The Silent Paradox

It is our fears of lions that we project into the universe. But we have long lost that fear of lions since now lions are stuck behind bars in zoos, there are no more lions to jump out and maul us. Yet we maintain our fear. Is it time to let go of those fears that haunt us?

Instead we continue to assume that the universe is hostile and out to get us. We even go as far as developing theories that the silence is a sign of aggression - see the The Three Body Problem. The theory suggests that the silence is everyone keeping their heads down because as soon as you make a sound, someone will come along and maul you. Sssshhhhh, the lions might hear us!

The ironic paradox is that the universe is a loud place. Communication is going on constantly. There are constant communication amongst species, aliens and bug-eyed monsters. How can I say this? Simple, if we don’t hear anything it does not mean there is no communication. Again this is a human assumption projected into the universe: on this planet if we don’t hear anything, then there is silence.

We are the “smartest” animals on the planet, we hear nothing, therefore it must be silence. QED.

From the flat earth to the earth revolving around sun, our assumptions have, time after time, been proven wrong yet we persist in making assumptions concerning concepts and realities that we have no deeper understanding of. Which is what makes us humans: we make assumptions and create theories to explain our collective reality. Fundamentally a good survival strategy. Unfortunately, these theories sometimes blend us from taking other approaches. The Christian Church enforced a blind spot on society when it said the sun rotates around the earth. No one dared to question the church, hence a unproven theory became a collective truth.

Taking the assumption that the universe is a loud place, how come we don’t hear anything? Simple: we listen in ways that are not compatible to the communication methods. We are using listening methods, here come our assumptions again, in which we assume everyone else out there would communicate. But what if they communicate in a utterly different way? Well the result would be the same: the universe would appear to be silent.

And there we have it: the premise the universe is silent can be concluded from either “yes we listen, we hear nothing therefore it’s silent” or “we listen in ways in which there are no communication and therefore it would appear to be silent simple because we do not listen properly”. We cannot prove it either way, we end up assuming that no universal creature/alien/monster is communicating.

Supposing the latter conclusion is correct - that we are not using the correct listening methods - then how should we be listening? I don’t know. Instead we might be better off asking how does everyone else out there communicate? Might they communicate in particular way that we well never infer unless we make societal changes? Thereby taking a complete alternate approach to listening.

And this is the core of what I would like to say: we humans are a competitive and destructive race. We have collectively brought many species to extinction or close to, we have destroyed much of the environment and we now face a catastrophic climate change. We continue to live in terms of “us and them”: nature is ours to control, aliens are out to get us, and those who suffer have themselves to blame.

What if the universe is a place where after millions of years of evolution, species have come to realise that instead of one-against-all, it is better to be all-for-one. It is better to be altruist and share instead of hoarding and fighting over resources and knowledge. What if the these aliens have come up with a communication mechanism that can solely be understood by fellow altruist motivate species? Communication methods that can exclusively be understood by species with whom those aliens wish to communicate?

Yes that is right: a communication method that, to be understood, requires a societal form that consists of altruism, peace, harmony and respect.

Many might say this is ridiculous and well it may be. It is as ridiculous as believing that a societal form that is based on altruism could ever work, provided one excludes Buddhism.

Societal Blindspots

The deeper meaning of this article is to point out that societies, be it East, West, North or South, have societal blindspots, ideas that cannot be thought of because of those societal taboo topics. A society refrains from talking about, thinking about these taboos and instead make assumptions to avoid those topics.

Having societal taboo topics implies that each society has a glass-ceiling beyond which it won’t be able to go, be this a technological, spiritual, societal or humanistic ceiling.

Confrontation of those taboo topics provides societies with the ability to move ahead as confrontation of taboos can open doors that many or many not be entered, but the doors are opened. Sharing ideas can lead to taboo topics being viewed from different perspectives or contexts, untabooing them, i.e., less fear of the lion. Hence we are all better off sharing ideas and working together than hoarding ideas and fighting against each other.

If taboos are swept away or we begin sharing ideas and pooling our global knowledge potentially we might begin communicating with those aliens that might be inquisitive and interested in sharing knowledge and not eating us for lunch.

[Part of the Taboo Tiles series.]


Adam Curtis takes about Societal Blindspots in terms of narrow societal accepts of new ideas. He presents an interesting idea that “Brainwashing” was an invention to discredit people with other ideas, thereby narrowing the spectrum of allowed ideas.

I attempt to say the same but in terms of taboo topics that society skirts around. Or via Christian myths or by being told someone is bad.

There is a lot of narrowing happening in society since a narrow minded society is simpler to control. If cattle were educated, you won’t be able to slaughter them en masse.