Take Me To Your Leader

I have this daydream I revisit occasionally. It’s the one where the aliens come, and they make contact, first of all, with me. But not because they actually want to talk with me. “You, specimen of this planet’s dominant species,” they say. “You…hew-mahn. You appear to be unexceptional in age and social status, and you are a representative of the type that slightly dominates your world’s population. Fee-males. Unexceptional hew-mahn fee-male, please identify a small group of those who may speak on behalf of your world. We will bring those you name aboard our ship to negotiate a preliminary treaty between the hew-mahns and the bzzzt-SCHREE! Please excuse. That was a translator error.”

So then I name a few people who I’d trust to represent humanity in the first contact with the aliens. This is the fun part of the daydream. Who would you choose? Say you’re sitting there, at the computer, and your room fills with green light and the aliens start talking to you in their weird distorted voices. Who do you tell them to go look for?

The aliens are prepared to deal with between three and eight people. You have to keep in mind, of course, that the more people you send, the more likely it is humanity’s message will become confused and jumbled. My current group is: President Obama, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Stephen Hawking, Seth Shostak of the SETI project, Ursula K. Le Guin, and Judith Martin (Miss Manners). Shostak and Le Guin are in there because I figure it would be good to have some people who have spent a lot of time thinking about first-contact scenarios, and Mrs. Martin makes an appearance because I can’t think of a situation that requires more delicacy, tact, and charm. The group is weighted towards Americans because, well, I’m American, but I do try to pick a group that’s diverse along as many axes as possible.

So who would you pick, to represent humanity? It’s good to be prepared.

3 Responses to “Take Me To Your Leader”

  • Madeline Says:

    Your list seems ideal to me. I’m reading Le Guin’s _Powers_ right now and thinking a lot about how strongly her anthropology background comes through in her books. She is so finely attuned to cultural differences. And so focused on big ethical questions. So she’d be perfect. I love your other choices, too, especially Miss Manners!

  • Madeline Says:

    I’m surprised no one else chimed in–it’s such a great question. Maybe they were intimidated by the perfection of your choices. 🙂

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