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Let's say a psychotic alien race come across the earth.

They are technologically advanced, having near total control over matter at a molecular level, perfect understanding of biology in all its forms making them capable of manipulating and creating any possible living system, and being capable of enormous feats of astroengineering (dyson swarms, moving/destroying planets) and more. Bear in mind however, they have no significant control over the fabric of space-time (no time-travel).


Being psychotic and sadistic they want to maximize the amount of fear felt by the indigenous intelligent population (humans) but they don't just want to induce it by flooding their brains with neurotransmitters or by electrically stimulating the amygdala (both of which they could indeed do, but they just don't want to and don't ask me why: they're crazy).

In addition fear really is their thing, their sole goal is to increase it as much as possible not pain or suffering or things like that (though of course they don't mind causing such to reach their purpose), thus killing large amounts of humans goes against their intentions (you can't make dead people scared).

Further more, while indeed psychotic they behave as one, there is no in-fighting within the species and they act rationally to achieve their objectives.


So, if such a species did reach the earth in the present-day, what, using their available technology, would be an effetive method to terrify the population? And what, if any, would be the reactions of the worlds governments (besides fear)?


Note: I'd really appreciate answers that take advantage of the great technological capacity of this species...

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closed as primarily opinion-based by JDługosz, Zxyrra, Mołot, Aify, James Jan 30 '17 at 20:59

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • $\begingroup$ Recommend that your aliens look at how now-a-day terrorism works. One of its major goals is to instill fear. $\endgroup$ – Anketam Jan 29 '17 at 23:40
  • $\begingroup$ @Anketam While I admit that is a rather good idea haha, I am a bit underwhelmed by the suggestions I've recieved so far... Especially with the level of technology I've supplied. Nobody seems to be taking advantage of it. $\endgroup$ – AngelPray Jan 30 '17 at 0:10
  • $\begingroup$ They should probably just play some kind of death games. Play many games where the contestants have hope but they have to screw others over in order to live. $\endgroup$ – Necessity Jan 30 '17 at 0:49
  • $\begingroup$ Make weird noises and let things happen that make little to no sense, when you don't know the cause (liek electricity flickering, hearing voices from recordings, hidden motors in doors that let them automatically open), letting people come to conclusion like "there must be a ghost here, waaa" $\endgroup$ – HopefullyHelpful Jan 30 '17 at 2:32
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    $\begingroup$ The main problem you're going to face is that humans adapt. If you use the same way to scare them over and over again, they won't be scared anymore. $\endgroup$ – BgrWorker Jan 30 '17 at 10:10

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So your aliens are anti-utilitarians? Cool. Unless they have a deadline, the first thing they're going to want to do is maximize population size. More humans = more opportunities for terror.

At the same time, you're going to want to keep a constant, low-level anxiety in all those people, because terror eventually loses enough novelty that it stops working. If you need a spike, you might do a jump-scare, but for sustained performance you're going to top out more like anxiety.

With a giant population and a constant, oppressive atmosphere, you're looking at a fairly generic dystopia. Probably, your aliens do something like move in and institute Stupid Communism. No-one owns anything, everything is terrible, and people are required to beg permission to do anything, probably in triplicate. Punishment for everything is draconian, but not random, so everyone is forced to work hard constantly for fear of Terrible Things. So, you're looking at something like V for Vendetta or Brazil, but cranked up to eleven because they don't have to care about preventing revolt or having society produce anything useful.

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  • $\begingroup$ Improvements are welcome, by the way. $\endgroup$ – fectin - free Monica Jan 30 '17 at 12:56
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    $\begingroup$ "V for Vendetta or Brazil" HAHAHAHAHA $\endgroup$ – rschpdr Jan 30 '17 at 12:59
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    $\begingroup$ @resch I think that you're laughing because it seems like fectin was referring to the country but in case you didn't know there was ALSO a dystopia film called "Brazil" $\endgroup$ – monoRed Jan 30 '17 at 14:29
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    $\begingroup$ I honestly did not consider the country until @monoRed's comment just now. $\endgroup$ – fectin - free Monica Jan 30 '17 at 14:31
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    $\begingroup$ @monoRed Brazil is probably the most appropriately titled movie in the history of film making. Being from Brazil too, I perfectly understand resch's reaction. $\endgroup$ – Pedro Werneck Jan 30 '17 at 19:30
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They should kill the leaders of the world every few days.

This way the humans all over the world won't have anyone to command them. Nobody can make decisions and unite the people. Everyone will be terrified and trying to stay alive.

