I’m glad we chose this subject, because I can retell a true story – something that happened quite recently, after I’d smoked a rather dodgy looking roll-up………
ME: WTF? Who are you, what are you?
ALIEN: I’m from the planet Zog, and have been sent to find out more about your planet, which appears to show signs of life, and perhaps a modicum of intelligence…..
ME: Wow, how did you findq us? Where’s Zog?
ALIEN: Zog is in another universe, not dissimilar to yours, and we came across this planet purely by chance. What do you call it?
ME: I call it a totally fucked up place, but its official name is Earth.
ALIEN: I prefer the first one – “a totally fucked up place” has a certain ring to it. So, tell me about life here – are most like you?
ME: More or less – some have darker colour than me, some have lighter, and some of us think our colour is really important, so important that a different colour means they should not be here at all. We call it racism, and it’s rife, all around this planet.
ALIEN: Oh my, that’s not an encouraging start. Tell me more.
ME: We trade with stuff called money, and most of us always want more. We would do anything to make more money. Some of us are even tearing down the beautiful big green things called trees, degenerating the very atmosphere that we all need to survive. That unique stuff called water, look, you can see it over there – it covers three-quarters of our planet but we are polluting it constantly, and that pollution is getting worse and worse.
ALIEN: Surely not all of you are that stupid?
ME: You would be surprised how many of us are even more stupid than that. In one of our biggest and most powerful places, we voted in one of the most stupid people to ever live, to become the leader. He and his followers are happy to encourage an emotion called Hate, to cause as much conflict among all the people. Even in my own little part of the planet, we were stupid enough to vote for Brexit……oh, I’m not going to explain it to you, it’s too depressing, but it caused a huge conflict between the people, some of whom are now hating those with a different opinion.
ALIEN: So far, my report is not going to be particularly encouraging – tell me something positive about this planet
ME: That’s hard; you see, we have this thing called religion, where various groups of people, (that’s what we are all called), believe there is a super being, a God that creates everything and should be revered for ever. The trouble is these different groups have different Gods. The extremists in each group are very happy to kill and maim those from another group, on the grounds that their God is the only one and all others are evil. These people are also happy to teach that emotion called Hate. That’s what’s really evil.
ALIEN: What about you? You don’t sound stupid, you don’t look the killing or maiming sort, surely there must be more of you around?
ME: Oh yes, we are in the vast majority. We love our planet, and we love most of the people around us. We’re good, we do good things. But our planet is getting severely fucked and most of us are doing nothing about it.
ME AGAIN: Oy! Where are you? Come back – was I boring you? I’ve only just bloody started! Take me with you, please………………….
I need another splif……
How would you describe the human race to aliens?
Show me the aliens, first.
I tended to think that the universe is full of life, I mean, life as we know it, based on water and carbon. We still don’t know if this is the case or if life could take some other weird forms based on pure energy or something.
The pale blue dot we’re all living on is really a unique place. Let’s see. We’re close to the right type of star, positioned in its so-called habitable zone. We’ve got a thick atmosphere to keep us from lethal UV-rays. We’ve got a mighty space goalkeeper, Jupiter, that stops most of but not all, the asteroids from hitting the Earth. We’ve done some other conditions needed for life to emerge and then to survive and sustain.
Hopefully, there’re other civilizations that exist because they fit the very same conditions.
If they truly exist I would imagine that they look very much like us, if probably not in their exact physical appearance, at least, mentally. It’s like communicating to the Chinese: they look different from most us, have a different writing system and way of thinking but they’re still human. I suspect they think of us exactly the same. This is the key to understand each other. It would work with our E.T. friends, too.
In this case, it would be a challenge but not an impossible task to communicate with them; it is common sense and some diplomacy, after all.
I would say: “Hi guys, nice to meet you. Yes, we’re normal and basically friendly. We might be sometimes aggressive or foxy, just like probably you could be. But we believe this is not what we are, eventually. We’re trying to be nice and live in peace with ourselves and our neighbors but we don’t always make it. Yes, still we try. It is also not in our best interest to fight you for a number of reasons. Hopefully, you wouldn’t like to fight with us, too, because there’re no real reasons for it; we’ve got enough space in the universe.”
“Come to understand us better: this would help to smooth out our communication. This is a great thrill and a challenge that we’ve met each other so let’s keep it up.”
“So let’s develop our relations on mutual exchange of everything: experiences, knowledge, perception of the world, aesthetics, arts, etc. We’ll get to know lots of cool things about each other.”
“…and, yes, let’s not bother each other too much. Because, just like you, we sometimes need our own space.”
Do bad things happen on your world too?
Well hell, ain’t this a mess. See I know myself and I would be all like “Welcome guys! We glad you’re here and we are all really, really happy to see you.” Except I know these “guys” are the real deal and they most likely downloaded the entire Internet before they crossed lunar orbit. They already know about Hitler and all our other antics. They have every right to be cautious. We are a bunch of stone cold killers and we will go back on our word at the slightest whim. Don’t believe me? Google the Kurdish People and see what comes up. No I’m not talking about last month, I’m talking about the last hundred years.
I think I’ve mentioned something called The Fermi Paradox in these pages before. The basic idea is that if there are so many aliens, where are they? With all these planets, moons, suns, and stuff, they should be all over the place. Yet we can’t find them.
One answer to this paradox is that they already know all about us. They know who and what we are and really don’t want to make contact. Today (thankfully) when we make contact with some tribe in the Amazon, we try not to pollute their culture by having too much contact. I figure there is a real chance it’s something like that; except without the Missionaries. Maybe it’s like Star Trek and they can’t talk to us until we pass some technology threshold.
However, that’s not the subject of the Blog; I’m supposed to tell you how I would describe us to our new friends. Ummm, me? Maybe the head of the UN Security Council shouts “Quick, who has Dean’s number?” The Donald would burst through the door shouting “I do, I’ll call right now!!!… Oh, please God let him pick up!”
Of course the Aliens are desperate to hear what I have to say too. While I really do want to tell them how good we are, that would be less than truthful. The truth is a few of us are absolutely evil. How do I balance Stalin & Mother Teresa? While many millions of us may volunteer, nobody hears about that, it’s the killers that we talk about. How can I explain this?
We are capable of great love and great cruelty; occasionally displaying both traits simultaneously. I fear my explanation would fall far short and my limited, Tennessee hick vocabulary would leave our guest more afraid than reassured. We are in fact a rainbow in almost every sense of the word.
And perhaps that would be my introduction to the human race. I would substitute spectrum for the word rainbow as I don’t know if it rains on their world, but I do know their sun shines out and they feel its life giving warmth.
I also know they are a curious lot because they came all the way out here to meet us. We have much in common. “Do bad things happen on your world too?”