Tuesday, May 10, 2011

My Open Letter to Extraterrestrials

I recently referenced a website titled “Invitation to ETI.” The primary part of the website is an open letter designed as a direct welcome to an extraterrestrial civilization. After reading it again I couldn’t help but come up with my own version, with no disrespect intended to the “Invitation to ETI” folks.

My Open Letter to Extraterrestrials

Hello and thanks for reading. You’ve probably been surfing the Internet, trying to figure out what makes humanity tick. First of all, let us apologize for the Internet. We’re not sure why it’s 12 percent porn. We’re also not proud of the fact that most discussion of extraterrestrials focuses on alien abductions and a ridiculous incident in New Mexico. What can we say? We’re a highly excitable bunch. Now, if you have been abducting us, please stop. It’s not the best way to start a new relationship.

You have probably noticed that there isn’t much scholarly work about extraterrestrials. The brave academics and researchers who do write about the topic face criticism and the erosion of professional reputation. There is a small band of dedicated scientists who have brought some degree of respectability to the topic. Please give Frank Drake, Jill Tarter, Seth Shostak or Paul Davies a call. They have been leaders in this area and would have much to discuss with you.

Despite recent advances in technology, which brings us humans much closer in communication, we’re still a highly fractured people here on planet Earth. We have what we call the United Nations. We’re still not entirely sure what we should do with it. We’re apparently scared of losing our cultural and national identities. In all candor, we are still comprised of tribes. We're interconnected, but disorganized and often rather testy.

If you decide to contact us directly it would probably be quite a spectacle here on Earth. Overall, I think we would handle it well. Once we manage to deal with the apocalypse fanatics and the fringe religious groups and endure the political posturing and inevitable power grabs- we should be ready for a rational discussion. Our scientists will have to work in conjunction with our politicians, a relationship that currently isn’t going very well. Nevertheless, they will do their best to put up with each other. We have managed not to blow ourselves up yet with nuclear weapons. We’ve done serious damage to our environment, but we’re working on it-slowly, anyway.

I think an introduction from you would have a transformative effect on our civilization. It would be challenging in the initial weeks and months, but I think such a revelation would bring us humans closer together in the long run. We hope that you’re friendly and have altruistic reasons for wanting to communicate with us. Either way, we would rather know the truth, than continue to labor under the assumption that we are alone in the universe.

So, welcome. And once again- sorry about all of the porn. We hope you otherwise enjoy your Googling and we look forward to meeting you.

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