Electric Froth

______ _ ______ ( / // _/_ o ( / _/_ / /-- // _ _, / _ , _, -/--_ __ / /_ (/____/(/_(/_(__(__/ (_(_(__ _/ / (_(_)(__/ /_

up

Interstellar

by Joel Kleier on 2014-11-08


I would recommend anyone who has the chance, see Insterstellar. It’s almost 3 hours, but its 3 hours of awesome. I’ll try not to be spoilery here, so you should be safe to keep reading.

Ultimately, it’s a story about love, and not a story without it’s faults. What it does well, in my opinion, is tell a tail of the future that is at least plausible. One where humanity faces a crisis of extinction and must fight to over come it. No robots take over the earth, there’s no specific apocolypic event, and there’s no direct political motivations influencing the course of the movie.

On the topic of extinction, one of my favorite thought experiments is The Firmi Paradox. I suggest reading the article, as it does a much better job of explaining, but I’ll attempt to paraphrase:

The whole paradox is based on the question 'Where is everybody?' when we look to the stars and can detect no other signs of life.

This question leads to something else called the The Great Filter — a theory that says that there are common eveolutionary steps for every species, but there is one step that almost no spieces cross, perhaps because it’s very unlikely, or perhaps because it’s impossible. This step allows a species to evolve to the point where it can leverage the power found with in an entire galaxy.

Now, if this filter is behind us, then we, humans, are a rarity in the universe, perhaps even unique if this 'filter' is so hard that in the multible billions of years of the universes existence, no other species has been able to overcome it.

Another possibility is that this filter doesn’t really exist (yet) because the universe is to young to have developed it. Maybe life is simply not old enough to have been able to support a species that can span galaxies. Perhaps we are on the leading edge, along with other species that have also not left their planets yet.

Or maybe, and this is the really depressing thought, the great filter is ahead of us, and we are on a collision course for an extinciton event that is very likely to destroy us.

And so, with this line of thinking, no news is good news. If we find simple life on Mars, or another celestial body, it eliminates a bunch of possible events that have already occured as being "The Great Filter", making it more likely that it is ahead of us. If we find fossils of complex life, it would mean that it is likely the filter is ahead of us, and that, in all likely hood, we would be doomed.

Anyway, there’s a lot more the the article I linked, but those are my favorite bits of it. How does this relate to Interstellar? Well, you need to watch it to find out :D

I’ll say this: the Great Filter is where my thoughts drifted after the film, not during it. The movie is about humans and their chance to not be extinct, not about aliens and galactic civilizations!