Fermi Paradox and Keanu Reeves

I went to see The Day the Earth Stood Still expecting to be very disappointed but feeling like I had to see it as a good SF nerd. [some spoilers ahead] I'm happy to report that I was only moderately dissapointed. Although Keanu was wooden as expected and the film relied on a lot of CGI to boost a weak story - at least it asked some big questions like - do aliens care about us? (movie's answer, not much).

It got me thinking about the central conceit of this and most alien films - that aliens would care even the slightest bit about the layer of green scum that has developed on the crust of this rocky ball.

The Fermi Parodox says that given the rapid rate of biological evolution on earth and the age of the universe - our galaxy should be teaming with type III civilisations. So where the fuck is everyone? (Fermi's words - not mine)

Humanity's conceit that we are important and the universe should care about us is undieing and shows itself in works like the bible and pre-gallilean astronomy.

[ spoiler ahead ] in the movie - Keanu was so impressed with a mother's sacrifice for the larval state of its own young that he decided to spare the Earth. Good mammals that we are - we find this trait to be noble and redeeming, an alien probably wouldn't. Worker bees will sacrifice for the queen too - but I don't mind squashing them.

So for me, the answer to Fermi's parodox is that our galaxy probably is teeming with life - but the aliens just aren't that in to us. If our cultural artefacts like Bach and American Idol are really worth savouring, a cheap radio antennae in the Oort cloud is a lot less trouble than initiating full inter-species contact.

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