On the Humanization of Intelligent Life

I bet I can read your mind.


An image popped into your head. Hold onto it. Let me describe it for you.

A tall-ish figure, maybe five or six feet tall. Four limbs; two arms and two legs. Maybe it’s extremities are a little big compared to its arms and legs. Grey or Green in color. Kind of big head, with over-sized, black eyes.

Was I close?

Did you notice anything weird about that description? It’s very human-like.

So why do we imagine aliens–beings from a different planet, with a very different environment–to be so similar to humans? You can blame Hollywood all you want, but you still have your own imagination, don’t you?

What does it say about humans that we can’t imagine aliens looking too different from us? We give them a torso, with two arms, and two legs, like us. They have a single head with two eyes, a mouth, and a nose, like us. Why?

What are the chances that an alien would actually look like this? Well, if we ever were visited by aliens, they would probably look nothing like us.

Humans look the way we do because of very specific mutations over time. Thousands, millions, billions, trillions of very specific, tiny mutations. These mutations were influenced by the environment in which those people lived, and how they interacted with their environment.

What are the chances that another life form, in a different environment, experienced the exact same pattern of very specific, tiny mutations?

We’ll just say there’s not a very good chance.

Why don’t we imagine them to look like dogs? Or fish?

To me, it’s because humans see them selves as the top of the food chain. We are the most intelligent life forms. So, if there is another intelligent life form, they must be just like us, right? No.

And who named us the most intelligent? Us? I bet Gorillas think were pretty stupid. Your dog probably thinks your pretty dumb too. You just invite strangers into your house without sniffing them first? What an idiot!

If it’s a title you gave yourself, it’s great that you see yourself that way, but it’s not necessarily how others see you.

So back to aliens, if they are out there, I guarantee they don’t look anything like us.


Part of the Daily Blogging Challenge July 2015


One thought on “On the Humanization of Intelligent Life

  1. […] recent post about how aliens, when they do visit us, probably won’t look anything like us, got me […]

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