So, I've been thinking... I know, dangerous territory, but hear me out.
How many of you reading this have heard of the Fermi Paradox or, conversely, The Great Filter?
Click here if you haven't, or need a refresher
For those of you just too lazy to read that, basically, The Fermi Paradox is a calculation (based on extremely conservative numbers) that seeks to estimate the number of Earth-like planets in the universe. The number is a staggering 100 billion billion.
To put this in perspective, that's 100 Earths for every grain of sand on the entire planet.
Using, again, the absolute lowest estimates and applying the maths to just our small observable galaxy (That would be the entire milky way galaxy) the math suggests a minimum of 1 billion earth like planets and 100k species developed to at least our level.
The Paradox is: Where the fuck is everybody?
Therein comes the 'Great Filter' theory which suggests that, at some point in a civilizations development it hits a 'wall' that it is very unlikely to overcome.
The theories about what, exactly, the filter is and where it lay on our timeline are many but generally break down into a few conclusions:
- We're the first to pass the filter. We're the only intelligent life on the galaxy that has survived to this point, that's why we can't find anybody else.
- We're not the first, but it's a rare enough occurrence for civilizations to survive that we're going to be few and far between. So we just haven't found them yet.
- Life's actually a series of small filters. We passed several hard evolutionary jumps, but more await to trip is up.
- We're fucked. We haven't passed the filter yet, and neither has anybody else. Everybody ahead of us has hit the wall, sucked, and died.
So, dear Voaters, what do you think about this? Do you think we're past this already and on our way to an advanced civilization, or doomed to failure?
My opinion is that we are a rare occurrence, having passed a few filters, but the great filter is ahead of us. Not far, maybe even as low as a century or two. Look at the state of affairs on the planet today. Polities jockeying for power across the world, wars seem to be breaking out left and right, the environment is predicted to grow more and more chaotic.
Isn't it possible to see another civilization getting to where we are? One also armed with nuclear weapons, where food and water are growing scarce because of the use of easily available fossil fuels affecting the planet?
Looking at this scenario, it seems likely to me that we have not yet passed this filter. Our continued dependence on fossil fuels and the growing tensions in the great countries of this world are soon going to reach a head, and I hope we manage to reach the stars in one piece.