Warning from Beyond the Stars

The UFO phenomenon is most often remembered for the familiar moments in accounts where the witness reveals that something that has happened to so many others has also happened to them.  The credibility of UFO stories at one point even hinged on the presence of certain tropes that carried with them the weight of others having said the same thing.  In the 1960’s and 70’s one of these elements was the warning for humanity.  Extraterrestrials who interact with humans have been perceived in many different lights over the years, but the benign ones reportedly have humanity’s future – and that of the planet itself – in mind.

It stands to reason if you’re going aboard an extraterrestrial vessel that one of the questions you may want to ask after the wonders of the universe would be, “What do you think about what’s happening on Earth?” or “What predictions do you have for humanity’s future in these troubling times?”

While there have been a few that stray from the norm, it’s generally accepted if you were to ask an alien visitor this question in the past 30 years, that they’d diplomatically warn of the dangers of nuclear weapons and advocate a closer harmony with the environment of our fragile planet.  Humans are often described as a primitive species, warlike, and unpredictable.  Often, the crises of the world play out on the late night televised stage – incapable of informing without also occasionally horrifying.

Asking for superior technology to help the human race along on their journey is often met with apprehension or outright revulsion at the idea of such a violent planet owning such immense power.  We need only look around the world and see this to be the troubling case.  But it isn’t the technology, it seems, and it doesn’t seem to be the actual nature of humanity itself that are problems.  It’s a simple matter, as with so many things, of unfortunate timing.

It seems an alien race visiting Earth whose intentions were not violent could very well take this point of view.  A race of beings that had traveled to many planets would no doubt have encountered far more planets with no life on them than had life – particularly advanced life.  The relative simplicity of humanity may also not be a response to our level of technology, but our volatile and aggressive demeanor toward one another.

In fact, the level of technology we have would no doubt be seen as transient since they would have come from similar comparable humble beginnings.  And this may very well be one of the greatest limitations on our ability to contact other species.

The Kardashev scale is often represented as a system of technological categorization, but looking into the scale’s subtext, it’s apparent that it judges sociological and cultural differences between civilizations just as much as technological ones.  A level one civilization is technologically adept enough to harness all of the power on the planet’s surface.  A level two civilization uses every ounce of energy coming out from the civilization’s parent star.  A type three civilization uses every tiny bit of energy in a whole galaxy.  Needless to say humanity has a long way to go before it reaches level three.  Alien visitors are generally seen as hailing from type one or type two civilizations.  The power levels involved in both of these should not be overlooked as they are immense.

The perception of humanity seems to be culturally based rather than technologically.  If it were simply technological it’s a simple enough matter to give humanity the keys to one of their craft.