View Full Version : enlighten aliens
06-19-2012, 12:35 PM
One thing I always get annoyed at in fiction is the idea that Aliens will always be enlightened and come to bring us a better way of life. When they've not come to destroy or eat us of course.
Any alien species that gets into the galatic species will either have reached ecological harmony with its home planet or transcended it, letting its homeworld die while it expands into outer space to supply the resources to keep its population alive.
The truth is an alien race that actually exists will be so alien, so different that there will be nothing we can relate on at any level, beyond pointing at a point and saying where we are don't come near here or we will destroy you. This of course has massive impact on the interstellar scene, if no one have anything in common apart from basic resource consumption, then there can be no negotation or co-operation. There will be no council of the stars, no united planets. But there will be no perpetual peace either, because the problems in translation means you can not be certain of what the other side are thinking, or if they are lying and are about to attack. Therefore to defend against such as risk each race will build a miltary fleet, the other races will see this and react, also beleiving that the other may be preparing for war. The result is a grim existance, every race in its own empire, each locked in a cold war with the other, waiting for a phantom threat that will never come. All because of the one thing that makes them different, their utter alien nature.
In many ways the idea of united alien species working together is an extension of the liberal believe that the world can co-operate together, that global organisations can bring an end to war. But mankind is one species, with certain fundamental ways of acting and thinking. However a true alien species (not a green woman with nose bumps) will have not similiar ways. So in space the realist argument finally wins out, how can species co-operate if they have no similarities?
06-19-2012, 12:41 PM
This is why Warhammer 40k is such a great IP.
06-19-2012, 01:45 PM
Of course such an environment means that it is unlikely that any galatic civilisation stays around for very long. History has shown that many a time a single man cracks and kicks of a fight. With both sides primed for war and with the delay in interstellar communication this would automatically kick off a full blown war. With the problems of fighting interstellar war and the fear of relativistic kill vehicle (RKV) attack means both sides will attempt to destroy the other as quickly as possible with pre-emptive RKV attacks on enemy planets and bases. In other words any war will result in the devastation of both civilisations and possible extinction. So it is likely that first contact will be massively damaging for mankind in the long run, though of course once first contact happens we have no choice but to move into the galatic sphere, otherwise everyone else would move against us fearing we are up to something.
Though of course such ideas do not have to be so pushed to thier logical conclusion. One of the reasons why I like Babylon 5, while it does have alien co-operating an a unrealistic level, does have enough conflict and realpolitik to be a logical look of interstellar politics. Hell some of the later star trek deep space 9 episodes hint at this kind of world, In the Pale Moonlight for example.
06-19-2012, 10:07 PM
The most logical conclusion is that if they've managed to develop the technology necessary for interstellar travel then they are most likely more advanced than us on some level. The chances of any alien species being at the exact same level of us is fairly remote because the numbers of development possibilities are incalculable. Although it could be offset and contradictory to what we would believe. For example; there may be alien species out there millions of years more advanced than us, but they may not even know how to make a flying vehicle or that one could be made because their planet may not have any flying species to give them the idea. There may be alien species out there with an advanced intellect far beyond our comprehension, but they may live in tribes without technology. Then there's less intelligent wildlife and plant life, which most certainly exists and would most likely be similar to the wildlife seen on Earth. Things like "intergalactic councils" are things that would more likely take place between developed species rather than less intellectually developed species. Of course, there is a chance that the alien species could have intellect and technology, but act like bugs programmed with a task.
The unfortunate reality about intergalactic war or disagreement is the separation of reason that occurs when one species deals with the other. For example; in Texas many people throw gasoline on a wasp nest to kill all the wasps above their front door to prevent the possibility of being attacked. Imagine an extraterrestrial species watching us fight and go from throwing sticks and stones to developing nuclear weapons and space flight. They may see us the same way we see a wasp nest and decide to exterminate us to prevent the possibility of being attacked.
Another thing to take into consideration is the relationship between people and their pets. I have a cat and there's no chance a war could ever occur between us. I would imagine there are developed alien species out there that may not even know what war is. They may be too peaceful for their own good.
06-21-2012, 03:55 PM
@Exostrike:“The truth is an alien race that actually exists will be so alien, so different that there will be nothing we can relate on at any level,…So in space the realist argument finally wins out, how can species co-operate if they have no similarities?”
This is my usual argument about Eywa in Avatar. :nwinkh:
Most science fiction writers are depicting aliens that are a reflection of our selves or our image of reality. They have to connect with their audience and not get all weird and lose them; just imagine if Neytiri was a gelatinous blob, Avatar would have flopped. The problem is describing a unique alien-esque that does not reflect our patterns.
I totally agree. An alien species would not have the biological, physiological or historical evolution as the human species. They would be completely unknown to us and us to them. We may not even be in their realm of reality, like a butterfly floating through your family picnic; you are “invisible” to him.
One differing thought: You tend to focus on those things that are human inventions/reality. We are the ones drawing the line of death, but what if they do not play our childish games. What if the alien is so different that they do not do war, genocide, have a religion, negotiate treaties, steal resources or set up urban colonies but just lives its life doing what is natural for them. Cooperation may just be a human concept not shared. Maybe coexistence would be a better term.
There would be one similarity constant: that the alien is a living being. It’s a start.
06-22-2012, 01:17 AM
Yes but those kind of species (you can't even call them civilisations) don't get into space and with the vastness of the universe its unlikely we'll ever find them. Any species that gets into space will have had to exploit their planets resources to build up the instructure of space travel.
But to take a popular alien type, the hive mind. Where everything is shared between all and everyone is equal (the ultimate communist utopia). A hive mind would have no concept of the individual or the other since everyone is part of you (animals etc would just be resources). For this reason they would not be able to understand the concept of other alien civilisations, since they are not in their system. Therefore they would react with hostility towards this new other, either as a part of them which must be re-incorporated or as something simply to be destroyed because it is impossible to understand. This of course means total war from both sides.
So even if a society is perfect and peaceful internally, it does not mean that its external actions are as peaceful.
06-22-2012, 08:12 AM
Yours and Eternal’s ideas are great examples. But I focused on your statement of the aliens being “so different that there will be nothing we can relate on at any level.” The types of things both of you mention are things that are not that alien to us, concepts we know. Human concepts, imagery, reality set our perception of the universe. The alien concepts and reality may be beyond our understanding…so much so that an encounter may be like a butterfly kiss then they are gone. We may never know what the heck that was; it was something obviously, but what?
Maybe to understand what that was, we would need to change our own ideas and concepts of reality to “see” clearly. I'm just say'in.
06-24-2012, 04:52 AM
if ships from another planet ever land here, I won't be running towards them with open arms, let's put it that way, someone else will have to be the first to taste that fruit
06-24-2012, 11:36 AM
It has been hypothesized that life in Earth is so rich and different at every level to the point that, it is possible, for a large part of the species living on Earth, might be of extraterrestrial origins. On the other hand, as pointed above, we may never be able to contact a superior intelligence, they may have so advanced communication and transportation systems that we are unable to filter them of background noise or, simply put, their communications are noise to us.