By Alan McSpestos
Hello, I am Alan McSpestos. I recently won many awards for my groundbreaking piece of journalism in which I communicated directly with the universe as a sentient entity and got its opinions on a few things going on in the world. Today, I have returned to the University of Nyquist-Mirra, Rochester, to their Sagan Space Telescope and Communications array – the SSTCA – to speak with the universe once more about its perspective on immigration and refugees.
A: Hello Universe.
U: Hello again, Alan, how are you?
A: I am doing fine, how about you?
U: Well, I feel a lot less lonely now than I used to. You people are always asking me questions. You’re a curious and pioneering bunch, aren’t you?
A: Some might say virulent, universe.
U: And a virus is just as valid and successful a form of life as man isn’t it? You’ve both survived the trials and tribulations of evolutionary time.
A: That’s a good point. Now, Universe, I am here with an agenda today. We want to talk about refugees and migrants.
U: I am sorry, what are those, this all seems trivial to me?
A: A refugee is someone from a community who moves to another place, maybe a different country, to escape persecution, conflict or danger. A migrant is someone who travels without that duress, possibly for better economic opportunity.
U: I see, so what’s the problem.
A: Well, some people don’t like it. They see it as a challenge to their way of life and culture. A dilution if you will. They perceive it as people trying to take advantage of all of the benefits of their lifestyle at their expense.
U: Is it really at anyone else’s expense?
A: Well, economically speaking, yes. Increasing populations put a strain on public services and housing.
U: And there are no solutions to these problems? Should not an increasing population of people not also stimulate an economy? I mean, I suspect there might be an immediate impact from mass migration but that would stabilise over time, wouldn’t it? Why am I asking you, I’m the universe, I know it does. Entropy, dear boy, entropy wins in the end.
A: Well, I mean, maybe we do have solutions and maybe you’re right.
U: So that’s meaningless then, anything else?
A: Yes, a refugee is bound by certain rules that mean often they cannot work and are reliant on the state for support.
U: Well who put in place such daft rules?
A: The state.
U: Well why the hell did they do that? Why embrace a community of people and then stop them contributing to your society? Then appease the braying masses by punishing those displaced people you accepted in the first place?
A: I, err, I don’t know.
U: Always mankind’s first problem. The intelligence to strategise and enact solutions to problems and the hubris to not understand how damn stupid you are.
A: Right, so, your opinion is refugees are fine?
U: Refugees are – whether they are fine or not is trivial, just like your lives. Now, being as it is true that your lives are trivial, accepting or denying refugees is trivial too. Their lives are as meaningless as yours, you see. Therefore, in the face of this nihilistic triviality, does it not make sense to do the most right to the most wronged, in a utilitarian bid to increase overall happiness?
A: But what about the drain on the economy?
U: We already discussed that. Actually allow these refugees to contribute and fund their amenities with their contributions. I know people, whatever some people want to suggest about humans being lazy and thus not wanting to discourage people from ambition, that is not true. I am the universe. I gave you everything for free and yet still you work. People do things, it is a truth universally acknowledged, I know because I acknowledge it. You just can’t stop. Don’t impede people, give them an opportunity and they shall succeed and contribute. Your world can do nothing but grow.
A: What about the idea of the dilution of culture, though?
U: Dilution of culture? There is no culture, my good man. Statistically speaking, culture has not existed for a blink of an eye in comparison to the universe’s age. How can a culture so insignificant possibly be diluted? You don’t even have a culture yet. You have a series of daft traditions you cling on to because you are afraid of the unpredictable majesty of myself. Cannot cultures exist in tandem? Do we not have gangsta rap and classical music still? One has not eradicated the other rather they each found their niche. You really are quite stupid buggers, aren’t you?
A: And what about religious troubles? Some communities find themselves incompatible due to this.
U: I do so love you guys and your quaint little silly beliefs. Look, I am the alpha and omega, I am the creator and I am detached and disinterested. I am not coming to save anyone, there are no chosen people, if you don’t pursue knowledge, extend your own lifespans and get some major space exploration under your belt before the sun swells and begins its death rattle you’re all – excuse my French – fucked. I don’t think comparing the sizes of genitals of your respected invented representatives of me is really aiding this quest of survival.
A: Right. So immigration is fine according to you, and the problems that arise from it are all due to human small-mindedness on many parts?
