Why is SETI not receiving ET signals? - Afterthought

"...Taking it a step further, what if this is the sole purpose of sentience? That it is a pattern of inevitable extinction that repeats itself endlessly, for ever, everywhere in the Universe - an infinity of species evolving sentience, fertilizing the biosphere, then self-destructing? There would be no super civilizations, merely temporary emergences of blossoming and dying clusters of sentience...."

Such depressing inevitability could strains one's sense of optimism. Being a species chauvinist - I'm bit of a booster for Sapiens - I'd like to offer the slimmest chance of a way out of this closed reasoning. Indeed, the notion that we are hard-wired for self destruction as a natural course of events leaves me wanting a way out, so how about this:

Just as a single sperm that makes it to the egg, perhaps there is hope for the sentient species that succeeds in becoming self-aware. Realizing that nature has hard-wired us, bending us to its specific purpose, is the first step to saving ourselves from our inevitable fate, but only if a  second giant step can be achieved - altering with the very nature of our species to behave in such a way that the self-destruction trigger can be disabled.

It is a mistake to attribute sentience to what we call civilizations. Civilizations are not sentient, only the individuals that make up civilizations are sentient. Garden variety civilizations - the only ones that we have ever known - are mindless entities that perform basic processes that enable them to survive. They are unaware of their own nature and continue to function in a parasitic, symbiotic or commensalist manner, unaware of their true nature or the environment in which they exist.

The closest that our civilization has come to self-awareness is the hitherto failed attempts at curbing say, ozone depletion. Here is an example of a civilization looking into the future and visualizing its demise through its own actions.
To wean itself from extracting carbon materials would be a lot harder, if that turned out to be the mechanism of our destruction.

We appear to be blinded by our own sense of awareness so that we cannot even consider the possibility that we are being manipulated by greater natural forces.  Our natural tendency towards scientific enquiry in this direction is hobbled,  because it is part of the natural hard-wiring that keeps us at our pre-ordained natural task.
Perhaps sentient civilizations cannot veer from this program, any more than a colony of beavers could wonder away from their damn and build a log house.

Within our species, the concept of religion is synonymous every civilization that has ever evolved. This surely cannot be a coincidence. Organized religion affords an initial framework for consumer civilizations to become coherent and grow. Surprisingly, this device does not wither, even when a civilization rises to the degree where scientific method is fully utilized. This would appear to be irrational.
For this reason, it could be argued that organized religion is a manifestation of our hard-wiring.
To alter this harness of nature would be a huge undertaking, almost impossible to successfully undertake.
Could unsuccessful attempts to tamper with our hard-wiring lead to a species losing that which we dare to call sentience?
Would removing the religious aspect of our nature leave us without drive and ambition?
Are there inevitable consequences that would make the the struggle to cast off natural programming a dead end.
Quite possibly.
On the other hand, we can be pretty sure what happens if we do nothing.

Success must surely be rare, otherwise SETI would be receiving regular ET signals.

Just for the sake of argument if succeeding was a possibility, such a species would have tampered with the inner workings of the universal forces of nature. Would not a species armed thus, and defusing into the universe change its very nature? In my opinion, chances of this occurring are less than being that one in a billion sperm that reaches the egg.


Final thought. I recently came across the work of Vilayanur Ramachandran. Although he probably would not put it in these words, but essentially he proposes that the human mind is  wired for religion.


| Part 1- Why is SETI not receiving ET signals? |

| Part 2 - Why is SETI not receiving ET signals? - Addendum |


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