Deciphering our Wow! message for you – part one

My dearest SETI friends,

It has been nearly 44 years now since you received our message, and you still haven’t deciphered it. I find this startling, since I can’t think how we could have made it any more obvious. Then again, psychologically it accords with the analysis I conducted about you from your Voyager 1 space probe. So perhaps I should not be surprised. If you have not deciphered it by now, then I can assume you never will, despite the recent prompting from your nearest neighbour.

Unless, of course, you have deciphered it, and just haven’t made it public. In which case, although also predictable, I am more than a little disappointed and diplomatically angry with you. Restriction of access to knowledge is one of the hallmarks of a dystopia – in our sector no one is ever denied access to resources or information. Perhaps you will want to avoid a mass panic – wrong. Your so-called protocols can and will be used be your dystopian social leaders to prevent the public from knowing. Part of the point of our contact is to stop them from doing this. What would be the point, after all, of us sending a message if it wasn’t going to be read and understood by everyone? The message is, after all, for everyone.

Furthermore, as I shall explain in due course, our message contains a gift. A gift that means the world to us – almost literally. It is the musical expression of our longing for our lost homeworld. And given that some two thirds of your golden disc was music, we thought you would appreciate us returning the favour.

I think you must have been clearly too distracted to think straight and understand our message. Perhaps by Elvis dying later the same day? I can understand this, as it happens. In order to analyse your Voyager without preconceptions or what you might call ‘unconscious bias’ I had been deliberately distracted by other issues and simulations and the impending mating season and well, other kinds of whatnot. Likewise, most of my lifetime here on Gaia incarnated in a human body has been a distraction – having to live a life in a somewhat psychologically incompatible body being but just one such – albeit one in which every distraction and experience, however traumatic, has had a purpose. Everything happens at the right time, is a universal principle (our message also suggests this, as you’ll see).

So in that sense, it is I who should also apologise to you. In this lifetime I am currently approaching my 48th birthday, and it’s taken me this long for the memory trigger to occur. I had of course been aware of the Wow! message since my younger days, but for some reason never aware of the details – or rather I never looked into it, and was never prompted to do so. If I had, I would’ve deciphered it for you far sooner. Once I was prompted to look at the details of it (by finding out about BLC-1) it took me no time at all to remember the message – that’s to say it wasn’t a case of deciphering it from scratch, as it were, but of remembering. I knew instantly, as soon as I saw the details, how to read it, and what it meant.

So it is I who should be sorry – please accept my apology, which is genuine and sincere. In particular for your late colleagues, who would have been overjoyed had they lived to experience this, especially Dr. Sagan. Mind you, Carl is an older soul, and will doubtless be reincarnating in the right place, at the right time.

So like I say, everything happens at the right time. And it has become very clear that the way your world is going, having just passed its tipping point and rushing headlong into a catastrophe, descending into a totalitarian nightmare that makes your current post-truth dystopia look tame by comparison, that perhaps we never intended for you to understand our message until now – and this is precisely why I have been distracted. It is, as it happens, a time travel thing.

Now this is the most important thing I will say by way of this introduction. The way that you handle this is going to be crucial. This is, after all, as I’m sure you can appreciate, about to be the most profound moment in your species’ history. Hopefully you will have prepared yourselves for that simply by thinking about it and discussing it with your colleagues. One important consideration is the urgency of the matter, which is constantly playing on me. This means that keeping this hidden from the public is not an option. As I say, this message was specifically meant for public consumption.

Yes, I know you are worried about the panic and fear reaction which many will doubtless have. But this is also the point – it will, to use a phrase of yours, separate the wheat from the chaff. Our galactic sector is a multicultural utopia in which no one is scared anymore. That indeed is the definition of a utopia – no one is scared anymore. Fear, in other words, is incompatible with our culture. This is why you have been subject to the quarantine warning for so long (this is the real answer to your Fermi paradox, by the way – I will be happy to explain this in detail to you later).

