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13th February 2010 | Draft

Writing Guidelines for Future Occupation of Earth by Extraterrestrials

Be done by as you did ?

-- / --

Patterns of human collective behaviour indicative of appropriate 'rules of engagement' for extraterrestrials

Varieties of 'extraterrestrial'?
Related explorations from an 'extraterrestrial' perspective

Written on the occasion of the launch of the largest assault by NATO forces against the Taliban in the 9-year battle for 'hearts and minds' in Afghanistan and during relief operations in earthquake-devastated Haiti (highlighting obligations for reparations and restitution for the devastating consequences of foreign debt sustained for over a century by former colonial powers)


Many have speculated on whether extraterrestrials would be characterized by exploitative, malevolent intent or by enlightened, benevolent intent -- perhaps beyond current human understanding. Of course any malevolent intent might also be of a kind beyond human understanding, perhaps a form of structural violence, cultural violence, conceptual violence, or even spiritual violence -- which would currently be virtually undetectable. The newly acknowledged cognitive traps in intelligence analysis recognize that there are many levels at which another culture can be misunderstood -- in this case that of the extraterrestrials. A valuable complementary perspective is offered by Johan Galtung (UFOs, Transcend Media Service, 6 September 2010).

Extraterrestrial sensitivity: There is one interesting possibility however. Extraterrestrials may have reached the conclusion that any civilization should be encountered on its own terms, according to its own rules. Every effort might then be put in place by them to determine what those rules were -- just as human colonial powers and missionaries might have chosen to do in their encounter with other cultures. It is of course uncertain whether extraterrestrials would seek the rules in order simply to apply them as such, to use them to develop a higher degree of 'rapport' with humans for mutual benefit (as suggested by the 'matching' techniques of neuro-linguistic programming), or to use such rapport in order to 'entrain' humans in unsuspected ways. Especially intriguing is the possiblity that the matching would engage with both what humans claim explicitly to value and with what they deplore (the 'unsaid'), which combine together to define the essence of humanity.

Human rule recognition: The following is therefore an exploration of how extraterrestrials might recognize these rules and incorporate them assiduously into their legal and procedural engagement with humanity. Such an approach might be the basis for all galactic encounters between intelligent life. This might be described in human terms under the Golden Rule: Do as you would be done by. However, Charles Kingsley (The Water Babies, 1863) explored in a fairy tale a more challenging complementary adage: Be done by as you did. This is widely cited as a pattern of behaviour toward others determined by how they themselves behaved towards others -- effectively making sure that that their actions came back to cause them instructive suffering, until they gradually learnt the golden rule of civilization: if you don't like it yourself, then best not do it to someone else (Mary Wakefield, What 'The Water Babies' can teach us about personal morality, The Independent, 26 December 2009)..

Elaboration of rules by humanity: In that sense humanity has written, and is writing, its own rule book by which future contact with extraterrestrials could be framed (by them). For extraterrestrials, as a matter of principle, use of such a rule book reflects the greatest sensitivity to demonstrated human preferences and practices.

Rule detection: The task for extraterrestrials is to detect articulations of such rules ('Standard Operating Procedures', 'Manuals', 'Guidelines') even if they are confidential -- as with procedures governing the behaviour of major institutions in dealing with challenging 'others'. Extraterrestrials might even, to some degree, be able to 'cut and paste' from such documents -- 'harmonizing' the result. Humanity might facilitate the task of extraterrestrials by using a Wikipedia-style process to build up profiles of such collective patterns. The profiles of 'problems' and 'strategies' in the Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential might be of service to that end. Many of the 'rules' required as guidelines by extraterrestrials could be obtained by appropriately 'inverting' the prescriptions of the contents of existing international treaty documents -- especially given the manner whereby they are honoured in the breach (Jaye Ellis, Honoured in the Breach: the impact on and response of international law to breaches of the rules, 2004).

