Reply To: Readers Ask: Planetary Consciousness and Trappist-1?

#5038 Score: 2

51 votes

Interested in exploring this notion of meta-awareness, thinking in this context about trying to reach TRAPPIST 1 or any other exoplanetary system we suspect might have intelligent life (or to use your optimistic term, augmented intelligence) and the limitations of sending out information at- or above-lightspeed (and whether information can travel at lightspeed and surpass roadbumps that may take the shape of black holes, wormholes, dark matter, or parallel universes all of which are theories hinted at by the math but unobservable by our own limited senses).

Our earliest radio and television signals, according to a scientist at SETI, have been beaming into space for about 100 years, although they weaken and become quite diffuse the farther they travel. “Some of our radars are easily detectable quite far, hundreds of light-years, into space, if the aliens wish to try, and if they’re in the beam,” says Seth Shostak, an astronomer at Seti. “Of course, no one more than about 50-70 light-years away will have yet heard from us, but I figure that our earliest broadcasts are washing over about one new star system each day. So the potential audience is growing.”

I have this image of intelligent life forms on TRAPPIST1 tuning into episodes of “I Love Lucy” or “Ed Sullivan” and wondering what’s up with these Earthlings! But what if they had actually mastered high enough consciousness to communicate telepathically, and thought, let’s try to “friend” them? We may not be able to master that level of augmented technology for eons! Metaphorically speaking, our phone would be ringing and (and meta-Facebook messenger pinging) no one would answer, so we’d miss their friend request.

So what are the odds in a universe that is limitless of making any initial contact? And doesn’t that speak to the notion that awareness, a.k.a., intelligent LIFE, may be ubiquitous but we’re not yet advanced enough to perceive it, much less connect in a meaningful way? Nonetheless, if these beings were able to reach us in ways that we could perceive them, it seems that their making contact would upend, or open up, our perceptions and could catalyze an evolutionary sport (in the biological sense of mutation) to speed up human development.

The film “Arrival” hinted at part of this. Endlessly fascinating. Speaking for myself, exploring these themes via fiction and science fiction feel like the most tangible ways to spur our sense of curiosity and impel our drive for discovery, better than theoretical (and currently untestable) theories represented via complex mathematical equations.

Wondering what forms and themes drive that sense of curiosity and discovery for other members of this forum?

This post has received 2 votes up.