1. False Vacuum:
This is, in short, a scientific theory that our universe is in fact in a false phase state as part of a bigger universe, like if it were a momentary thing (think the actual universe is a vessel of boiling water, and we are just within a bubble developing at the bottom of the pot). Ultimately though that false vacuum has to pop, even after billions of years in this false state and we and everything we know in our observable universe will vanish in an instant with no warning whatsoever and there is nothing you can do about it.
2. The Great Filter:
It’s a theory about why the cosmos appears to be filled with potential for life and yet we have not discovered it. It says that somewhere amid pre-life and an advanced civilization that is able to colonize the stars, there is a Great Filter that stops them and ends life. This means we fit into one of these three situations:
- We are exceptional, meaning we have by now passed the Great Filter, unlike other civilizations on other planets.
- We are the first, meaning circumstances in the universe are only now life friendly and we are amongst many on our way to the ability of colonization.
- We have not hit the Filter yet, meaning we are f*cked. If this one is true, it means discovering life or evidence of life on Mars or Europa would be dreadful news as it would nearly surely mean the Filter is still ahead of us instead of behind us.
3. Brain in a Vat
The brain in a vat is an element used in a range of thought experiments projected to draw out certain features of our thoughts of knowledge, reality, truth, mind, and meaning. It assumes the following:
- The brain is the centre of all consciousness.
- The brain functions on electrical impulses.
- External motivations can influence the way the brain works.
- Any external incentives to the brain can be simulated to a degree that the brain can’t differentiate these simulated stimuli from natural stimuli.
The point is that you could be a brain in a jar, being fed false impulses for your whole life by an external source, or you (still a brain in a vat) could be hallucinating your whole life from lack of stimuli.
4. Higher Dimensional Beings:
Visualize if there was a 2D person. If you gaze at them in a specific way, they can’t see you. All you have to do is look from a top view and they would not know you are there, and they would never know. Living their life as 2D, they would never be capable of comprehending how something could be viewing down on them.
Now visualize a 4D person. They could be observing you from a 4 dimensional angle, an angle that you will never comprehend. They could be right alongside you, but you would not know, and you would never know. Just as we could interact with the 2D person, the 4D person could interact with us. But as long as they do not want us to, we could never interrelate with them or not even know of them.
5. Fermi Paradox:
Let’s say we there is an ant hill in the mid of the forest. And right next to the ant hill, we are constructing a ten-lane super-highway. And the question is “Would the ants be capable of comprehending what a ten-lane super-highway is? Would the ants be capable of comprehending the technology and the purposes of the beings constructing the highway next to them?
So it is not that we cannot pick up the signals from Planet X using our technology, it is that we cannot even understand what the beings from Planet X are or what they are trying to do. It is so beyond us that even if they actually wanted to educate us, it would be like trying to teach ants about the internet.
When Pizarro entered into Peru, did he stop for a while at an anthill to attempt to communicate? Was he generous, trying to help the ants in the anthill? Did he become aggressive and slow his original mission down in order to smash the anthill apart? Or was the anthill of complete and utter and eternal insignificance to Pizarro? That might be our condition here.
6. Roko’s Basilisk:
Roko’s basilisk is a proposal that states an all-powerful artificial intelligence from the future may retroactively punish those who did not contributed in bringing about its existence. It looks like a futurist form of Pascal’s wager; an argument proposing that people should take into account specific singularitarian ideas, or even donate money, by weighing up the view of punishment versus reward. Additionally, the proposition states that only knowing about it incurs the risk of punishment (Now you know about it. You know who to thank while you will be tortured). It is also mixed with an ontological argument, to propose this is even a reasonable threat.
7. Terror Management Theory:
Everything that humankind has ever achieved other than basic survival has been driven by a basic and irreducible fear of non-existence. Our conception of self and self-esteem normally is a buffer against the anxiety that comes with knowing that we will cease to be. Culture is just a massive shared illusion to mitigate our fear of the unknown and eventually of death. Thus we want to visualize certain works of art as timeless or to place value in family lines and offspring, to project ourselves beyond death. We take ease in our value systems and the structures that arise from them, whether that’s through conceptions of biological kinship, national/ political identity, religious faith, etc.
This includes belief in the inherent value of safeguarding the future of humanity by scientific development. Indeed much of modern western life is devoted to the escaping of death, the various euphemisms and stock phrases in mourning, the whole funeral home industry that serves to remove death from the ordinary course of life, from the home and onto the embalming table or into the crematorium. We build up the artifice to evade the brutal truth. In short, everything that we have ever done and will ever do is driven by nothing more than our existential terror in challenging death.
8. Quantum Suicide/Quantum Immortality:
A man sits down before a gun, which is pointed at his head. This is no regular gun; it’s assembled with a machine that calculates the spin of a quantum particle. Each time the trigger is pulled, the spin of the quantum particle — or quark — is calculated. Depending on the measurement, the gun will either fire, or it won’t. If the quantum particle is observed as spinning in a clockwise motion, the gun will fire. If the quark is spinning counter clockwise, the gun won’t go off. There will only be a click.
Anxiously, the man takes a breath and pulls the trigger. The gun clicks. He pulls the trigger again. Click. And again: click. The man will continue to pull the trigger again and again with the same outcome: The gun will not fire. However it is working properly and loaded with bullets, no matter how many times he pulls the trigger, the gun will never fire. He will continue this process for eternity, becoming immortal.
Go back in time to the start of the experiment. The man pulls the trigger for the very first time, and the quark is now measured as spinning clockwise. The gun fires and the man die.
But, wait. The man already pulled the trigger the first time — and an infinite amount of times following that — and we by this time know the gun did not fire. How can the man be dead? The man is unaware, but he is both alive and dead. Each time he pulls the trigger, the cosmos is split in two. It will carry on splitting, again and again, each time the trigger is pulled. This thought experiment is named quantum suicide.
9. Transcension Hypothesis:
The hypothesis suggests that once civilizations saturate their local area of space with their intelligence, reach microscopic technological singularity, construct a black hole and leave our visible, macroscopic cosmos in order to carry on exponential growth of complexity and intelligence, and vanish from this universe, thus clarifying the Fermi Paradox. Developments in astrobiology make this a testable hypothesis. It suggests space, time, energy and matter compression, as a driver of accelerating change, which must lead cosmic intelligence to a future of highly-miniaturized, accelerated, and local “transcension” to extra-universal domains, rather than to space-faring expansion within our current universe.
10. Sixth Mass Extinction:
We are at present living through what many biologists consider to be the sixth mass extinction that the world has ever experienced. This is going to be a stimulating puzzle for the species that comes after us. It was not until around the year 1800 that humanity touched a population of 1 billion after thousands and thousands of years. In the 215 years since then, the world population has raised to ~7.2 Billion. That exponential growth has very big and long lasting negative effects on our planet, and will continue to do so until we reach carrying capacity or die off.
This post was written by Usman Abrar. To contact the writer write to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Facebook