Aliens and the Human Brand

If Aliens come to Earth or we run into them in space they may have some prejudice to humans.  Through some off world observation, humans could be perceived as either threats or peaceful.  If humans were a product how have we been marketing ourselves?  What is the human brand?

Humans are a species that use mutually assured destruction to keep the world at peace.  Not necessarily peace of mind but a deterrent to war.  A casual outside viewer may look at this as a bit aggressive.  An alien that does not speak our language or understand our cultures let alone the political landscape might regard humans as hostile.  Humans tend to be wary when first interacting with each other.  As an alien, it would be a safe approach to presume we could be hostile.

This is not to say that humans are always hostile.  Quite the opposite.  We have a love for beauty and art.  We design and build awesome architecture.  We have all kinds of music from classical orchestral to Lady Gaga. We plant gardens and have beautiful flowers with wonderful fragrances.  We enjoy the beauty and company of other species like birds, dogs, cats, hamsters, and other pets.  We can write down our ideas and create literature or compositions for all to enjoy.  We love and care for our children and elderly.  Heck, we have freaking Christmas and New Years with all the decorations, Whos in Whoville, and good will.  It would certainly seem humans would at the very least prefer to be peaceful.

However, looking at a sample of art may elude to a hostile belief.  Just think of all the Jesus nailed to the cross art.  Also, images of God’s wrath like the flood story with Noah.  Without explanation these images seem hostile.  The explanation might not help either.  For example, here is a snippet from a possible conversation with an alien:

Alien: <looking at a crucifix> “Why do you nail prophets to wood?”
Human: “It is wood but we call it a cross.  The cross was used as part of an execution type the Romans employed called crucifixion.”
Alien: “Okay, why kill the prophet?”
Human:  “Because God had a plan that required the prophet, Jesus, to die for our sins.”
Alien:  “Ah … God.  This was the entity who flooded the Earth and reigned fire and brimstone on cities? Or is this the entity that rules in a fiery domain?”
Human:  “The fiery ruler is Satan or the Devil.  Bad people who have sinned go to hell.”
Alien:  “I do not understand. Did Jesus not die for everyone’s sins?”
Human:  “Um … yah.  Maybe ask the Pope in your next meeting?  I’m just trying to take your falafel order.”

I am sure after a better explanation including why wars have been fought over religion will certainly clear up all misunderstandings.  Then again, explaining the cruelty of humans to one another based only on skin color might be tricky.  Especially if all humans look the same to aliens.

Based on a perceived hostile nature of humans I think we may be missing a peaceful alien encounter opportunity.  We may attract the wrong kind of alien.  The alien that would find humanity interesting could be more of a warlord.  A warlord type alien may view humans as a challenge or a hunting trophy.  The movies we make about alien visitation generally confirm this fact.

Looking on the bright side, what if we are visited by a peaceful alien race?  After we get past the pleasantries like “Where are you from?” and “How’s the weather on your planet?” what next?  A whiny list of diseases to cure, technology we want, and pleas to go for joy rides in their space ship?  What do we offer other than never ending requests for help?  After we get an infinite supply of energy, anti-gravity, and gravity generator what then?  What new unknown technology would we receive and what would we do with it?

The computer is a good example of how humans handle new technology.  The personal computer was created and made available to anyone that could afford one.  The number of personal computers in households was initially low.  Why would I want an expensive calculator?  Software was difficult to use relying on function key combinations.  The CRTs where small and monochromatic.  There were no mice and the joystick had no joy.  Not too much fun.

Then games started to be created for the personal computer.  Text based at first then pictures.  Zork and Wizardry dungeon diving games became a must have for the newly created gamer persona.  Personal computers in homes started to increase. CRTs became bigger and had more colors.  The joystick technology moved towards joy but were more meh-sticks.  Games and entertainment started to affect computer sales.

That was the long way of saying we will make a game out of whatever the alien gives us for new technology eventually.  I can already think of some fun applications for the personal black hole generator.  The alien may find turning technology into fun a bit amusing or at least interesting.  Perhaps fun is not an alien concept and could be perceived as rude.  I certainly hope not because amusing generally lasts longer than violent or worse, boring.  It is the primary reason we don’t eat otters.

Whatever alien race contacts us humans it looks like they will decide what they want to do with humanity.  We may have very little say.  Before we have an alien encounter we may want to work on our brand as peaceful humans.  If peaceful is too difficult a brand for humanity then perhaps fun loving would be a good second choice.