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What fictional alien encounters can teach us about our own reality

Cosmic Companion
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Jennifer R. Povey

South African

District 9
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New Zealand

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Positivity     47.00%   
   Negativity   53.00%
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This South African and New Zealand flick isn’t often talked about these days, but it should be; it’s an excellent, interestingly-produced movie that was nominated for four Oscars.The concept behind District 9 is that the aliens come not as traders, nor as conquerors, but as climate refugees, fleeing a dying planet. I adored the way it focused on linguistics, and the way it showed that the aliens were from a gas giant without ever saying so.It’s also a seriously strange movie that I can’t explain because it would inhibit the enjoyment of anyone who hasn’t seen it; if you haven’t, go watch it.The central reason for the first contact, in this case, is to give humanity knowledge so as to push our development in ways that help them.Is this plausible? The fact is, it’s more likely that any knowledge aliens give us so we can help them would be at a more practical level, and vice versa.So, what do I think is the most likely actual first contact scenario? It’s entirely possible that the only contact we will have with aliens will be years or decades-long conversations between the stars.If they do come here, then their motivation is, thankfully, unlikely to be conquest; it’s more likely to be curiosity or the need to trade.Another thing most of the movies get wrong; it’s entirely likely that we won’t be able to breathe the same air as the aliens. If we aren’t compatible, then things in our atmosphere might poison them.We might or might not be able to share food.But we will be able to share knowledge, one way or another…once we work out how to talk to each other.Or perhaps the distances are just too great and we will always be ships passing in the night, so far apart we can’t see each other’s signal flags.And the moment of first contact itself is likely to be an exchange of data, computers talking to each other, and we may never see the other’s face.Maybe it doesn’t matter.This article was originally published on The Cosmic Companion by Jennifer R.

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