October 21, 2011 § Leave a comment
In the event of human contact with an alien race, I don’t think the contact would bode well for either race. Racism and a general human distrust and dislike for people and things different from ourselves would be compounded by this contact—there would be the development of true “racism.” Added to this racism, Nietzsche’s idea of the “will to power” suggests that one race would inevitably seek to dominate the other. Because relationships between societies are structured primarily around power differentials based upon military, political, economic, and cultural strength, there would be three possible scenarios for this contact: the alien race would be more powerful, less powerful, or equally powerful as our own.
If we came across a race less powerful than our own, presumably from us traveling to their planet rather than vice versa, we would most likely conquer and exploit them. Throughout human history, there has been a clear imperialistic tendency of conquest by powerful nations. Today, that tendency is still alive and well; powerful nations dominate and exploit the less powerful ones through political, economic, military, and cultural means. There is no indication that this pattern would be different in space exploration, and if anything, the strong capitalist tendencies of most advanced countries encourage further profit-motivated conquest and exploitation. This “conquest and exploitation” need not mean total annihilation of the other race; in fact, in most cases it would be more profitable to use a less-advanced race to produce goods and provide resources for the human race. However, if our goal in space exploration is to find area for an expanding human population to colonize, the less-powerful alien race may very well be eliminated to provide us with this space.
If we came across a race more advanced than our own, that race would probably act as the human race would in that situation—by conquering and exploiting us. If, however, the more-advanced race was not interested in conquest or exploitation, with no “will to power,” the human race would most likely consider this a weakness. We would work incessantly to develop technologies and strategies to compete with and eventually dominate this other race. We would never be comfortable being inferior to another, more dominant race.
The third possibility—of coming across a race equally powerful as our own—would most likely result in a cold war, with all of the implications and results of the Cold War on Earth. There would be fear in both races for their own survival, and a constant search for new technologies and strategies to dominate the other race. Eventually, one of the two other situations would come to pass.
Overall, because of racism and the “will to power,” contact with an alien race would inevitably lead to conflict. The conflict would not necessarily be military (although this is the most likely and most obvious sort of conflict), but it would be some sort of military, political, economic, or cultural power struggle between the two races.