Are We Experiencing the Peak of What is Possible In the Universe?

Like the collapse of Rome, but with Wi-Fi


I think yes. Here’s why.

The laws of physics are the same everywhere in the universe. There are no forms of energy useful on a human scale that we do not already know about.

The laws of biological evolution are likely the same everywhere in the universe. Life’s form and chemistry may differ, but its foundation of evolution by natural selection of replicators is probably universal.

Any life with advanced technology requires two things. First, a powerful brain with an extended theory of mind capable of collaborating on the invention of advanced technology, and second, sufficient energy to allow the specialization of skills, extraction and production of materials, and construction of infrastructure necessary to develop the technology.

Varki explains that a brain with an extended theory of mind initially requires denial of reality behavior.

The only form of energy with the utility, density, portability, and extractability necessary to boot strap the creation of advanced technology is liquid hydrocarbons (oil). The biological and geological processes that create oil remove carbon from the atmosphere, bury it under ground, and release oxygen into the atmosphere. The creation of oil therefore changes the environment, and the burning of oil, which reverses the process, also changes the environment.

If a planet has life with advanced technology then it likely began by denying reality and burning oil. The energy from oil will increase food production which in turn will cause the population and pollution it produces to increase unchecked due to universal reproduction behaviors coupled with denial of reality.

Depletion of the non-renewable oil, disruption to the climate from burning the oil, and other associated negative impacts on habitat make it probable that the life will overshoot its environment and collapse before it has time to evolve the awareness of reality necessary to reduce its population and develop a high density non-carbon form of energy such a fusion, if indeed fusion on a human scale is even possible given the temperatures and pressures involved.

This may explain why we have not detected life in the universe despite trillions of planets.

We should be grateful for being alive to witness the peak of what may be possible in the universe.

One thought on “Are We Experiencing the Peak of What is Possible In the Universe?”

  1. Here is Paul Chefurka’s excellent take on the same topic.

    “Burning carbon and using the released energy of combustion is easy and obvious. It will be done fairly early in the life of the presumed intelligent species, well before they accumulate enough scientific knowledge to detect the long-term planetary danger of the carbon dioxide exhaust gases. In our case we have been doing it for over a million years, but figured out the problem of global warming less than a hundred years ago.

    By the time the danger is realized, the species will be carbon-dependent – locked into the burning of carbon for energy – trapped in a vicious spiral of thermodynamically-driven self-organization, energy-dependent maintenance of existing physical and social structures, increasing energy dependence, increasing CO₂ production – and increasing planetary heating from the “greenhouse effect”.

    If there is enough carbon available, the species will become technologically advanced, will send out signals for a short while and will then go extinct due to an inability to adapt to the planet’s changing climate. The species will not climb out of its gravity well and fly to the stars, because the energy required will all be soaked up in its own growth, and extinction will happen well before it gets to the Dyson Sphere stage.”


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