Furthermore by declaring that you kill like 500 people every few days everyone will go crazy that they might be the next ones to just disappear. Of course 500 people is not so much for the whole human population, but people won't think rational when there is an alien race in the sky killing all the important people and destroying the whole society in a matter of weeks to months.

First the people will struggle and try to fight. Our leader is dead? Okay, let's move on with the new one and together we will nuke those things down! But the nukes will probably be useless against an alien race as advanced as yours.

This means that the leaders will die and some nukes have gone. Okay, no problem, let's try again! And this time we will use: more nukes!

After some rounds nobody who is capable will want to take responsibility, because all important people die. Therefore society will fall apart.

We are not cut out for total anarchism. Most people don't know what it means to be on your own to survive. Without any laws nobody will be able to uphold society. And we are far too many. Without a legislative system and some rules nobody can use advanced techniques to feed so many people. So people will turn against each other.

All in all: kill a few important people a few times, survive some toys they throw at you and see them round around headless killing each other just to survive another day until nothing is left. Not much to do, many specimens left that can feel fear and months to years of alien fun until there are not enough specimens left to fight each other! Then you can just change to Mars or some other solar system. All hail alien overlords!

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Oh, there are just 3 simple steps, which are used a lot in politics nowadays:

1) Form an image

Present to a public an entity of unspeakable violence and power. In your case your "aliens" can just transmit via TV an image of bio-synthed PREDATOR.

2) Demonize

Let your predator appear in public. Let it move right into the center of some crowd, pick a prey, kill it in front of a crowd and just move away. Bonus points for people/police/armed forces ineffectually trying to stop it (like shooting without any visible harm).

3) Just use it

After a couple of "predator shows" from step 2, you can actually start using an image even without letting your predator slaughter someone. Now you can instill fear just by mentioning the predator or just letting it to appear somwhere on the horizon from time to time.

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    $\begingroup$ This would work for a few months, top. With this method, if you kill more than you spare in every predator apparition, everyone will just get used to see people die at random (you would just scare your target and noone else), If you spare more than you kill instead, people will just start to see it as a meaningless act, and just laugh at your predator, because they would know they wouldn't be killed. (plus, the question forbids killing in large numbers, so you can't slaughter lots of people anyway) $\endgroup$ – BgrWorker Jan 30 '17 at 10:15
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    $\begingroup$ @BgrWorker Your assertion that either "everyone will just get used to see people die at random" or "they would know they wouldn't be killed" seems dubious. Why would terrorism cause fear, if it were true? $\endgroup$ – T. Verron Jan 30 '17 at 13:05
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    $\begingroup$ @T.Verron it really depend on what you mean about "fear". Terrorism creates anxiety and doubt, it doesn't create true uncontrolled fear, and it definitely doesn't destabilize governments or society in general. $\endgroup$ – BgrWorker Jan 30 '17 at 13:09
  • $\begingroup$ @BgrWorker Oh, I do agree that it is not the most effective way to scare a population, especially if you have a limit on the deathtoll. $\endgroup$ – T. Verron Jan 30 '17 at 13:18
  • $\begingroup$ @BgrWorker terrorism seems to destabilize the governments and societies that the terrorists are thought to come from. You'd just have to make sure your "predator" is controlled by "some other country" and things would start coming apart quickly. $\endgroup$ – Erik Jan 31 '17 at 8:22
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These aliens wouldn't have to do anything special:

Just use the innate fear of the human species for everything and anything by:

  • Appear as arachnids or anything else on the top 10 list of phobias. They can look whatever they want; broadcasting themselves as arachnids would be good enough.
  • Pretend that the planet is naturally destroying itself (Global Warming? Super volcanoes erupting?). E.G. Provide scientific reports exaggerating human misconceptions / Have them simulate a few volcanoes erupting / ...
  • Pretend to want to save the planet by taking 100 specimens of each species! (100 ants, 100 spiders, 100 elephants, 100 humans, ...) Have them involve a few celebrities/politicians (promising these a ticket on the mother ship) to speak for them.
  • Appear with only one mother ship pretending to have only limited load capacity
  • Pretend to fly away for a month (hide behind the moon?)

Then they just have to sit back, relax and enjoy the show and watch humanity destroy itself and Earth is theirs and then they can show up with all of their ships and take over at their leisure!

