A View From Afar
As readers of Madazine, we who are composing this letter know that you have already received a message from Planet Zog. Here is one from Planet Goz. You may wonder why we are choosing to communicate with you via what is usually considered a humorous organ. We shall explain this below.
You have been under scrutiny for some time and we can no longer refrain from imparting a few comments to you, starting with the point that there is a particular cosmic society to which you do not belong. We refer to celestial bodies where the technique of mental image projection (MIP) has been developed, allowing members of the participating civilisations to communicate with each other by thought alone. As you must realise, this means that they can pass information across the Universe instantaneously, thus avoiding the untidy processes of grappling with the speed of light, finding the space warps so beloved of your science fiction writers, and other such nonsense.
There are MIP member planets throughout the Cosmos, some of them in your vicinity, monitoring your activities and transmitting details to the rest of us. Others are of course far away from you, the distance in our case being nearly two thousand light-years. In addition to this, there are extraterrestrial beings with this projection power – among you now incognito, so any planet in our ‘club’ is able to keep abreast of what you are doing and could contact you in this way. For no special reason, we have been asked to be the first to do so.
A further technique which you have not yet mastered is the interception of light beams on their way through space and the viewing of their content, much in the way that you watch television. This means that the Earth’s whole past is visible at various points in the Universe and that this history is transmitted from place to place and observed by beings using MIP. We are aware of your former supercontinents, the dinosaur period and so on. By the way, your geologists have done quite well in their efforts to explain the evolution of life on Earth.
The most important point we have to convey to you is the one that concerns your behaviour. An example of this is the pictures we are seeing now on Goz. Among other things, we are looking at the Roman invasion of Britain. We could, so to speak, go into fast forward or backward mode by contacting other MIP members, but are content to take our time on this occasion. In several parts of the Milky Way, your second world war can be seen. The latest incident passed to us here involved a convoy of supply ships heading for Murmansk. Thirty-six of them set out and two thirds were sunk in transit. Sheer madness.
Those of us who have viewed your past alternately smile and despair at your conduct. The whole of human history is dominated by almost ceaseless conflict. It seldom seems to occur to you to discuss whatever differences you may have and to share what you jointly possess, instead of thinking in terms of competition or battle. Even now, after all your bitter experiences, you appear to be engaging in a race to explore outer space, with several countries vying for leadership. Really, it’s like watching an institution for the profoundly disturbed. What a shame that you don’t try more cooperation and less rivalry.
It is not really for us to interfere with your activities, but we cannot resist stating that you could stop the nonsense at once. How? Well, our assessment is that nearly all of you, wherever you live, are peaceful and friendly unless stirred up by demagogues. We recommend that you isolate those of your leaders disposed to bellicosity, equip them with all the instruments of mayhem they want and place them in confined areas, permitting them to do as much slaughtering and maiming as they like among themselves, while leaving the rest of you to get on with your lives – and each other.
Incidentally, we note that you are trying to spot interplanetary rocks floating around in your area. There are more of these than you have yet detected. One big chunk is very close to the Earth and seems likely to give you a severe blow in the near future. This could kill half the human race. Of course that would not trouble you too much, as you are breeding like rabbits – more foolishness – so you would doubtless repopulate quite quickly. Anyway, we suggest you increase your efforts to find these bits of debris.
If you will accept a further cautionary word, we would advise you to take better care of your planet, or it will tire of you and shrug you off. Remember that your own naturalists have concluded that over ninety-nine per cent of the species ever to live on the Earth have already come and gone. Even if you do mend your ways, you will probably follow that trend. If you don’t behave more responsibly, your demise is almost certain. And please forget any ideas you have about colonising another planet. The care and maintenance of heavenly bodies needs far more skill than you have shown to date. Get your present habitat right before you venture elsewhere.
Having offered you some guidance, we shall now note your progress. If you proceed in the right direction, you might eventually be offered admission to the MIP society, but be warned that this would require you to move far ahead of where you are at present. Now, we promised to indicate why this message comes to you via a predominantly amusing channel. In case it hasn’t already dawned on you, the reason is that you are the laughing (and crying) stock of the Universe. Shape up!
The Council of Planet Goz – and all other Gozlings
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