Period of rule validity: A key question is however the period of time over which extraterrestrials might consider it appropriate to identify relevant patterns: 10 years, 100 years, 1000 years? They may well have a quite different understanding of time -- perhaps favouring cyclic time. But again extraterrestrials might wish to be extremely respectful of the period considered relevant by humans themselves, rather than impose their own.

Humans have various understandings of a valid period beyond which it is inappropriate to take account of problematic collective behaviour:

It is of course unclear what span of time extraterrestrials might consider appropriate in formulating prescriptions on taking account of behaviour defined by such rules. For the purpose of this exercise, the assumption is made that the Biblical prescription holds -- a prescription seemingly shared by the Abrahamic faiths and some indigenous peoples. A familial generation is currently defined as the average time between a mother's first offspring and her daughter's first offspring (for example 25.2 years in the USA and 27.4 years in the UK). Assuming 25 years, the Biblical prescription would then give a period of 175 years (7x25). It is within this period that patterns of human behavior will be considered here as an indication of what extraterrestrials would define as the rulebook for human contact. It covers the period back to 1835, therefore including much of the experience of colonization.

Human contestation: Humanity may of course challenge this principled approach with claims that:

These protestations of course raise the question of an understanding of the ethics of reciprocity -- an 'eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth' (Leviticus 24:19-21, Exodus 21:22-25, Deuteronomy 19:21, Matthew 5:38-39). But again extraterrestrials may consider it appropriate to follow respectfully the behavioural pattern of humans in considering such matters, namely with the greatest degree of procrastination and obfuscation.

Patterns of human collective behaviour indicative of appropriate 'rules of engagement' for extraterrestrials

The following checklist is purely indicative but lends itself readily to extension and deeper articulation.

Varieties of 'extraterrestrial'?

The term 'extraterrestrial'. as with 'alien', suggests a variety of interpretations to be considered in relation to the process of writing any set of guidelines. These can be tentatively clustered as follows, although this does not imply that there is not a degree of overlap between some categories:

Some of these understandings of 'extraterrestrial' imply that the Earth is already 'occupied' by one or more 'extraterrestrials' who may themselves be relatively active in elaborating guidelines for the occupation of Earth by others in the future. Of interest in some of the above categories is the extent to which 'extraterrestrial' implies the absence of 'cognitive entanglement' of some kind, as explored elsewhere (Towards a University of Earth? Exploring the cognitive entanglement between lifetyle diseases and planetary ills, 2010)

Related explorations from an 'extraterrestrial' perspective

The following documents make various uses of a hypothetical 'extraterrestrial' perspective to explore related arguments:

Guidance to Extraterrestrials from the Golden Rule of Religions
to be more honoured in the breach by extraterrestrials rather than in the observance -- human style?

Considered an essential truth of world religions, the Golden Rule is abandoned by religions in favour of self-serving social and political goals keeping people apart separated and disconnected. (Anthony J. Marsella, The Golden Rule: Eleven World Religions, Transcend Media Service, 9 October 2017)

"If you seek justice, choose for others what you would choose for yourself" (Baha'i)

"One should seek for others the happiness one derives for one's self" (Buddhism)

"Do unto others as you would have others do unto you" (Christianity)

"What you do not want done to yourself, do not unto others" (Confucianism)

"Do naught to others which if done to thee would cause pain" (Hinduism)

"No one of you is a believer until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself" (Islam)

"We should . . . refrain from inflicting upon others such injury as would appear undesirable to us if inflicted upon ourselves" (Jainism)

"What is hurtful to yourself, do not do to our fellow man" (Judaism)

"As thou deemest thyself, so deem others" (Sikkhism)

"To those who are good to me, I am also good; and to those who are not good to me, I am also good. And thus all get to be good" (Taoism)

"Do as you would be done by" (Zoroastrianism)

Guidelines supplied by a Permanent Member of the UN Security Council
in dealing with social unrest by colonial peoples

