Need We Fear the Minds of Space Aliens?

We are not alone in the universe. Statistics alone demand that life forms. What do they look like? Are they carbon-based? Do they breathe oxygen? How do they reproduce? What do they eat?

Those of us who simply peer into the fathomless night sky also wonder about these things. However, as a psychiatrist I have an additional list of questions. If there are other sentient beings in the universe, what do they think about? What do they do when they are disappointed? Do any go crazy? Do any have personality disorders? Do they use illicit drugs? Do they gamble? Do they tell jokes? Do they tell dirty jokes?

Sex molds and motivates much of human behavior. However, in the context of Freud’s theories, not all alien species can be assumed to have the mother and father, or the protruding sex organ, necessary to generate the desires, jealousies, and fears that lie beneath the Oedipal conflict. Some might be all female and reproduce by parthenogenesis, such as some lizard species do on Earth. Some species might reproduce through the sexual congress of more than two partners. There is also the possibility that members of some species change their sex one or more times during their lives. This is a common phenomenon among various types of reef fish on Earth. These variations of life, these aliens must possess complex brains and physiological systems that, like our own, are subject to genetic error, accident, infection, or simply wearing out under trying circumstances. All in all, it is almost certain that sentient beings from other worlds suffer what we on Earth call mental illness. Do they have psychiatrists? Do they use medications to relieve severe symptoms? I suspect they do.

The brilliant theoretical physicist life might develop into something we wouldn’t want to meet.” The cruel behaviors Europeans exhibited in the conquest of the Americas and the colonization of human race produced Adolf Hitler and J. S. Bach, Charles Manson and Elie Wiesel, Joseph Stalin and Thomas Jefferson, Lizzie Borden and Mother Teresa. There is no reason to assume that members of extraterrestrial species are all the same. It is likely that such species produce great philosophers,