Representing Humanity

††††††††† It seems inevitable that sooner or later we will have a face-to-face meeting with intelligent beings from a different world.If itís much later, perhaps weíll go to them, but if it happens within even the remotely forseeable future, they will have found us and their technology will be beyond ours.A new era begins for Earth and humanity.

 

††††††††† Who would represent humanity?The circumstances of the meeting might have much to do with this, but letís assume that the Others know little about the Earthís history and its life and that we donít know how much contact will be possible.We want to learn as much as possible about their science and civilization and their plans and intentions.And since the meeting may overtones of an interview, admirable qualities of humanity need to be up front and we want to be able to answer their questions.First priorities for humanity are trite but so true: to preserve our species and our planet and to give ourselves the best chance in progress toward happiness and fulfillment.

 

††††††††† Representatives in the meeting (for this essay) are limited to five people.Here is my selection of genius-level Representatives who might meet the challenges.

 

* Cosmologist/Astronomer/Physicist-- for knowledge of the structure and evolution of the Universe and concepts of matter, energy, time, and space.Questions: What are fundamental truths about the structure of the Universe?Is yet other intelligent life known in the Universe?What are ways to move outside our own solar system and what other unexpected things might we encounter?How do we protect the Earth from destructive forces from outside of it?

 

* Chemist/Earth Scientist -- for knowledge of the structure of matter at molecular, atomic, and subatomic levels.Questions: What are sources of energy and materials that donít deplete natural resources?How can we reverse damage already done to the atmosphere, oceans, and land?


* Biologist/Physician -- for knowledge of the diversity of life on Earth and its functions, origins, and evolution.Processes of evolution, ecology, molecular genetics, cell biology, and anatomy and physiology are of central importance.Questions: What are efficiently produced food sources?How can we prevent and cure diseases?How can we slow or prevent aging?

 

* Human historian/philosopher -- for an understanding of the origin, problems, and successes of our species.Background in anthropology required.This Representative might best understand the sociocultural implications of the encounter with the Others.Questions: What characteristics of civilization and development of thought are best suited toward stability and success?

 

* Musician -- as Representative of humanityís creativity and appreciation of beauty.Connections between imagination, emotion, and thought are directly expressed by musicians (who so often are cultural icons).A keyboard player has potential like no other to express melody, harmony, and rhythm.Addition of voice desirable, and why not wish that a trio could be filled out with two of the other Reps on bass and drums.

 

††††††††† The two physical scientists would be responsible for learning about what might be critical to our existence.The main role of the Biologist might also be as a student (if life forms of the Others were at all similar to ours).Other Representatives would have primary roles in putting humanityís face forward fairly but with the best angle.Political position, ethnic origin, and gender should have no bearing on qualifications of Representatives, though to have both genders would show first-hand the division of sex, a basic feature of most of Earthís life forms.

 

††††††††† Could the number of Representatives be reduced?Digital information could be provided for all of them, but we canít assume that the Others have capacity to absorb and rapidly integrate data in such quantities, nor can digital sources respond to questions with flexibility.Could the Musician be dropped?A volume of digital recordings would lack the immediacy and spontaneity that is so much a part of humanity.

 

††††††††† Should Representatives be added?Ability to communicate with the Others is assumed here, but the whole process might stall without a Representative who knows language, artifical intelligence, and computer design.For abstract patterns and concepts of dimensionality outside of known reality, a Mathematician might be critical.High level politician?Too much bias, too much hubris.Some might argue for the addition of a religious leader or a religious perspective, but there are so many ideas of Truth that it seems impossible to choose fairly.

 

††††††††† If only a single Representative were possible?It would say much about what we consider our essential qualities.I suggest someone with a joyful and confident personality, high marks in debate, a broad knowledge (especially in science), and a memory that can retain minutiae.Where to begin a search for such a person?The social and political implications of the meeting would be everywhere debated, and as always, barring catastrophe, we as a race will have the responsibility of determining our own happiness and fulfillment.But the practical issues of a new direction for humanity probably will be determined by leaps in techology, and I suggest that our single Representative be someone with background to absorb new Universal principles.The Physicist has it.

 

Copyright 2008 Guy Nesom. All rights reserved.