Sunday, June 8, 2014

I Can't Stand It

This is a pet peeve of mine. (I have many.) Someone on g+ posted a link to an article on space.com about the Fermi paradox. The Fermi paradox, for anyone who might read this and not know, is the supposed mystery that asks, "If there are other intelligent beings out there, why haven't they asked us to come out and play with them?"

Duh. The list of possible answers to that are as long as the patience of anyone who wants to sit and listen to them. I rambled on in partial reply to the g+ link, and decided to post a slightly modified version on this blog too Partly so my golden wisdom can be preserved for the ages. Mainly because I got aggravated.

The Fermi paradox is an example of humanity's inherent lack of imagination, as well as our hard coded conviction that the universe must be measured by our standards.

Earth is what? Four to four and a half billion years old? Sapient, or quasi-sapient life has been here, that we know of, for a maximum of four to five million years. And that's being generous. Humans have been here for one to two million years. If you are talking true humans, it would be closer to one million.

For 99.9 percent of our history we have been hunters and gatherers. Just as intelligent as we are today, mind you. But not interested in modern technology because we didn't need it to survive. Modern technology is a fluke. A wild hair that humanity got caught crossways in our shorts because a list of unlikely events happened to coincide at the same time.

China had a fully functional, efficient, and quite workable civilization for thousands of years without so much as a steam engine. Africa lived the same way from the time Adam crunched the apple until Europe invaded. Except for Egypt and its spin-offs of course. However Egypt, although they were the most advanced people for their day, weren't known for hi-tech innovation. They found a pattern that worked for them and stuck to it religiously. Pun intended.  Some primitive tribes were discovered in South American in the last few years, that are now unlawful to contact for fear of destroying their culture and way of life.

Were it not for European invasion, much of the world might still be living the way they always had. I am not advocating colonialism. I am saying that modern technology is far from inevitable. For all we know, the galaxy could be chock full of contented sapient beings, driving their little buggies to church picnics, tossing a ball around on their days off, and generally enjoying life without giving a rodent's backside about interstellar communication. "Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence."

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