[Paleopsych] Widsom of crowds

Stephen Jarosek tramont at iinet.net.au
Sun Sep 19 06:40:25 UTC 2004

While we are discussing the wisdom of groups...

I am presently working on a chapter in my book with the following 
sub-section. It is based on my encounter with "aliens" while I was on a 
fishing trip. This is a true story. Read on. What is it about 
across-species interactions that might impact on the development of 

Evolving life

I was on a fishing trip some years ago with some friends, when I stayed at 
a cottage out in the country. I chose the granny flat at the back of the 
house, which was situated alongside the back door of the house, opening up 
onto the back porch.

One cool, misty morning I woke up to a thump on the back porch. I opened 
the door of the granny flat, and there it was, the alien, hesitantly 
hobbling up the wooden steps, onto the porch and into the kitchen.

I looked down to the back yard, and there, about ten metres in front of me, 
a troop of about six other aliens stood in anticipation, watching their 
comrade, as if urging her on by telepathy, "go on, go on. Go inside! Check 
it out!" The leader of the group stood closest to me, with his troop 
gathering behind him. He was obviously their leader, calmly surveying 
proceedings, while the others seemed eager for some action.

It was time for breakfast, so I followed the alien inside the house, urging 
her on. And inside, to my astonishment, there was already an alien in the 
kitchen! I could not believe it! My five friends were standing around 
sipping on their coffees, as if nothing extraordinary was going on. The 
alien that was already inside was as tall as a man, and she was helping 
herself to the food on the table. She seemed to be motioning to the fridge, 
as if asking us to open it.

I grabbed the coffee that was waiting for me on the table, and joined three 
of my friends to discuss these strange goings on. The alien that I ushered 
up the steps stood across from me, and she made her way between two of my 
friends, as if to join in the conversation. Of course, she didn't say 
anything, as she couldn't speak. My friends and I made her welcome, so she 
just calmly stood there, perhaps trying to observe what strange ritual we 
were partaking of.

After about ten minutes, we heard another thump at the back door, as a 
third alien made her way up the steps. She obviously realized that it was 
ok to come in, now that her friends had broken the ice. She made her way 
alongside me. So there we stood, in the kitchen in a circle, three of my 
friends along with two aliens.

We were warming to the novelty of having these aliens standing with us. We 
got back to our plans for the day's fishing. Ron showed me his box of trout 
lures. He explained that he was going to go to the lake to see if he can 
catch one of the big trout that was rumoured to be lurking there. I told 
him I'd rather be fishing on the river.

Alex was tired. He was going to go back to bed and see how he felt once he 
woke up again.

I gently touched the alien next to me on her shoulder. She twitched 
nervously. She really did not like it. Obviously, she was not used to it. 
So I promptly removed my hand. But she wasn't shy about trying to get my 
coffee out of my hand.

The alien across from me was also keen to sample some of our earthly 
concoctions, shifting her gaze between my friends and her comrade next to 
the fridge. She also seemed to be drawn to the fridge.

I was mindful of the rest of their troop waiting outside. Weren't any of 
our guests in the kitchen going to report back to their comrades? Weren't 
they going to invite them inside? I said to the alien next to me, "go on, 
invite your friends in". She did not understand me.

I was keen to get some fishing in for the day. I excused myself from our 
group of five and went to prepare.

It was an event that I will never forget. Of course, our three guests were 
not aliens from another planet at all. They were kangaroos from the 
surrounding bush. They were in the house primarily for one reason. Food. 
Obviously, they had become rather tame because of tourists that feed them. 
Does this manner of socialization suggest that this particular tribe might 
be experiencing what, over a sustained period of time, would result in 
evolution to some higher life-form?

Inside that kitchen, their character seemed to be that of grasping 
opportunistically at food scraps. Their friends waiting outside in 
anticipation wanted them to take the risk to venture into the house - they 
were too afraid to enter. If their friends got into trouble inside, they 
would be very unlikely to valiantly enter the house to come to their 
rescue. Rather, they would flee for the bush. There is little among 
kangaroos that we would identify with honour or courage. Or perhaps, might 
we be pleasantly surprised?

Nonetheless, in the course of this remarkable encounter, the observation 
remains that there seemed something humanly tribal and intelligent about 
them. Their behaviour did not seem too unlike the sort of behaviour we 
might expect from an isolated, primitive human tribe chancing upon contact 
for the first time with "civilized" humans.
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