Perhaps the safest thing to do at the outset, if technology permits, is to send music. This language may be the best we have for explaining what we are like to others in space, with least ambiguity. I would vote for Bach, all of Bach, streamed out into space, over and over again. We would be bragging, of course, but it is surely excusable for us to put the best possible face on at the beginning of such an acquaintance. We can tell the harder truths later.
written by the late, great pathologist lewis thomas regarding “first contact” if there is intelligent life elsewhere in the universe…
my go-to-sleep playlist last night comprised bach inventions played on harpsichord. so often we hear them played on the piano-forte, for which bach did not write them and of which he was not enamored (perhaps because the instrument had only been invented for a few years in his day and wasn’t yet all that well developed). i always marvel at how the lighter touch of the harpsichord allows quicker, lighter rendering of the old master’s masterpieces. needless to say, a delicious way to drop into sleep!
i read somewhere that if the human species wants to introduce itself to intelligent life elsewhere in the universe we should simply stream the music of bach out into space: “we’d be bragging of course.”