Photo by Francesco Ungaro

In The Alien Stranger, this compelling and peculiar sci-fi book with a unique story and a riveting premise, Bob Ticer invokes the human fascination with aliens.

With the recent goings-on in the United States Congress, i.e., the revelation that the military might be hiding alien bodies somewhere, perhaps it is the best time to talk about the enduring human fascination with aliens and the mysteries of outer space. 

The universe is vast–vaster than even the fantasy can imagine and the mind can comprehend–, and it is not without reason why people would love to visualize other forms of existence out there that are, no pun indeed, quite alien to what humanity is intimately familiar with. There are stars blazing out there, holding multitudes of planets that are both similar and dissimilar to Earth, and it is no exaggeration to say that there exists the possibility that there might be beings out there that are not human.

And perhaps they will soon come a day when society makes contact with them.

The Human Fascination with Aliens

Aliens, extraterrestrials, otherworldlies, etcetera, etc., whatever one wants to call them, have had a significant influence on the psyches of humankind for as long as people have looked at the night sky. Of course, this is in the form of ideas, not as actual entities. Imagine if they were actually real! 

Reasons Why Aliens Are JUST So Captivating

Because of their intense curiosity about the world around them and their overstimulated imaginations, the human fascination with aliens continues to persist. From movies and video games to books and TV shows, aliens have been quite the popular subject of human creativity. In The Alien Stranger, a sci-fi book with a unique story and a riveting premise, Bob Ticer invokes the human fascination with aliens by having one become unexpected help to the human main character. In Mass Effect, a complex and thrilling video game RPG, aliens are simply another group, similar to humans, that Earth has to engage with. And many more.

There are simply thousands of media out there that deal with aliens and their relationship with humanity. 

Yet, why is that so? Why is the human fascination with aliens so, so strong? Here are four reasons why humans are captivated by aliens:

  1. The Great Unknown. As creatures of habit, curiosity has been one of the more useful traits that evolution has endowed upon the human being. Coupled with this curiosity, this hunger for knowing more about the world is a love of the unknown, the yearning to explore what has never been explored before. The idea of life existing outside the confines of familiar Earth has been an enduring question, and humans constantly seek an answer. This excitement, this passion for knowing more and discovering new fields, is one thing that holds up the human fascination with aliens.
  2. The Potential for Technology. Another reason for the human fascination with aliens is their overactive imagination regarding what a potential alien society might look like and possess. One of the greatest advantages humans have over their fellow Earth-based creatures is their vastly superior intellect and their command over technology. As the only advanced society in existence that they have any knowledge of, humans can only imagine what another advanced society might look like, what their biases are, their preferences, and their aesthetics. This is exciting when coupled with the ideas of how alien tech might help improve society and better their broader understanding of the universe.
  3. The Fear of Strangers. With the yearning for another friendly civilization that is either on par or more advanced than what humans currently field, there is the opposite assumption: that whatever alien force might make contact with humanity would be an aggressive and imperialist power. This is a reflection of humanity’s deep history of conquest. Much of human history is tainted with conflict over resources and ideological reasons, so it would not be a stretch that aliens would have similar intentions, especially when it concerns a vastly inferior enemy. Of course, bring in the human primal fear of the unknown, and there is some edge to this idea. 
  4. The Search for Answers. Perhaps since humanity first became self-aware of their place in the world and their relationship with the other living creatures of Earth, they have always wanted to know if they were the only ones who could do it. Upon the face of Earth, there is no creature that can ruminate on its place in the universe, and that is a harrowing fact. Perhaps the human fascination with aliens is merely the unconscious desire to have a companion, someone who will answer when you call them in the dark. Is humanity alone in the universe? Is there any other creature that they can level with? The answer eludes them still.

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