capriuni: Text: If you want to be a Hero, be Good to the Storyteller. (Default)
[personal profile] capriuni
Okay, granting that the Fermi Paradox is a hot mess, fallacy-wise, which of these common* answers to the question: “So Where is Everybody?!” would please you most -- or should I say -- leave you feeling the least depressed?

A. There’s no else out there.

We really are special snowflakes in the entire universe, and the only life to have sophisticated civilizations and advanced technology.

B. They’re all dead.

Any civilization with technology advanced enough to contemplate interstellar / intergalactic travel will end up destroying itself through war and/or pollution before they succeed.

C. They don’t care about us, or our planet.

We’re too insignificant and boring for anyone to spend resources to get here or try to communicate with us -- not even to mine our asteroids or kidnap us and harvest our livers ... or whatever.

D. Interstellar / intergalactic travel actually is impossible.

Doesn’t matter how sophisticated a civilization is, or how advanced their technology, no one is getting off any of their respective rocks, and we’re never going to get to meet them, or they, us.

E. Why are you talking like “first contact” is a good thing?!

You better hope we never do find proof of more powerful, alien, beings out there. Only bad things could result. Very. Bad. Things.

*”Fool! They’ve been communicating with Earthlings for years, already -- just ask the elephants!” is, unfortunately, an uncommon answer.

Date: 2017-04-04 03:04 pm (UTC)
sqbr: She's getting existential again. It's ok I have a super soaker. (existentialism)
From: [personal profile] sqbr
D. But I prefer the idea that it's hard and will happen *eventually*.

Date: 2017-04-05 07:16 am (UTC)
sqbr: She's getting existential again. It's ok I have a super soaker. (existentialism)
From: [personal profile] sqbr
Something I've been thinking about lately (inspired by Mass Effect Andromeda's unfortunate lack of vision) is the distinction between "colonising" space in the broad sense of humans ending up living on other planets one way or another, and the specific 19th Century White European Coloniser With A Manifest Destiny vision most scifi has when presenting how that "colonisation" might play out. I'm not sure what a post-colonial "colonisation" might look like but I wish more writers would at least try to imagine it.

I mean I agree that alien species might well not bother moving out into space. But if they did, it might not be in the way people are imagining it.

Date: 2017-04-04 03:53 pm (UTC)
redsixwing: Red-winged angel staring at a distant star. (Default)
From: [personal profile] redsixwing
C. But if we're insignificant now, that doesn't mean we always will be, or that resource exploitation is the only reason to make contact.

... or that we won't get out there eventually, and figure out a niche that suits us.

Date: 2017-04-04 05:43 pm (UTC)
redsixwing: Red-winged angel staring at a distant star. (Default)
From: [personal profile] redsixwing
Right? Especially because we're sort of the wallflowers at the party.

w/r/t the colonialist assumptions of the Fermi paradox, it may also be a matter of simple politeness - just as you don't go up to someone who's having a good time on their own and insist they join you in your flavor of fun* maybe it's generally rude to go bother some species that hasn't really come out of its shell yet.


*well, some people do, but see E

Date: 2017-04-04 07:15 pm (UTC)
redsixwing: Red-winged angel staring at a distant star. (Default)
From: [personal profile] redsixwing
"I'm not going near those people until they learn to keep their hands to themselves."

"Oh, come on. They can't be so bad."

"Look, Hzyrt. Do you have a flesh body? No. You're made of plasma. If they tried to grab you, they'd regret it. Me? Not only am I corporeal, I'm fuzzy, and they'd perceive my coat as being a color associated with their young. I wouldn't stand a chance."

"You don't think they'd get aggressive?"

"No, not as such - but I do think they'd try to pick up the ambassador for a cuddle, and that wouldn't end well."

Date: 2017-04-04 08:03 pm (UTC)
redsixwing: Red-winged angel staring at a distant star. (Default)
From: [personal profile] redsixwing
I'm tickled by this idea.

...okay, that's now the least depressing option I've seen.

Date: 2017-04-04 05:51 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] chanter_greenie
C, but within limits. If I have to choose, I'll go for the option that allows for opportunities for non hostile first contact in the future, once technological or social thresholds have been reached. ... my growing up with Trek series is showing.

Date: 2017-04-04 05:53 pm (UTC)
jekesta: (Default)
From: [personal profile] jekesta
I think D is the one I most naturally settle on, I suppose it would be nice to think it was C, which was more what you actually asked, but I don't think it's C.

Date: 2017-04-04 10:17 pm (UTC)
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)
From: [personal profile] igenlode
I don't know about happy, but my instinctive reaction would be A: sustainable, self-reproducing life-as-we-know-it is a fluke, and the chances against it are very, very high...

Or possibly a variation on that: any life-forms are so spread out among such a lot of uninhabitable nothingness that the chances of their actually meeting are vanishingly low.

Date: 2017-04-04 10:55 pm (UTC)
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)
From: [personal profile] igenlode
Absolutely -- we're spending all this time looking for 'Earth-like planets' on the assumption that lightning can only strike in the same place twice. But in fact alien life-forms might be incredibly thin, spread-out entities that live in interstellar gases and have a consciousness that only registers the passages of aeons... in which case, our existence would be a mere eye-blink to them, assuming they recognised us as a life-form rather than a random biological process in the first place. Which they probably wouldn't.

Date: 2017-04-05 09:34 pm (UTC)
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)
From: [personal profile] igenlode
Yes, there's the time factor as well as the distance factor; the universe is not only very, very large but very, very old (and with plenty of future time left to run, too). So in order to meet aliens, we would not only need to be reasonably close (according to whatever means of hypothetical superluminal travel they might have devised -- without that, I think it's hopeless since the distances are just too great) but reasonably coeval as well. Unless you assume that our civilisation is likely to last for millions of years (seems unlikely, given our short history as a species so far), and/or theirs has already done likewise.

Date: 2017-04-04 11:52 pm (UTC)
vilakins: Vila with stars superimposed (Default)
From: [personal profile] vilakins
D and E for me.

Date: 2017-04-05 03:03 am (UTC)
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
From: [personal profile] alatefeline
I'm really hoping that the Uplift answer - we're a wildlife preserve - is accurate.

Date: 2017-04-05 01:27 pm (UTC)
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
From: [personal profile] alatefeline
Yeah. I wish...

Date: 2017-04-05 03:22 pm (UTC)
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)
From: [personal profile] igenlode
There's also David Brin's "The Crystal Spheres"...

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capriuni: Text: If you want to be a Hero, be Good to the Storyteller. (Default)
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