The Future and Advanced Civilizations
December 10, 2010 Leave a comment
It is highly likely that our not too distant progeny have an understanding of laws of nature that will be far beyond what we in the 21st century understand. Consider the current rate of growth of knowledge which has been following an exponential growth curve; thus doubling the rate of new knowledge acquisition every two years. Think about the fact that our science is on the verge of being able to genetically engineer the human genome. Based at the current rate of progress in molecular and cellular biology and genetics, it is not very difficult to extrapolate that within a mere few hundred or so years we will have the ability to engineer ourselves with capabilities beyond our wildest dreams of today. By then we will probably have conquered all genetic diseases and will have deliberately endowed ourselves with an immune system that can survive any known viral or bacterial infections. Perhaps, barring accidents, we will also be able to live indefinitely. Certainly our planet, our social systems and our cultural systems will not be able to deal with a human population with such extreme longevity.
At the same time surely our space faring technologies will advance to a much more highly developed state. Will we have any choice but to head for the stars? With extreme longevity, will it matter how long it takes at sub light speed to travel to the stars? If our interstellar travelers got bored with such a journey there would always be the possibility that they could used some form of suspended animation or hibernation for most of the journey. Perhaps they will undertake such journeys with a complete self contained colony within their space craft. Let us now imagine an alien technological civilization thousands or millions of years beyond our own. If we are within several hundred years of having the capabilities described above, what might an advanced civilization be like? Would they have revealed nature’s secrets such that they could traverse the void of space by faster than light travel? Could travel to Alpha Centauri be reduced to a matter of a few days similar to today’s trip duration to the moon? Could that be accomplished by manipulating gravity or even the speed of light itself, perhaps by warping space or traversing it through wormholes, or, even by some other means we can not even begin to imagine? Futurist and science fiction author, Arthur C Clarke, is often quoted “With any highly advanced technological civilization, their technologies would seem like magic to us.” To think that we have already uncovered all of nature’s secrets is certainly sheer folly. Given the incredible multitude of stars, the vastness of space, and the possibility of several thousand space faring civilizations thousands to millions of years older than usin our galaxy alone, can there be any doubt that sooner or later we will finally meet them? What might be the consciousness, ethics, morality and values of such a civilization? Certainly nature requires no special morality or ethics to tap into and utilize its secrets. Whatever is built into the belief systems of the discoverer will be utilized when these capabilities are finally unveiled and understood. These belief systems can be highly evolved and saintly or war-like and demonic; either way will be fine with nature for it takes no sides. Humans, for example, have uncovered many of the secrets of unleashing the energy stored within atoms.
This knowledge can and has been used for peaceful purposes such as the generation of electricity or it has also been used to build nuclear weapons which can destroy us all. Certainly for humans, our morals, values and ethics have not kept pace with our technological prowess.
Perhaps for these reasons, by necessity, extra-terrestrial civilizations have survived and evolved far beyond technological adolescence and have developed the technologies for inter-stellar travel because they have evolved to higher states of consciousness. If so, they will likely have recognized the need to live in harmony with nature and all that that implies. This would likely include highly evolved self-discipline, ethics, and universal spiritual values first less they would have otherwise long ago destroyed themselves by their command of such powerful technologies.
It is more likely that for evolved self reflective beings throughout the cosmos, there is a spectrum of consciousness that reaches from two extremes. On the left end of this spectrum a state of consciousness exists with concern only for promoting the self, accompanied with outright disdain or malevolence towards other living beings. On the opposite end of such a spectrum perhaps is a state of consciousness similar to Nirvikalpa Samadhi. On such a cosmic scale most humans would be placed to left of center busily pursuing their own self interests where their use of technology has far outpaced the values and ethics necessary to use them wisely.
[Credit: Edgar D. Mitchell]