‘Deep Thought’ -On the Weekend Poll Question: “Does a 1.5 GigaYear ET Civilization Exist?”

6a00d8341bf7f753ef01347fac3a3c970c-320wi Galaxy Fan Bob Greenwade Comments…

For a species to survive for a billion and a half years would have to be a tough job. They would have to get past challenges such as large-scale war with weapons of mass destruction, catastrophically climate-changing energy demands, asteroid strikes, neighborhood supernovas, and other dangers to spread throughout their galaxy and beyond. 

Still, with as many stars, and by extension potentially habitable planets, as are in the known universe, let alone the universe beyond what we can see, I think it stands to reason that there's a civilization of sapient beings out there that's managed to survive those challenges. That civilization is almost certainly not in our galaxy, and may not be in our galactic cluster or even supercluster, but it's probably out there. 

What would it be like? For me, it's a coin-flip between two possibilities. On the one hand, it may be well beyond anything we could imagine. Perhaps that civilization now exists solely as pure consciousness, having transcended the need for physical form. Or perhaps it's completely mechanized itself, transferring everyone's consciousness into immensely advanced computers and giving everyone exactly the body they want. Or perhaps it's all machine, the machines having surpassed and superseded chemical organisms. Or maybe it's a combination of the first and third — the organic beings have become pure consciousness, leaving behind the machines to carry on a civilization of their own. 
And of course there are surely possibilities well beyond our ability to even guess at.

On the other hand, a civilization that ancient could be something very familiar and well within our ability to comprehend. They could still have their physical forms, live for a very long time but not forever, get around in starships, live in harmony with nature, and live in something that might seem to us like a utopia while still facing very familiar problems such as economic disparity, resource management, crime, war, racism, and all the rest. 

Why haven't we had contact with them yet? It may be that they just haven't come to our corner of the universe. Or, they might have come, but we interest them only from an anthropological point of view — a primitive but developing society to study, to possibly better understand how such things work. They may also have a rule similar to Star Trek's Prime Directive: don't interfere with the development of a far less primitive society, as the long-term (and even mid-term) effects can be unpredictable and sometimes devastating.

Galaxy Weekend Poll: What do You Think? "Does a 1.5 GigaYear ET Civilization 


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