The potential discovery of the existence of an intelligent species in the galaxy might have a profound impact on our scientific, philosophical, and religious comprehension of humanity. Considering that a dozen of ‘Earth-like’ exoplanets has been discovered in the habitable zone, the odds of such discovery have been increased in the last years.
The current scientific program of the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) poses big questions that scientists should not attempt to answer from a purely scientific point of view: e.g. What is life? How did it originate? What might be the criteria that we adopt to identify what we might call an alien civilization? Such an important quest requires a thoughtful reflection from different disciplines. But beyond the natural difficulties of interdisciplinarity, the SETI research challenges us to deal with otherness and diversity in a more radical and profound sense.
The quest of knowing the cosmic other, which is crucial to the SETI search, is then closely related to the quest of knowing ourselves. The very process of investigating otherness enriches us with new perspectives.
The question about the other rises other questions. What is reasonable to suppose that we could share? Are we part of a bigger “spiritual cosmic family”? Could we establish an intersubjective relationship with other spiritual species? To address these and similar questions in Cordoba, Argentina, we have started the project OTHER (Otros mundos, Tierra, Humanidad, and Espacio Remoto) which is a multidisciplinary think tank. The OTHER team is formed mostly by Argentine researchers of the Catholic University of Cordoba (UCC) and Universidad Nacional de Córdoba (UNC, the state university).