As reported by George Monbiot (Deny the British empire's crimes? No, we ignore them, The Guardian, 23 April 2012), on the basis of evidence unearthed by Caroline Elkins (Imperial Recknoning: the untold story of Britain's gulag in Kenya, 2005), and the recently recognized destruction of official records by the British:

Elkins reveals that the British detained not 80,000 Kikuyu, as the official histories maintain, but almost the entire population of one and a half million people, in camps and fortified villages. There, thousands were beaten to death or died from malnutrition, typhoid, tuberculosis and dysentery. In some camps almost all the children died.

The inmates were used as slave labour. Above the gates were edifying slogans, such as "Labour and freedom" and "He who helps himself will also be helped". Loudspeakers broadcast the national anthem and patriotic exhortations. People deemed to have disobeyed the rules were killed in front of the others. The survivors were forced to dig mass graves, which were quickly filled. Unless you have a strong stomach I advise you to skip the next paragraph.

Interrogation under torture was widespread. Many of the men were anally raped, using knives, broken bottles, rifle barrels, snakes and scorpions. A favourite technique was to hold a man upside down, his head in a bucket of water, while sand was rammed into his rectum with a stick. Women were gang-raped by the guards. People were mauled by dogs and electrocuted. The British devised a special tool which they used for first crushing and then ripping off testicles. They used pliers to mutilate women's breasts. They cut off inmates' ears and fingers and gouged out their eyes. They dragged people behind Land Rovers until their bodies disintegrated. Men were rolled up in barbed wire and kicked around the compound.

Elkins provides a wealth of evidence to show that the horrors of the camps were endorsed at the highest levels.

Guidelines elaborated under the mandate of the UN Security Council
(Resolution 1441 and Resolution 678 providing legitimacy for the 2003 invasion of Iraq)
effectively enabling "abuse" by "rogue elements", supposedly "unauthorised"
Beginning in 2004, human rights violations in the form of physical, psychological, and sexual abuse, including torture, reports of rape, sodomy, and homicide of prisoners held in the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq (also known as Baghdad Correctional Facility) came to public attention. These acts were committed by military personnel of a Permanent Member of the UN Security Council (as extensively documented by Wikipedia: Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner abuse, from which the images below were reproduced)
Prisoners held in the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq Prisoners held in the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq Prisoners held in the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq
Guidelines to appropriate "Inhuman" Indifference to the Consequences of Resistance,
elaborated under the mandate of the UN Security Council

as indicated by the example of Fallujah (2004), noted by Robert Fisk
The brave families of Fallujah will soon be forgotten
(The Independent, 27 April 2012)
The torment of the children of Fallujah that is too awful to describe
(The Independent, 27 April 2012)
It's the same again in Fallujah today. The doctors talk of a massive increase in child birth deformities. The Americans used phosphorous munitions - possibly also depleted uranium (DU) - in the 2004 battles of Fallujah. Everyone in Fallujah knows about these deformities. Reporters have seen these children and reported on them. But it's know nothing, see nothing, say nothing. Neither the Iraqi government nor the US government nor the British will utter a squeak about Fallujah. This is too much. These photographs are too awful, the pain and emotion of them - for the poor parents, at least - impossible to contemplate. They simply cannot be published. There is a no-nonsense attitude from the doctors in Fallujah. They know we know about this tragedy. Indeed, there is nothing undiscovered about the child deformities of Fallujah. Other correspondents - including my colleague Patrick Cockburn - have visited Fallujah to report on them. What is so shameful is that these deformities continue unmonitored.
Videos of the deformed babies in Fallujah
The Truth Of Iraq's City Of Deformed Babies (Skynews, 1 September 2009)
Deformed Babies in Fallujah (YouTube, 20 November 2009)
Extreme Birth Deformities Iraq (YouTube, 17 May 2009)

The examples suggest that inhuman "aliens" may have already successfully "invaded" -- from "within"


