I StumbledUpon this the other day and had to come back to it to finish it off.
I know not everyone is into this "is there life elsewhere in the galaxy and why haven't they stopped by for coffee and muffins?" question, but it's one that I think is incredibly interesting.
I have to agree with the notion that there's nothing particularly special about the Earth's situation, both in the Milky Way and evolutionarily. Special doesn't equate to unique. That's whole different kettle of fish, which is related to this article but which I will conveniently ignore here as an in-depth discussion would truly muck up the epiphany I had earlier today.
If we assume that we are typical of intelligent life in the universe, and that there is indeed intelligent life out there, then I'd have to agree with the author's Option C:
There have been others, but they have all run into some sort of “cosmic roadblock” that eventually destroys them, or at least prevents their expansion beyond a small area.Take a serious look at the human race. I like how the author put it:
What this said to me is that if what is assumed to be true, that we are typical of intelligent life out there, then in the words of Dr Smith "We're dooooooomed!!"
When we consider the chronological history of life on Earth, humans have only existed for a small fragment of time and our existence has always been precarious. The entire time we’ve existed, we been banding into various groups and attempting to kill each other—or at least are constantly in the process of developing more effective ways of killing each other—just in case. The US government, for example, spends on “Defense” (including “preemptive” warfare) and Homeland Security, 8 times what it spends on educating the next generation. There is enough nuclear weaponry in storage around the world to kill every living creature on the planet several times over. Clearly, we’re a species with poor odds of surviving indefinitely.
Our self-destructive natures aside, curiosity may end up killing more than the cats. The faster technology is advancing, the more our “leap now, look later” nature appears to grow as well. If evolution on Earth serves as a somewhat typical template for evolution of other life forms, then becoming a truly advanced civilization must be a very daunting task indeed and a very rare, if not impossible, achievement.
The point I got out of the post is that if we continue along our current technological advnacement path, we will end Matrix-ing or Terminator-ing our race into a cosmic footnote, like the bajillions of other intelligent species before or or maybe those that will follow us.
There are the typical argumentative, supportive, alternative, troll comments to this article but none that hit on what hit me.
And that is, what if there is intelligent life out but it ISN'T technologically advance; either neither went there, or did and some of them made it thru the techno-apocolypse and said FTS (F#ck THAT sh$t)!!! and went anti-tech?
First that might explain why we haven't heard from any of them or had them stop by for a visit. They just don't do that. Maybe their path took them away from technology and trying to master the universe, and decided to become one with it. Maybe they developed their senses and spirits and became uber thought and spirit beings. Hell, they COULD be visiting us right now but because they're on a totally different plane or frequency or whatever we can't see or hear them!!!
There could be billyuns and billyuns of Earth-like planets out there with gigyear Anasazi or other "barbarian" civilizations western "civilization" wiped out in it's quest to possess the Earth. They'd never have developed the advanced technology that would lead to self-destruction and could have or ARE living happily understanding more about the world around them (because they are an integral part of it) than any of our advanced science will ever show us!
Or there's the other option. The survivors or escapees of a super high tech society that nanotech'd itself into nothingness. Maybe there was a colony out in distant reaches of their galaxy that didn't meet that fate, but knew of how the rest of their empire, civilization, whatever perished. Seeing this, they gave technology The Middle Finger Salute (presuming they HAVE middle fingers...) and threw off the yoke of technology and turned back to simpler ways...
This post to me is almost a cautionary tale given my take on it. We can continue down this technological primrose path to a seemingly shiny, bright Star Trekian future, or we can heed this and think about what we're doing and why. And maybe we can look back at simpler ways, ones that keep us in touch with our Mother Earth and become more in tune with the world around us. Balance is everything to me in finding the right path thru anything. And maybe that's the path thru to making it past that road block. Balance our desire to know more and build better with the need to be part of the world around instead of as Agent Smith put it "A virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet...".