U: That’s entirely correct, Alan, yes. I can send a comet from one side of me to the other, the planet it hits on the other side does not complain that it was a foreign invader destroyed it over a native disaster. They just both get smashed to smithereens in a cosmic catastrophe that makes Hiroshima look like a hot fart. If you start thinking in those scales you realise your problems with refugees and migrants are insignificant and, quite frankly, invented.
A: I think you are flippantly disregarding people’s opinions.
U: I think people are entitled only to informed opinions. I would not trust the opinions on the art of Picasso from a fly who had only seen the signature in the bottom corner. You need to see the big picture before you can truly judge fairly. Your biggest undoing as a species is your psychology that can’t escape its need to pretend to be significant and important because feeling like the size of a sub-atomic particle in comparison to the scope of the universe is exceptionally scary to you. So you cling to your traditions, you arbitrarily define your nations, identify with nationalities, you perceive others as outsiders to protect those nations and traditions, you fight with one another under those banners of nationhood, you tear the world asunder with nonsensical geopolitics, displacing millions of people through war and then cry and spit and shout when they dare come to you for aid? When all of it is utterly trivial? You are the flies trying to convince me a Picasso is ugly because it’s just scrawled text when you haven’t seen the full picture. You arrogant fools.
A: Do you not think you’re being a bit harsh?
U: It is not harsh to give all creation the environments in which to thrive and then leave it to its own devices. Harsh is suggesting one person has more right to a comfortable life than another because of the fortune, good or bad, of the place of their birth. Harsh is telling starving children, desperate mothers and fearful men “No!” simply because you focus only on what will be paid in cost, and not what will be gained in understanding and community.
A: I notice you like to emphasise the triviality and meaninglessness of human existence, yet promote compassion. Why is that?
U: Why shouldn’t it be? In a world of meaninglessness all actions are as redundant as one another. What good, then, does it do to encourage conflict and violence? That only brings harm. If one must live in trivial meaninglessness, trivial meaninglessness that promotes unity, comfort and happiness for all makes the most sense.
A: Do you not think that, because of your position, you fail to see the human issues?
U: Do you not think that, because of your position, you fail to see the universal issues? When you see a line of ants marching on the grass can you tell which is from which nest? No, they all appear alike. It’s not that I think too big, Alan, it’s that humans think too small.
A: But are there not legitimate grievances? Housing issues, education issues, health issues?
U: If humans are so great at thinking where are the solutions to those issues? Maybe if you spent less time dividing and squabbling, and more time coming together, researching, learning, building and changing those issues might disappear. How many of these migrants and refugees, tell me, have died making their journeys? And how many people complaining about refugees are dying because of their disagreements with it? I shall assume, though I am the universe so I know, that there is a huge discrepancy in those numbers.
A: What about radicalisation and terrorism?
U: Are these problems with immigration and refugees, or problems of the very same small-mindedness and division we have already discussed? Such senseless disagreements and violence over trivial matters like fairy tales or nationhood are as bad on both sides and caused by the same human stupidity. However, one must lead by example, good sir, if one wishes to instigate change and it strikes me that those in the privileged position are those who are at most liberty to do so.
A: Well, that’s about all we’ve got time for. Thank you very much for joining us, Universe. As ever you have provided a fresh perspective on human issues.
U: Thank you, Alan. If I may I would like to leave a message to all those refugees out there. Life is a tough and uncompromising road. I am the universe and I do not care about you. I cannot and will not help. You have only yourselves and those around for that. There are many people with empathy who desire to help you, but these are not your saviours. They are as meaningless as you. There are those who wish to stop you, or oppose you. These are not your enemies for they are as meaningless as you. Those seeking equality in this world would do well to remember from whence all life came, and to where it is all going. Equality is a default state, interrupted by life and its desire to anoint itself important. Just as those who oppose free transit of people due to arbitrary artifices such as nationhood need to remember this humbling fact, so too do you. Never let any of it get you down, for we are all equal in the beginning, and we are all equal in the end. What comes in between is up to humanity and solving their stupidity, putting their lives in the correct perspective and understand how damn trivial everything is – well that is up to them, up to you, up to everyone. You are all kin in this quest.
A: Truly profound. Anything else to add?
U: No, I think that is all.
A: Well, thank you very much Universe and we look forward to talking to you again.