Miscellaneous Mental Musings of an Emerging Artist
(An alien spacecraft lands upon the Earth. An EXPLORER emerges, and approaches the nearby HUMAN chewing listlessly on a microwaved slice of pizza.)
EXPLORER: Excuse me. Hello. My scans indicate that you are one of the more intelligent life forms upon this planet.
HUMAN: Me personally?
EXPLORER: You as species.
HUMAN: Ah. Nice to meet you.
EXPLORER: My scans have also indicated that your planet and civilization are facing some dire issues. Rampant disease and starvation, which in some places is also fueling violent military conflict. Some of this is also being caused by urgent concerns with your planetary climate patterns.
HUMAN: I’m aware.
EXPLORER: However, based on other scans of your civilization, I have surmised that you seem to have within your population the knowledge, the ability, and the will to repair many of these issues.
HUMAN: If you say so.
EXPLORER: Which leads me to ask: Why haven’t you?
HUMAN: Oh. That’s easy. It costs too much.
EXPLORER: Costs too much?
EXPLORER: Money? Is that…I am sorry, my translator is having trouble with this word. Is it a term you use to refer to your physical well-being?
EXPLORER: Or your spiritual well-being. Is “money” your word for a soul?
HUMAN: Not to most of us.
EXPLORER: Then what is it?
HUMAN: Money? It’s…you know, it’s the thing we trade with each other to get things.
EXPLORER: I see. And you can use it as sustenance. As food.
HUMAN: No, not food.
EXPLORER: As medicine?
EXPLORER: Then what value does it have?
HUMAN: I dunno. We sorta made it up.
EXPLORER: Made it up?
HUMAN: Somebody somewhere said it was worth something, and that you needed to have a lot of it.
EXPLORER: So it’s an infinite resource that you all share?
HUMAN: No, of course not. You had to limit how much there was so it would still be valuable.
EXPLORER: But the value was something you made up.
EXPLORER: And yet some of you have quite a lot of it.
HUMAN: Billions upon billions of it.
EXPLORER: Which they need in order to survive on your planet?
HUMAN: Oh, no. There’s no way you can spend that much in one lifetime.
EXPLORER: So they use their excess in support of those who have less?
HUMAN: Don’t be silly.
EXPLORER: So — to be perfectly clear here — many of the problems that I noticed in my scan of your planet, the only one for light years that seems to be capable of sustaining any life more complicated than the microscopic tardigrade, many of these problems are solvable. But they cost too much money to solve.
EXPLORER: Money, which is a wholly constructed device that has no value beyond what you tell each other that it has.
EXPLORER: And which is nonetheless hoarded in massive quantities by a few individuals or groups who refuse to expend their excess to solve these problems.
HUMAN: Well. When you say it like that, sure it sounds bad.
EXPLORER: Question: Have your people ever tried…NOT doing it this way?
HUMAN: I don’t know what you mean.
EXPLORER: I mean, what if you were to fix the problems that are currently causing harm to your fellow beings as well as doing irreparable damage to your only viable home in the galactic vicinity…without worrying about how much money it costs?
HUMAN: You mean, like, focus on the things that threaten our very survival as a species.
HUMAN: And admit to ourselves that failure to address these issues because of concerns over money might be a grievous error.
HUMAN: Okay. I get your point. That makes a lot of sense.
HUMAN: But how do we pay for it?
EXPLORER: (sighs, walks back to spaceship, lifts off into the atmosphere and disappears in a blink of light)
HUMAN: (finishes the slice of pizza) Nice try, ya filthy socialist.