Fermi Paradox from an Electron’s Point of View

There are many molecular orbitals in this universe, and yet electrons will occupy some some orbitals and not others. They are literally forced to “prefer” one mode of existence over another by the laws of physics.

Think of a brain now as one big electron. It too, just as truly and objectively prefers to occupy some modes of existence over others because it is governed by the laws of physics. Instead of molecular orbitals of different shapes, we are now talking about different shapes of information processing patterns. These different information processing patterns translate into different aesthetic realms: Mozart vs an anime opening theme. And the differences in computing patterns also account for every other kind of experience: being raped vs. eating chocolate ice cream, for example.

In the same way that electrons are more comfortable occupying lower energy orbitals, brains are more comfortable not being tortured against their preferences. Just because a brain carries a conscious being-ness as an effect of its workings, doesn’t make the scale of favored states less real. Maybe one day we will have all the possible tinges and flavors of subjective existence indexed in the same way that we have now cataloged the 1s, 2s, and the three different 2p orbitals that an electron can occupy in carbon. Maybe we will also learn which are the “lower energy”, or favored states, for the equally quantum mechanical meat that is our brain.

Crucially, these favored states may be generalizable to different kinds of minds, regardless of evolutionary histories. Animal lineages across the universe initially evolve into unsatisfactory “high energy” states as a product of brute natural selection (and gene drift, gene flow, etc.) until they become technologically powerful enough drop into advanced virtual realities/re-engineered minds that excise their superfluous, historically-contingent individualities.

This would account for the silence in the stars… Or maybe we all die, as Nick Bostrom has lead us to entertain. Either way, there probably has to be some homogenizing force to account for the Fermi Paradox – some final base-state into which intelligent minds settle.

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