On the Friday of the Mayan Apocalypse, Dec 21, 2012, I had a special Mayan Apocalypse members' vidchat here to usher in Doomsday. And as most of you know here, my "signature" during the past year on my News and Views from the Nefarium has been to make mention at the top of the show of the "year of the apocalypse." There was, however, a bit of method in my madness, as I wanted to set up the conditions for why we seem so driven by apocalyptic thoughts in our modern culture, whether we're religious or not.
Well, again, some of us appear to be thinking off of the same page, because many of you sent me this little gem of an article:
The paradox here is simply enough to understand:
(1) The Drake Equation suggests that the number of stars and habitable and/or life producing planets in the galaxy is enormous, making the probability that there is intelligent life "out there" probable; yet
(2) The Fermi Paradox is that, if there is intelligent life, then surely some of it would have developed to a sufficient technological pitch that we would have either picked up some signals, or even had some other type of contact, by now, and yet, apparently, we haven't, which suggests:
(3) Other intelligent life forms may not have made it through the great filter.
The "Great Filter" theory in and of itself is fairly easy to understand:
"Many look upon the (Great Filter) as evidence that we'll destroy ourselves in the future. The basic idea is that every civilization destroys itself before developing space-faring technologies. Hence the empty cosmos. Given our own trajectory and the ominous presence of apocalyptic weapons, this scenario certainly seems plausible. We're not even close to going interstellar, yet we're certainly capable of self-annihilation.
But that doesn't mean this interpretation of the (Great Filter) is the correct one. Rather, it's quite possible that human civilization has already passed the Great Filter. Should this be the case, it would be exceptionally good news. Assuming there's no other filter awaiting us in the future, it means we might be the first and only intelligent civilization in the Milky Way." (Proper Nouns re-added because it's simply good diction...that'sanother article!)
The argument here is implicit though simple, we've had atomic bombs since 1945(or, if you've been following the Nazi story, perhaps since 1944), and hydrogen bombs since 1952, yet we've survived for decades, and hence, made it through one filter. Of course, there's nothing to say we won't use all these weapons on each other at some later point.
But there is, I suggest, a flaw with the argument - or maybe several. There are some in the UFO community who would argue a strong case if not a completely convincing one, that someone is monitoring us and has been, "coincidentally" with the rise of the industrial age and more importantly, stepped up their activity during World War Two and has maintained it ever since, displaying an extraordinary sensitivity to mankind's possession of those very nuclear and thermonuclear weapons of the "first Great Filter." To ignore the philosophical problems presented by the UFO in approaching speculations about the Great Filter Theory is, in my opinion, folly. Indeed, some ufologists would also argue that the phenomenon may be the next "Great Filter," and that the intentions of many UFO activities are at best unknown and at worst threatening, if not overtly hostile.
The other major problem here is the article takes no account (of course) with the possibility that there is evidence of past Great Filters in local celestial space, and evidence of a failure. This, of course, is my "Cosmic War" hypothesis, one that would seem to argue that the Great Filter occurs not when a civilization masters nuclear fission and fusion, and thereby takes the first entry step into technologies of mass destruction (that's right folks, nuclear and thermonuclear weapons are, from the "mass destruction" weapons point of view,gateway or entry technologies). Rather, the "cosmic war" hypothesis seems to suggest that such filters arrive much later, with the acquisition of interplanetary capabilities and with the arrival of a civilization at the cusp of one of Kardashev's three classification types. A class one civilization's need for energy of a planetary scale, a class two of a stellar scale, and a class three of a galactic scale.
The "Farrell Corollary" is that such civilization types acquire the ability to engineer systems at each of those scales, and hence, the ability to weaponize systems at those scales. In short, a class One civilization type may have the ability to destroy whole planets with "a single shot." Nukes pale by comparison. And if one reads the record and believes, as I do, that there is sufficient evidence in local space to suggest the remains and artifacts of such a civilization, then it would appear that humanity - or whoever - did not make it through that first Class One Great Filter.
So here's something to ponder... if humanity now has technologies that can manipulate systems on a planetary scale, then we are approaching our first Great Filter... we're not through it yet...
See you on the flip side.