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    $\begingroup$ This is interesting. However, I'd suggest you also add something to increase the chances they are believed (humanity is, by nature, skeptic). Something like producing fake but very accurate scientific reports, and silencing every adverse opinion, possibily in drammatic ways (a famous person says nothing is going to happen? Make a huge storm or an earthquake kill him). $\endgroup$ – BgrWorker Jan 30 '17 at 10:25
  • $\begingroup$ @BgrWorker updated answer with your ideas... :-) $\endgroup$ – Fabby Jan 30 '17 at 11:15
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Fear, in part, can be not knowing what will happen next, with the vague idea that it's going to be something terrible.

Regular torture in the same routine becomes commonplace. But, varying the horror, making it unpredictable, that's what makes a person afraid.

Anticipation of a horror can be effective, but it's most effective when it's a horror that hasn't been experienced over and over again. Human beings are nothing if not adaptable.

On a basic level, you might want to look at the dynamic between an abuser and the abused. The abused are most fearful if they don't know what will set the abuser off, if they don't know how bad it will be.

You seem to want the answer to be about the tech--but you're talking about fear. And with that, it's the same, primal song, even if you use different tools to achieve it.

And the best way to do that is to establish regular patterns of terror, punctuated by disruptions in that pattern. The Holocaust, while it was happening, wasn't as scary as it should have been because it was so--orderly. People walked to their deaths because there was an order and a pattern, because there was PAPERWORK.

What you want is the opposite of that--the creation of blind fear and panic, and for that, you need chaos.

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In addition fear really is their thing, their sole goal is to increase it as much as possible not pain or suffering or things like that

You do not say whether they want to harvest all the fear in one fell swoop or if they could be contented with a continuous, but lesser supply.

In the second case, they could land and offer the world their friendship and technological help (up to a point), provide a reasonable explanation why FTL travel doesn't agree with humans to the point of invariably killing them horribly, and then show they only have FTL technology or very slow interplanetary technology - so they can help make the Earth a paradise, but no one can visit even Alpha Cen, so sorry.

And then proceed to supply Earthmen with enough technology and help to clearly show they're friends.

Okay, you saw this coming: they won't be believed.

The more they act friendly, the more people will know the other shoe is gonna drop. They can also foster this foreboding by restricting some clearly worthless information in the most suspicious way possible. A classic would be that they'll never let themselves be seen when eating ("it is a very private process for us").

There won't be civil war or rioting (or not much), but the whole world population will be certainly be scared witless.

When that fades, for it will fade - you'll have people go around their business even if you start decimating the population - they can adopt some other tactic; some alien plague escaping that's uncannily similar to a zombie apocalypse maybe. Or whole towns' populations disappearing overnight. That (apart from worldwide terror) will also serve to reinforce the certainty that the aliens are up to no good.

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  • $\begingroup$ Well they don't want to harvest anything. They just want to have fun terrifying humanity and watching then run around, scream and slowly lose their sanity. A dull apprehension within the general population isn't really what they're going for. $\endgroup$ – AngelPray Jan 30 '17 at 0:08
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    $\begingroup$ Okay, then I think going for random strikes around the planet is the way to go. An eruption of shoggoths every full moon in some randomly chosen cities - the loss of life would be contained, but I think the screaming and insanity would be guaranteed. Or just go for gold and slow Earth's revolution around the Sun so that it will fall into the Sun in some years' time. They needn't even make themselves known. $\endgroup$ – LSerni Jan 30 '17 at 0:15
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The aliens would create unsettling duplicates of every human, thereby doubling the population with slightly different, but very similar acting human replicas. Families would confuse who their loved ones are, wives would accidentally love another - everyone would feel like they don't know anyone for real anymore, which would bring ultimate fear, especially because the replicas aren't conscious creatures, they merely react and have no real human depth of emotion or intellect.

The government would aim to kill these replica species, but would accidentally kill real people and uncontrollable chaos would ensue.

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    $\begingroup$ Worse; create exact duplicates of each person. Moral and ethical dilemmas everywhere; if the government decides to kill the duplicates, people will be very, very scared. $\endgroup$ – wizzwizz4 Jan 30 '17 at 17:15
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Heroin touches the most visceral instinct in humans. If necessary by force, get everyone addicted to heroin. On a daily basis, make it free and widely distributed. Finally, start to randomly cut-off the supply for random time periods. People will be terrified as to whether they will be able to get their next injection. I saw this happen to a person in hospice care (with Vicodin, not heroin, injections). She was allowed an injection every 3-hours. She was so fearful of not getting the injection exactly as the last second ticked-off, she always wanted someone bedside. Seeing someone as knowledgable and powerful as she was reduced to having nothing but fear of missing a Vicodin injection was shocking.

