Utopian Turtletop. Monsieur Croche's BĂȘte Noire. Contact: turtletop [at] hotmail [dot] com

Thursday, June 21, 2007

As long as we haven't extincted ourselves, we won't know how the human story ends, and if we were to extinct ourselves, there wouldn't be anybody to tell or hear the tale, and all of human history would have been a tale told by an idiot, signifying nothing. Nothing, to nobody. Unless God is listening. I don't believe he is.

Solstice Eve we went to a lecture on astrobiology, which addressed the possibility of life on Mars and on Saturn's moons. The lecturers mentioned an astronomer who has projected statistical possibilities of intelligent life on other planets. The use of statistical analysis seemed goofy, and the presenters spoke solemnly of Controversy surrounding this supposition or that. If X percent of earth-like planets have conditions for life, on how many will life develop? If X percent of planets with life evolve intelligent species, how many will develop technology to the point that they will be sending out radio waves? How amusing that people argue seriously over what X should equal in each instance, I thought at first, but maybe it's no more silly than arguing over who's the best guitarist.

What was striking: The model assumes that the intelligent species will thrive for only a limited time -- 10,000 years? 20,000 years? The lecturers assumed their most solemn tones to tell us that this is the most controversial supposition of all.

The astrobiologists implied that intelligence may end up having proved to have been an evolutionary blind alley -- in other words, having developed the tools to extinct ourselves, there is no reason to suppose that we won't eventually use them.

There is no way of knowing. Here's hoping we don't.

Hullo John, this really has almost nothing to do with this post, but here is where I will write it: Thank you. I hadn't been by to visit in a month or so (for whatever reasons), but brought my browser over today and I'm the better for it. In everything you've written over the past week or so, even in the truly heart-breaking and sorrowful moments, you have inspired at least one reader. In your 'out-ness' you are not alone; your flailing about is meaningful and I hope you keep at it. Shine on you crazy diamond. You've made me smile, even without the assistance of the awesome Fingers Hilarity.
I wish I could bring you some inspiration as well, but the best I can do is a link to an article you've probably already read, that touches on the the slipperiness of language and poetry.


Stay well John.
Thanks very much for your kind words, and for the interesting link.
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