Imagine an alien arrives on planet earth with no knowledge of what to expect. They are supposed to observe the social, economic and environmental systems to gain information that can be applied to developments back on their home planet. The imbalance present on Earth and within its societies would be clear to the alien. They would not be blind to the ways in which humans have overlooked certain benefits of diversity. An alien perspective would highlight those things that we take for granted, have become numb to or simply have never considered.
The alien can quickly visit every continent and explore a variety of cultures and societies. One week they are strolling under skyscrapers through a city bustling with people who always seem to be carrying a device or item of food. The next week they are passing families living in ramshackle structures. “How do some people have so much more than others who are living on the same planet?” they wonder.
Every time the alien visits a new spot, they escape the developed areas to experience the natural landscape. They summit mountains and hike to magical waterfalls. “Wow,” the alien thinks, “how lucky Earth-iens are to have access to such raw, powerful adventures.” They make note of this so they can describe this magic when they arrive back home. They want to ensure the ongoing construction at home remains in balance with the homes of the plants and animals.
One day the alien wanders into an office building and discovers an elevator. They end up riding the elevator all day, as they cannot imagine a more fun way to use their time. Throughout the day they observe many different people. Some of the people are bright and joyful, but most seem dull and tired. Most people do not even notice they are riding an elevator with an alien. They are constantly staring at little screens or are too numb from the workday to register a change in their routines. To the alien, it seems like most of the people in the office building could use something comparable to a thrilling elevator ride.
Finally, the alien finds their way to a building swarming with small humans. They observe desks neatly lined up and notice that the rooms with the smallest humans are much brighter than the rooms with the medium-sized humans. The alien thinks it is amazing there is one place designated for learning and assumes those in charge must cater to such a diverse range of interests and abilities. They notice there are only two times when the fun-sized humans are set free to learn from the outside world, which seems very strange. The alien has already gathered so much knowledge just from being outside.
On the journey home, the alien remembers the mighty mountains and the impressive technology. They recall the swarms of people walking in the same direction but paying no mind to the people surrounding them. They look back on the photos of the smiling families squished into their one-room homes, and the somber people filing into their shiny cars.
The alien concludes that humans are complex creatures that have been able to perform amazing feats. The alien also determines that some of these ideas have become blinding and caused humans to operate as if the earth is present to continuously serve them. If he can convey only one message to his fellow aliens, he hopes to communicate the importance of balance and diversity. Balance within spaces and between spaces. Diversity in the environment and the classroom.