At Thomas Law Offices, we’re proud to take part in an annual scholarship campaign aimed to help students chase their dreams and build a brighter future. The Fall 2021 submission period recently came to a close, and we were truly humbled by the overwhelming amount of applications we received. The quality of the essays we received was outstanding. Thank you to everyone who applied!
We’re pleased to announce we’ve chosen a winner.
Congratulations to Huyen Nguyen of Texas!
Huyen will be attending the University of Texas at Austin.
This was the essay topic:
“What would be the most surprising scientific discovery imaginable?”
This was her winning essay:
“You are nothing.”
It stings. I can vividly imagine the clench of my stomach and the burn of my eyes if some imaginary person said such words to me. There is something so gut-wrenching and awful about being unimportant, useless, and… nothing. I can nod with confidence that it is shared within most people. It’s why we gravitate towards hobbies, create long lasting friendships, and have distinct personalities. We crave meaning in our lives.
It’s why we’ve created division between humans and animals, trying to separate us from evolutionary fates that lessen the significance of our existence. It’s why we’ve created medicine and technology in order to elongate the age of our lifetime. We’ve exploited every aspect of nature possible for our needs and comfort at the cost of the health of the earth itself. We are willing to do anything to ensure our existence dominates.
And so, I believe the most shocking scientific discovery imaginable is exploring the existence of alien life that threatens the superiority of our own. We would cower in fear at such a possibility. I am not sure how human life could grasp the concept that we are possibly as insignificant as any animal we know of already. We have crafted a world that has taught us from birth that we are important. That our life matters. That we are worth living for. That we should pursue careers, make impacts, and that we are capable of unimaginable gifts. Yet when we acknowledge the size of our impact in the greater span of solar systems, galaxies, and the universe, it becomes incredibly dumbfounding to accept how little we are. That we can be as small as an atom standing next to the largest star.
So when we acknowledge the theoretical existence of aliens, we perceive them as inhumane enemies rather than intellectual equals. The artwork and stories of aliens are illustrated with physically unfavorable features with intentions of harming. We are taught to fear aliens. It is difficult to accept anything that remotely threatens the system we have built and the façade we swallow––that humans are the most intelligent creatures to date––and so our instinct is to destroy anything that contradicts that idea. It’s why early on, we associate aliens as the villains and not allies.
But aliens can mean any life. It is not the pointy-chinned creatures colored into the comics, or the beep-bop voice we associate it with. Aliens equal any unknown existence that combats the pedestal we have created for ourselves. It’s the incomprehensible life that we cannot control and contain. The kind of life that does not originate from earth or work within the science and bounds of what we already know. The kind that we cannot exploit, but rather must submit to.
We don’t need aliens to understand this kind of fear. We can see it in the way we have shaped religion––where we have established a supernatural existence that values human life and ensures our immortality through the afterlife. It’s why the predominant religions adhere to gifts for humans, but ignore other forms of life like animals and plants. How can we possibly accept alien life when we have confirmed that a supernatural being favors us the most? How can we possibly admire alien life when religion encapsulates the superiority of humans, and alien existence contradicts this notion?
I am not bashing our pursuance of purpose in life through religion, ambitions, and technology. My only claim is that our mindset that humans are above all life is dangerous. It causes us to be less empathetic and to treat un-human things cruelly. It’s the way we forget that animals have minds and nerves that hurt as much as we do. It’s the way we have polluted and destroyed nature and green-life beyond repair. It is the immoral acts we uphold because it does not hurt humans short-term. I will not pretend that the breaking-news UFO sightings do not bring me shivers, or that alien body reportages do not make my skin crawl. I am human too and fear the unknown as does everyone. Though, I find that the humbling acceptance that we are not as powerful and advantageous as we believe, occurring from the discovery of aliens, would be a fair consequence for the suffering we have caused for all forms of life. It is time we remember that empathy is not constricted to our own kind, but should be shared amongst the life we tend to overlook.
Congratulations again, Huyen! May all your dreams come true.