Professor Brian Cox's response to his own argument about rarity of civilizations in the universe signals something most unusual. His thought that isolation makes humans all the more valuable suggests wisdom - how often do we see that? More orthodox is the point that we are extremely lucky to be here at all.

Yet, as Vladimir Putin reminds us, we may wonder how long our luck will hold. At every level from the neighbourhood or workplace to international politics humans strive (and sometimes fight) to impress on the stage; to win (or avoid losing) power, prestige, and status. That pattern is familiar enough in the animal kingdom, but our sophisticated technologies make the difference. (Hobbes wrongly ascribed the competition to individuals only; collectivities strut the stage as well).

The difference from 'nature' now is that combined with advanced technology it makes an explosive combination. I cannot help thinking this is another reason for SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) picking up a loud silence. Reports tell us that some amongst Russians and Ukrainians have the attitude of facing death rather than dishonour - an incredibly dangerous attitude in a nuclear context. 

Blog home Next Previous