The Great Filter

Why Finding Alien Life Would Be a Horrible Thing for Humanity

I want to believe. But maybe I shouldn’t want to, as finding alien life – of The X-Files type, or even something much more basic, such as single-celled life-forms – could be a signal that our extinction is inevitable.

If you’re a little confused, let me explain. In contemplating the Fermi Paradox (if alien civilisations are common, why have we not been contacted), some researchers have suggested that there is a ‘Great Filter’ which acts as a barrier, stopping life from reaching the level of complexity needed to explore the galaxy (and contact others).

The Great Filter could be ‘behind’ us – that is, while intelligent life was ‘filtered out’ on nearly all other planets, here on Earth we survived it, and are perhaps the only lifeform capable of galactic exploration – or it could still be in our future, waiting for us (e.g. advanced technology that allows us to destroy ourselves), and all the other life similar to us throughout the galaxy.

As such, one of the counter-intuitive results of the Great Filter idea is that the more likely it is that life is abundant and able to evolve to a level similar to our current civilisation, the more likely the filter is still ahead of us, and that we will one day be annihilated.

If that short explanation hurts your brain, be sure to check out the animated video below which explains the concepts in greater detail (with some wonderful illustrations).

  1. Though I get the gist of what this article states I still would love to see life discovered outside of earth….

    It also takes for granted that the barrier is all encompassing but this is only supposition. Life could be hard to detect because we don’t have the right tools for it and space is really, really big.

  2. Excellent video explanation, and indeed technology is the big filter. The only way for us to avoid it is to learn from those who understand it–the ETs.

    The solution, in part, to the Fermi ‘Paradox’ is that there never was a paradox–Fermi simply didn’t know what elements of his and other governments knew. The first phase of Contact began with the nuclear era, because nuclear weapons would inevitably become a grave threat to humankind. Here’s a blog post that explains the idea:

    Would you welcome a brief open message to humankind from ETs who are already here, and are willing to begin Contact when one or more nations accepts responsibility for beginning the process?

    You can ridicule the idea as much as you like, but after that, can you say ‘Yes’ or ‘No’? Do you think the scientists and UFO skeptics could openly say Yes or No? If NASA can say Yes, then that will begin Contact. If they can’t say Yes, then they’ve said No. What would that say about NASA, the U.S., and humankind? Of course Greg could ask CSIRO (see: Hello From Earth) or the new space agency.

    Humankind’s choice is to wake up, grow up, and learn from the mistakes of the past–or to repeat them. If you don’t believe that, then ask the ETs. And Greg, I do hope you’ll consider doing an article about this…

  3. Actually, most people are their own “filters”, and tend to disregard any communications that originate externally/non-verbally, and for various reasons. Most people are not consciously aware of realities that impinge on their daily grind. It’s almost like “The Matrix”, and not being conscious of the fugue state their minds are in. It’s a matter of making an effort, and stopping the internal dialogue. Then, if paying attention, one may become cognizant of non-physical reality.
    There are three possibilities for the nature/agenda of other entities: 1) hostile.
    2) indifferent
    3) beneficial/caring
    It may be difficult to see any difference between #’s one and two…Those that believe that “aliens should rescue us from ourselves” need to reconsider their mindset. Free will is absolutely necessary, to learn and grow.

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