Rhett Allain. Discovery's Curiosity Explores an Alien Invasion. Dot Physics, 12 August 2011 [text]

Iván Almár and Margaret S. Race. Discovery of extra-terrestrial life: assessment by scales of its importance and associated risks. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, 369, 13 February 2011, pp. 679-692 [abstract]

Seth D. Baum, Jacob D. Haqq-Misra and Shawn D. Domagal-Goldman. Would contact with extraterrestrials benefit or harm humanity? A scenario analysis. Acta Astronautica, 2011, 68, pp. 2114-2129 [text]

Gary S Bekkum. STUXNET, and UFOs: Cyber Warfare and Alien Extraterrestrial Invasion. American Chronicle, 26 September 2010 [text]

Global Defense Aerospace and Military Forum. Which institutions will react on alien invasion? DefenceTalk, 15 January 2011 [comments]

Martin Dominik and John C. Zarnecki. The detection of extra-terrestrial life and the consequences for science and society. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, 369, 13 February 2011, pp. 499-507 [abstract]

Malcolm Fridlund. Extra-terrestrial life in the European Space Agency's Cosmic Vision plan and beyond. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, 369, 13 February 2011, pp. 582-593 [text]

Steven M. Greer. Cosmic Deception: The Hoaxed Alien Invasion Scenario. Educate Yourself, 4 April 2003 [text]

Albert A. Harrison. Fear, pandemonium, equanimity and delight: human responses to extra-terrestrial life. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, 369, 13 February 201, pp. 656-668 [text]

Scott Hillis. How to prepare for alien invasion. Reuters, 25 April 2007 [text]

Terry A. Hurlbut. NASA speculates on extraterrestrial invasion. Conservative News and Views, 19 August 2011 [text]

Alok Jha. Earth must prepare for close encounter with aliens, say scientists. The Guardian, 10 January 2011 [text]

Patrick J. Kiger. False-Flag Extra-Terrestrial Invasion Scenario: the most mind-boggling conspiracy theory yet. National Geographic, 20 May 2011 [text]

Juliet Lapidos. If Mars Attacks: Do we have an alien-contact contingency plan? Slate, 16 July 2010 [text]

Simon Conway Morris. Predicting what extra-terrestrials will be like: and preparing for the worst. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, 369, 13 February 2011, pp. 555-571 [abstract]

W. H. Mumfrey. The Alien Invasion Survival Handbook: a defense manual for the coming extraterrestrial Apocalypse. How, 2009

Ian O'Neill. To Save the Galaxy, Destroy Humanity Analysis. Discovery News, 18 August 2011 [text]

Mazlan Othman. Supra-Earth affairs. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, 369, 13 February 2011, pp. 693-699 [abstract]

Karen Rowan. Stephen Hawking warning: What would an alien invasion be like? Christian Science Monitor, 29 April 2010 [text]

Michael Salla. Pentagon plans for Alien invasion exist according to military professor. Honolulu Exopolitics Examiner, 10 April 2012 [text]

Ian Sample. Aliens may destroy humanity to protect other civilisations, say scientists. The Guardian, 18 August 2011 [text]

Raymond Samuels. Exopolitics Britain: Plans exist for Extraterrestrial invasion. Digital Journal, 28 April 2012 [text]

Josh Sanburn. Paul Krugman: An Alien Invasion Could Fix the Economy. Time, 16 August 2011 [text]

Zachary Sniderman. Alien Invasion Not Imminent, White House Says. Mashable, 7 November 2011 [text]

Travis S. Taylor, Bob Boan, R.C. Anding and T. Conley Powell. An Introduction to Planetary Defense: a study of modern warfare applied to extra-terrestrial invasion. Brown Walker Press, 2006

Travis S. Taylor and Bob Boan. Alien Invasion: The Ultimate Survival Guide for the Ultimate Attack. Baen, 2011

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