I suppose it was inevitable. I mean if it is to good to be True…well, it usually is. Who knew Alien Contact would prove that to be “True”... once again. I only report on what I know, and what the Archives had hidden in them. So before I tell you about the Contact (more commonly known as: “Playtime”) let’s go back to what we knew just before Contact happened.
I will make this short, as most of you should already know this stuff. But “Playtime” meant a lot of solid information got lost because it wasn’t as exciting as experimenting- nor did it fuel curiosity - the driving source of “Playtime.” Here goes:
Earth: 2023 (was it really only three years ago?) Scientists had just begun to piece together the real meaning of Evolution. The Idea that all that exists now- existed in the “Big Bang” was just becoming apparent. Stars, planets, gas clouds, all the elements, Intelligence, and even Life Itself - had to already exist inside the primordial singularity that became the “Big Bang”…and our Universe.
In a way, the Idea was catching on that everything made of matter was due to self organization. The emergent qualities like: Intelligence, Consciousness, and Symbolic Structures were contained in the information released by organizing matter. It was a small step from simple chemistry, to molecules, and then to the first cells. Life learned.
That learning kept accelerating as Life adapted. In a span of a billion years or so, Life learned to code things in DNA- making all living things “cousins.” Then Life took another leap…symbolism. It looked so simple; symbols carved into clay, rock, or (later) written on papyrus or paper. It meant that certain living things could learn from things no longer alive, or things that had been “dead” for thousands of years.
That was a big step. But not the biggest.
The biggest came from an unusual source- data. Data that revealed something only Wicka, Gaia, and some oddball Scientists like Dyson thought was real. It came from measuring the Sun’s Fusion Rate. Over the last billion years the sun had gotten hotter. Way hotter- like 25% Hotter. Yet Earth, maintained a relative narrow band of temperatures. What the Sun did, the Earth countered with either Carbon Dioxide, or more Life.
It dawned on the Scientist (Finally) that the Earth was maintaining Homeostasis. Until we finally reached the point that it couldn’t adapt to us fast enough…and that shocked the world. A minor discovery from Anthropology came about around the same time Scientists figured out that we should have been boiled off the planet long ago; that discovery was that real intelligence requires a long childhood. A real long childhood. Already in the 21st Century- most Psychologists and Educators claimed that adolescence lasted until thirty years of age. Just a half century earlier, childhood ended in the teen years. A half century before that on the “Frontiers” of the World, you could (and were in most ways) and adult at thirteen!
A century before that, and three year olds were already tending sheep, planting crops, and working in mines. Childhood…it turns out, is the real reason Homo Sapiens rose to the top of the heap. What modern Humans consider “childhood” didn’t even start until the Romantic Ideals of the Seventeenth Century took hold during the Enlightenment.
And that brings us up to First Contact.
The Aliens were wonderful. More like Big Kids than anything else. Impulsive, curious as all get out, willing to share almost everything they knew. Who cared if they were almost seven feet tall, weighed close to three hundred pounds, and could pummel you into paste if they so desired. They didn’t. They just wanted to play.
Play (for them) was just like play for us- no rules. Just make things up as you go along. Have fun. Get so focused it became a bother to stop to eat, go home, or even use the bathroom. Sure there were some tantrums when the Big Kids didn’t get their way. And Big Kids is what we called them, or the shorthand version: BK’s. We learned quickly to scatter until the BK’s settled back down, and in a very childlike manner- apologized as if nothing had happened.
As one woman said: “Jesus, they are just enormous toddlers with no nap time!” It was a fairly apt description. Except for the kinds of things they played with. Things like: Immortality for Humans, leaching out all disease, optimizing genetic material so that every combination was a better combination. Ridding the Earth of Pollution, Fossil Fuels, redesigning both Social and Physical structures to maximum efficiency. It was a glorious Golden Age.
It seemed to good to be true; there were no more wars, infrastructure was created that allowed an amazing level of lifestyle, almost no disease or death threatened any Human AND we were kinder, gentler, and sweeter people too. Alas, it was to good to be true. Because barely two years after the Big Kids arrived…the Elders Came.
And they were pissed.
The Big Kids stood like so many five year olds caught stealing cookies, eating a second piece of cake, or lying. Heads bowed in shame, feet making small shuffling circles in the dirt, a tear (or two) dropping the nearly seven feet to the ground. Behind them stood most of the Human Race…in much the same posture. It was a scolding that would tear the hide off small child facing a Mountain Grandmother tired of your shenanigans. It was a short speech before the BK”s were sent off to where they came from, and us poor Humans- innocent of any wrong doing, were sent to beg (figuratively) without our supper. Pouting was, by far, the most common facial expression on seven billion Humans- and the thousands of BK”s.
After all, the Elders took away all our new toys. Gone was immortality. Gone were genes so clean that they produced a new species of Humans. Gone was most of the High Tech infrastructure that made our Earth printing again. Oh sure, they let us keep the knowledge of the Contact. The few lucky genetic freaks and immortals were allowed to stay put- just they way they were. But all the rest of us returned to our pre-contact lives.
The Elders said it best when they left with the BK”s in tow:
“To be truly creative, interested, free of bias, prejudice and to learn to become fully human (Which the Elders claimed they were, and they told us the BK”s were well on their way to)- you need a long childhood. A real long childhood. You Earthlings think you have to grow up, become adults, and leave the things of your youth behind. You have to outgrow that by becoming more child like. And that takes time.
You, Earthlings, haven’t had enough time. When your childhood lasts a century or so, we will let the BK”s come back (and that made both the BK’s and Earthlings light up like a second helping of chocolate ice cream unexpectedly placed on their plates).
Perhaps then, you will be ready.
Ready to play in earnest. “
It is only the year 2026 now. The BK’s have been gone for only seven months. Mankind was changing. Most of us didn’t want to “work” anymore. We were beginning to learn to follow our passions to make music, do engineering, or medicine, or any of a thousand disciplines. School was already an anachronism. You just went online - found kids (or even adults) who liked the subjects you did and were curious. You got together and “played.”
You might write code until you dropped, or worked to make a silent drone that could act as a guide dog for your Grandma- failure meant nothing more than “well, that didn’t work…let’s try something different.” People didn’t care if you lived with your parents, or didn’t have your own place. It gave you more time to Play.
Already the new “Playtime” was delivering results. Fossil fuels were almost extinct as the algae that produced them in the first place. (Yes, it is algae that made up our fossil fuels, not dinosaur fat!) Medicine was on the brink of eliminating Type II diabetes, and Alzheimer’s was next. Cancer was giving up some of its secrets…and labs were open whenever the Nerds wanted to hack away at the Cancer’s secretes.