[Great Filter], there must be something that prevents non-living matter in the universe from creating life
Since Copernicus displaced the Earth as the center of the solar system, advances in astronomy have shown that our beloved planet is more ordinary than we thought. That means there should be plenty of planetary space for life to arise, however, which makes the Great Silence all the more confounding.
Enter "the Great Filter." First coined by the economist Robin Hanson, the Great Filter posits an explanation for the Fermi Paradox that is vitally important to our future on this planet. Hanson theorizes that there is, essentially, a great filter somewhere along the evolutionary path from the emergence of organic molecules on a life-supporting planet to the development of a civilization capable of leaving a mark on the stars. Whether that Great Filter falls before humanity's current point of development or after it is, as the philosopher Phil Torres puts it, "the ultimate question for existential risk scholars."
Picture the Great Filter this way. Imagine that you're a year away from your fortieth high school reunion. You look around and realize that no one from the class ahead of you—the class that would be having its own fortieth reunion this year—is still alive. What happened? If most of the deaths occurred when the alumni were 25 years old, or 35, or 45, that's tragic—but you can take some comfort in the fact that you've already passed those thresholds. But if most of the deaths occurred a year ago—when those alumni would have been the same age you are now—you should be very worried, as it would mean that you're about to hit the Great Filter of, in my case at least, Central Bucks High School East.
Mariners had painstakingly mapped the coastlines of the continents. Geographers had translated these findings into charts and globes. Photographs of ...
It's the idea that people living close to nature tend to be noble. It's seeing all those sunsets that does it. You can't watch a sunset and then go off and set fire to your neighbor's tepee. Living close to nature is wonderful for your mental health.
But we can easily extend this hypothesis [that nature has beneficial effects on the physical, cognitive and emotional well-being of individuals] to the conservation of biodiversity. [Ecologists] refer to the extinction of the experience of nature, which they have mainly applied in urban areas. The idea is as follows: from generation to generation, young people live less and less in contact with nature (because there are fewer of them and because their lifestyles limit such contact), at the very moment they are building their identity. The part of their identity that integrates their intimate relationships with their natural environment would therefore diminish from generation to generation. Not because of a lack of education, but mainly because of a decline in opportunities and desires to experience nature without constraint, freely and in their own personal way.
The consequences of this decrease appear in adulthood: with a weaker environmental identity, they are less in demand for nature in their daily lives, they integrate it less in their actions. (...) But if we do not collectively take biodiversity into consideration in our lifestyles, then we will suffer.
An inefficient virus kills its host. A clever virus stays with it.