Re: Great Filter, Low Profile, Cryptocosmology

Mitchell Porter (
Tue, 15 Oct 1996 20:21:16 +1000 (EST)

Steve Witham's post reminds me of an idea from the last chapter of
Stanislaw Lem's _A Perfect Vacuum_, an oration by a (fictional) cosmologist,
who proposes to explain physics as the product of a cosmic Game (in the
sense of game theory: i.e. a contest or a situation of conflict). The
idea is that the first technological civilizations have engineered the
universe in order that they will stay out of each other's way. Thus the
speed-of-light limit, the expansion of space, and so on. This is not the
result of consensus, but of game-theoretic calculation: according to the
theory, keeping oneself isolated is apparently the best course of action.
As a side effect, latecomers to the universe find themselves isolated as

In this cosmology, the observed state of the cosmos which we see is the
work of intelligence, but it's not meant to be an information carrier for
superintelligences or a stockpile of raw materials; it's a buffer zone
between widely separated, hard-to-see zones of intelligent activity.