THEY have arrived the aliens, I mean. Not the product of science fiction or the comic book type but the real thing, like the ones you see in the X-Files.
They have arrived in miniature forms as biological intruders microbes, bacteria, viruses (engineered or otherwise) and debris from comets. Disease brought to Earth by returning spacecraft has never been seriously investigated.
These aliens could also have their origins in certain types of scientific research, such as cloning and other forms of genetic engineering.
They are known by their now popular names HIV, Ebola, JE and recently SARS. They co-exist with us, by design or accident, and bring upon us deadly diseases causing massive devastation.
Call them biological pollution, or even biological tumours because of their power to destroy other forms of life.
When they are allowed to run wild, viruses mutate and it becomes more difficult to arrest their spread, or for that matter, come up with a vaccine to halt their progress.
They are actively abducting people on a regular basis.
Some of the worst mass killings of human beings through history have been caused by these microbes invasive aliens. The bubonic plague that killed tens of thousands of Europeans during the 14th century came from Central Asia, carried by invasive rats from India.
The great Inca and Aztec civilisations were destroyed in part by the smallpox and measles viruses that the Spanish brought to the New World in the early 16th century.
The extinction of the dinosaurs is now widely held to be the result of the arrival on Earth of an asteroid or comet.
What now? The implications are enormous. It is left to us humans to ensure our own survival.
Our place in the universe is part of a greater whole. We are being forced by events (disease, environmental destruction and others), to realise that we are in no way independent or isolated.
We are neither the beginning nor the end of a process, but a part of the process whose greater purpose extends to the very core of the universe.
It is a process that includes not only the Earth but the entire universe and everything within it.
In the field of medicine, a few decades ago, the conquest of all disease seemed possible even probable. Now that ground is being lost.
For instance, the use of antibiotics, once seen as the means by which humankind would rid itself of disease, is now increasingly seen as a cause of greater problems. If we are not masters of the microbes, we are less so masters of ourselves.
We seem intent upon destroying each other and the world we live in. That world in which we live is, in fact, us.
We are inseparable from this world and its fate is our fate, and the world is larger than we think.
NOEL F. DOLIVEIRO,