On the Fermi Paradox…

Yes, I know… it’s a burst of content for this blog!  No, I don’t know who I am and what I did with the real creator of this blog, so please stop asking.

This topic is returning back to more the intended roots of this blog, though.  My first real exposure to the Fermi Paradox was when I was a pre-teen living outside Engadine, Michigan.  Where is Engadine, Michigan you may ask?  Imagine one of the most rural and isolated parts of the lower United States, a town so small its population sign needed three digits and didn’t even warrant a stoplight.  You had to drive two hours for the nearest shopping center.

I didn’t even live in that town.  I lived a half hour outside that town.  If the Upper Peninsula of Michigan was the armpit of the country, I was living at the end of one of the pit hairs.

Point is… I lived in a pretty isolated place where my nearest neighbor was roughly a mile and a half away.

Anyway, it was a summer night and I was looking up at the stars (one advantage of living way out on the pit hairs of civilization is that the view of the sky is amazing), and my father was the first one to pose to me what I would later learn was called the Fermi Paradox.  If this universe is so full of life… why don’t we see any evidence of it?

Even then, I thought the question was rather absurd.  It would have been like me walking out to the end of the driveway, not see any other human beings, and wonder if I’m the only person in the whole world.  Even if through nothing but simple math and probability, I’d know that wasn’t true in the slightest.

That’s kinda how I view the Fermi Paradox, really… a question that sounds deep and philosophical but is really kinda dumb when you actually think about it.  Let’s be honest when we look out into the sky… we haven’t been looking very hard.  Hell, we can’t look very hard.  Right now, the only way we can find other planets is by inference.  Our farthest out man made object has barely broken out of the heliopause.  The most recent communication we could be possibly be receiving from another inhabited world is roughly 12 years old… assuming there even is a habitable world in Tau Ceti.

Let’s flip the script, and look at it from the perspective of another civilization out there in the universe.  Even if they figured there was intelligent life specifically around our Sun… how much of our civilization would be visible without being right in orbit around Earth?

We’re at the end of the driveway outside of Engadine… wondering where all the people are.

There’s no reason to think we’re alone in this vast universe.  It’s only a matter of time before we find it.  How long will that be is the only question worth musing about.

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