At this point in our likely short history, our only plan is greed. Spoiled rotten children bullying and lying to acquire more toys than their siblings. Greed has become our parent, our narcissistic enabler, our rai·son d’ê·tre. The agent of greed, money, is the god of this world. Speculation, or gambling, or the market, or whatever term is used, is the den of thieves that ultimately destroys any hope of progress. Why work when you can be lucky? It is stealing without breaking the law. It is the miracle of something from nothing. Put some money, a little bit of your god, into it- and you get more back from nowhere. It just magically goes into your pocket. The choice is to be a dumb worker or a clever thief. And this is what will end our species.
It may be that greed is the filter everyone is guessing at concerning the Fermi Paradox. Evolution will eventually generate intelligent life, but to evolve a finite lifespan is required. A species of conscious beings require millions of experiments to come into existence and this requires those previous millions to pass into non-existence. The self-defeating feature in this scheme is that conscious species retain that same mechanism which caused those millions to leave the stage: death. Since self-aware beings cannot accept non-existence, the one cancels the other out in the larger picture. We don’t care about the future because we subconsciously know all we get is what we can acquire in our own short life.
Children seem to be the only moderator in this drama as they do lend meaning to it all. That some people do not care for children is evidence we are programmed to love our offspring. I don’t mind being designed to love my daughter and granddaughter- it is one of the few things in this life I am at peace with. Extending that drive to all children, and because of our intelligence, to all people, we have a force that drives civilization to conform and cooperate instead of self-destructing by predation and zero-sum competition . Sadly, the cycle of empire, of greed corrupting and destroying mighty nations throughout history, leads anyone paying attention to the conclusion that as a species we will not survive this for much longer. We will not be able to change this cycle of destruction until we change our individual cycle of destruction. As long as humankind fails to effect an individual indefinite lifespan we are doomed as a species.
The original reason I became interested in space travel was due to this lifespan problem. The critical feature of traveling to other stars is time and if a person can be placed in suspended animation then that problem is solved. I believed a quarter century ago freezing people was a completely viable prospect. The technical challenges to lowering the temperature of microstructures without damage are simply not that difficult. If it becomes practical to freeze humans without damage and revive them decades or even centuries later then…everything changes. The single most important event in human history.
More to come…or maybe not.