In 2065, an extraterrestrial spaceship arrives on Earth. The crew analyzes our language, then uses it to post one question to us:
Why are you here?
This gets us rambling. Nobody knows their motives. Is this a test? We don’t know what to respond! Despite millenia of philosophy, we don’t have an answer ready. Three of our philosophers are appointed to resolve the issue as fast as possible.
Dima: Let us assume that if we bring up religion, they will be offended. There are hundreds of gods worshipped on Earth — we can never pick one of them. These extraterrestrials are much beyond us technologically, so they are likely naturalists.
Saki: We have to agree on something out of our hearts. Something that can be found in many of our cultures.
Amelia: It must be the pursuit of happiness, then.
Dima: They might rightfully ask: what is this happiness for? What is this happiness worth — once you have it? In my heritage, the core values are family, community and honor. But I presume these are too narrow-minded, they can’t stand as the sole reason for our existence.
Saki: Can’t we post a more general and less self-centered answer — like the improvement of ourselves and our condition?
Dima: Let’s dig deeper. What unites the pursuit of happiness, community and the struggle to improve oneself?
Amelia: We humans are curious! We want to learn, explore, discover — and then apply the newly found knowledge to improve our situation. Even when things go wrong, we tend to learn our lesson & improve. The search for knowledge is what unites us!
They continue on this path until deep into the night. After much independent pondering and many unifying discussions, they feel ready to release their answer:
Welcome to Earth! As you can see, humanity is still struggling to find itself. Contrary to outward appearance, we are not just here to exploit. We are not here to fight. We are not here to pray. If you observe our history, it is clear:
We are here to learn.