Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Dead Planet XXXVIII

Dead Planet XXXVIII


“On top of these imponderables
is the vexed issue of whether
we should respond to the signal,
by sending our own message to
the aliens. Would that invite dire
consequences, such as invasion
by a fleet of well-armed starships?
Or would it promise deliverance
for a possibly stricken species?”
—Paul Davies, The Eerie Silence:
Renewing Our Search for Alien

Deckard didn’t realize he was alien—until afterwards.

By then it was too late—too late to be anything but more than human. Perhaps that was the Null-A part of the game—alien self-awareness disguised until at some point he’d gradually realize that contact had already been made.

That to become human was the first priority—and then deconstructing that identity delicately was the next order of business. Such a delicate denouement had to be done, well, how was it to be done?

That was the problem—the plausible deniability of being Other. Rather than the other way around. Humans simply couldn’t interface with it—there was just too much baggage and cargo cult flack involved. The Others didn’t want to lose them—like they had done on other worlds.

Mirrors for Observers—don’t always work. They crack sometimes—or a young species gets lost in its own reflections. Infinite regressions. Like Stilitano in Genet’s “Journal of a Thief”—trapped one day in a carnival House of Mirrors. Unable to find himself out of the labyrinth—the audience laughing at him.

Was it that ironically reminiscent, rather oxymoronic quip—that Donald Rumsfeld once made at a news conference? Whether consciously or unconsciously, he’d let the cat out of the bag: “Absence of evidence is not the same as evidence of absence” (on weapons of mass destruction).

It was like Nicole Kidman in that strange Alejandro Amenábar remake of Henry James’ “The Turn of the Screw.” Kidman was the last one to find out—the last one to know the weird, eerie truth. That she was dead already—one of the ghosts in the big haunted mansion. She was one of them—the Others. And not the other way around…

The ghostly disjunct between who Kidman thought she was and who she really was—is like the alien denouement that occurs when Contact is made. In retrospect it seems easy enough to make the connection—but each time is very complex and sometimes humans are like Kidman… without a clue.

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