Just watching this video by Stephen Hawking made me realize just how different my perspective on intelligence in the universe is from that of mainsteam science…
[Video since became unavailable]
From a material perspective Richard Hawking has several great points. He notes that the next hundred years are going to be crucial in determining whether we will survive on this planet. He asks whether the fact that we haven’t communicated with any other intelligent species so far shows that civilizations generally just don’t last long enough to be at a stage where they can communicate at all. In other words: social and technical capability has to reach a similar stage simultaneously. The chances of contact are slim if civilization self destructs automatically at some point which includes our current technical capabilities.
What I don’t think Hawking takes into account in enough is the difficulty of definitions. From a theosophical perspective humans are merely the most evolved physical consciousness on this planet. Consciousness that isn’t localized in a physical structure – like a community consciousness in a certain geographical area for instance – may be more intelligent or wise than the humans in that area, but still be powerless to communicate with most.
I don’t think it’s speculation to go so far as to say that planet earth itself has a consciousness. We contribute to that consciousness and are a part of it – but from her perspective we are perhaps more like annoying viruses than constructive cells. We’re literally causing her to have a fever right now.
Because it’s Friday, let me close with an important quote from H.P. Blavatsky on extraterrestrial life from her classic The Secret Doctrine.
Since no single atom in the entire Kosmos is without life and consciousness, how much more then its mighty globes? — though they remain sealed books to us men who can hardly enter even into the consciousness of the forms of life nearest us?
We do not know ourselves, then how can we, if we have never been trained to it and initiated, fancy that we can penetrate the consciousness of the smallest of the animals around us?