Where Are All The Aliens?
Why NASA and SETI haven't found extraterrestrial life
by Robert Lanza, M.D. in Biocentrism
In Star Wars, the bars are bustling with all types of alien creatures. And then, of course, there's ET and the Cone-heads. Both renowned physicist Stephen Hawking and the late astronomer Carl Sagan believed that mathematics make the existence of aliens very likely. In fact, Hawking thinks they might raid Earth's resources, take our ores, and then move on like pirates. "I imagine they might exist in massive ships, having used up all the resources from their home planet. Such advanced aliens would perhaps become nomads, looking to conquer and colonize whatever planets they can reach."
For years, NASA and others have been searching for extraterrestrial intelligence. The universe is 13.7 billion years old and contains some 10 billion trillion stars. Surely, in this lapse of suns, advanced life would have evolved if it were possible. Yet despite half a century of scanning the sky, astronomers have failed to find any evidence of life or to pick up any of the interstellar radio signals that our great antennas should be able to easily detect.
So where are they? Some scientists point to the "Fermi Paradox" noting that extraterrestrials should have had plenty of time to colonize the entire galaxy but that perhaps they've blown themselves up. It's conceivable the problem is more fundamental and that the answer has to do with the evolutionary course of life itself.
Look at the plants in your backyard. What are they but a stem with roots and leaves bringing nutriments to the organism? After billions of years of evolution, it was inevitable life would acquire the ability to locomote, to hunt and see, to protect itself from competitors. Observe the ants in the woodpile—they can engage in combat just as resolutely as humans. Our guns and ICBM are merely the mandibles of a cleverer ant.
But what's the next step in the evolution of life? According to all our science fiction novels, our destiny is to journey to Mars and beyond. Yet as we build our spacecraft, we're about to be broadsided—from a different direction—by the most explosive event in history.
But it won't be rockets that take us the next step. Sometime in the future, science will be able to create realities that we can't even begin to imagine. As we evolve, we'll be able to construct other information systems that correspond to other realities, universes based on logic completely different from ours and not based on space and time.
Over 200 years ago, Immanuel Kant declared that space and time were real, but only indeed as properties of the mind. These algorithms are not only the key to consciousness, but why space and time - indeed the properties of matter itself—are relative to the observer. Biocentrism tells us that space and time may not be the only tools that can be used to construct reality. At present, our destiny is to live and die in the everyday world of up and down. But what if, for example, we changed the algorithms so that instead of time being linear, it was 3-dimensional like space? Consciousness would move through the multiverse. We'd be able to walk through time just like we walk through space. And after creeping along for 4 billion years, life would finally figure out how to escape from its corporeal cage. Our destiny would lie in realities that exist outside of the known physical universe.
Like breathing, we take for granted how our mind puts everything together. I often wake up from dreams that are as real as everyday life. For instance, in one dream, I remember looking out over a crowded port with people in the foreground. Further out, there were ships engaged in battle. Although I was in bed with my eyes closed, I was able to run and move my arms and fingers. My mind had somehow created a fully functioning body and placed it in a virtual world (replete with clouds in the sky) that was indistinguishable from the one I'm in right now. I could even feel the pebbles under my feet, merging this 3D world with my "inner" sensations. Life as we know it is defined by this spatial-temporal logic, which traps us in the universe we know. But like my dream, quantum theory confirms that the properties of particles in the "real" world are also observer-determined.
Other information systems surely exist that correspond to other physical realities. In fact, the simplest invertebrates may only experience existence in one dimension of space. Evolutionary biology suggests life has progressed from a one-dimensional reality, to two dimensions to three dimensions, and there's no scientific reason to think that the evolution of life stops there.
Perhaps across space, more advanced intelligences have taken the next evolutionary step. Perhaps they've evolved beyond the three dimensions we vertebrates know. Such advanced civilizations would certainly have changed the algorithms so that instead of being trapped in the linear dimensions we find ourselves in, their consciousness moves through the multiverse and beyond. Why would Aliens build massive ships and spend thousands of years to colonize planetary systems (most of which are probably useless and barren), when they could simply tinker with the algorithms and get whatever they want?
Life on Earth is just beginning to send its shoots upward into the heavens. We've even flung a piece of metal outside the solar system. Affixed to the spacecraft is a record with greetings in 60 languages. One can't but wonder whether some advanced civilization will come upon it. Or will it just drift across the gulf of space?
To me the answer is clear. But in case I'm wrong, I have a pitch-fork guarding the ore in my backyard.