"Intellectual-level communication between more advanced terrestrial [non-human intelligences] NHIs and us will require direct access to our cognitive processes. They will have to directly modulate our own abstract references and modes. In other words, they will have to convey their ideas to us by prompting our own mind to articulate those ideas to itself, using its own conceptual dictionary and grammatical structures. And because their message—a product of their own cognition, incommensurable with ours—is bound to not adequately line up with our grammar and conceptual menu, this articulation will perforce have to be symbolic, metaphorical; it will have to point to the intended meaning, as opposed to embodying the intended meaning directly, or literally.
There is plenty of clinical precedence for this in the literature of depth psychology. Analytical Psychology, for instance, maintains that the deeper, evolutionarily ancient, instinctive layer of our mind, for not having the language capabilities of the executive ego, speaks to us in dreams and visions through symbols, and metaphors. It can’t tell us in English, for instance, that time is flowing while we procrastinate, prompting us to act. So it may, instead, trigger and modulate a dream in which we, say, accidentally drop our backpack in a fast-flowing river and watch helplessly as it floats away. If the deeper layer of our mind, for being phylogenetically primitive, is incapable of articulating the conceptual abstractions ‘time,’ ‘flow,’ and ‘procrastination,’ it can still point symbolically to its intended meaning; it can still confront us with imagery that evokes the same underlying feeling—a sense of urgency—that would have been evoked by the statement, “time is flowing while you procrastinate.” This is what intellectual-level communication looks like when the interlocutors do not have commensurable cognitive structures. And this is how we may expect NHIs to communicate with us, if they have the technology required to reach directly into our minds and manipulate our cognitive inner space."