October 21, 2011 § Leave a comment
Though human being is defined to be an intelligent species in the universe and is probably the only one existing, we are not perfectly certain about whether our definition of “intelligence” is universally valid. Our perception of the landscape of the universe or the earth itself is adjusted each time a new space is discovered. Firstly, we thought that the earth was a vast plane; then we developed our knowledge about lands beyond close proximity and realized that the earth was a sphere; still later, we broke the rather self-centered notion about the earth being at the heart of the cosmos and gave that position to the sun; after that, the relay of defining the center of the universe became a nonstop game among generations of cosmologists; till today, as we are still unsure about the real size of the universe, our current picture of cosmos awaits to be modified with new discoveries. So, how can we settle on a definition without looking beyond its territory? Yet in defining “intelligence”, the only sample that we use is our own species. This lack of samples for comparison implies that our recognition of “intelligence” is in essence based upon “similarity”.
One day, after centuries of work, we might be able to locate an extraterritorial intelligence in this vast universe. But what we find would be a species that shares similar traits with us. They might have gone through an evolution analogous to ours, their life may be directed by similar logic and most essentially, we two species of “intelligence” are included in one communication system which means that there are mutual signals that we can both detect and retrieve messages from. I think that the discovery of extraterritorial intelligence itself implies the availability of communications. Also, it is quite likely that we do share common grounds, just as two cultures in the earth. Though we are contained in our own stars for development, the long-time separation doesn’t necessarily breed too much strangeness to prevent us from recognizing each other.
Nowadays, people could effectively communicate with each other through emails, video chats and social websites. They save efforts for face-to-face meeting and let electromagnetic waves do the transportation for them. However, with our interstellar “brother”, I am wondering whether one day the communication could go in the opposite direction, from electromagnetic waves to face-to-face level. Politicians might be the first group to deny such possibility out of security concerns. It has been verified numerous times by our own history that similarity does not merely mean recognition and communication. It also implies constant conflicts and security threats. Religious groups might also oppose such idea as in nature religions are exclusive and meant to be kept static. Scientists may be interested, but to them, communication embedded in the natural law is equivalently appealing in long and short distance. Then, psychologists, philosophers and businessmen are groups that might be fans of face-to-face communication, and most likely be sent as ambassadors to meet in person with our interstellar “brothers”. What can be concluded from then? I guess that peace and collective prosperity would be possible results after such meeting, along with a deeper mutual understanding.