My Views on the Fermi Paradox

The ‘Fermi Paradox’ is about lack of contact with extraterrestrial intelligent life even though odds favor the existence of multiple intelligent civilizations, even in our own galaxy. Many types and subtypes of explanations have been put forth to explain the lack of aliens visiting us. This post is about my version of the explanation, which is influenced by one subtype of existing explanations.

Many explanations are based on some version of “we are alone at this moment”. The people most likely to believe in such explanations are also very likely to believe that white men are the ultimate expression of evolution.

I digress and here is my logical train:

Interstellar travel requires a lot of energy, whether we are talking about sub-light or trans-light speeds. It likely also requires mastery of technologies such as partially biological lifeforms, very good artificial intelligence and the ability to move your mind from one ‘shell’ to another on demand. Without a whole bunch of synergistic technologies reliable interstellar travel is not possible.

The corollary to such abilities is that a civilization with such technologies, but acting like humans would destroy itself very quickly. Essentially only a species that has evolved past zero sum thinking can explore interstellar space without first destroying itself. The number of stars in the universe, or even our galaxy are very large, and there are many opportunities for intelligent life to evolve. Since evolution is a dynamic process, small differences in the starting conditions and circumstances can produce very different outcomes.

Therefore it is very likely that more than a few intelligent species would have evolved past zero sum thinking before destroying themselves. Once an intelligent species becomes a multi-stellar species it is, save for extraordinary conditions, immortal (species not individual). Aging or resource accquisition is not a problem for any species that can simultaneously exist in a number of synthetic forms, with varying “physiologies”.

So why don’t they visit earth to talk to us?

My answer is based on an interpretation of one of my memories. I remember observing pond water/ scum through a microscope and seeing flea-like creatures that was barely larger than a paramecium. Now these are fully multicellular creatures with jointed limbs, ” eyes” and their transparency allowed me to see their internal organs.

At that very moment, I wondered about what that arthropod “saw”. Initially I imagined that it would be a just a different perspective of what I was observing, adjusted for it’s “eyes”. It was only a few hours later, that I realized that what it “saw” was unique to it’s brain/ sense organ combination.

I am not sure it even realized that it was on a ‘hanging drop’ slide illuminated by a halogen lamp. Do you think it realized that someone with a much more complex brain was looking at it through technology that it could not comprehend, for reasons other than killing or eating it? Could I have communicated with it even if I wanted to?

Now imagine you are that arthropod.. and an alien species is the human watching it, once in a while with a bemused indifference.

  1. Russel
    March 7, 2010 at 8:59 am

    More likely we are in a simulation, or some variant thereof. The Fermi Paradox is just more support for that position.

    That is possible in more ways than one.

  2. March 7, 2010 at 10:14 am

    “…for reasons other than killing or eating it?” In the animal kingdom, that is indeed the only rational reason someone would be watching. Is it different in the human kingdom?

    On an individual level, yes, there are exceptions.. some humans genuinely observe things with curiosity or a desire to learn, people like you and I and most the readers (probably) of this blog.

    But in a zero-sum capitalist system, at a societal level, it’s still all “kill or eat”. Transhumans watching us through a microscope are probably going to see the exact same mindless animal behavior we see under our own microscopes. Unevolved.

    and that is why nobody contacts us

  3. March 10, 2010 at 11:47 pm

    Playing the Devil’s Advocate March 6, 2010

    Many fall into the trap of anthropocentrism in such considerations

    My recent book, “Unusual Perspectives” proposes a model wherein the biological and subsequent technological evolution that we observe produces, as a later phase of the process a diamond based life-form. Such an entity would have the capability to reside in interstellar space

    Exercise of cosmic censorship and/or the use of extremely low communication frequencies by this entity could resolve the “Fermi paradox”.
    This is, of course, very speculative.

    However, for the next (intermediate) manifestation of the life process, arising from the internet by a self-assembly mechanism, the evidential basis for the projection given by “Unusual Perspectives” (Chapter 11) is quite strong.

    The latest edition of “Unusual Perspectives” is available in electronic format for free download from the dedicated website “”

  4. b6407727
    July 1, 2011 at 4:17 pm

    As you correctly suggested “Interstellar travel requires a lot of energy …”. It may be that interstellar travel is not feasible for exactly this reason. After all why should we assume that technology for interstellar travel exists somewhere?

    Just because a stupid and pathetic white man cannot do it doesn’t mean that nobody else in the universe cannot.

  5. July 1, 2011 at 4:44 pm

    Another take on the Fermi paradox, a member of the “cosmic censorship” subset, is provided in my latest book “The Goldilocks Effect” (Free download from the “Unusual Perspectives” website).

    Although, like all the other explanations, it is purely speculative it is consistent with the projection of what is now the Internet as the next major phase of the on-going evolutionary life process.
    This however (the main theme of the book) does have a quite good evidential basis.

  1. September 18, 2012 at 6:03 pm

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