JF Ptak Science Books Quick Post
What would an Alien, an alien life form of unspecified type and intelligence (but with necessary assumptions taken to allow this little expedition in possibility), think of bubble gum? It would be an interesting thing to know. After all, even though gum is very trivial matter for humans, the process that produces it is not. Let's assume that the aliens are allowed to see the story of gum from start to finish. They would see a physical plant containing workers and heavy machinery; the machines are tended and maintained and work tirelessly to produce the gum product. The gum bits are fed into the machines which processes the brew and then wraps and boxes and prepares them for shipment; the boxes are packaged and arranged, loaded in some instances onto ships that take them halfway around the Earth, and then loaded onto trucks, and then onto smaller trucks, taken to distribution centers (like, say, supermarkets) which are big and bright and shiney and attractive to hundreds or thousands of cars which transport humans in order that they may receive the gum gift. And then a magical thing happens when humans make an exchange of labor for the gum as represented by "money" and are then allowed to remove the gum from the final distribution center, possession of the gum now complete. And then, finally in its seemingly long life of preparation, the gum is unpackaged, put inside the human for a small amount of time, and then removed (sometimes unceremoniously).
After this enormous expense of energy in producing and moving gum (not to mention the advertising and sales aspect of it) it is consumed for less than 1% of the time it took to be produced, and then disposed of in the trash, on the street, under a school chair, or passed through the human digestive system where it releases less energy than what it took to consume it making the trip through the energy-replacement system more or less completely intact.
[Source: Robert Edward Aucions]
Would they think of gum as a sacred object, or as trivial?
I think it could go either way. It could be sacred and trivial, which would make things complicated. But less so when comparing the consideration of gum to alien interpretation than, say, cars.