When Aliens Arrive.

No one can know for sure but I think that some lines of thought must be universal independent of being human.

Some basics that all intelligent life must have in common as part of their thinking include self preservation, preservation of species, nutrition, health, reproduction, education, and the manipulation of their environment to achieve all of the above.

As for how an alien may think about us or other intelligent creatures, I believe that would depend on their state of social evolution. We could be on par physiologically with a species who have a million years head start on us but be socially infantile. Since they may actually have outgrown their need to rely on their own muscles we may be physically superior to a more advanced race of beings.

A species far more advanced than we are my well have a very long life span. Perhaps they live hundreds, thousands of years. Perhaps they have established functional immortality through medical advances and genetics.

How might this play out in a face to face encounter between us and “them”? Do we need to fear such an encounter?

Assume such an encounter took place in contemporary times, while we are still at our present state of evolution, technologically and socially. I think that if the encounter were to go “bad” it would be because of our actions not the actions of such a visitor.

Keeping in mind that the visitors would control where and when such a meeting would take place. Due to their advancements in interstellar travel, we would be at a distinct disadvantage. They would know this as would we.

Who would be the most vulnerable and most likely to feel threatened? Not them.
Who would be least able to “get away” if a threat were perceived? Not them.
Who would feel inferior? At risk? Not them.

In short it would be us with almost all of the anxiety ( and trigger fingers ). They would hold the upper hand and they would know this. It would be humans most likely to act badly if we were so stupid.

Would an alien visit be a precursor to an invasion or worse? I doubt it. Once a species has achieved interstellar flight they have access to the resources of a galaxy. Anything Earth has, is floating in space in abundance. Need iron? Tow in an asteroid. Need water? Grab a comet or visit a world full of water but devoid of intelligent life. Need energy? Grab an “unused” star or fire up another anti-matter reactor. I don't believe once any civilization reaches the stars, resources will ever be a problem for them again.

Perhaps they are advanced enough to just gather Hydrogen and start fusing what ever elements they need at the time.

Why bother to conquer another species over mere physical resources...not worth the trouble.

What would an alien species far advanced, expect from a visit to our little planet? The notion that they might consider us mere “ants” is rather far-reaching, I think.

If they have a culture that has a respect for history then perhaps watching our race “grow up” might hold a certain fascination for them. While we may be primitive technologically, any brilliant race will recognize something of their own past in us. They will know we are smart even though we have not had the time to develop to the extent they have. Our brains may hold similar capabilities with the primary difference being the level of knowledge they have accumulated compared to us.

There is nothing to assure us that a race with interstellar travel is necessarily more intelligent than we, they just had a great head start. After all us “dumb” humans are already fathoming the mysteries of the universe with our puny brains.

What could constitute a danger to us as a result of such a visit?

The first thing would likely be a social upheaval, a destabilization of our society which for all of our history has assumed we are the the most superior of species, masters of our domain. Our collective psyche would be dealt a major blow to learn that we are, in a cosmic sense, insignificant.

Religious institutions would be turned on their heads. Do these beings believe in a deity? Do they even have religions? Can our spiritual institutions deal with these notions? Can our God's influence extend beyond our own planet?

There is the chance that such a destabilization would lead to a more unified world when we find we are not alone in the cosmos. We may wake up to the fact that our petty Geo-political and religious squabbles mean little now that we are under a cosmic microscope.

What if they wanted to live here? Again I think that any race that has mastered travel between stars could have it's pick of planets ready for habitation that lack an established intelligent species. Why mess with us with millions of other worlds to choose from?

On the other hand what if they have mastered only relatively short travel, not galaxy wide, but merely within a few hundred light years? What if their sun were dying and they need a new home in order to avoid extinction as a species? What if ours is the only planet within their reach in which to relocate and time is short?

We could be screwed. Or we could accept their technology to enhance our own planet and welcome them as our guests. We may not possess the capability to feed a billion guests but if they bring technology to resolve such problems, we have a lot of space to put a billion more beings who can “earn” their keep. We have the oceans, we have vast areas of undeveloped Earth. Most of our own population concentrates in cities. An advanced race could build the cities they want for themselves with little direct impact on our own cities.

If they bring the technology to provide limitless energy, can harvest minerals from the asteroid belt, Mars etc, resources would cease to be a problem. They could bring us access to Mars for future colonization and as a “farm” planet with terra-forming. They could drag us into a better world, though some will go screaming and kicking. They could teach us to reach the stars.

What could they add to our society? Knowledge is the obvious answer, but beyond that, their presence could lead to the resolution of many of our own political and social conflicts and replace it with the common need to cooperate on a remodeled world.

I think that in an alien encounter we have most to fear from ourselves.

Paul Kruger