You have to know when to ask for help.
Sometimes, after hearing a description of the Voyager record, or listening to it for themselves, people assume that it was meant to be a call for help. It's an understandable conclusion for people to come to, and basically a religious reflex. Our problems on Earth are so bad, and we are so flawed as people, the only obvious solution will have to come from somewhere else, somewhere celestial.
All message-making is an act of submission--"Take this, and listen to it"--but the Voyager record isn't an overt cry for help. It contains those cries; you can hear them in the songs and the greetings more than the pictures, but they are there.
Just a few days ago, Kyle Odom was arrested outside of the White House after going on a shooting spree in another state, an act of violence that seems to have been caused by disturbed thinking and hallucinations: Odom thought that people around him were actually bizarre aliens who were out to sexually violate him. Had he been able to ask for help, maybe he could have gotten the treatment he needed before things got out of control.
Kyle Odom's rendering of the Martians posing as normal humans he saw around him.
But what if part of Odom's problem was that he didn't have anyone to ask for help? What if there was no one who would listen to his problems? Obviously, he did not feel safe asking the aliens.
What would you ask aliens if you could ask the aliens for their help?
Would you ask them for answers about why the world is the way it is, or would you ask them for advice on how to solve a personal problem in your life? Carl Sagan, in the quote above, expects any alien life in the universe to be able to field these sort of questions. So let's put his theory to the test. Let's have an experiment. Starting today you can send your most pressing concern or question to misreaderblog at gmail dot com with the subject "Ask the Aliens" and we will package your question into a laser light informational burst that via radio telescope we will send racing through the nothingness outside of the solar system in just a few hours in the hopes of getting an answer. We'll wait until we get a response from someone out there. Maybe nobody will answer. Maybe just one of you will get lucky, and we will be able to post your question along with helpful-and-yet-shadowy beings' response.
It's the best of both worlds: alien wisdom meets earthy internet content. Is anyone actually out there to offer help? First you'll have to ask.
Are there aliens? Who's Out There ? (1975) a documentary on the possibility of extraterrestrial life.