Somewhere by a lake in deep space, in this July of our Holocene 12,000 year summer, a mind- bending read washed in on the waves and in to my hands. It wasn’t deliberate that I was looking for an equation for a concept of longevity. It appeared in the first chapter in Five Billion Years of Solitude by Lee Billings. I know it’s a stretch, but in “the search for life among the stars”, there was cause for a pause to reflect on our earthly longevity.
N is the number of detectable advanced civilizations that might currently exist in our galaxy. (Let’s skip the other letters in this equation, too much for now, take the journey, read the book.) L is Longevity – the typical lifetime of technological civilizations. So it goes, “what really controlled the number of technological civilizations currently extant in the cosmos was almost solely their longevity”, N=L.
With this so far? Well if not, there are enough human stories and extraterrestrial explorative thoughts for metaphors in 5 Billion Years to remind you that, as Billings says, “how fleeting our modern era might be”.
How to we take care of who we are and what we have, in what is for the foreseeable – a finite limit to our individual and collective longevity.
So, here we continue on Sagan’s “pale blue dot” looking for longevity or at least a new equation to show a longer life worth the journey to somewhere by a lake on a far-off exoplanet.