Throughout the short story ‘The Large Ant’ Howard Fast’s character Mr. Morgan displays the natural fear humans have against the unknown; by killing it. As a species through history, we have grasped an ideal that the development of superior weapons is supposedly a demonstration of one’s technological advancements; though it may also be seen as a compensation for the social fears of that society. As a race the unknown presents us with a great fear. Thus when the idea of an eternal vacuum like space is brought up, we cringe at the thought of it.
After the first signals of ommunication from outer space was received hysteria was spread through the world about it’s purpose and meaning. Showing us how easily fear grips our emotions, which drives us to do crazy things to compensate for it. As a society, we have the conception that we must get better weapons cause the enemy might have better weapons. Thus when the idea of an unknown is brought into the equation, we assume that the “aliens”will have high levels of intellect and highly sophisticated weapons to kill us; however the idea that they come in peace to communicate does not often come up in discussions.
Look at yourself, a smart man, yet you cannot think of a mindset that does not need a weapon as a main requirement. ” (Fast 1 57) showing how much we rely on armaments for protection. Acknowledging this, demonstrates to us the fears we perceive to be real that may have never existed. In recent years, human culture has been full of writers, directors, and story tellers alike who have been creating fearful tales of outer space; idealizing it as an eternal abyss where you are completely alone with no hope or salvation. giving the idea that if it’s not from this planet then “it almost does not matter where they come rom” (Fast 158).
Instead we should see it as a new frontier of development; an endless span of time and space waiting to be discovered. Yet we still remain here on a tiny planet, examining space as though it were a backyard never visited, and confined to our imagination. Pg- 3 The concern of the unknown stretches even farther when communication with unknown sources has been reached. The fears and imaginations stretched Just as far in August 1977; when a satellite station (in Ohio USA) picked up an encrypted code (similar to Morse code) from space, in the form of microwaves.
The news of the xternal source brought disbelief that other worldly intelligence existed; such that the news of Elvis Presley’s death was overshadowed by it, “It’s not the same as what we call intelligence. It’s a collective phenomenon-as if you were to think of the component parts of our bodies. Each part alive, but the intelligence is as a result of the whole” (Fast-1 58) this shows a different approach to intelligence. It shows that even if we find other worldly intelligence that a comparison between them and us may prove to show that the function in processing may be completely different, thus aking communication impossible.
Therefore, an idea is brought up that, when we discover an alien race, not to communicate with them to prevent a misunderstanding. Whether present or not, everyone has a fear of the unknown. So we tend to deep with ourselves. We always consider our selves as a species as a ‘one of a kind’, as having the most advanced technology, and best weapons; however, following all the signs of our ancestors is proof that we are not alone in the world. Compare to life in space (an infinite darkness) is something to fear as a huge unknown, when compared to the flourishing life of earth.
The thought of communicating with the unknown gives us a fear, as though we were children trying to bargain with the monster in our closet or under our bed. Hence the imaginative ideas of the unknown are best left to the blockbuster movies, and when the time comes that we are faced with the ‘aliens’ there are really only two outcomes: one they take offense to our message even no message and war breaks out, or a message gets across and some sort of friendship is developed; to a degree it really does not come down to each race individually, but a collaboration of both race to find an acceptable compromise.