed that there was only humans, of all things in the Universe, who had awareness on such a high level. Those who were religious believed that there were higher powers with even greater levels of awareness. But whether these higher powers were in or outside the universe was not always clear.
If there at some point no longer exists humans in the universe, then there will not be anyone here who observe, reflect and consider. Being a human in the Universe is precious and unique. What can humans do that nothing else in the universe can do?
It can tell a joke and it can perceive a joke, it can laugh at a joke. For humans, this sounds very obvious and simple, because it is for us. We were so used to it. But behind this lies very complex processes inherent in the human brain's ability to acquire language and communication. Fortunately we had humor. Do you also have sense of humor?
Finally, I wish you good luck in finding out more about the Earth and the earthlings. Perhaps you come to settle down here? Perhaps you have made life a misery on the planet you came from. But you were lucky to have gotten the opportunity to leave the planet in time and go somewhere else. It may be that we did not. I must stress that I write these few lines in the year 2014 after the birth of Christ. A lot could have happened on Earth after that. Perhaps people learned anything? Maybe they were better at taking care of the only planet we could live on?
Perhaps there are many people on Earth now? People who have come a long way in both technology and decent living. People waiting to take care of you, even though they of course will be greatly surprised at such a visit. People that will tell you everything you want to know about life on this planet. Let us hope that this is so. And if this is the case, you can just ignore this little statement.
Otherwise, this planet can have evolved so that all life is gone. But you shall know that there has been life before. This planet Earth was teeming with life, there was a diversity of life, both on land, at sea and in the air.
This is how we lived:
In fact, not all of us lived like this. In the house on the picture above lived the president in the world's most powerful state, the United States of America, his family and his staff. He belonged to the rich people on Earth.
Others lived like this:
It was the poorest people on Earth that lived in places like this. We called such living areas for slum.
:It was rare that we asked ourselves how we should live our lives so that the planet and life on it could be preserved and passed on to new generations, preferably in a better state than we inherited it from those before us.