Monday, November 14, 2011

Extraterrestrial Contact: Alien Agenda

I know, I know…the phrase alien agenda sounds like a paranoid conspiracy theory worthy of a bad made for TV movie.  In reality though, I think it’s something that needs to be taken seriously if high-information First Contact ever does occur. I bring up the concept of alien agenda in order to expand on the idea of First Contact motivation. 

Motivation is something I have discussed frequently on this blog. If First Contact occurs because extraterrestrials are simply responding to our electromagnetic signals beaming through space, their only motivation might be to say hello. However, if an extraterrestrial civilization initiates First Contact there will probably be a more complex reason for them doing so.  If they didn’t have a reason for contacting us, then they would simply leave us alone, which could very well be the current situation.

A motivation naturally leads to some sort of agenda for carrying out what they hope to accomplish with First Contact. Their objective, and the subsequent agenda of First Contact, could be quite benign. It could be a simple matter of scientific curiosity. They could also be trying to educate us, enlarge our perspective or make us aware of a danger. The agenda could be more controlling in nature. They may want to impact how we handle technology or treat our environment. Perhaps they think we should change our religions, or even our forms of government. How controlling are they? Do we consider it interference? How do we make sure we control the situation? What if we don’t agree with them? I think these are all legitimate questions in any First Contact scenario.

We can’t afford as a civilization to head into such a dramatic set of events in a naïve manner. Caution and careful consideration would be critical. True critical thinkers will of course point out that all of these possibilities are anthropomorphic.  It’s quite possible that extraterrestrials would have a motivation, an objective and agenda that we cannot fathom.  They might understand the universe in ways that we cannot even conceive of, and thus their motivation is beyond our comprehension.

So, do we give up and hide under the covers and hope that the aliens go away? I would be willing to bet that there are some in human society who actually suggest such a thing in the wake of First Contact. Clearly that isn’t a rational response. Once the veil is lifted humans will have no choice but to confront the challenges that come with First Contact. We can’t lose sight of the opportunities as well. While the alien agenda might seem negative in nature, it could just as well be positive. They may truly want to help us develop as a civilization and provide information that helps us better understand the physical world around us.

The only real solution to the alien agenda is questioning. We need to question every action and take a critical look at every step we take. It may not be rational to hide under the covers and hope they go away. It’s just as nuts to throw open our arms and let extraterrestrials do as they please. A little paranoia can go a long way.


Carl Hutchings (United Kingdom) said...

There are a lot of interesting ideas put forward here. I agree that any response would have to be carefully considered for various reasons, as well as considering whether to respond at all.

Firstly I would be skeptical of any open contact by an extraterrestrial civilisation, unless it was to warn us against the decisions being made against our own governments.

It would be much easier to control a response if the contact was made to a select few (ie UN). This would prevent mass panic as well as removing the chance for rogue responses.

Contact in an un-open manner would also allow the world leaders to prepare us for disclosure and reduce any panic/hysteria that would occur. After all if they get it wrong they would not have another chance to re-do disclosure.

I would expect any ET civilisation to consider this when making contact and therefore I believe we, the people, of the planet will only ever be aware of contact months or years after it has occurred.

By the way, I am not a conspiracy propagandist who believes that contact has necessarily taken place. However, I can see the merits of first contact not being open and I wouldn’t be surprised if first contact has/will only be made to a select few leaders.

P.S. I really enjoyed reading your blogs. I have only just found this site so I will check out some of the older ones too.

Eric said...

Thanks for reading Carl. You put forth a good argument for secrecy, which is actually something I have reading quite a bit about lately. Allen Tough published a paper in 1990 that examined possible reasons for secrecy. While I agree that First Contact would be easier to control if only a few people at the UN were involved in planning a coordinated introduction. It certainly would allow for a degree of control that could prove comforting to the populace. Unfortunately it would also lead to accusations of "insider trading" so to speak, that could hamper First Contact diplomacy for many years there after. If the UN handled such contact there would be a high degree of suspicion from countries including a likely negative reaction here in the United States. The big question is who would control alien contact and could they be trusted to operate in the best interests of the world as a whole? Ultimately we will have to trust someone (and I argue the UN is the most practical choice) to make decisions and coordinate a diplomatic response. But secrecy will only aggravate suspicion and distrust. Openness is the only possible solution. Of course it won't be out choice- an alien civilization deciding to make contact will choose their method for doing such...and a careful, secretive approach might be what they choose. I still argue that First Contact is an event that will change humanity forever and because of the enormity of the impact we all need to be involved- every person and every nation. A clear, honest and transparent hello would set the stage for complete world involvement and perhaps a new way of looking at what it means to be human.

Please post again Carl I really appreciate your rational and thoughtful ideas.