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Pondering: What do You Say to the Alien Ambassador?

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What would you tell them about us?

Inspired by watching Contact, with Jodi Foster, by Carl Sagan.  Suppose for a moment that as a reward for all the data you helped SETI compile on your desktop for all these years, you are given the opportunity to be the human race’s ambassador to our first alien contact.

What one thing about us would be most important to let them know? Why?  What would be the first thing you would ask your alien ambassador, as soon as you were able to make yourself understood?  Why?

What traits of humans would you imagine to be universal traits of intelligent life?  What traits of humans are you unlikely to find in a spacefaring race?  Why?

Finally, how would absolute certainty of the existence of intelligent life on other planets affect your belief system, if at all?

The most important thing for an alien species to know about us is that we can’t make up our minds whether we’re divine beings or semi-civilized apes.  That makes us unpredictable and dangerous.  Our primate natures are at constant war with our higher selves, and the outcome of the battle is always questionable.

The first thing I would ask the alien ambassador is:  have they figured out their version of the same dilemma, and if so, how? It would be kind of important to know if they have the same sort of inner conflicts we have that make them as complicated and difficult as us.

Intelligent life is probably universally curious, and universally geared toward reproduction and protection of young.  Short of that, all bets are off.  I suspect a spacefaring race has solved basic supply issues that continue to plague us, at least enough that they are able to fund and stock an interstellar flight. Then again, they could just be supplying their forward guard at the expense of the home guard.

I firmly believe that the Universe is teeming with life, and that intelligent life has arisen independently throughout the Universe.  It would be nice to be confirmed, but not essential.

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  • Kristal Lee

    I would tell them to “RUN!” Mankind is too ethnocentric to tolerate otherworld aliens. We can’t even get along with members of our same species.

    I believe the universes are filled with intelligent life. I don’t want to see us ruin it.

    Great post!