In 1977 NASA sent the Voyager 1 probe into the great beyond. Aboard the probe is a collection of 116 images of earth if by any chance extra terrestrials found the probe. The images range from chemical equations explaining photosynthesis to dolphins jumping out of the ocean. However, the most intriguing images are the ones of the human race. These pictures, if found by an extra terrestrial civilization, would be the only representation of our species. The pictures are informative and beautiful, of course. They depict human values such as love and family. Pictures of a pregnant couple, a man running a race, and a diagram display our biology. However, none of these pictures can convey our thoughts, feelings, or ideas as humans. These are the most important aspects of our species, and I believe the humanities are an overarching study of these aspects. The humanities are what would truly define our human species. Artifacts of civilizations and peoples past and present display our actions but pieces of humanities present our thoughts.
The black-and-whiteness of history can often dehumanize people of the past, but their thoughts recorded in the humanities of their time color the history and bridge the distance of the past. They show us the human condition has no timeline. birth, growth, love, aspiration, conflict, and mortality that will forever and always be a part of the human experience.
So what better way to represent our species to an extra-terrestrial civilization than the humanities? Although aliens probably don’t know English or any Earth languages for that matter, they can learn what truly makes the humans depicted in the pictures in the Voyager 1 truly human.
So don’t worry aliens. We come in peace and with pieces of humanities that will forever help us, and you, understand our experience as humans in this universe.