I walked in on my girlfriend watching a show about our first contact with an alien race. It was interesting, if not a little silly in a couple respects. They made the assumption that we had never been explored by this civilization before and that they were only slightly more intelligent than us. They started off by contacting us using radio waves and sent us a… for lack of better words… email. They then went into the whole deciphering of the message and the “what ifs” that go with it.
The piece that I found fascinating was how they thought that we would react to the knowledge of life outside of our atmosphere. There was one guy on the show who said it all. We could handle finding either a bug or insect type life form out there, but if something showed up and was obviously much more intelligent than we were… our egos couldn’t take it. The guy is right. There are some that would try to not let it bother them, but when these superior life forms look down on them like we do our pets after they do something good… that would be their true test.
There are others that would immediately turn to violence. The first thing they will grab is a gun and if they get a chance, will take a shot at one of the visitors. You have to wonder what kind of fear would drive someone to act before thinking when it comes to something of this importance. When it comes down to it… in its simplest form… this reversion to violence is rather easy to figure out. It is rather primal. What would YOU do to something weaker than you that you came across? Well, that is what they think is going to happen to them… whether it is enslavement, being a lab specimen, or just being killed out of hand. Sad when you think about it, isn't it? We EXPECT to be enslaved or conquered. It would never be a neighbor coming over for a cup of sugar... now would it?
The last group is the religious. Right now, they are able to say that their respective god created everything… including the aliens. That works for them because there is nothing to refute it. That won’t be the case when we actually meet another species face to face. (so to speak) How will religion deal with a species higher on the food chain than us, yet keep humans as the main focus. Unlike religions in history, where they would go in and erase any trace of religions that they have conquered, they will be the “home team” on this one. Will they call followers to fight and kill the aliens… will they preach tolerance and try to conform their beliefs to blend with the aliens… or will they simply fall apart?
Personally, I would like to believe that I would be one of those who would attempt to learn from the aliens what I could, but as I mentioned… my test would come as I was treated like a child. Thinking now… logically… rationally… yes, I would be child-like to them and I really shouldn’t get mad at that. Unfortunately, when it actually happens, we don’t get the luxury to think critically… without emotion interfering. Problem is, I know that chance would probably never come. We would attack them once they entered the atmosphere… much like a child throwing a temper tantrum… trying to prove our superiority to these creatures that just crossed the galaxy to meet us. Our weapons would seem just as child-like, I would expect. Think about it… you just crossed a galaxy. Your ship defended you from random debris, differing types of energy, and high levels of radiation… but when you reach your destination, the creatures there start throwing “rocks” at your ship. They are using weapons on you that are in your museums and haven’t been used in practice for hundreds of years. What would you think of this race? Is this a race that you would even consider talking to?