Any good idea is worth having more than once.

If Philosopher A realizes a Great Truth and Philosopher B realizes the same Great Truth, it doesn’t mean Philosopher B copied Philosopher A. It means that if something is objectively True, different people will realize it at different times, each with their own angle.

In the same vein, if something is truly True, any given realizer of that truth should not be adored too much for doing so. What is great is the truth, not the person who realizes it.

If there are in fact sentient beings outside this world, and if we can in fact communicate with them in real time, then First Contact will detonate all human assumptions like a case of sweaty dynamite in an old toolshed. Religion, art, civil rights, humanism–everything will be blasted to bits as we face the reality of utter difference, of our initiation into a practical, rather than theoretical, post-Copernican world.

Fortunately for humanity, I suspect that the odds of such contact are infinitesimal. So don’t worry about it.

If there were any belief system that consistently produced saints–that is, if there were any system of ideas of which all its holders behaved, once they adopted said ideas, in observably good ways, to their benefit and the benefit of those they met–there were would be no more argument. All humanity would be naturally drawn to those ideas. All other ideas would die out.

That would be a disproof of nihilism.

But there is no such belief system.