I think what happens is that even when in the euphoria of an opioid shot, you can still be terrified of missing your next injection? I've never used recreational drugs, so I'm not sure.

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  • $\begingroup$ This is actually a rather good idea, I'm just not sure how long they'd be able to keep this up. I mean human beings who are periodically going out of their minds on heroin tend not to be too capable of fufilling the basic requirements of survival. As in, I find it a bit strange thinking of someone with blood shot eyes shambling into a grocery store. $\endgroup$ – AngelPray Jan 30 '17 at 1:27
  • $\begingroup$ I think a heroin addict can be a fully functional person, and a happy one at that. He just needs a reliable supply of high quality heroin and clean needles. It is just the withdraw that tears them apart. So, make them live in fear of suffering from withdraw. The British did something similar to this to the Chinese in the 19th century. It was effective. $\endgroup$ – Just Someone Jan 30 '17 at 1:41
  • $\begingroup$ How many times can you repeatedly subject someone to withdrawal before they become "broken", I'm guessing at some point they're just going to start jumping off buildings/dying from the stress. And how much fear do they really feel waiting for the next dose? I've never had contact with any users so this is completely new ground for me. $\endgroup$ – AngelPray Jan 30 '17 at 1:50
  • $\begingroup$ @AngelPray All I know is that IV Vicodin got an amazingly physically / mentally strong person addicted and reduced to fear. Vicodin, taken orally, did nothing for me other than give me extreme constipation. That is all I personally know about opioids. $\endgroup$ – Just Someone Jan 30 '17 at 2:09
  • $\begingroup$ @AngelPray With the aliens tech level they could just prevent anyone from performing self murder, so that shouldnt be a problem. Could even increase fear if you know that you cant even decide on your own life to end. $\endgroup$ – C.Fe. Jan 30 '17 at 10:00
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Given that most people are at least spiritual if not fully religious, staging some sort of diabolical ceremony and broadcasting it on the media should freak pretty much everyone. The aliens could be present themselves as demons, horns, hoofs, etc. Even if you are not religious, if you are the most level headed logical person ever, a bunch of aliens show up and start doing bloody ritualistic killings will surely scare the hell out of you.

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    $\begingroup$ Human beings are highly adaptable, I wonder if they wouldn't simply fabricate ideas of redemption to deal with the situation, for example they might start believing that the appearance of these demons is the sign of the end times and that they will soon go to heaven, ect... They might even start seeking out the demons, believing they are the path to paradise. I'm a bit warry of using this very general idea, as religion is highly unpredicatable and it might simply come off as rude, shallow and uninformed. $\endgroup$ – AngelPray Jan 30 '17 at 1:36
  • $\begingroup$ On the contrary, most people don't change that much once they've formed their belief system. It will probably take years for humanity to adapt, in the mean time the aliens might just decide to move onto the next planet. $\endgroup$ – ventsyv Jan 30 '17 at 2:50
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First, severly limit global communication. Talking and reasoning out the problem will weaken the stimulus.

Second, dole out the stimulus in a geographical area so it's not constant. The brain can only handle so much before it gets oversaturated and shuts down. After a while the fear will just lessen as the danger becomes normal.

Vary it. The real fear is the fear of the unknown. When watching a scary movie, the monster that you don't see is scarier than the one that you do, and the monster that you can see but not understand is scarier than the one you can look at and understand. People were able to get used to bombs falling during the blitz.

So on Sunday you enclose the earth in a shell that blocks the sun, moon and stars, and selectively block all the satellites and other forms of communication. This will make people afraid because they won't know what's happening, or why, and so rumor will spread fueling the fears. Occasionally allow the 24 hour news coverage through when talking about no one knowing what's happening or why. The inside of the shell will have giant sky spanning timers slowly counting down with a one week deadline.

On Monday you start playing around with peoples vision. Make everyone on earth blind for a few seconds, long enough that people will get off the roads and land planes. Killing lots of people is counterproductive. Repeat this blindness with increasing duration randomly throughout the day. Throw in brief flashes of carnage and demonic figures so people will think they are having visions. Hearing can also be played around with, injecting the sounds of screaming, smell with brimstone, touch with burning sensations, etc. Continue this throughout the week as other things are happening.

From Tuesday to Thursday create flying creatures that are larger than clouds, with tentacles that reach down and grab stuff as they go by. It doesn't have to be grabbing people, but just whatever. Give them high shrieking cries, and also human like screams. As a bonus make them able to show images by altering their skin like a cuttlefish, and display images of people being torn to pieces.

