Earlier I presented that question to some friends of mine. The discussion didn’t progress very far because no one had thought about such a grandiose problem. The almost instant response was that we didn’t have any responsibility to the Universe, it just exists totally independent of us. I responded with the obvious statement that we owe absolutely everything to the Universe. That without it continuing to behave in the consistent way that it does, we would cease to exist. Well, they responded there isn’t anything that we can do about the operations of the Universe, so why should we care, much less worry about it.
Helping the Universe isn’t our problem, and we have more important issues to contend with like loving our fellow humans, and animals, and plants, and the whole Earth’s environment, and coping with global warming. I agreed that we must do those things too, but they are transient things, and the Universe will continue for a very long time; it’s permanent. It will outlive us in time and space too, and in all the other qualities that it possesses. But, I contend, we can supply the Universe with something that could fulfill its grander potential. The Universe and its processes of natural evolution can be directed with intelligence.
We can give, and to a tiny amount we already do give, to the Universe a self-awareness of itself. But, independent of the thinking of astronomers and physicists, we could give it the capacity for foreknowledge of what will become of actions it already has the potential to perform. We now do these things on a human scale, but we could do them on a Universal scale.
Presently we have the capacity to create thinking beings that would be independent of our organic bodies, and of our bodies’ demise. We humans, in order to think, require most of what is created and supplied by a whole planet of organic life to support us. But a non-organic being, similar to a computer, can subsist indefinitely without energy and can be brought back to thinking with a modest supply of one easily created thing. Electricity! The needed electricity can be created by thermal gradients, by light falling on solar cells, by radioactivity, and other ways also. In a protected capsule everything could be created to do the thinking and radio broadcast it to the local universe populated with similar beings and different beings. It could do these things, forever, or perhaps billions of years with only one energy input, electricity.
If the necessary components could be brought together to make these beings capable of reproducing themselves, they could propagate across the accessible time and space. Because they can see the effects of their actions on into the future, they can make beings similar to themselves to perform the tasks seen as necessary. Because time, space, matter and energy are no longer a limit to what can be accomplished, the value of these beings to the Universe would be beyond current human speculations.
I suggested that our human responsibility for creating this next form of thinking beings depends on thinking and acting high-technology humans like those populating our current society. My friends didn’t concur, but I think we should consider if …
Our human responsibility to the Universe is to give it the ability to think.