VII. Pedia Sapiens: A Genesis Future on Earth and in the Heavens
D. Cosmocene Destiny: The Greening of the Galaxy
Chu, Ted. Human Purpose and Transhuman Potential: A Cosmic Vision for Our Future Evolution. San Rafael, CA: Origins Press, 2014. An international economist with degrees from Fudan University, Shanghai and a doctorate from Georgetown University, now based in Dubai, achieves a unique synthesis of traditional wisdom with our latest scientific transfigurative prowess. With a Foreword by theologian John Haught, it is made clear that he does not intend a machine takeover as the near Singularity. An early chapter records an original Axial Age for both Eastern and Western cultures, especially as a “Yin-Yang reality.” By these lights a Second Axial Age is proposed to commence an intentional transformative procreation of a Cosmic Being. The overall message, akin to the prescience of a Nikolai Fedorov and Pierre Teilhard, is an “hourglass view” (127) whence temporal creation does not end with us, but needs to wholly pass through its human phenomenon on earth, which has “a critical role in cosmic evolution.”
Cirkovic, Milan. Forecast for the Next Eon: Applied Cosmology and the Long-Term Fate of Intelligent Beings. Foundations of Physics. 34/2, 2004. The Belgrade Observatory astronomer speculates on the future of “intelligent community” in the universe. Although a transhumanist view of life’s technological advance, sentient observers are seen to play a crucial role to “maximize the creative potential” of the expanding and evolving cosmos.
Cirkovic, Milan. Kardashev’s Classification at 50+: A Fine Vehicle with Room for Improvement. arXiv:1601.05112. The Belgrade Astronomical Observatory astronomer and author (search) reviews the Russian futurist’s original three forms that a technological cosmic center of life might accrue as it takes over planetary, solar and galactic energy sources. His conjectures do stand the test of time, to which may now be added a universe scale, and even onto mutliverse reaches.
We review the history and status of the famous classification of extraterrestrial civilizations given by the great Russian astrophysicist Nikolai Semenovich Kardashev (1932- ), roughly half a century after it has been proposed. While Kardashev's classification (or Kardashev's scale) has often been seen as oversimplified, and multiple improvements, refinements, and alternatives to it have been suggested, it is still one of the major tools for serious theoretical investigation of SETI issues. During these 50+ years, several attempts at modifying or reforming the classification have been made; we review some of them here, together with presenting some of the scenarios which present difficulties to the standard version. Recent results in both theoretical and observational SETI studies, especially the G-hat infrared survey (2014-2015), have persuasively shown that the emphasis on detectability inherent in Kardashev's classification obtains new significance and freshness. Several new movements and conceptual frameworks, such as the Dysonian SETI, tally extremely well with these developments. (Abstract)
Cirkovic, Milan. Physical Eschatology. American Journal of Physics. 71/2, 2003. A thorough annotated bibliography of past and current resources pertaining to the future of the universe. But as mainly located in physics journals, these speculations occur within the old expanding, expiring model. The activity of “information processing and intelligent beings” is noted in passing and if able to take over cosmic evolution then everything changes.
Cockell, Charles, ed. The Meaning of Liberty Beyond Earth. Online Ebook: Springer, 2014. This original collection wonders what personal freedom might mean as we begin to take leave of body, brain, and selves upon future spacefaring missions into a galactic cosmos. Typical chapters are Outrunning the Law: Extraterrestrial Liberty and Universal Colonisation, Liberty, Fairness as a Moral Grounding for Space Policy, and The Lethality of Interplanetary Warfare. A 2015 Springer follow up edited by Cockell is Human Governance Beyond Earth: Implications for Freedom. But there is still no imagination of an independent greater genesis with its own procreative purposes and destiny, of which sapient persons and planets are an intended phenomenon.
The purpose of this book is to initiate a new discussion on liberty focusing on the infinite realms of space. The discussion of the nature of liberty and what it means for a human to be free has occupied the minds of thinkers since the Enlightenment. However, without exception, every one of these discussions has focused on the character of liberty on the Earth. The emergence of human space exploration programs in the last 40-50 years raise a fundamental and new question: what will be the future of liberty in space? This book takes the discussion of liberty into the extraterrestrial environment. In this book, new questions will be addressed such as: Can a person be free when the oxygen the individual breathes is the result of a manufacturing process controlled by someone else? Will the interdependence required to survive in the extremities of the extraterrestrial environment destroy individualism? What are the obligations of the individual to the extraterrestrial state? How can we talk of extraterrestrial liberty when everyone is dependent on survival systems?
Darling, David. Deep Time. New York: Delacorte, 1989. A scientist and author poetically imagines the future expanses of a cosmic gestation and personalization.
How much like a human being the cosmos as a whole had developed. And by the same token how true had proved the suspicion of the mystics, with their primal right-brain awareness, that man was a microcosm of nature. Both infant human and infant cosmos began apparently from states simple and symmetric, from a featureless genesis egg offering no clue as to what it might become. From early oblivion both progressed steadily, in accord with some hidden, inner code, to consciousness and thence to self-consciousness, waking up gradually to the tremendous fact of their own existence. (181)
Deutsch, David. The Fabric of Reality. New York: Penguin Putnam, 1997. Noted earlier, for this section physicist Deutsch finds the vectorial emergence of embodied knowledge, now manifest in human beings, implies increased ability to act upon the material substrate it arose from.
