Re: History and the Great Filter Paradox (was Re: retrograde

Elizabeth Childs (
Fri, 04 Jun 1999 23:49:22 -0700

It's worth noting that human beings were around for hundreds of thousands of years without advancing past the stone age. Then, the ice age ended, only 11,000 years ago and very shortly thereafter, enormous advances occurred in a relatively short time.

Apparently, the earth has for a very long time gone through long ice ages broken up by brief warm periods, lasting about 10,000 years. We're overdue for another one.

Darin Sunley wrote:
> "Raymond G. Van De Walker" wrote:
> > Apparently the industrial revolution in England was a very rare,
> > anomalous event, that almost didn't happen. By luck or a blessing of
> > God, England came late to the nasty wars of the 17th century, and all of
> > England's classes (Protestants all) were threatened with extinction (by
> > Catholic Invasion threats). The universal threat permitted progressive
> > taxation, including taxation of the nobles. The lateness and
> > progressive-ness of the war taxation permitted ENgland to save up reserve
> > capital, enough, barely, for the industrial revolution to snowball into
> > Victorian England.
> Someone (I THINK it's Pirsig in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance,
> but I could be wrong) writes pretty much the same thing about the origin of
> science among the Ionians in Pre-Socratic Ancient Greece. It was apparently
> the combination of a maritime economy, the existence of a leisure class, and
> geographical isolations that allowed the Ionian philosophers (thales et al.)
> to fisrt try to reason about the world in a matieralistic manner, rather then
> attributing it all to Deity X.
> Something Pirsig DEFINITELY mentions is how fragile science was after it
> started. No one seems to have invented it other then the Ionians, and they
> did end up losing it. It was only the Arabs keeping it long enough for
> Western Europe to get back on track that allowed for the Renaissance and the
> Industrial Revolution, and hence, modern western society (aka, the Age of
> Wonders :)).
> It's perspectives like this that make me feel a little bit better about the
> Great Filter paradox. Eukaryotic cells are hard to do, and science is hard to
> do. Thus we can hope that the leap form eukaryotic cells with science to
> Powers is less then impossible.