THE GREAT FILTER OR HOW AN EMPTY UNIVERSE CHANGES EVERYTHING
“Space is big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it’s a long way down the road to the chemist’s, but that’s just peanuts to space.” ― Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
So where are all the aliens?
Not long ago I got stuck in one of those Utoob vortexes where you keep finding more and more interesting kitten videos. But then there was a recommended video that wasn’t kitten, cat or even animal related.
It was titled “Why Alien Life Would be our Doom – The Great Filter”.
Of course when down a vortex that deep the mind is screaming for something a little more substantial than cats in predicaments, so I clicked it.
Let me summarise “The Great Filter”:
Imagine the development of life as a set of stairs; the first step is chemicals that become self-replicating but able to evolve. The second step is for life to become more complicated and use available energy more efficiently, A.K.A. engulfing other organisms. Next step up is more complex multicellular beings. Up another step sees species evolving bigger brains enabling the use of tools, culture and shared knowledge. Then to where we are, the next step becoming the dominant life on it’s planet.
What is that dominant life form’s next step? Expanding from their planet to the next and then the next solar system and the next galaxy and then throughout the universe.
Ok, so where are all the aliens? I mean space is old right? And really big yeah? Surely there have been other intelligent species that have gotten to the step we are on?
This is where the great filter comes in there are 2 potential hypotheses:
1.) The Great Filter is behind us and one of the steps we have taken is so incredibly difficult that we are the first species to make it this far up the staircase.
2.) The Great Filter is ahead of us and that every other species that got to this point we are at now are extinct before developing the ability to travel intergalactically.
Either way, this means the universe is a pretty lonely place.
Next question, why am I writing this in a music magazine? Well, it had me thinking if we are the first and we have “invented” music we should be pretty happy with ourselves.
Music has the power to make you emote, the joy of an act playing your favourite song at a festival or hearing a break-up song on a movie that makes you tear up just a little bit. The ability to bring people together and sing songs on a broken down train carriage to keep morale up while waiting to be rescued.
However you experience it, is up to you but can I recommend something to you?
That song you heard on the radio or on a movie by that act you love, that you see on billboards or interviewed in glossy doctor’s office magazines, they only got there because people supported them at the grassroots level. They only got there because people went and saw them at small bars and paid the 10 dollars to get in. They got there because people bought the shirt and the album and played them to friends and went back the next time too.
All I am trying to say is be your own tastemaker, your own social media influencer, find the music you connect with and support it. Don’t follow the crowd; follow what you want to hear not because “it’s cool” but because you get something from it.
Go and say hello to a local musician tonight, whatever night it is, this town is covered in fantastic music every night of the week, playing pretty much every genre you could imagine.
Just one tip: Never and I repeat never say, “That was ACTUALLY really good”. Because in this empty old universe of ours we need all the friends we can get.