Take the existence of extra-terrestrial life as a given. No one can prove or disprove their existence at this point, so let’s take the positive side of that argument as fact for a moment.
What would their impact be on “the world as we now know it?”
There are some who would hope that a benevolent ET would bring wonderful things into our lives. Technological advances would surely be handed to us the way Prometheus handed us fire. We would welcome them with open arms and they would take care of us.
There are others who would imagine a malevolent ET species that would either kill or enslave us. Since their technology would be more advanced than ours, they would use it against us and we would be helpless.
I think the effect largely depends on the reason they bother to come here. Okay, so we have a lot of nice vacation spots. But, I hardly think they would be much of an incentive to the average ET. (After all, we’ve only got one moon.)
As we already know, it takes a lot of effort, energy and resources to explore space. What would be worth all that effort?
Refuge from intolerable conditions would be one answer. Many people have sought asylum in foreign lands on Earth. In such a case, they would want to live among us. (I’m sure McDonalds would come up with a special flavor shake just for the occasion.) But how would that affect us? Would it bring peace? Would it give us another “them” to bring “us” closer? And how sad is replaced prejudice?
Another possibility would be curiosity. As we look into the night sky and wonder, they would probably do the same. Perhaps they’ve created a whole mythos about the people on the blue planet. They probably imagine that our skin is blue. Could we deal with such celebrity? We expect to look up to them. They expect to look up to us. And we would probably disappoint each other. It’s hard to live up to other people’s expectations – especially when they’re based on mere wishful thinking.
I don’t think anyone would come here looking for a resource depleted on his or her own home world. If their resources were that scarce, they wouldn’t have the resources to get this far. Perhaps they would seek a medical resource, but they would probably not be looking for anything that could be a type of fuel.
There still exists the possibility of the conqueror type. They would want our land (or oceans if water dwelling). Or they would want our people (as slaves). This is the worst-case scenario. In that case, we would have to defend our planet. How hard would that be? We’ve always known war.
Posted by BlueWolf on June 14, 2002 11:20 PM