Thursday, December 01, 2005


Bible or Bach?

An alien hands you a note that reads, "We have just travelled through a wormhole in space and would like you to select a single gift for us to bring our people. We come in peace, but have only five minutes before the wormhole closes." You walk into a nearby barn that has an assortment of objects from which to choose one potential gift:

  1. The Bible (Old Testament)

  2. Physician's Desk Reference (lists drugs and drug interactions)

  3. Mobil 2006 Travel Guide to the North East (lists hotels, restaurants, family activities, towns, parks, and includes colorful maps)

  4. One jar of Peter Pan creamy peanut butter

  5. The Starry Night (an original oil painting by Vincent van Gogh)

  6. Sheet music for Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D-minor

  7. Chap Stick lip balm

  8. A Pentium computer

  9. A severed human finger

Which do you choose and why?

I'd pick Starry Night. There's a combination of things involved in it like beauty, madness...things that are identifiable but not exactly as they are would give the alien information but room to ponder and maybe gain insight into himself too.
I agree with Starry Night for the same reasins -- but, if it were an iMac (with loaded iPod) rather than a Pentiym, I would have had second thoughts,
the peanut butter. I presume they have superior technology, rich in culture, history of religion, etc... and what a wonderful taste sensation we'd give them. but I hope they're not allergic to peanuts
Severed human finger, no question. With technology advanced enough for travel of this magnitude, providing them with human DNA would be sufficient for them learn pretty much all there is to know about us from a raw scientific standpoint. Given that they'd make the effort to travel between worlds for a scant 5 minutes it would provide them with the greatest amount of information in that time.
My first thought was to send them back with the sheet music, but I thought they probably would not be able to read it or have anything to play it on. I would not send the bible, I don’t think that it is a favorable example of humans. After some thought I came to the decision that I would send the severed finger with them. They could get more information from that finger then anything else.
Probably the Mobil Guide.
I think is the item that would provide more information about who we are and how we live.
They are looking for a gift to bring back to their people, and what could be a better gift than a completely foreign perception of the universe and all that it contains? Starry Night would be the most influential gift one could possibly give to them. It would give their civilization a look into the human mind more effectively than anything else on that list ever could.
I would pick the painting because it represents human emotion.
The severed human finger. It let's them know what we're made of. What the hell's a finger doing in a barn anyway?
I'd have to go with the Bach fugue, for it might give them some insight into our minds (or maybe not), but my reasons are below:

The Bible (Old Testament):| Sure, and have them think we're superstitious morons!

Physician's Desk Reference (lists drugs and drug interactions): It would be meaningless to them.

Mobil 2006 Travel Guide to the North East: Likewise meaningless

One jar of Peter Pan creamy peanut butter: Ummm, maybe.

The Starry Night (an original oil painting by Vincent van Gogh): No way, man, it's irreplaceable.

Sheet music for Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D-minor: Um, sure, why not, although I suspect it would also be meaningless.

Chap Stick lip balm: Nahh.

A Pentium computer: And crash their system? An intergalactic incident would ensue.

A severed human finger: Huh?
The Starry Night (an original oil painting by Vincent van Gogh)

The other choices are aweful.
The chap stick lip would sum up the entire struggle of the human race to evolve to the technology of creating these ultimately unnessecary things. Hopefully they would understand our cry for help and shower us with their wisdom.
Bible. No other real option. Would they really believe that we're "superstitious morons" or would they delight in the intricacies and nuances of human history and redemption? If they are smart enough to travel through wormholes, then obviously the latter.

Only lack of intelligence would perceive the bible as valueless.

Sorry "Cheers" the bible is a story, a long story that brings some people peace and it dose not represent our species as a whole,I doubt that aliens would be able to read it anyways. The finger would be the best good gift if they were a people of science and wanted to know about us as a species.
The finger. Then I'd take the rest for myself. (If I've stolen one object, I might aswell take the rest!)
If they had said they were seeking knowledge about our world, my answer would be different. But all the note said was that they would like a gift, so I have to take them at their word and select something that would be suitable for gift-giving.

The PDR, travel guide, peanut butter, chap stick and the finger are all out because they're crappy gifts. The sheet music would only be a good gift if you are interested in music, and I don't know if they are. They probably already have better computers than the pentium, so I'd eleminate that. I wouldn't give them The Starry Night, because I don't know if they'd value it enough to safeguard it, and I wouldn't want to be responsible for its loss. I'd give them the Bible.
I would give the visitor Van Gogh's "The Starry Night". For one thing any alien with sufficient technology to traverse wormholes could probably gather the other objects or learn enough about them without actually seeing them. Any original artwork is a different experience in person, and would encourage them to seek more of our history/arts -- and they should bring us back something of theirs! Or they already have.
I'm not to crazy about the selection. The bible could read like a horror story. Starry Night isn't exactly one of the great paintings with a good message.
The medical book probably wouldn't help.The computer wouldn't help.
The rest of the items reads the same, except the finger. With their technology, I'd say that would provide by far the most information about us.
I'm not as trusting as you people. They can tell me all day they come in peace, but I need proof.

So if I had to give them one of these items, I'd give them the Bible. If they were peaceful, a story that would tell them something about us.

If they were evil & looking at invasion, it would probably scare hell out of them & send them on their way.
Hahaha... Give them the finger, have them clone us and perhaps come back some day to destroy us if the clones prove evil enough. Then again, it would be I N T E R E S T I N G to see what humans would turn out like when raised by aliens. The questions...
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