(Rebloged from the “Blog of Tsish”. Tsish is an extraterestial friend of mine from outer space. Look for Tsish’s other contributions in my blog and my ABOUT page. First published March 2009)
Your planet is always good for a surprise!
My space ship is now somewhere between the orbits of Mars and Earth. However, the trajectory I am flying will take me near Venus first. But it will take some time before I arrive there.
If you have been reading my previous articles, you will know I am an extraterrestrial travelling in a virtual space ship created with my asifomat. The asifomat enables me to create as-if-bubbles. That way, I can create things just by doing “as if”. Outside such a bubble, these things don’t exist, but once I enter, they look perfectly real. For example, I was able to create a spiral staircase inside an as-if-bubble, leading down from my space ship’s command center into the living room of Nannus, a guy from Earth. Without that, this trip would be like prison.
So, I went down to the room of Nannus for a drink. Too boring up here in my ship.
Downstairs, I was looking out of his window. It took me some time to distinguish anything in the unfamiliar scene. This was my first direct look at the surface. I could make out some structures that where obviously artificial. Suddenly something big and fast passed by.
“What was that?” I asked. “What”? He did not know what I was talking about. Another one came: “There, that thing, what is it?”
”Ah, you mean the car. That’s a car.”
I did not know what a car was. He explained it to me. I could not believe it.
Who in space needs such a thing?
As he explained to me, a car is needed to go from one place to another.
“But you have legs”, I said. “So why a car?”
“If the distance between the places is too large for walking, you need a car.”
“Then just make the distance smaller” I replied. Slowly, I began to understand.
“What places do people go to by car?” I asked.
“To work or to shopping. Or they bring their kids to kindergarten or school.”
“O.K.”, I said, “where I come from, we also go to work or to shopping and bring our kids. But we do so by walking. When we design our settlements, we make sure everything we need frequently is in walking distance or can be reached by small, muscle driven vehicles. Then, we also have a public transportation system.”
Outside, cars passed by in incredible numbers. “So obviously, you people design your settlements in a very funny way. You put everything you need every day far apart and then you need cars to go from one place to another. But, simply speaking, cars are totally unnecessary. Just redesign your cities, and you can get rid of them.” Now, watching further, a terrible thought came to my mind: “If I want to go to those buildings on the other side of the cars, that thing there is a building, not so? So if I want to go there, how do I get there?”
The whole city seemed to be dominated by cars and ways for cars. “It looks like this city consists of little islands. If I want to walk through it, how does that work?”
He took a sip from his drink. “You have to take the red light” he said. Then he explained to me what that is. I shuddered (that is the term my translator created here, I assume it is more or less appropriate). “So that is how life is here on this planet? But that is terrible. Don’t you see that? I have never seen a thing like that on any planet. No other civilization I know has developed into this strange direction. It is like you are living inside a machine, isn’t it?
“I don’t know” he said, “This is all I know. Personally, I don’t own a car. I am riding a bike (that is what you called a small muscle driven vehicle) and public transport, but I am used to this system here. Never came to my mind that it could be different on other planets. But most people here have cars; I am kind of an exception.”
Now, since I have studied asifology, I know that if people behave in an irrational way, some kinds of as-if-bubbles are normally involved. On this planet, people seem to think that what they call a car is indispensable. I have to investigate this fascinating, unique phenomenon further. I will then write about that again. Wow, what a discovery! A whole new field of study: earthlings and their cars!
Then Nannus explained to me that these cars are working by burning fossil fuels! That, of course, is considered a crime everywhere in the galaxy.
Burning fossil fuels releases carbon dioxide. Releasing carbon dioxide causes planetary warming, and this causes disasters like desertification, flooding and mass extinction. It is therefore putting future generations at a disadvantage and so is a form of transtemporal exploitation. Transtemporal exploitation (where the exploited live at a later time than the exploiters) is a form of exploitation. Exploiting somebody is a crime. Therefore, burning fossil fuels is considered a crime and is strictly forbidden on all planets I have visited before.
And now this: on planet earth, they do it, and they do it to run cars that would not be necessary at all if they only designed their cities a little bit more intelligently. I knew you people are releasing huge amounts of carbon dioxide, now I am beginning to understand how and why you are doing it. Terrible, but fascinating!
Guess I have to go back upstairs to my space ship and write a report on this. Hope to meet you back here soon.
(The picture is from http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Traffic_jam_Sao_Paulo_09_2006_30.JPG)