The best science fiction, they say, mirrors our current reality and makes a powerful statement about our values today by projecting us into a distant future. This is exactly that type of profound article. In other words, it may be about aliens but it's really about the Middle East, Ukraine, North Korea, and any other place on this planet where people are killing each other.
For centuries man has dreamed about communicating with extra-terrestrial life forms and has come up with all sorts of creative ways to make that first contact, including classical music and digitized welcome messages projected into outer space, time capsules with Twinkies in them (since we know they last forever), and most recently the Ice Bucket challenge.
But the big question no one has ever asked is this: Why the hell would aliens understand anything we have to say? After all, there is no such thing as a universal language and no reason to believe that other life forms would share our emotions or values. What I'm saying is that we may just be talking utter gibberish to aliens, or worse -- saying exactly the wrong things to them!
To explain why our actions are so dangerous, here is what we might say to an alien if we ever made contact, and here is how it may be interpreted:
What we say (Us): Hello comrade, we come in peace.
What the Aliens actually hear (Translation): Hey asshole, I'm going to kill you!
Us: We are very excited to have made contact with you.
Translation: We have been waiting for a long time to colonize you.
Us: We come bearing gifts.
Translation: We have nuclear missiles that will mutate your children for centuries to come, so don't mess with us.
Us: Please do not be scared of us.
Translation: Be afraid, be very afraid...
Us: What is your planet like? Is it beautiful?
Translation: We will rape your land and bleed your planet dry of all its natural resources.
Us: We want to know about your technology.
Translation: We are hopeful that your advanced technology will allow us to wage war against every other life form in the universe as well as kill more of our own people.
Us: How do you reproduce?
Translation: We're going to steal your women.
Us: Do you have multiple languages like we do on our planet?
Translation: After we have colonized you, you will all be forced to learn English.
Us: Do you believe in God?
Translation: There is only one God and that is ours. If you have a different religion, you better be ready to convert or die.
Us: Our scientists tell us your planet is much, much older than ours.
Translation: Your planet belonged to us eons ago and so we feel justified in attacking you to take it back.
Us: We would like to form an economic partnership with you.
Translation: Our banks and corporations want to exploit you.
Us: Do you have healthcare on your planet?
Translation: You got any drugs?
Us: Do you have a concept of justice?
Translation: You will be put in jail or shot if you're blue, green, or black.
Us: Do you have music in your culture?
Translation: We will blast a highly cacophonous sound, also known as rap music, really loudly all the time until you guys want to kill yourself.
Us: What do you use for fuel on your planet?
Translation: If you have oil, we will definitely attack you.
Us: Our sociologists would like to understand the social dynamics of your race.
Translation: Facebook is looking forward to adding 30 billion new users from your planet.
Us: Do your people wage wars with each other?
Translation: We just love violence and can't stop killing!
Finally, after a long stretch of silence, we might get a response from the aliens.
Aliens: Your stupid aggression and sadistic nature is pissing us off. We have decided to fight you and will destroy every last one of you dumb motherf*ers! And what the hell is 'Facebook'?
However, that is not what we hear.
What we actually hear: We too come in peace. Our spaceships will land imminently on your planet with many cultural gifts and technological specimens for you to study. We look forward to meeting you.
Us: We always knew that we would find peace-loving life in other galaxies. We welcome you and your Peace Ambassadors to planet earth!
Translation: Bring it on! We're not afraid of you.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how all wars start... Aren't you glad that we are trying to communicate with aliens?
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