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Beyond Earth

December 2
by
Connor Lewis
in
Overcoming Challenges
with
.

I’ll be the first one to say, I absolutely hate how much emphasis our generation puts on race. No matter the issue, somehow being black or white gets painted into the picture. Nevertheless, race continues to be a significant issue in our society, especially in the southeast.


With the riots in Baltimore as well as fraternity and sorority recruitment discrimination, this past year or two has proven to be a testament to how little our country has progressed since the civil rights movement.

Before coming to Georgia, I went to school at the University of Alabama for two years. I joined a fraternity and quickly realized how much race played into the school. Whether it was rush, electing the SGA President, or even the Homecoming Queen, the issue of white and black was omnipresent. After transferring to UGA, I saw a little less emphasis, but the issue still remained.

Let me clarify one more time, I hate talking about race.

But perhaps most importantly, I don’t want anyone to think that I’m proclaiming to be some sort of race expert, because I’m not. I’m about as mono-racial as it gets (very white). I just want to examine a provoking question that I know you’ve all heard before. One that I’ve been particularly interested in since I was a little kid.

Now, before you close out of this page, hear me out. This is not a question about black vs. white. In my opinion, it’s something much more hopeful and it’s something that equally benefits African Americans, Caucasians, Asians, or whatever you choose to bubble on standardize testing.

“Are we alone?”

It’s a question that has haunted scientists, philosophers, religious leaders, kings, and even a young boy like myself. In such an incomprehensibly vast universe, who are we to say we’re special? Who are we to say there’s no one else?

NASA Kepler scientists have estimated that there are nearly 11 billion Earth-sized planets in the Milky Way galaxy orbiting a sun much like our own. That’s our galaxy alone – one of 100 billion others.

It is without a doubt that our generation will be the first to gaze upon life born outside of everything we have ever known. Yes, it may be small and yes, it may seem underwhelming at the time. But we must be reminded; even humans start very small.

The discovery of life outside of Earth will challenge the validity of religions, introduce new questions in the world of science, and, my personal favorite, bond our species unlike ever before. See this new perspective will provide a cosmic calibration for Earth – one that removes the filters of gender, disability, and, in this case, race.

I believe the discovery of life outside of Earth will create the most valuable form of discrimination our world has ever known. No longer will we divide based on arbitrary characteristics we inherited at birth, but instead we are seen as one species all born on the same planet.

Crazy right? I agree. Let’s draw out a scenario and maybe that will help you connect more. Let’s imagine two colonies of fire ants stationed a few feet away from one another. You’re outside one day and accidentally kick a soccer ball over both ant mounds thus destroying them. What happens next? Do the ants from pile 1 see the ants from pile 2 and refuse to interact? No, they both attack the threat by placing survival above colony bias. (No ants were harmed in the telling of this fictional example).

Yes, we are probably a long way from interacting with intelligent life beyond Earth.

However, preparation is usually a large piece of the success puzzle. I don’t know about you, but I’d love to see our species last another few millennia. Just as we saw in the ant example, survival is often a function of numbers.

It’s about collaboration based on what you can contribute, not where you’re from. I truly hope that our world will see this once we discover life elsewhere. It’s something we need to evolve as a species and pass the threshold of an advanced civilization. One that removes social prejudice, and instead relies on observation, ambition, and unity.

I think we can do this. I really do. Humanity has a historically funny way of surviving and learning from its mistakes. That day will take time and it will take more mistakes. However, that day silently beckons. Let us seek it.


“The truth may be puzzling. It may take some work to grapple with. It may be counterintuitive. It may contradict deeply held prejudices. It may not be consonant with what we desperately want to be true. But our preferences do not determine what is true.”

– Carl Sagan

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