Start letting more of the news networks through as they are showing images of chaos and destruction, so that people will know that there is no where on earth to run.

From Wednesday to Friday send other creatures closer to the ground. Bird types, animal types, but all Gigeresque. Make them invulnerable to harm, and if someone attacks one then the creatures retaliate strongly, so that no one will get bravery just because they have a big gun.

Showers of blood would be a nice touch.

On Saturday as the timer is nearing zero, override broadcasts with messages about the earths impending destruction.

On Sunday, with the fear batteries full, head on to the next pit stop.

This timeline can be stretched out as needed, since a timespan for this to take place was not specified in the question.

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Using their advanced biology/engineering skills, construct attack ships/drones that resembles each nation's god/pantheon or mythological figure.
So you can have drones look like Zeus, Budha, Kali, Ra, etc, each striking/destroying the appropriate city/monument.
Imagine... Zeus levels Acropolis/Athens in Greece, Ra destroys the Pyramids/Kairo, Kali lay waste in Taj Mahal or Delhi, Jesus statue in Rio lay waste to the city... and this being broadcasted worldwide.

With the diversity we, as humans, have in our history/religion, its easy for the aliens to find the proper "form" to create.

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Don't forget that the most fear comes from something where you can do something about it, but you can never do enough to be sure you're safe. We all know we might die of cancer, but we don't live in constant terror of it because we feel there is nothing we can do. Think of Five Nights at Freddy's, if there was absolutely nothing you can do it wouldn't be as scary. There is something you can do but it's not enough so:

  1. Make it something that one can do something to control, but that measure is weak and not enough to be totally secure.

Another element that is related to this is a lack of sufficient knowledge. Again, you can't put this to zero or people just deal with it. If you are stuck in murky water where you can see nothing you're scared but you get used to it. If you can kind of see and feel stuff moving down there but not enough to really be sure where it is, that will keep you in constant terror. Also combining this with the first one, there should be some way to gain information on the threat, but one that is insufficient. This will keep people checking constantly. Because there is something they can do, but it's not enough. So second:

  1. Make it possible to constantly try to get information on the threat, but never enough to really help one be safe.

In corollary with that, you want to make information on it unreliable, to cause paranoia. For example, it can make people you know assist it, but you can't be sure. You can't even be sure if it's affecting you. This will keep people constantly questioning everything. This relates back to 1, if there is always something to think about you will never stop questioning and worrying.

  1. Make it so what information can be gained on it is not really reliable.

Now to actually use some of the technology you mentioned. What if it is something you cannot shield yourself from. It can pass through walls. You could be in your car with the doors locked, in your bed all wrapped in blankets, or locked in a bank safe. It's something that can always get you. There may be signs that it is around, but relating back to point 3, they are unreliable. For example, people say they heard thumping in the walls before it attacked someone, but others say you feel static electricity in the air, others say someone who stutters is being affected by it.

  1. Make it so there is no real security from the threat

And finally to reinforce all of this, obviously whatever it does should be really awful. If it's something not only painful but which attacks the basic things we assume about our humanity all the more frightening, but I don't even want to get into that. You're the one writing this. So fifth on my list:

  1. Whatever it does when it does actually decide to attack someone is really horrible and highly visible. How bad you want to get with this is up to you.

It might make sense to add that when this thing picks a victim no one can help. If they do try it usually happens to them too, for example.

I'm being intentionally vague and generic here because this could take all sorts of forms, from ghost-like blobs of nano-machines to huge looming creatures.

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I think the most horrifying situation with aliens is when they look like humans. Take Hitler for example, he led an entire nation out of fear. Isis filled the world with fear. It's scary because they are human.

your aliens need a human leader.

then a group that has a drive for Hate for some minority. the group will be scared of that minority and the minority will be scared of that group. It might evolve into war, and everyone is scared of war. If your aliens can build humans they can place them in government locations before hand, so when the time comes, the wrong choices can be made to instil more fear into society.

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  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to Worldbuilding. While this is certainly an option, I think the OP wants to go a bit further using their choice of "most effective". Sure, more humans can be scary, too, but giant spider creatures and death rays may be a bit scarier. $\endgroup$ – Zxyrra Jan 30 '17 at 2:37
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They'd just have to create a "Matrix" type environment where each individual experiences their own world. This would not have to be a technology hookup like in the Matrix movie as it could all be mental experiences in the real world allowing them to perform eating, drinking, and other bodily functions (that were allowed, as the mind can control many bodily functions that are assumed to be natural occurrences such as producing chemicals, hormones, acids, fluid retention or expulsion, etc.)

