The first contact was quiet, obscure, and by any conventional standard quite unremarkable. It required only a breath. Whatever concept scientists, writers, and other visionaries of the ages may have had about the event, this wasn’t it.
I wouldn’t call it serendipitous, that first contact. It was not, by definition, random or by chance, and it was not necessarily a happy circumstance. Whether or not it was beneficial would be for later generations to decide. But there was the fact that when contact did occur, it was carried on the wind to a child. And that was the significant thing.
Children, especially very young ones, are non-binary. Binary thought is something children have to be taught. Binary thought doesn’t come naturally to children, but it seems essential to adults. The reason it is essential, of course, is that it helps adults establish the spatial and temporal boundaries in their lives. Yes/no, true/false, in/out, black/white. All ones and zeros.
The binary structure is carried on through all legal and religious paradigms. Legal/illegal, saved/unsaved, living/dead, heaven/hell, start/finish, beginning/end. To have a binary relationship, of course, there must be an incompatible opposite. So if there is an alpha, there must also be an omega.
Furthermore, for whatever state we are in, we must have a beginning and an end, such as birth/death. For this reason, the Bible begins with “In the beginning” and concludes with the end of the world. In the same way, and for many of the same reasons, scientists developed the theory of the “Big Bang” and theorize about the death of the universe. If the universe began, therefore it must also end.
Now besides having a compulsion to categorize their existence in binary terms, humans also share a compulsion to codify their categorization. They did this first in the form of storytelling, then in writing. So when they codified their understanding of the genesis of the universe, they rightfully attributed its design and complexity to something other than themselves. This something other, they called God.
Because they knew that they weren’t capable of creating the universe, and they also weren’t capable of conceiving of an entity that was completely unlike themselves, the God they created was given human attributes. God could be possessive, angry, jealous, creative, loving, gentle, forgiving, brutal, and even genocidal. In other words, God is us.
And we look at the universe through the filter of “us”. We search for planets like ours. We hunt for alien life with characteristics from our own experience. We have a difficult time conceiving of an entity or a space that is boundlessly infinite. And yet. There it was.
Lighter than breath and older than our universe, from before even God existed, it drifted down from the infinite cold of boundless space to find a mind that had yet to know its limitations. From that moment, the girl was something more.
©Copyright 2017 by Kevin Fraleigh