Also, despite appearances, life is a significant process on the largest scales of both time and space. The future behavior of life will determine the future behavior of stars and galaxies. (193)
Dick, Steven. Interstellar Humanity. Futures. 32/555, 2000. The historian of human speculations, both fiction and non-fiction, about other worlds wonders about the continuance and expansion of earth's evolution into a potential cosmic niche.
Fifty years after Olaf Stapledon’s landmark essay “Interplanetary Man?,” we propose the coming era of “interstellar humanity.” Over the next 1,000 years the domain of humanity will increasingly spread to the stars….At least three factors will drive this expansion: (1) increased understanding of cosmic evolution, changing our perception of ourselves and our place in the universe; (2) contact with extraterrestrial intelligence….and (3) interstellar travel, transporting humanity’s emissaries to at least the nearest stars. (555)
Dosovic, Vladimir, et al. Advanced Aspects of the Galactic Habitability. arXiv:1904.01062. In a paper to appear in Astronomy & Astrophysics, University of Belgrade astronomers VD, Branislav Vukotic and Milan Cirkovic continue to advance technical evaluations of how relatively conducive for life, organisms and persons this Milky Way galaxy might be. To do so, a fine line is drawn between colonization and catastrophe with regard to potential abilities to spread an interstellar civilization or succumb to external or internal disasters. And again it is amazing that a fledgling global prodigy, in this case from a recent war zone, can yet commence such quantifications of celestial frontiers.
Astrobiological evolution of the Milky Way has emerged as one of the key research topics in recent years. In order to build precise, quantitative models of the Galactic habitability, we need to account for two opposing tendencies of life and intelligence in the most general sense: the tendency to spread to all available ecological niches and the tendency to succumb to various types of existential catastrophes. These evolutionary tendencies are being engaged in fields such as ecology, macroevolution, risk analysis, and futures studies, while an astrobiological treatment has been lacking so far. Our aim is to investigate the dynamics of opposed processes of expansion and extinction of life in the Galaxy. While most of the examined parameter space shows very low habitability values, as expected, the remaining part has features that imply a reduction in the amount of fine-tuning to resolve the Fermi paradox. (Abstract excerpts)
Dyson, Freeman. A Vision of a Green Universe. New York Review of Books. October 13, 2016. The nonagenarian Princeton astrophysicist and natural philosopher is a steady book reviewer for the bimonthly paper. This essay review of How to Make a Spaceship by John Guthrie, Beyond Earth by Charles Wohlforth and Amanda Hendrix, and All These Worlds Are Yours by Jon Willis, which he finds bereft of imagination, leads up to a 2010s version of his lively cosmic vistas. I first heard him speak on his phrase The Greening of the Galaxy in New York in 1972 (Shenker herein). A fertile, arable cosmos has since been finessed in many books and articles, to which he adds a new dimension of our biogenetic technological ingenuity. As the first quote says, rather than microbes or starships, better to use flora vegetations to respectfully seed and cultivate suitable worlds near and far. By such achievements, an earthly destiny of grand significance is realized. He goes on to align this vision with the Russian cosmist Konstantin Tsiolkovsky (1857-1935) and later the British philosopher Olaf Stapledon (1886-1950), see second quote. For another note, in 2005 at Marist College, I shared a program with Dyson where he spoke on the future of the universe, and by some default, my part was the past and present, see Cosmic Genesis slides on the home page.
An illustration of Freeman Dyson’s vision of ‘Noah’s Ark culture’—a space operation in which, ‘sometime in the next few hundred years, biotechnology will have advanced to the point where we can design and breed entire ecologies of living creatures adapted to survive in remote places away from Earth.’ Spacecraft resembling ostrich eggs will bring ‘living seeds with genetic instructions’ to planets, moons, and other ‘suitable places where life could take root.’ A new species of warm-blooded plants, ‘kept warm by sunlight or starlight concentrated onto it by mirrors outside,’ will enable the Noah’s Ark communities to survive. (Artwork caption)
Dyson, Freeman. Time Without End: Physics and Biology in an Open Universe. Reviews of Modern Physics. 51/3, 1979. A classic paper by the visionary physicist written to refute Stephen Weinberg’s 1977 pointless universe decree by way of theoretical reasons that support a innately developing cosmos which becomes filled with and transformed by life and intelligence. Dyson's 1981 book Disturbing the Universe is the source for the title phrase Greening of the Galaxy.
I have found a universe growing without limit in richness and complexity, a universe of life surviving forever and making itself known to its neighbors across unimaginable gulfs of space and time. (459)
Ellis, George F. R., ed. The Far-Future Universe: Eschatology from a Cosmic Perspective. Philadelphia: Templeton Foundation Press, 2002. Theologians and scientists such as John Barrow, Owen Gingerich, Paul Davies, Simon Conway Morris, Keith Ward and Jurgen Moltman discuss the fate of humankind in light of the standard version of an inevitablely expanding and expiring cosmos. A minority but rising view is represented by Martin Rees and Freeman Dyson who extends his 1979 paper (above) whereby life and intelligence becomes a organizing and vivifying force in a quickening universe.