I was thinking about this the other day, about how physics is the same no matter where you are in the universe. The equation for gravity is the same everywhere along with the speed of light, general relativity, boiling point for water and the list goes on. All of these equations can, and would be discovered by an intelligent alien life force if it survives long enough, although they may have a different way of explaining it.
So it got me thinking, what other universal things would an intelligent life force have in common with us? There must be some things that are universal, whether it be mathematical equations, ways of thinking or how successful societies work.
Ways of thinking/Thought
Let’s brain storm shall we? How about irony? I see no reason how aliens could not have a concept of something being ironic. A fire truck being on fire is ironic. Even if they don’t the equivalence of a fire truck there would be some situation that irony can occur that is similar to a burning fire truck. They may not be able to explicitly explain it or have a known concept for it, but it would still exist nonetheless.
So, from there how about logic? Logic would be something that is similar to irony, that is, it’s self-evident. Example, there are 3 options and there is only 1 answer. The options are X, Y and Z. If it is not Z, or Y, then logic and deductive reasoning would dictate that the final option must be X. There are no restrictions to why an alien life force cannot discover this line of reasoning. Now, because logic exits, it means logical fallacies would also exist. Logical fallacies like special pleading, burden of proof, begging the question, false dichotomy, etc, all of these come under the banner of logic and would exist in an alien community.
Evolutionary Biologist Richard Dawkins says that if we find an intelligent alien life force, they would had have to have come about in a similar fashion to us. That is, their species didn’t just suddenly pop into existence in its current form, but would have evolved into complex creatures and shaped through the power of evolution and natural selection. I agree with this. I also think it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to postulate that these aliens would have their own types of religion. They would have started out like us, coming to terms with their own existence, becoming self-aware, have an understanding of their own mortality and would eventually face similar questions we have, like “why are we here, who made us, what is our purpose” etc etc, only to have their versions of religion start that would help answer these questions and from there it would spread.
Now how similar would these religions be? That’s incredibly tough to answer. I think there are a limited amount of ‘types’ of religions that could emerge. For instance, you wouldn’t have a religion that advocates for killing your own offspring, or one that doesn’t require you to spread the faith in some form because these religions wouldn’t survive (think of it in a Darwinian sense, that only the most successful survive). So because there isn’t an unlimited number of viable religions that can exist, it means there’s only a certain number that can. How many? Who knows. But it’s important to note that there is a limit. And, given enough different alien worlds you would inevitably start to see similarities pop up.
Community and communication.
I think these two are vital for an intelligent species to evolve. The aliens would need to be able to rely on each other for survival, and there would need to be a method of exchanging ideas. This is where language comes into play. The more complex a language is, the better it is to be able to formulate and articulate different ideas thus aiding in the chances of survival, producing offspring, and moving the species towards becoming self-aware and intelligent. The language of course doesn’t need to be verbal, although I think that is highly likely that it will be.
The aliens would also need to live in tribes, or communities. This way they’d be able to pass on their methods of survival and any inventions that they would create. When humans first started to learn how to create fire, or using other objects to sharpen rocks, we were able to pass this knowledge onto others in our tribe which increased everyone’s chances of survival and benefited those groups of us that were intelligent and shared information. Anyway this is just me thinking about some similarities, I’ll bullet point some more below and have a think for yourself about how an alien community could develop those similarities and why.
- Societal norms
Because of the similarities, I think that if we ever were to encounter aliens (we won’t) we wouldn’t instantly kill each other. Instead we would be able to learn to communicate, exchange ideas and possibly integrate into each other’s worlds.
Voyager Golden Record is something that we have sent out into the far depths of space, it’s currently outside of our solar system and en-route to a star 17.6 light years from earth. If aliens found this, there’s a lot on here that they could understand.