Eventually we would discover the nature of other civilizations. There would be many of them, each composed of organisms astonishingly different from anything on the Earth.
Each one of these civilizations would view the surrounding universe somewhat differently. They would be interested in things we never thought of. They would have different social functions and culture. By comparing our knowledge with theirs, we would grow immeasurably. And with our newly acquired information sorted into a computer memory, we would be able to see which sort of civilization lived where in the Galaxy.
Imagine a huge galactic computer, a repository, more or less up-to-date, of information on the nature and activities of all the civilizations in the Milky Way Galaxy, a great library of life in the Cosmos. Perhaps among the contents of the Encyclopaedoa Galactica will be a set of summaries of such civilizations, the information enigmatic, tantalizing, evocative – even after we succeed in translating it.
Taking as much time as we wished, we would decide to reply. We would transmit some information about ourselves – may be just the basic at first – as the start of a long interstellar dialogue which we would begin but which, because of the vast distances of interstellar space and the finite velocity of light, would be continued by our remote descendants. And someday, on a planet of some far distant star, a being very different from any of us would request a printout from the latest edition of the Encyclopaedia Galactica and acquire a little information about the newest society to join the community of galactic civilizations.
Any account of cosmic evolution makes it clear that all the creature of the galaxies, are beings to be cherished. Image © Megan Jorgensen