A few thoughts for who or what might find The Golden Record in their possession


On earth, our visual art is better than the images supplied. This may sound biased, but out of all the art periods, genres and styles, I really think there are artworks that you would enjoy more than these rudimentary images that look like someone’s first attempt at tracing a page from a natural encyclopaedia. 

I also think we took your potential understanding of evolution for granted. I promise these drawings of animals that are supposed to represent this idea are even strange to my eyes. The scale is completely wrong, and the examples limited. We share earth with a huge variety of species, even though we often forget we are meant to be sharing the planet with them. For example, we have these incredibly large furry mammals with antlers, that live on land and can also swim underwater. I think, if they had been included, we would have seemed a lot more interesting. 

I understand that all the information on The Golden Record seems like a seductive travel brochure – an invitation to visit with a little cultural exchange. 

The problem is not you; it is us. What we haven’t included in these documents, is our history of our fear of difference. The truth is — we usually attack without much consideration. It is in our design to fear the unknown, and you are probably the most unknown being we have encountered. So often, our fear leads to violence. Or alternatively we respond with curiosity and you would become the subject of invasive tests. 

I am hoping you will reconsider. 

To help you understand our propensity for inappropriate reactions, I believe it would be worth explaining the uncanny valley, unless you are made up of light or sound or something we can’t even imagine — in which case you can skip this. This term explains our uneasy response to computer-generated figures or humanoid robots. So, if you view the anatomy drawings we sent and think it appears somewhat like you or if your appearance is even slightly like ours — pay attention — because we will define you as a ‘humanoid’ object. 

While we are programmed to see resemblances to ourselves, we will also perceive your difference. Despite better instincts and intentions, we will find you revolting and untrustworthy, which will fill us with a sense of mistrust. I know this to be true because of my understanding of the uncanny valley and I don’t think this response would lead to a healthy relationship between us, no matter how much I wish it could. 

All the above is assuming that you will be coming in peace.  But I also fear you won’t. You will see us for what we are — thin skinned and over-confident and will instantly realise how quickly you can take over. We operate under the rules that deem — those that can dominate others — take power. Once you see the damage we have caused since we have been here, I believe you will not hesitate. Given our own history — how can we argue against such exploitation?

I hope my message illustrates that some of us would love to meet but I for one, cannot see a positive outcome from a visit. Instead send us a letter or a postcard sometime, maybe when you are about to move planets and about to become untraceable. We love to make art, conversations, and stories surrounding the idea of you.

Maybe confound with us with a mysterious phenomenon like a crop circle or a geoglyph that will also add to our earthly realm of the visual arts.  Otherwise, I believe it would be best if you remained a figment of my imagination so I can instead contemplate the Voyager, with Golden Record, on board floating through the uninterrupted blackness of space..