This mocks “the final frontier”.
Most humans, scientists and layman alike, have lots and lots of ideas about space. There’s aliens, some theories even say *how many* worlds there are with alien life. Science fiction tells us what the aliens look like, how they act, their motivations (which are, bizarrely, similar to humanity)… its like we know as much about what’s out there as we do about Earth.
Its part of the disease of Western thought in general… too much emphasis is placed upon what is known and what is speculated and not enough about what is *not* known… not enough on the limitations.
Who’s there to talk about the fact that we have zero contact with aliens, despite that there are supposedly millions or billions or more alien races? But, but… the *large distances involved* they say… who are WE to say what is a large distance to a creature we know nothing about?
No human has lived on another planet. We’ve never been outside our solar system. We see quite a bit of vague details, from far away.
We pretend to know so much about the universe from the development of a *single* planet. I’m told we know how life develops, and that it develops similarly on other worlds, despite us never having verified life on any other world.
Technology that enables increased knowledge of space has only developed recently. It seems likely barring some catastrophe (like nuclear exchange) it will continue to increase, making it easier for us to explore space which raises more and more the question of why our planet isn’t already part of some intergalactic empire. The easier it becomes for us, the easier it becomes for a “highly intelligent species” which supposedly is found commonly throughout the universe.
In the end, our perception is crippled from knowledge of only *one* planet with life, of knowledge of only *one* highly intelligent species. The only thing that’s likely to improve that perception is physical exploration of space.
We know what life is. We speculate what aliens are like. We make theories on how many other highly intelligent species are in the universe. *None* of that, however, is verified. We know some about what EARTH life is… its idle extrapolation to suppose other planets have similar properties with respect to life. Life as “in and of itself” cannot be known using only earth as the basis.
Sometimes I think that humans don’t even want to explore space. Why bother, when we can just pretend we know everything about it from the comfort of our own living rooms? We can just “know” that there are millions of alien races… no need to check!