Are we ready for alien contact?

Aliens visit Earth.  They observe us.  They may not all be from the same civilization.  What if aliens from one of these societies decided that today was the day to make Contact?

Are we ready for contact?
Are we ready for  alien Contact?

  • Are we ready for alien contact?  
  • How do you prepare for alien contact?  
  • What steps must we take for contact with aliens?

I always have more questions than answers - like a little kid.  One time when my middle kid was two years old he asked me, "Daddy?  Why is fire so hot?"  I could not answer the question in simple terms.  So I said, "I know!  Right?"  This then became my Go-To response for most inane toddler questions.  But without questions you have no answers.  The questions must be asked.

Are we ready for alien contact?

The methods and tasks for preparing to meet alien explorers would differ slightly depending on whether or not they came in peace.  In a dream scenario, aliens are benevolent creatures who travel the Universe bestowing gifts of technology upon those ready to receive it.

Shrek like that's ever gonna happen
Ya, like that's ever gonna happen!
This premise is a human construct.  It is irrational to believe that just because humans would want aliens to share their technology with us that this would indeed happen.  They are not human.  But let us suppose for a moment that aliens were somewhat human in terms of motives.  When, in history, have humans encountered technologically inferior humans and benevolently brought them up to a higher level?

European God Overlooks Brazil
Thanks, Europe!
When Europeans encountered Africans they made slaves out of the Africans.  They were a little nicer to South Americans.  Yes, many were slaughtered, mercilessly.  However, missionaries also brought food, clothing, medicine, and education to Latin America.  But there was a catch.  The indigenous people had to give up their belief systems and follow the European God

Would either of these options be acceptable to humans if we encountered aliens?  Obviously we would not want to be enslaved - unless, that is, if the aliens paid for half of the single rate for medical insurance and provided at least 4% matching on the retirement plan.  Plus, casual Fridays.

On the whole religious conversion thing, would the people around the world abandon thousands of years of religious doctrine and learn the ways of an alien civilization if it meant taking a technological leap forward of, say, a million years?

People camp out overnight in front of the Apple store for the next iPhone, boasting marginal improvements over the previous year.  I am leaning towards Yes on that last question.

Are we ready for alien contact?
Idiots camping out for a minor upgrade
Certainly, if aliens were benevolent, humans would accept whatever upgrades aliens provided us with.  We would even jump through some hoops to get it. 

What if that technology was more than just the next hot gadget but rather something currently unimaginable.  Even Einstein would not have imagined all the uses we have created for the smartphone in the past decade.  It was out of his frame of reference. 

Einstein Instagram
Einstein's Instagram Profile Pic?
It is difficult for us to imagine where we will be fifty years from now.  It is impossible to imagine what types of devices a million-year-old civilization will be carrying around in their pockets.  Maybe pockets themselves are obsolete in an alien world.  Have you ever seen an artist's rendition of an alien standing around with his hands in his pockets?  Me neither.  Maybe they just like to look busy. 

When I was 18 I got fired from a job as a DJ at high school dances because the owner of the company saw me standing with my hands in my pockets while awaiting my next orders.  (His loss.)  Maybe, after a million years, aliens figured out it is just better to make pants without pockets.   Then again, maybe they have just done away with pants all together.  It is always Sunday afternoon on their planet.

Now, where was I?  Oh yeah, if you took an adult from the time of Christ and showed him our world, in time he would adjust.  He would learn to drive a car, dial a phone, use indoor plumbing, operate a remote controlled TV, and click 'Like' on cat videos.  Perhaps we modern folks would quickly adapt to advanced alien technology.  But we cannot say for sure because we simply do not know what we do not know.

How do you prepare for Alien Contact?

Continuing under the premise that aliens may have some human-like motives (unlikely but let us go with that for this particular article) rather than cruising the Universe looking for weak, barbaric worlds like ours on which to bestow gifts of eternal youth and flying cars it is much more likely they would come here to conquer us.  It is human nature.  If aliens have any human-like qualities, they will probably want to come here and take over. 

