At 12:40 PM 12/01/01 -0500, John K Clark wrote:
>So where are they?
Sorry, I should have been more explicit: here's what I found interesting
abt that recent estimate. It supports the view that one answer to
`where are they'
`it's too soon for anyone else to be around, or at least noticable, since
the solar system happened at the earliest possible astrophysical point of
convergence of the necessary pre-conditions'.
I've been wondering for a while if maybe so many prior steps were required
to build an Earth-like planet that we might actually be the sod-breakers.
This estimate sez that's unlikely, and not just by tens or hundreds of
millions of years but by billions.
Which surely does sharpen John's and Fermi's question.
My guess: some killed themselves, the rest Spiked and went to heaven.
Iain M. Banks agrees with the latter view, with modification to permit the
Culture and its non-Spiking pals, but that's really just a story-teling
device. In his new novel LOOK TO WINDWARD, he explains:
Subliming was an accepted if still somewhat mysterious part of galactic
life; it meant leaving the normal matter-based life of the universe behind
and ascending to a higher state of existence based on pure energy. In
theory any individual--biological or machine--could Sublime, given the
right technology, but the pattern was for whole swathes of a society and
species to disappear at the same time, and often the entirety of a
civilization went in one go...
To flourish, make contact, develop, expand, reach a steady state and then
eventually Sublime was more or less the equivalent of the stellar Main
Sequence for civilizations, although there was an equally honorable and
venerable tradition for just quietly keeping on going, minding your own
business (mostly) and generally sitting about feeling pleasantly
invulnerable and just saturated with knowledge.
[Obit UK hardcover, 2000, p. 145]
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