By first contact I mean the ability to communicate with a planet that has intelligent life. By intelligent life I mean life that is capable of establishing bidirectional communication with our World using some form of technology compatible with ours. It does not mean visiting that planet which could only happen much later. Bidirectional communications will be slow at first. Depending on distance a single message could take tens of years to be received, if not much, much longer.
Will first contact come after travelling to distant stars? I think first contact will happen after we have traveled to a handful of distant stars without intelligent life. This would be in keeping with the second vision. I think we need to learn to love our planet and distant planets with beings of a lesser love before we make contact with intelligent beings on other planets. As stated earlier such an achievement likely falls beyond the current era of sacred love and into humanity’s next evolution of love.
When we make contact with intelligent life how can we determine how evolved their love is? Judging the evolutionary stage of a civilization’s love is the domain of only The Greatest Love. But we can tread bravely based on their values and laws and how they are respected. It is these aspects of a civilization which are of greatest import for they will indicate how much they value love and recognize its power.
We must also be open to the possibility that there are nearby civilizations in the cosmos that have a higher form of love than we. And that we are not unique in our connection to a Higher Power. We must always be humble in our search.
And what prevents an alien civilization of a higher love from treating us like we treat cattle today? Because at that evolutionary level of love, I believe, as discussed earlier, higher forms of love will protect, not harvest, lower forms of love.
What about an alien civilization of a lesser love, but technological superiority? What prevents them from treating us like we treat cattle? I don’t believe this will be possible. I believe the resources, time, and technological advancement required for star travel is so vast that any such civilization reaching that pinnacle of technical achievement will have needed to come together in love and cooperation on their home planet(s) first. In so doing they would have needed to come to an agreement on how to protect the other forms of life they share those planets with. Their evolved love will set the bar for that threshold to be low and humanity will easily exceed it when our paths cross. It is also why, I believe, humanity is not yet morally equipped to visit distant planets today even if it were technologically possible. The vastness of interstellar space acts as a necessary check and balance, installed by The Greatest Love, to ensure our technical capabilities do not exceed our ethical advancements.
Will their god(s) be the same as ours? Their definitions I think will be very different and an artifact of the one god revealing Themselves differently to different beings and/or those beings then interpreting and communicating those revelations differently based on culture, history, social evolution, etc. But these different definitions of god(s) must all have a foundation in love in order to flourish. Our civilization can accommodate multiple gods and religions, alien or otherwise, so long as such a foundation is established in each. Despite having different gods and religions I believe when such a World is found, love will be the shared aspiration and the common thread that will unite our distant worlds. Not gods, religions, or beliefs. Like Earth I believe the Universe will have numerous and varied definitions of those. Love however will be universal and eternal.
If every World has numerous definitions of god(s), religions, and beliefs which one is right? It does not matter for no set of beliefs in the Universe can completely capture the infinite complexity that is love and the one god. And believing one religion is more right than another can quickly lead to religious intolerance including only recently. So long as a religion espouses love in all its forms then they are compatible with other loving religions and as such should be considered great. The days of one loving religion believing they are superior to another are over. The supremacy of love over all else is what we must now celebrate.
What happens if we assess a civilization and determine it is incompatible with ours? A civilization that, for example, practices widespread slavery, institutionalized racism, religious intolerance, or even genocide? What then? We must not judge them. We instead talk to them. We tell them our history. We teach them our lessons. For our love was not always sacred and we were no better earlier in our evolution. Diplomacy on a distant scale in an effort to extend our love to a faraway civilization. That is what, I believe, The Greatest Love would want us to do. Not turn our back on them. Help them.
Which is why I do not believe aliens have visited our planet: because our planet has suffered too much already. Too much war. Too much hate. Too much intolerance. If an alien civilization is sufficiently advanced to travel to our World, to see our compassion, our love, and then turn their backs when they see us turn on each other then their inaction is cowardly. And love is not cowardly. Love does not refuse to help when it can. Love does not turn its back on suffering when it knows its voice alone could be enough to alleviate the pain. And any civilization that would turn its back on us, could not have evolved their love far enough to travel to distant stars. Instead they would be expending the bulk of their time and resources combating each other and the calamities they have inflicted upon themselves. Star travel would remain a distant afterthought until such time as they evolved their love.
Aliens are not among us. All we have is each other and The Greatest Love. I believe, however, that is enough for something wonderful.