  • Although each individual would be living in the world with others their minds could be altered to not see others making them think they are alone (one of the biggest fears that has proven effective on prisoners, and other captives to make them go insane).
  • On occasion they could be allowed to interact with others if desired, only to then be shown images that produce fear of something happening to the others that then are no longer viewable from their minds.
  • their minds could be made to hear and see what is most effective in producing fear for each individual thus the entity (or entities) could experiment to find what is the most fear inducing concept to each individual.
  • A concept not explored in the Matrix movie, that would have been effective could also be explored if the entity(s) were really devious and wanted to sow disaster after they left the planet, would be to alter something that the human body does so that once disconnected from their fear inducing environment the population would not be able to communicate and fight back; something like talking with their noses in a different language. Could you imagine talking a foreign language that only you knew (but was translated in the environment) through your nose, only to be disconnected from the environment wanting to fight back and trying to communicate with other disconnected individuals by speaking jibber-jabber with your nose? LOL. Or in the environment you feed yourself through your ears (in your mind although physically you were using your mouth). Another concept would be to believe that you lived and breathed in the water and air was toxic in "the fear environment" when in reality you were walking on land.

There are many places you can take people in their mind without killing them, or allowing them to escape and fight back with such advanced technology.

~Raptor

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Random "small scale" killings/threats.

Using your high level technology, maybe you can tell what other people are thinking. Maybe not. But you can certainly pretend to. Every night, people who harbor "rebellious thoughts" against the new alien government are murdered, or at least have their molecules painfully "vibrated" as a form of torture. Perhaps you even install a camera and microphone in everyone's homes. If anybody speaks poorly of the aliens, a voice comes out of the speaker, the threatening them. And people who report their neighbors are obviously more loyal than those who do not.

Of course, none of this has to be real. As long as one or two people are randomly chosen and killed every few nights in every few towns, the remaining population will be terrified that they are next.

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Don't forget to wipe the subjects' memory periodically, lest they become numb to the horror or the emotion shifts to flat despair.

With that, you don't really need to be all that creative with the actual reason for fear. Whether it's any of the other excellent ideas; helplessness awaiting torture; undiluted awareness of the place of life in the universe, you get the most fear when learned expectations turn out to have been laughably optimistic.
Refresh those now and then and you get a much better result than what you get on fur farms.


Now, the other parts of the question: world governments? Well, anyone with some influence who isn't in denial would try to make the best of it. Mass suicide wouldn't fly for various reasons, but these would:

  • trying to appease the aliens by volunteering to be wardens in that circus of horrors
  • searching for ways to alter humanity so that we could tolerate it without actually going against the aliens' desires (a terrible idea, raising the roof on the possible fear level)
  • exploit the citizens who e.g. are in denial to numb their own anxiety
  • trying to obtain an advantage the aliens don't know about, or, at least, lessen the power gap
  • thinking outside the box (hoping to stumble upon a less obvious idea)

Of course, EVERYONE(*) knows it's a pathetically loser thing to revel in tormenting LESSER races. ANYONE can do that.
*) you know too, right, aliens? Of course you do, you're just keeping it up to see your peers embarrass themselves. And they're so into it! Like getting publicly excited about a pencil eraser fetish!

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"Too much too starve, not enough to live" principal applied to the atmosphere's oxygen content. Areas of high and low and shifting concentrations. Everything you do may kill you and everyone else. Could you sleep? Breed?

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If you are talking about a very advanced race then climate change could work, turning out the lights or never turning out the lights, creating a low-level sound that makes everyone jumpy, adding hallucinogens to the water supply, controlling food supply, separating families and friends, taking people for no known reason and experimenting on them or killing them, killing children en masse, killing adults en masse, choosing an oppressed minority to be intermediate administrators and separating them from their support systems, too. I guess it all depends on why you want to shake things up and make everyone afraid.

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As Human we are INSECURE...we can't run away from this fact

Only thing that is keeping us alive in all these uncertainty is the hope. So for these SuperPowerful Aliens, they need to just read each human. After that, they just have to play some silly games and pull strings. Watch humorously how human reacts,how they are running away from it and how there hopes are fading away.
Till humans learn to fight these fears and aliens carry on forming new fear to carry on this vicious cycle.

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