With the SpaceX Falcon 9 launch, I've become captivated by the idea of space travel and what it means for humanity.
I read a Reddit post about The Great Filter. This lead to a post about the Fermi Paradox. Which in turn led to other thories about alien life. These theories fascinated me. However, the biggest takeaway I found was that I'm less concerned about meeting aliens than I am with what it will mean for us as a species. The consequences of learning that alien life is possible could be disasterous for us. It could herald doom for our race even though it promises potential.
The problem lies in the fact that if we aren't alone, then what happened to all those who came before us. Where did they go? Why haven't we met them?
First, we assume that life is possible. Through religion, we can expect that even if life is scientifically possible, alien life simply never did or will exist. Humanity is the only one in all of the cosmos. If this is what you believe, the rest of this post if probably irrelevant as nothing else in here is a concern. The concern will, instead, be with what this supreme being wants from us.
Additionally, we stipulate that travel through space to other stars is possible. It is entirely within the realm of possibility that physics and reality simply doesn't allow for life forms capable of consious thought to travel through space successfully. This seems far-fetched right now as we have successfully made it to the moon. It seems likely that we can innovate and come up with some way to live on other planets, but perhaps not other stars.
Then we must assume that at some point, if alien life is possible, that they would attempt space travel. It doesn't matter why. As long as they are willing to attempt space travel, with enough variations in life forms, some of them should have expanded accross the galaxies.
The Great Filter attempts to explain this by stipulating that there is a point in each civilization where a breaking point is reached and the civilation collapses without recovery. An easy option is that travel between stars is possible, but there is a distance that is simply too far. The vast emptiness of space creates a barrier for expansion and so the civilization dies after consuming all available resources possible.
There are many other variations of The Great Filter and other explanations for the Fermi Paradox that I wish to explore in later posts. The grandness of space and time is mind boggling. We can only remember that our actions here and now affect each other and cherish this life we have.