Much of current speculation about the nature of ETIs--what level of technology have you achieved?, etc.--is misguided. The first question an earthling should ask of an ETI is not: What is the level of your science? but rather: Did it also happen to you? Do you have a self? If so, how do you handle it? Did you suffer a catastrophe?
Prejudices, it is well known, are most difficult to eradicate from the heart whose soil has never been loosened or fertilized by education; they grow there, firm as weeds among stones
-Charlotte Brontë (1816-55), English novelist.
Jane Eyre, ch. 29 (1847).