They may not initially want to.  But they may not be able to help themselves.  It would be like the time you invited a friend over and he mentioned it to the guy who always invites himself everywhere and then that guy comes in and changes the music and has food delivered and gets everyone gathered around him to hear his self-indulgent stories.  He basically makes you feel like a guest in your own home.  He does not mean to be an ongeblussen bulvan.  He just cannot help being in charge of everything, everywhere, all the time, and he lets you know it.

ongeblussen bulvan
Ongeblussen Bulvan
If aliens intended to subjugate or exterminate humans then we would need ensure that each country's militaries were at their peak, in terms of readiness and capabilities.  Every country would need to cooperate and coordinate with each other to ensure mutual victory.

It does not appear like the major powers of the world are ready for that.  Who knows what goes on behind closed doors - perhaps military leaders around the world already have joint plans for mobilizing against an Extra Planetary Force (EPF) or an army from outside our planet.

Given the public rhetoric of animosity between the major powers one would think that the increasing level of sophistication of military capabilities is part of a modern arms race by each country to be technologically superior to all other countries.  I am leaning that way. 

Conspiracy theorists would say the US government already knows aliens are visiting and they are keeping that information from us so as not to cause a panic among the people.  If that were true then it is possible that military escalation between world powers is indeed part of the plan to prepare for the arrival of an EPF.

At the end of the last US administration NATO forces had been built up to the highest levels since the Cold War.  This alliance has helped to maintain the balance of power throughout the world for the better part of a century.  Under the current regime the US president has vowed to withdraw from NATO.  It has been said that doing this will embolden the more aggressive countries to attack smaller, weaker countries.  It will also take the entire world in the wrong direction in terms of our abilities to work together to fight off an EPF.

If aliens did indeed come here with malintent, there would be great levels of casualties, both on the battle field as well as within civilian population centers.  Most hospitals currently are barely able to handle small surges in demand.  They have surge plans in place to handle unexpected increases in the demand for services.   These plans are more easily implemented in urban areas because hospitals can simply divert patients from one hospital to another.  It is harder in rural areas where each hospital may be several hours apart.  But what if the surge was not a few dozen people?  What if it was a few hundred?  What if 100,000 people needed medical care at once?  Could they be treated?

In war it may be better to wound a soldier than to kill him.  A wounded soldier needs to be carried off the battle field and treated.  It may take two other soldiers to carry the wounded soldier away.  So in effect you have taken out three enemy combatants with one shot. 

The same philosophy could be used by alien attackers on civilian populations.  If aliens were to somehow injure or sicken large populations of humans, say with some novel variant on a virus, this would quickly overwhelm Earth's medical infrastructure rendering treatment impossible.  Left with no alternative, patients would be forced to remain quarantined at home under the care of a family member.  This then removes these caregivers from the workforce.  The worldwide economy soon grinds to a halt.  Chaos ensues.

This is probably not the case with Corona Virus.  But what about the next Corona Virus, the next SARS, the next Ebola?  We should be more prepared.

Peace, Brother
So what if they did come in peace?  How would we know?  We would have to take aliens on their word - assuming they use words.  We would not know if their word is any good but we would also not have much choice in the matter.  They are certainly technologically superior to us. 

Typing Chim
Are... you... sure... this... is... a... life... guard... ini-tia-tion... thing?
We do not know if they are intellectually superior.  It is said that if you gave a bunch of monkeys a bunch of typewriters they could construct the complete works of Shakespeare or the Bible.  Anyone who has ever watched even a single episode of Baywatch knows there is some truth to this theory. 

Nosotros Golden Eagle Award winning show, Baywatch
The point is, if another civilization had a million year head start on us, they would not need to be smarter than us to figure out how to get from there to here.  They would just need time.  A million years ought to do it.  So it is possible that if aliens tried to pull a fast one on us we could adapt and overcome.  We might want to extend a symbol of peace to them.

While the white dove is known worldwide as a symbol of peace, this may confuse aliens.  Imagine if we went to their planet and suddenly thousands of winged beasts swarmed our diplomatic delegation.  The doves look nice to us but maybe to aliens doves look like the face-hugger from Prometheus

Face Hugger from Prometheus
What doves might look like to aliens
We would be scared to death.  All it would take is one trigger-happy commando who is afraid of birds and all hell breaks loose.  Amadou Diallo was shot at 41 times by four officers because one of the cops thought Diallo's wallet was a gun.  The first cop fired a shot and then all the other cops opened fire.  They were armed and scared.  What if it was not a wallet but a thousand peaceful birds that look like face huggers?  Bad news.

