Echizen Jellyfish and The Idea of Space Travel

Posted: March 22, 2008 in Aliens, Sarah Einstein
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Giant jellyfish with diverMaybe being a science fiction geek is inevitable if your last name is Einstein, but I am fascinated by the idea of travelling through space.  Or not so much the idea of travelling, as the idea of arriving… of finding entire words full of life.  Why, then, haven’t I learned to SCUBA dive?

 There is nothing more alien within close reach than our own seas.  The moon is a barren rock, and there isn’t much evidence of strangers in strange lands on Mars, either.  But the seas are teeming with the most unexpected and beautiful creatures.  Why aren’t we as fascinated with them as we are with the dinosaurs, with space?  What does it say about our need for fantasy, that we are so much less interested in what is almost within grasp than with what is so far beyond our reach? Echizen jellyfish with divers2

Why isn’t there more deep sea fiction? Is it because it seems such a great defeat, that we still can’t reach the open floor?  Or because the era of the sea monster is gone?  Do things only interest us if they are threatening?

That’s always been the science fiction writer’s dilema… will the aliens, when we finally find them, be friend or foe?  Looking around, it seems doubtful that they will be either.  More likely, they will turn out to be wonderous things who don’t use language as we use language and so, like the Echizen jellyfish, we will know only as beautiful oddities.

 We are strange creatures to imagine that the only intelligence is one that uses words. 

  1. Bogi says:

    Hi Sarah,

    Is that true? You don’t SCUBA? You’re missing something. I was lucky enough to have parents that made us do stuff. We visited the Florida keys alot and one year we did the training and went on a scuba dive. I have terrible ears which can’t take the pressure, but even so, managed to get down about 25 feet or so. What I saw, I’ll remember forever.


  2. Bobkee says:

    The genre of Science fiction just about started with Jules Verne, and of course his biggie, “20,000 Leagues, etc.”

    I think that the ocean world has been a source of fascination for mankind since we first dropped out of the trees, walked across the savannah and stumbled into all that wet stuff stretching to the horizon.

    SCUBA diving is, indeed, very similar to being an astronaut floating in space, only you have alien company. Hey, “The Abyss” was a terrific flick with Ed Harris doing just that, did you catch the full version of it, rather than the original Hollywood release?

  3. Vern says:

    SCUBA diving was one of the things on my to do list (made when I was young) before I die. So some time back so far I don’t recall when exactly, I took the classes and received my certification. I’ve never been again — I suppose at first because I never had a “diving buddy” or the time to take from my own business, but I think primarily because I had already done it. And it’s quite possible that is the attitude we take about the wonders of our little blue ball in space. We haven’t seen it all, but we’ve experienced enough that it no longer holds the novelty we seek. Other-worldly creatures from space still hold our imagination because we have not experienced them, we haven’t received our certification, we can’t cross the vastness of space off our list of things to do before we die.

    The Jellyfish is probably more symbolic of what such encounters with ET might be like than we realize. Are you aware that there is a real danger that these beautiful creatures may indeed destroy vast areas of ocean ecosystems? Human greed and indifference to cause and effect are sending the populations of jellyfish out of control in many places. Such disasters could be the result of our encounters with space aliens we don’t understand and thus could ignorantly provoke a more powerful Jellyfish which could conceivably destroy our larger ecosystem.

    Other intelligent beings may indeed not use words to communicate, but they will still communicate in some fashion. It would behoove us to take that into account and not assume they are deaf and dumb because they do not speak as we do.

    We should and probably must explore space, but we should do it in a resposible manner, not the destructive exploitation we have exercised on our home world. Should I not be able to mark the journey to space off my to do list before I die, I have left instructions to shuttle me to outerspace and set me adrift for the unkown that awaits out there. Who knows, some extremely intelligent fisherman just might think I’m a beautiful Jellyfish worth saving.

    Enjoy your blog. Take care. Vern

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