If extraterrestrials watch HBO they may notice a common theme in the original series: fighting and fornication. No matter what the backdrop or who the characters, the plot lines return frequently to those two actions. Of course, it’s not just HBO. Fighting and fornication have been a fixture in human storytelling for hundreds of years. Fighting and fornication are the two elemental parts of biological existence and they have a common denominator: survival. We are still fighting and fornicating, in many different ways, each and every day on planet Earth. We may try to clean things up in modern society, but it always gets back to those elemental themes. I really like football. Every now and then, though, I take a few steps back in my mind to view what’s actually occurring on the field. You got it: fighting and fornication. Well, not the act of fornication itself. It’s more the prelude, as women jump around in skimpy clothes cheering while the guys clobber each other.
Survival is the essential part of biology that binds us together with all animals, plants and microbes. It makes sense that extraterrestrials would have their own survival themes in their society. Who knows, perhaps it even comes back to fighting and fornication? That was certainly the Star Trek theme. Klingons and Romulans had visceral tribal customs involving the aforementioned activities. The Vulcans tried to rise above such activities and yet they too had a history of fighting and, of course, fornication.
The biological imperative of fighting could be changing. For millennia, fighting meant survival, which was fine when fighting meant clubbing one person over the head to protect your family. Technology flips that equation. These days, if someone feels they have to protect their country, they can fire a nuclear missile and kill millions of people. Perhaps not fighting is the new biological imperative?
Why do we care about such things? Our ability to relate to extraterrestrials will be greatly enhanced by commonalities. The things we have in common with extraterrestrials will provide a meeting point for initial understanding. If we have common societal themes, it will be easier to build understanding between humans and extraterrestrials. The more differences we have, the harder that process.
Extraterrestrials would not even have to participate in a current culture of Earth-style fighting and Earth-style fornication to share commonalities. Perhaps extraterrestrials we meet some day have a rich history of fighting and fornication, and yet have moved beyond such things? They would be wise to share that history with us early in the relationship, so that we might better connect.
Humans are likely to have an interest in fighting and fornication for quite some time. And this is one human who is okay with that. However, we are changing and we are evolving. Survival themes may become less important to us as our technology progresses. Biological imperatives may weaken. The evolutionary road that we are on could be similar to the road extraterrestrials have traveled. If so, we’ll want to share the stories of our voyage. And most likely those stories will include…well, you know.