So the doves are out.  What would tell aliens (who may not understand Earthan languages), "Hi!  Welcome!  Let me give you the grand tour.  Can I get you a drink?" 

When Europeans encountered Native Americans ("Indians") it did not take the Europeans long to see the value in Wampum.  This then caused the Europeans to begin mass producing the Wampum and using it as a currency.  We need to be careful not to offer aliens Justin Bieber's latest album.

Justin Bieber Wampum
Wampum Man, Justin Bieber
The Hawaiians offered Western visitors floral wreaths called leis.  Aliens might be allergic.  But the leis are pretty and they smell nice.  I wonder if aliens can smell.

Aliens could also be lactose intolerant so we had better not offer them milk.  This was an error Europeans made with Indians here in the New World.  The Indians were lactose intolerant.  They were not used to drinking cows milk.  When it was offered by the first European settlers the Indians got bad gas, bloating, and diarrhea.  They thought they had been poisoned.  Although with the number of cattle abductions reported, maybe aliens do like milk - hard to say.

Most other symbols of peace could be misconstrued by alien visitors.  We need to find something they would like and would not misunderstand.  If it were me, I would appreciate if someone gave me a package of Archway Molasses Cookies.  Not everyone likes molasses cookies, I know.  It is an acquired taste.  But there is no mistaking the intent behind someone who gives you one.   You may grimace a bit as you swallowed.  But you would know you were loved.

Archway molasses cookies
Molasses cookies, the ultimate symbol of peace?

An accompanying glass of milk would be optional.

What steps must we take for contact with Aliens?

If aliens were to make contact with Earthans at some point in the next few years we would need to err on the side of caution and be prepared for an armed conflict.  We should, of course, approach our visitors with open arms and attempt to form diplomatic relations with them.  It would be foolish to strike first at anyone who can get from there to here (wherever that is).  But we should also be ready for whatever they may unleash on us.

In order to be prepared, militarily, the major powers of the world need to develop joint force operations plans.  I am not saying that all militaries should become one unified force, overnight.  This premise is unfathomable to the most nationalistic amongst us.  But 70 years ago, a unified Europe was unthinkable to Europeans.  They started small, with simple trade agreements and contributions to NATO, and escalated the cooperation over the course of decades until reaching the point where they are now interdependent.

This is a good recipe for the rest of the world to follow.  If we can work out better (equally fair to everyone) trade agreements and increase military support for the United Nations, perhaps in another 70 years all the nations of the world will be prepared to battle an Extra Planetary Force.

What steps must we take for contact with aliens?
Excavators in China build a Coronavirus hospital in record time
Could we handle the casualties from a fight like that?  Right now, no.  But the world can learn something from what began recently in Asia (and is now spreading around the world).  In an effort to combat the rapidly spreading Coronavirus the Chinese are building hospitals faster than anyone in the West could think of doing.  Because officials there are able to plow through bureaucratic hurdles with a snap of the fingers they can muster the forces to complete massive building projects in a fraction of the time it would take here. 

Certainly, this effort could be replicated elsewhere.  But in order to do so new laws would need to be passed enabling a Construction Corps to assemble the engineering and building teams required to complete such projects.  Then you need a place to build these facilities.  Strengthening Eminent Domain laws is anathema to Western beliefs on property ownership.  Indeed, I myself would not want my property taken, "for the good of the people."  I built my house and I do not want to leave it until my kids put me in a rest home - hopefully it is a nice facility where the orderlies do not beat me too often.  It would also be nice if it did not smell like a preschool - not sure why nursing homes and preschools both have the same stink.

You will go to sleep or I will put you to sleep!
But back to my point, these Construction Corps would need to acquire land ahead of time in order to speed up the building process.  Maybe they could build parks on these vacant properties until we needed the land for medical facilities.  That would be nice.

Are we ready for alien contact?  In a word, no.  But if I were able to speak to Congress or to the President, either in person, or via this blog, or some TV show about UFO sightings, I would advise them to have the courage to address this issue seriously and do what is right for not only the American people but also for all the people of the world - like it or not, we are all in this together.  Let us put some funding behind planning for what to do.  Let us hope for the best but prepare for the worst.  Let us know that, while there is no need to panic, we need to begin the necessary legwork for what is an unstoppable eventuality.

We are being observed.  Soon we will be officially contacted.  What will we do then?

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