ROLLING OUT THE RED CARPET OR NUCLEAR MISSILES; HOW WOULD HUMANS REACT TO EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL LIFE?
By Nikhil Handa
I’m sure that many of you, as soon as you saw this title, had a definitive answer as to what your reaction would be. But I’m sure, if you put some deeper thought into it, you would discover that your opinion may not be so black and white. There are a range of emotions that all of you would feel if advanced life forms were discovered on another planet. You may feel scared or excited, interested or bored, but, for most of us believe, that we would feel multiple emotions, each one coming into light as time after the discovery goes on. The problem is, we’ve been so caught up in trying to prove that life does or does not exist on planets apart from the Earth, not many people have actually considered what would happen if we made a discovery that ultimately proved whether aliens existed or not.
Imagine, at this very moment, you went on Twitter, or Reddit, or Instagram, or Facebook, or simply turned on the news, and you were greeted by the persistent headlines of the discovery of alien life forms in a galaxy far, far away (sci-fi reference intended). I know the first thing that would appear in my head would be words of Donald Trump screaming ‘FAKE NEWS!’, but once everything had been cleared up to be perfectly real and confirmed by NASA, I would be a slave to the news channel, entranced by the probable lack of updates. Social media, naturally, would run absolutely rampant, complete with everyone freaking out with vulgar language in all-caps to eventually express their excitement, fear, or making bad pun on the topic. Then the news starts to sink in, but information is limited. How intelligent are these life forms? Have we already attempted contact? Is it possible to travel there? And so, knowing modern society, everyone turns their heads to their respective Government for answers.
Whilst all this internet-breaking chaos is going on, NASA/ESA (or any applicable space agency) have been working closely with the ones with the power to figure out a plan of action, or, more likely, how and when to carry out the already carefully revised plan for such an event like this. This procedure is not known to anyone except the classified people in the classified section of the Government, hidden in the classified files folder on the classified database, but we can make not-so-classified assumptions. After there has been a formal announcement of alien life forms (I ask all the conspirators reading this to kindly not rip this article into multiple pieces due to their stubborn belief that the Government would never tell us such things), NASA would be trying to find out as much information as possible to figure out exactly how much of a threat this civilization may be. Say this civilization was perfectly safe, multiple meetings and conferences would take place to decide whether or not to make contact with the extra-terrestrial life forms, which could take days, weeks, months, or even years. However, say these aliens are thrice as intelligent as us, what would happen? Well, the exact same procedure would take place, as human curiosity always outweighs human reasoning.
Jump forward a few years, and we have attempted contact with the aliens, possibly to let them know we exist, if they don’t already know and have just decided to ignore us (which would prove their superior intelligence over us). Then we wait. We wait to see if they reply, or wait for a
message that only reaches us several generations later due to physics and other galactic caviats, or wait for an inter-universal missile heading directly towards us as a house-warming present.
The emotion that will dominate us as this wait goes on? Fear. We have always been able to find fear out of every situation we as a race have ever found ourselves in, and in this case, fear is actually feasible. Excitement would boil over, indifference would be an impossible emotion to feel, and interest would lead to the realisation as to how dangerous this could be for us. And the wish that we never found extra-terrestrial life in the first place arises.
But, of course, that won’t stop us from continuing to search for advanced civilizations on other planets now, because we are genuinely just too curious. And with this continuation of the search for aliens, it could very well be curiosity killed the cat (and every other species on the planet).