I spoke with a colleague about aliens and the possibilities of an impending invasion. It brought some interesting concepts to mind. The conversation itself was sparked by my recent obsession with X-Com: Enemy Unknown. It mentions a rather profound quote right after you hit that New Game button.
Two possibilities exist: Either we are alone in the Universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying — Arthur C. Clarke
Anyone can say they have heard of government conspiracies regarding aliens. Recently the government even admitted that Area 51 exists. But outside of that, what would it mean if other intelligent life was out there?
The funny thing about technology is that as it marches on, we forget the past. It becomes antiquated sure and is marveled over people in museums as quaint, but humans have proven time and time again that we do not truly learn from our mistakes. The seven deadly sins are alive and strong, even embraced at times, and holes are left as a result.
If a hyper advanced alien race came to crush us, there would be a couple of scenarios we would face. Scouting makes sense, but it carries risks. If we were able to shoot down a scouting craft, we would be able to seize the communications methods they used to report back. Any weapons the scout team carried could be reverse engineered to find out what made them tick. And let me tell you, humans have a knack for learning things they shouldn’t.
Another scenario would be a full-scale assault. If their intention was obliteration of us as a species, there would be little we could do under the gaze of a superior civilization. However if the motivations are subjugation of humanity or wanting our planet intact, that works in our favor. Bad things happen when you underestimate those you oppress, history has told that tale many times. Same goes for a people who you have outgunned, does not ensure a decisive victory.
It really comes down to motives. Humans, or by extension Intelligent life, has this nasty habit of being self-centered. We gravitate towards the assumption our foes think like us, or think like we used to if we are more advanced than them. Creative thought is born when looking forward, past your superiors and around the path they did not take and find victory.
“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle” – Sun Tzu, The Art of War.
Of course this is all based around the assumption that a technological superior alien race would be a bunch of expansionist assholes… but given the history of our world. It would certainly be Karma.
“Bad things happen when you underestimate those you oppress, history has told that tale many times.”
True enough. They say those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it…but on the plus side, history is so friggin’ COOL. I was looking through a history book on the Cold War earlier today, and it’s just so unbelievably fascinating what went down in the past. Then again, I suppose I nerd-out so much (more than usual, at least) because I inherited it from my dad. I certainly didn’t get his ability to grow a fantastic mustache…
But back on topic. There’s no telling what’s out there in the universe, but man oh man, wouldn’t it be a sight to have the human race win against alien invaders? It happens all the time in movies, but for a real-life victory…well, truth be told I’m more interested in what happens AFTER the fight instead of during it. Would that bring about a new age of cooperation between nations, now that there’s a new enemy out there? Would there be new initiatives to start exploring space? What about reconstruction? And as you said, what happens if/when the alien tech gets reverse-engineered?
Ah, the possibilities.