Aliens “R” Us


For centuries people have thrilled to the idea of visitors from outer space invading Earth. These aliens usually took the form of creatures that looked like a cross between a T. Rex and a giant Squid, or some similar beast guaranteed to freeze earthlings in their tracks. However, lately I’ve been reading some of the fascinating new research on the role of microbes in our gut, and it occurs to me that maybe, or even quite possibly, the aliens are already here, and have been for millions of years. They’re just hiding  – in plain view.

One of the most widely accepted scientific theories for the beginning of life on Earth is that single cell organisms arrived from outer space riding on comets or asteroids and proceeded to colonize the oceans of proto-Earth. Almost all scientists accept that single-cell organisms were the first life form to inhabit our planet, although not all believe that they arrived on comets. The alternative view is that they somehow coalesced from amino acids in the oceans as a result of massive lightning strikes.

But since the amino acid theory has yet to be proven, in spite of the efforts of hundreds of high voltage labs, I’m strongly inclined to accept the extraterrestrial origin explanation for the first appearance of one-celled life on earth.

OK, so if we accept the idea that these proto-organisms arrived from deep space, then it follows that they were the remote ancestors of today’s bacteria, right? In that case some interesting implications arise from the current crop of scientific/medical research findings regarding the micro-biome of the human gut.

Researchers are finding that there are an unknown number of species of bacteria that inhabit the human gut – so far tens of thousands of individual species have been identified, and researchers suspect that hundreds of thousands of additional species remain to be identified among the trillions of little beings that live within us. The functions of the known species – the roles they play in the functioning of the human body – are rapidly being clarified, and it seems that these little beings are not just passive hitchhikers. Among their other functions they are busy little communicators, and guess who (and what) they are communicating with? That would be us – our brain, our organs, our central nervous system, our immune system, and most interestingly, our thoughts and quite possibly our dreams.

At this moment most of the research studies on communications between the gut bacteria and the human brain/CNS are focused on the role that the little alien bugs play in regulating our endocrine and neurological systems. So far nobody is specifically suggesting that the bugs affect our mental processes – although plenty of research is directed toward how gut-brain communications affect mood and behavior which are, at their core, mental processes. Can research into how gut-brain communication affects thinking and consciousness itself be far behind?

But enough is already known that supports, to my way of thinking ( or perhaps I should say to our way of thinking, giving due credit to my own little trillion member gut colonies) the fascinating implication that aliens arrived on planet Earth near the beginning of planetary evolution, and that these alien creatures have evolved right along with other life forms that are indigenous to our planet, including human beings. The main reason I suspect that these creatures are in fact “Aliens among us” or, rather, “Aliens within us”, is that scientists are discovering that these bacteria are in a continuous  multi-channel communication with our neurological systems including our brains on an organic level, which means that they must also be in communication with our minds. They aren’t just little one-cell critters that sit in our gut and help us digest our burgers and beer – they are interacting with and influencing us at a deep level of our body, brain and mind in ways that we are completely unaware of. Maybe it’s because these aliens are so tiny and invisible that we aren’t panicking in the streets screaming about alien invasions – according to Hollywood and video games, alien invaders are always huge serpent-like monsters with giant teeth and an insatiable appetite for nubile human females in negligee. And they also like to make bloody messes out of guys in uniform trying valiantly to bring them down with what amount to pea-shooters.

Whatever is going on in our minds on a daily basis, which we all blithely assume is “our” consciousness, may instead be a dual set of mental processes, or maybe even multiple sets of mental processes since the gut bacteria are so diverse. This may mean that our mental life consists of whatever our brain and nervous system conjure up, plus the parallel and invisible mental life that arises from the bacteria that make up our gut microbiome.

In other words, not only do our gut bacteria make up a very significant proportion of the body mass of our physical “self” they may also be a very significant portion of our conscious “self”. Since these species of life quite likely originally came from outer space, aren’t they aliens? Since our bodies and minds are under at least the partial control of these aliens, and have been since the beginning of the evolution of Homo Sapiens, I think that we can say with confidence that aliens have already come to earth, very long ago, and are now completely merged with the human species.

How’s that for a little different take your basic Alien Invasion horror movie theme? They are not our enemies. They are not Godzilla. They are us. We just don’t know it, and we all glide along life’s pathways thinking that only we are us. Silly rabbits that we are.

I have to say that I have a strong gut feeling about this one. (Sorry – couldn’t help myself.)

If you would like to read what the researchers are finding here are a few of the more interesting (IMO) articles recently published in peer-reviewed medical/scientific journals:

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