Chapter 40: A View From Afar

Dear Earthlings,

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.

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