“Silly Asses”

There’s an old Isaac Asimov story1 titled “Silly Asses.” In it, an alien archivist is informed that Earthlings have achieved nuclear power and, thus, enters Earth onto the roster of “advanced civilizations.” Speaking to a colleague, the archivist learns a bit more about this new, advanced world. At one point, the archivist makes a statement that Earth has, of course, mastered space travel and colonized worlds other than its own.

Well, no, the colleague reports.

The archivist is confused. If that’s not true, then where do the Earthlings test their new-found nuclear weapons?

On their own planet, the colleague explains.

And the archivist turns to the roster of advanced civilizations and crosses out Earth, muttering “Silly asses.”

I think of this story every time I read about climate change and gun control.

We think we’re civilized. We’re not. We’re monkeys with haircuts and iPhones and haute couture.

Silly asses.

  1. Aren’t they all old at this point?


  1. Sometimes Mr. Smith’s quote about humans from The Matrix seems so true. What he stated was ” I’d like to share a revelation that I’ve had during my time here. It came to me when I tried to classify your species and I realized that you’re not actually mammals. Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment but you humans do not. You move to an area and you multiply and multiply until every natural resource is consumed and the only way you can survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is? A virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet. You’re a plague and we are the cure. ” – Mr. Smith.

Leave a Comment