Across The Universe

Reflections on the universal language of pattern

Humanity has long pondered the ways in which we might communicate with life on other planets. Numerous attempts have been made to transmit messages and send cultural artefacts into space in the hope they might one day be picked by an alien species.
Given the possibility that non-human sentient lifeforms would have a completely different means of communicating and understanding the universe, one of the biggest challenges is determining what form the message should take. How could it convey, at the very least, the idea that it originates from an intelligent species?

Whatever form it does take, pattern is likely to be at the heart of it. PATTERNITY is founded on the belief that pattern functions as a universal language – and NASA has a similar perspective.

Earlier this year, the space agency released a book considering possible modes of extraterrestrial communication, how humanity might express itself in order to be understood, and how we should prime our own models of interpretation to recognise and decode any messages that might be directed towards us.
Photo: rock network. A replica of a cup and ting mark stone from Dalgarven Mill, Kilwinning, North Ayrshire. Rosser, 1954

One of the most striking suggestions is that we should reframe our understanding of ‘rock art’ – the ancient stone carvings and markings found in countries across the world, shrouded in mystery, but unmistakably identifiable as patterns of intelligent origin: “We can say little, if anything, about what these patterns signify, why they were cut into rocks, or who created them. For all intents and purposes, they might have been made by aliens.”

NASA is not saying that rock art is a form of extra-terrestrial memo left for the human race, but that these sorts of patterns may well be a key to our ultimate understanding of life beyond our Earth…

Find inspiration in the unexpected in our book, PATTERNITY: A New Way of Seeing