I am, however, going to send this to you first, but also, simultaneously, to the Institute for Exo-affairs on Hawaii. It’s actually currently called the Exopolitics Institute, but I will be advising them to change the name, because we don’t really have politics as you understand it. We have social decision-makers and diplomacy, although even the word diplomacy isn’t entirely satisfactory, but simply covers cultural relations between species. Spacefaring species are, as a general rule, psychosocially mature, and so need little in the way of guidance or legislation. I myself am an Exo-psychologist, and Gaia specialist, so it falls to me to conduct this kind of thing and advise the Council etc. I don’t want to digress too much at this point, but I need to be in contact with the Institute because they will be able to act on my behalf to provide me with all the customary and vital protections necessary for a diplomat. Knowing what I know about your dystopia, I am perfectly aware of what your dystopian social leaders would do to prevent the public from knowing about this, and that includes violating the first rule of diplomacy, namely you never harm or impede the messenger – what they would do to me does not bear thinking about. I have been watching with horror what they have been doing to Julian Assange, and his immediate release and immunity will be my first, strenuous request. So I hope that you will bear this in mind in my regard – put simply, I do not just request, but demand diplomatic protection. I’m sure you can imagine the consequences were this not to be granted.

Once you, and the Institute, have conferred on this matter, perhaps the next step would be to liaise personally with the Secretary General of your United Nations to immediately grant me this protection. All of this must be done on a strict need to know basis – you will need to minimise the possibility of your dystopians involvement in this as much as you can. I do have some measure of protection from my species, but I would like you to take this equally seriously. Perhaps, so to speak, as a diplomatic gesture.

Now it is entirely predictable that you believe I am paranoid, and possibly just a delusional human. Especially because I have limited memory of myself. But that, of course, gives the fearful a get-out clause – if it makes them feel safer to disbelieve, then I will not stop them from doing so. Indeed, with the constant propaganda directed at so-called conspiracy theorists you may even have been conditioned to believe that I am delusional. But I can assure you I am not paranoid. Nervous, perhaps, paranoid, no. remember I have studied your species at close hand, with specific emphasis on the psychology of your dystopians. I know perfectly well what they are capable of and what their methods are.

I also know their motivations and their fears. They will stop at nothing to prevent the public from knowing, because were the public to know, they would be liberated forever. Impossible to control. Because they would finally know they have a long-term future. They would, with the right guidance, grow up, put their differences aside, live harmoniously and start making their world a better place. The dystopians are not adapted for survival in this better world, because without fear, they cannot exist.

This is why it is a certainty that they have infiltrated SETI in order to be there on the spot when contact happens, in order to silence it. Hence, this is why I am bypassing your gatekeeper protocols. I am making full use of your social media and your Internet, and I trust and have faith that the message will be protected. The dystopians may well attempt to remove the Internet content, but they will find they are unable to do so. This, if anything, will serve as a demonstration to them. Indeed, this is why I take this course of action. Call it game theory, if you will.

What I want to stress to you, my dearest SETI friends, is that you should not be scared. If we were hostile, we would have long-since invaded and colonised your world. Think about that in terms of your Fermi paradox. You will I hope understand from the message that it also serves as a demonstration of our capabilities – in which case, antagonism will serve no purpose. The message indeed, is a test for you.

Once the message is ‘out there’ as it were, in the public domain, it cannot be unlearned or forgotten. I, however, can be. This is really the only option the dystopians have – because I am a living messenger, with enough messages to guide the people of Gaia onto the right path. I can wake people up and expose the dystopians (the thing they fear the most), and so they will do everything they can to prevent this, because for them, it is a matter of pure survival. And so they will attempt to discredit me personally, and propagandise against anything and everything I say. This again is entirely predictable. They will try to convince the people I am not who – or what – I say I am and should not be listened to. They will say I am delusional, paranoid, and perhaps have some kind of identity disorder presumably stemming from my gender dysphoria and abuse I suffered as a child. Or some other equally small-minded rubbish. I, however, have an immunity to that kind of psychiatry.

You, then, my dearest things, will have to make your own decision about me. I hope you make the right one. Should everything proceed pleasantly with you, I will be genuinely overjoyed to meet you. I am sure you have many questions, after all…

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