(PhysOrg.com) -- SETI, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence group that has been using radio telescopes since the 1960’s to "listen" for signals from deep space that could prove the existence of other life in the universe, has had to temporarily suspend operation of its Allen Telescope Array, (ATA) due to a lack of funding.
In this era of "Cut This, Cut That" because we're running out of money, the cuts to SETI, for me, has a much broader implication. Humanity is what it is because of its curiosity. This basic trait led to controlling fire, molding metals, arts, sciences, civilizations, experimentations, and discoveries.
SETI represents all that is positive in humanity. It symbolizes the desire to know, for the sake of knowing. Many things we did in our explorations into space was for the sake of knowing. Sure, many practical things came from the quests and still do, but we went to space to learn, to discover our place in the vast unknown. SETI is the same as 'humanity calling,' a reaching out and a bringing into our consciousness a desire to get to know the neighborhood of life.
With the loss of funding for SETI, it seems we have also lost our desire to know. We have put aside the stars in favor of the mundane, the boring, the drudgery of everyday life. The fire, the dream has given way to the beast, seeking only to survive the day. Is this what we have become? Is this what life is about? Can our species even survive if we have no dreams? Should we survive if the heavens no longer entice our hearts, minds and souls?