Friday, June 22, 2018

Don't Call Us and We Won't Call You!

"The Dark Forest solution explains why we haven’t heard from aliens by positing that they are purposefully keeping quiet.

The reasoning is laid out best in the science fiction novel The Dark Forest, by Liu Cixin. The plot of the book, the second in a series, concerns questions of how to best interact with potentially hostile alien life.

In the novel, the argument is laid out like this: 

  • All life desires to stay alive.
  • There is no way to know if other lifeforms can or will destroy you if given a chance.
  • Lacking assurances, the safest option for any species is to annihilate other life forms before they have a chance to do the same.

Since all other lifeforms in the novel are risk-averse and willing to do anything to save themselves, contact of any kind is dangerous, as it almost assuredly would lead to the contacted race wiping out whoever was foolish enough to give away their location. This leads to all civilizations attempting to hide in radio silence."


Radio signals or no radio signals, the really "terrifying" proposition here is that all ET races are as brutal, ignorant, paranoid and insensitive as the human race is.

My feeling is that if an ET species has evolved enough to be capable of detecting the presence of other civilizations and/or physically reaching distant planets, etc., then, chances are they're far more intelligent, their machines are smarter, and they're developed psychically enough to realize that it's not worth the risk of landing on planets like Earth. At least not in any obvious way.

The kill-or-be-killed method of survival is, after all, the modus operandi for only the lowest on the food chain. The highest, on the other hand... well, they'd probably ignore our signals, and, chances are, we couldn't even detect theirs!

(Note: this post is kind of an interim post till I get around to the last Voynich installment. But, I also wanted to mention the solstice in passing. Yes, the longest day of the year is now behind us, so, here's wishing us all a little summer satisfaction!)

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