In the midst of constructing my latest far future novel, and delving into Dyson bodies, Fermi Paradoxes, and the like. I has occured to me that darkness in the galaxy/universe could be a sign of life for a few reasons.
Let me explain.
Without going into great detail, the Fermi paradox essentially says… if intelligent life is possible, then where is it? Given the relative time frames involved, there should be alien civilizations everywhere. There are many possibilities ranging from ‘it’s here but we can’t see it’, to, ‘it’s not easy’, and everything in between. My ideas below, address the first one. Specifically, they might be here, but we can’t see them, and the idea ‘why not?’.
(1) First is the idea of paranoia. A species can never be certain whether they are alone, or whether their neighbours simply don’t want to be seen. While we think of ourselves as ‘noisy’ with all our transmissions, as our technology has improved, we have actually become quieter since our transmissions are more focussed. Following this, it wouldn’t be difficult for an advanced race to be almost completely EM-silent if they chose to be.
So a species could never be sure whether, or how advanced, their neighbours might be (and especially, how friendly). So a cautious and careful approach to galactic colonization would just be common sense for most species. In other words, they would choose not to broadcast more of themselves than is absolutely necessary.
(2) The second idea, which has come to me relatively recently, revolves around energy use. It’s been postulated that a species maybe a thousand years more advanced than us would harness energy from multiple solar systems –> they would be a so-called Kardeshev level 2. Species such as these, or even those more advanced could be capable of construction of objects liek a Dyson sphere, an enormous sphere that could completely enclose a star or parts of a solar system. This would allow the species to harness the complete solar output of that star.
It could also make that star completely dark (assuming the species also managed IR, etc.). Now imagine if an empire did this to large swathes of their stars. You’d have patches of the galaxy that would appear to have much lower star density, as the intervening space would be filled with this ‘dark matter’…
Cosmologists suggest that dark matter makes up 84.5% of all the matter in the universe. Imagine if the dark matter was all due to advanced species, currently existing or passed on. That would mean that the universe is/or was literally full of intelligent lifeforms. And we would have our answer to Fermi’s paradox.
How’s that for some food for thought?
Insight and longevity.