Answers to Fermi’s Paradox


11 of the Weirdest Solutions to the Fermi Paradox

Here is an interesting addition to the discussion on Fermi’s paradox. These are all logical reasons why the paradox might not be valid, but I have my own opinions.

One major one missed, in my opinion, is social entropy. Social entropy is the natural energy level of society to decay over time. You can see examples of it in the Roman Empire and in some large corporations. Over time societies decay because of a couple of factors. One is span of control. One government can’t control an infinite number of individuals. The larger the number, the weaker the influence. Extrapolate that over billions of individuals, a large number of planets or great distances and the society loses its focus and wonders.

The giant advanced populations that are discussed, I think, reach a practical limit and once reached they decay. Who would care about some leader who is light years away and whose life is totally different? Once the point of decay is reached, technology loses much of its impact and meeting the needs of daily life dominate.

Another item, I think they miss, is the assumption that all creatures explore. Exploration might be a characteristic for only us. We are the product of an evolution where survival of the fittest dominates. Without alpha predators to force evolution a species can remain very happy in its biological niche. There are many examples of this; sharks haven’t changed in 10 of millions of years. They were the alpha predator and had no need to change or explore.

In my recent book Gemini, I described a naive society that never had alpha predators and when faced with a survival situation they didn’t know how to react. They were happy in their world and didn’t feel a need to explore. They had what they needed and there wasn’t any pressure to expand.

In my opinion societies may not feel the pressure to explore the entire universe and if they did they might find limits on their breath and depth which they can’t deal with. Assuming some race of aliens will dominate all of existence is like assuming that crabgrass in your lawn, which you have fought for years, will take over the world.

Ray Jay Perreault


2 thoughts on “Answers to Fermi’s Paradox

  1. I agree that the trait of curiosity required for exploration may not extend beyond necessary survival skills; making it highly possible that any species that reaches a survival nadir may lose its sense of curiosity, or its desire to expend itself overmuch to satisfy that curiosity.

    On the other hand… the human effort to know the universe extends far beyond our need for survival. Maybe we just haven’t yet bred it out of ourselves, yet. This, too, may not apply to alien cultures, if some mechanism other than evolution is a natural part of their development.

    I believe the Fermi equation also lacks a variable for overlap; that is, the period of time during which two civilizations are likely to be in proximity at the same time appropriate for contact. If two civilizations reach a common technological level and reach out… but are separated by millions or billions of years… the signals are missed, the overlap is zero, which zeroes out the rest of the equation.

    • I agree. Curiosity may or may not be a survival trait. For example there are many species who are successful biologically yet they have no urge for exploration. In my book Gemini, my aliens are just that. They have been successful biologically and they have no urge to explore. They just want to live and be happy.
      I also agree with your comments about the limited window of discovery. We’re already moving beyond the radio transmission phase and moving to other more efficient forms of communication. But beyond that limitation I believe a society won’t expand beyond a point without motivation. Why take over the universe if there is not immediate benefit to the individuals.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s