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I’ve taken my aliens seriously ever since I was twelve. As a kid, after reading a good Von Daniken ancient alien piece, I would open the windows to the house wide open in the dead of winter – in case “they” came, I would always have an escape route. They fortunately never came.

Fast forward twenty some years, the third most popular category in my library after business and science remains ancient aliens.

Today I no longer expect uninvited visitors from outer space, but, I have entertained a thought experiment for fun. The hypothetical scenario has to do with being allowed one question in the highly unlikely event of an abduction by the greys.  What would you ask?

After some thinking, I have settled on “do you still make mistakes?” I wouldn’t ask for direct knowledge like the secret to faster than light travel or eternal life. Instead, the “mistakes” question would shed light into the very nature of extraterrestrial and thus universal life. Here on Earth mistakes are key to learning and evolution. They are also a reflection of a non-deterministic world and undetermined future. If aliens still evolve, they would have to still make mistakes. More advanced, yes, but not unlike us humans.

Turning back to earthly reality, these type of thought experiments have their place. They help us make sense of our humanity within the larger context of our existence.  They increase humbleness and assertiveness at the same time. They make room for a shared fate outlook in a world of competing interests. So I ask now of you: “do you still make mistakes?”