Open letter to SETI:
There are those within the SETI project who wish to send signals out into space — hoping a reply would make it easier for us to discover life in the universe. I’ve addressed this concept before, however, there are those who fear such an act would invite unwanted visitors from a civilization far more advanced than our own. So the question remains: should we be concerned about distant civilizations looking towards Earth with hungry eyes for our natural resources?
The fundamental consequence of an evolved intelligence is proportional to any species capable of advanced activities (such as interstellar travel). The reasoning is clear: if interstellar travel is a capability reserved for any species of sufficient advancement, their advancement is direct proof of their dependance on sustainable activity. Their very existence as an advanced species is contingent of their civilization’s sustainable activity advancing past any previous unsustainable activity. This relationship between advancement and sustainability are not collectively exhaustive, but integral as a universal constant, for the entropic pressures of adaptation permits the continued existence of any species — contingent on the sustainable function of said species surviving long enough to advance. The longer a species exists, the greater its adaptation to sustainable activity, and vice-versa.
For a species to attain such a galactic level of advancement while raping resources from populated worlds is both counterintuitive and contradictory to an intelligence of such advancement. This malevolent characterization is not just ignorant of the vast resources found on uninhabited planets, but of the universal constant entropic adaptation in advanced sociality requires for such an advanced species to advance.
Further, the pursuit of sustainable activity by any advanced species will ultimately reveal the biological constant of Universal Rights for any species exhibiting advanced sociality, more so for any with such galactic advancement.
Being an advanced galactic civilization is not an achievement earned by the unsustainable.
What would it say if an advanced species harboured unsustainable social activity — somehow existing long enough to develop interstellar travel? It would be a contradiction not unlike “Bruce Almighty” materializing a sports car out of thin air rather than teleporting to the desired location. It would suggest the advancement was stumbled upon, found under a rock, revealing them as intellectually unfit in knowing what best to do with it.
The proposed actions of any advanced civilization are proportionate to their grasp of sustainable activity — not contingent on the concepts from a lesser civilization who’s society unwittingly value unsustainable activity currently threatening their existence.
How catastrophically misguided for us to suggest contact with intelligent life in the cosmos would reveal a civilization fraught with unsustainable activity — outright unconscionable to suggest advanced intelligence could somehow achieve superior galactic status while maintaining an unsustainable understanding of resource management. Unsurprisingly, this is a disheartening indicator of our current grasp of sustainable activity — blind, as though our problems are somehow just as unresolvable for a civilization millions of years more advanced than us.
But what if there was a civilization out there who is slightly more advanced than we are? To sight the mathematical probability of finding life in the universe, is equally proportionate to their advancement beyond our current level. Simply put, the vastness of the universe is a natural qualifier for one species to discover another. For us, we are at the birth of telecommunications, much less space exploration in the context of an advanced cosmic species. We’ve just started — training wheels still attached. To find no evidence of life is to find no evidence we know how to find it. Once evidence is found, it (laughably) becomes a race between who is more advanced. To that, what might be the gap in advancement between a cosmic civilization and ours?
Respectively, if humans had a thousand years to evolve and advanced ahead of today, what might we expect of our achievements? If we survive, would interstellar travel be common reality for us? Would we still use radio signals to communicate? A thousand years seems extraordinary given where we were only 100 years ago.
On the larger cosmic timescale, galactic life a thousand years further advanced than us is extremely unlikely. Ten thousand years would be imperceptibly more probable. It’s more likely we’d find civilizations are hundreds of thousands if not millions of years more advanced than us — for no evidence exists to suggest all life in the universe would have started at the very same time. We, being a species only now detectable by other civilizations, cannot define realistic expectations while being a galactic pre-schooler.
If we made contact, what would we learn from them? It’s likely we would learn that sustainability is an irrefutable prerequisite for the existence of any advanced species — as proof of any species being advanced at all, much less existing many times longer than us. To find any galactic civilization capable of advanced activity such as interstellar travel will unquestionably reveal what a sustainable civilization looks like.
Perhaps it’s best we fear not the discovery of an advanced galactic intelligence — fundamentally exemplifying a sustainable civilization, fear the possibility of not finding advanced galactic intelligence — relegating us blind to our unsustainable activity and eventual extinction.
We are all made of “star stuff,” and as a species exhibiting sociality, we instinctively support the members of our family, our community, our people, and our species. If we become advanced enough to support all life on earth, we may survive long enough to become an advanced species. If we reach the galactic level of sociality, we will instinctively support our galactic family. The way forward is clear to some, as we are only held back by those who do not support one or more levels of sociality our species desperately depends upon in continuing our existence.