The UFO Iconoclast(s)

Thursday, August 06, 2009

THE CIVILIZED ALIEN by Anthony Bragalia


Everything that makes up our life is "culture." But we rarely consider that intelligent extraterrestrial life must also have culture. Instead, like proverbial "motorheads," we obsess about their technology - their modes of transportation. We are in awe of their aerial vehicles, their UFOs.

We somehow loose sight that the UFO really represents far more than just a means of mobility for the alien. It means that the alien possesses a meaningful life. If the alien visits us, it must be a Civilized Alien - with components of culture that are likely very similar to our own.


In a January article on the UFO Iconoclast website entitled "Why ET Has To Be Humanoid," I examined the probability that the alien shares certain fundamental physical characteristics with humans.

For instance -in order to craft technology- the visiting alien must be like us. They must ambulate; possess fine motor movement; limbs; opposable digits; and bilateral symetry. Recent information from the University of Maryland's Laboratory of Chemical Evolution concludes: The genetic code, which determines the appearance and makeup of all living things, has a tendency to work one way -like water running down hill- to produce life as we know it.

Some believe that this is a flawed "anthropomorphic" position -and that aliens appear as we wish them to appear. We conceive and percieve them in forms to which we can relate. But the simple fact remains- though you will get different life forms on different planets- the ones who visit us are going to in many ways resemble us.

And just as we have similar physical characteristics the civilized alien -no matter how complex or exotic its mind- must also share certain intellectual and cultural characteristics with humans.


Because "they" visit "us" - it then follows that their intellectual capacities must be far more highly developed than our own. But their mental skills must be fundamentally very similar to our own. They too:

- Seek Answers to Problems (They must analyze complex systems and issues by subdividing and prioritizing their components)

- Relate Observations (They must communicate a reality -or an object- based on its parts)

- Anticipate Change (They must perceive and explain change in order to adjust)

- Remember and Incorporate Experience (They must recall solved problems and incorporate these solutions in the future)

- Plan for Things to Come (They must have a sense of "future"- and be able to "arrange" action)

- Possess a Purpose of Action (They must goal-set with the objective to improve their own welfare)

These things are essential and common to all higher intelligence. In many ways, the Civilized Alien must think very much like the mind of man.


The alien culture is no doubt unfamiliar. But it is imaginable. It is even probable that we share many basic similarities. The alien culture has unfolded in far different directions then our own -and it has evolved for far longer. But it is still discernable.

There are things that we can know about the Civilized Alien with some certainty:

- If they travel to our world, they must organize their own. Their civilization must in some way "group" in a way that is cohesive. These groups must in some way communicate and act for the common benefit. Simply, they must organize their society in some form. This perhaps includes families, tribes, clans, nations or alliances. There must be common norms and mental models. Without this, ET would be an unaccomplished race. There must be some sort of commerce- cooperation between groups to obtain goods or services that each needs that is had by another.

- Because they visit us in craft, they are technological. They must then have had issues related to a technological society, such as pollution and the use and allocation of planetary resources. They must "manufacture" - or have in some way developed systems to produce on a mass scale to meet their societal needs.

- If certain groups do not cooperate with one another, they likely have had war. Where there is more than one, there is always disagreement.

- The alien must educate its young. Education means communication for survival. To continue as a group, they must coach and cultivate their kindred.

- The alien may have dealt with poverty and disease. All planets have weather, nature and natural disasters. These things would certainly have impacted their culture, as they have ours.

These elements of culture are likely to be universal to all communities of higher intelligence. We are analogous to the alien in many ways.


The attributes and nuances of alien culture, however, are far more difficult to discern: Do they have heroes, symbols and legends? Religion? Do they dance? Do they laugh? Do they have their own "Mona Lisa?" But perhaps the most important of these questions also cannot be answered:

Does the Civilized Alien have the capacity to Love?

Like us, can they care about one another? Do they have a sense of obligation? Or like us, can they also act out of fear and self-interest? As Sir Arthur Keith wrote, "Human nature has a dual constituency; to Hate as well as to Love are parts of it." Does this human characteristic - like so many others - extend to the alien?


  • There may be a less weighted framework to analyze an alien
    civilization as you define the term, civilization. "Civilization" is the result of implicate orders of the environment to biology to sensory organs to mobility to the causality of food sources, to planetary rotational cycles, the periodicity if any of harvest and growth, life cycling, the lack or need for technological aids in relation to the above and so on. So if this has some bearing on the issue, then we have to ask ...does the universe repeat itself?

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Friday, August 07, 2009  

  • ... typo in the second paragraph.

    Sorry, but "loose" in place of "lose" is one of my pet peeves.


    By Blogger Gareth, at Friday, August 07, 2009  

  • "If the alien visits us, it must be a Civilized Alien - with components of culture that are likely very similar to our own."

    This is one of the most ridiculous things I've read regarding UFOs and the ETH in a very long time. Talk about putting the cart before the horse.

    If there are extraterrestrial visitors here, it is just as likely (more so, I would submit, but I'll leave that point for another day) that they are AI or robotic "beings", singularly devoid of emotion or anyhting even remotely rsembling humanity. Their drive to the stars could simply be an information gathering mission. Their biological designers may have long since died out. Or... well, who knows?

    One thing Stan Friedman has right is this - if there are "aliens" visiting us, who knows what their motivations are, or what their "society" or "civilization" is like - or even what they are like?

    To assume anything, as Bragalia does here, says far more about us - or him, in this case - and our own hopes and expectations, than it does about any visitors.


    By Blogger Paul Kimball, at Saturday, August 08, 2009  

  • I once witnessed an armless man play a stunning guitar piece with his feet for the Pope.

    I used to agree with a leading animal behaviour expert, (specialty, bird behaviour), when he stated with unhesitating certainty that since it was a scientifically known FACT birds have neither the intelligence nor the manipulatory capacity to fill jars with stones (in order to raise the level of the water they contained), surely this proved Aesop's fables should be viewed as merely disguised critiques of humanity, as opposed to records of actual animal behaviour.

    And given innumerable videos of untrained corvids bending strips of metal to make hooks, (not to mention octopi using tentacles to similar effect), what makes you think these aliens even need hands, never mind opposable thumbs?

    By Blogger El Borko, at Sunday, August 09, 2009  

  • El Borko...

    Lets see a bird, a corvid or an octopus build a spacecraft.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Sunday, August 09, 2009  

  • If you think there's any validity to the theory that Earth was either seeded or that intelligent life was helped along at a critical moment via alien activity, then great similarity between us and them is quite likely.

    It's an interesting idea and certainly possible.

    As we look further into the universe and see that solar systems are solar systems and galaxies are galaxies, we may find that life is life and alien life isn't so terribly different due to the natural course of development.

    By Blogger Frank Stalter, at Thursday, October 15, 2009  

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