First Contact – 8 Theories About What It Really Means


With the recent appointment of a UN ambassador to extra terrestrials, and the testimony that followed days later at the national press club in Washington DC by several former military officers concerning UFO abilities to tamper with our nuclear arsenal, many within the UFO community are wondering if we may be on the eve of the government revealing first contact with an alien civilization. Heck, it seems like everyone from the Vatican to Steven Hawking has come forward with an opinion about E.T. lately. Is it a coincidence or is it something more?

There are good arguments on both sides about the whole UFO issue, and we cannot dismiss the possibility that all of these recent media events may be nothing more than complicated disinformation campaigns… After all, some of these are extraordinary claims and therefore require extraordinary proof. Still, one can understand the excitement for a true believer when they ask themselves “Is this it? Are they finally going to tell us the truth? Are we really not alone in the universe?”

I personally think a better question to ask in the face of all this is, “What would first contact really mean to humanity?”

Science Fiction authors have speculated what contact with an alien civilization would mean to us as a species for years. The thinking basically falls into one of 8 theories:

The Hawking Hypothesis

It will only end badly for humanity based on the idea that in our own history, when a technologically superior civilization meets a less advanced one, the less advanced one generally gets wiped out no matter the intentions of the superior civilization. The big example that people who believe this point to is that fact that the Native American populations were wiped out shortly after first contact with European cultures. These people are misinformed about their history… the fall of Mesoamerica was more because of the illnesses that the Europeans brought with them to the new world, not their advanced technology.

The H.G. Wells Hypothesis

They’re here to wipe us out, and there’s not a damn thing we can do about it unless we get very, very lucky. If this is the case, it is doubtful that we would have any real first contact at all… they would just drop down from space and wipe us all out before we had a chance to react as a society.

The Roland Emmerich Hypothesis

They’re here to wipe us out, and we’re screwed unless we’re ready fight back… Lots of things go ‘boom’ in the process. In a recent episode of Sci-Fi Science, Michio Kako dealt with the protection of earth against this threat (His solution was to send wave after wave of information gathering fodder in hopes we could find their weakness), but is it realistic that we would stand a chance? Most scientists think that the gap between us and any civilizations we may encounter out there would be far more enormous than arrows vs. machine guns… it would more likely be like sea sponges vs. Nuclear weapons.

The Roddenberry Hypothesis

First contact will unite us as a species for the first time in human history. Wars will end, poverty will be eliminated, and we will take our rightful place in a galactic community. Sounds nice, Doesn’t it? It also completely ignores the human tendency to squabble amongst ourselves, even when we’re all on the same side. I mean, seriously… can you really imagine all the countries in the middle east suddenly throwing down their arms and making nice just because Aliens show up? We’re just not like that.

The “Meh” Hypothesis

Humanity looks up for a second, says “Hmmm… Aliens”, and collectively goes about their business not really caring too much about the whole thing, and looking at the aliens as just another “other” that doesn’t affect their daily lives as such. To me, this is the most likely scenario. Sure, the aliens will be a big deal, especially if they’re benevolent and share their technology with us, but will this be enough of a distraction for most of us to look past the piles of bills on our desks, the fact that the kids need haircuts and new shoes, or that the alternator on the minivan just broke down? Not real likely.

The Orson Wells Hypothesis

Humanity panics for no good reason and does lots of damage to themselves in the process. This is another really likely scenario, and is usually pointed to by conspiracy theorists as the big reason behind the “global UFO cover up”. I know that many of you are thinking “but we’ve grown so much since the 30s!” Keep in mind that as a fanboy, your mind is generally more open than Mr. and Mrs. John Q. Public. the only difference is that it would be far more difficult for a Hoax like the 1938 broadcast to work today with the saturation of media outlets. If the aliens suddenly showed up in the skies around our world, you can believe that people would be morons about it.

The “Contact” Hypothesis

First contact seems like it goes off without a hitch, but some damn nutjob with a bomb screws it all up for the rest of us. Another very likely scenario. Let’s face it, the first question many devout followers of every faith will have for the aliens will be “do you believe in god?”.  What if the answer is “no”? We already happily kill each other over such a statement…

The “Alien Nation” Hypothesis

The aliens become the latest immigrant population that we start complaining about, but eventually find acceptance in our society, and live among us as equals. I think that this would depend largely on just how alien they are in appearance compared to us. I mean, the Newcomers were fairly human looking, as were the Visitors until you peeled away their fake skin. But what if they look more like the Prawns from District 9, and have difficulty adapting to our language and customs?