Saturday, 23 February 2013

existential event

The very fine and peripatetic blog Kottke directs to an interview from The Atlantic with Oxford philosophy professor Nick Bostrom about humanity’s penchant to attribute its destruction to something external, like a collapsing environment, meteor impact or seismic event rather than culprits of its own making.

Of course, external threats and the fragility of life are a factor and garner attention, but it is more likely what we synthesize ourselves (including a degraded eco-system) prove a more likely cause of our downfall, creating and crediting enfeebling regimes far more dangerous than a pyro-plasmic blast. Selectivity is still going on a-pace in Nature with this bubble-chamber of technology evolution going off at a perhaps different velocity. It’s a bit gloomy but I really appreciated the poster waxing philosophical after reading the article, pondering, projecting whether the lack of contact from an alien race wasn’t due to a technological developmental threshold once reached, say cellular telephony or nano-technology, which is archetypal and inevitable and all the potential neighbours destroyed themselves. This pondering echoes the frightful but sobering prognostications of author and astronomer Carl Sagan, who suggested the same over the atomic bomb. Native cleverness should not make the Universe a desolate place.