One Civilization Among Billions?

The Milky Way as Seen from Earth

The Milky Way as Seen from Earth

Have you ever wondered if there are other civilizations elsewhere in the Cosmos? Could we be but one civilization among billions? How likely is it that other intelligent life exists on other planets? What information is available for us to assess the likelihood that there are alien species?

The sheer immensity of the cosmos makes the notion of only one planet with a civilization seem absurd and provides strong impetus to the idea that surely there must be life elsewhere. Using a super computer, it has been estimated that there are between 300-500 billion galaxies. Astronomers estimate there are 70 billion trillion stars in the observable universe (i.e., 70,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 or 7 x 10²²). We do not know how many more may be beyond our ability to observe or detect.

These are some very big numbers that are really beyond our comprehension. Let us suppose that only one ten thousandth of a percent of all of the stars have a planet that could support some form of life. From this assumption we would estimate that there could be one thousand trillion planets in the universe (i.e., 7 followed by 16 zeros) that could support life.

Let us now suppose that only one millionth of these could have some form of intelligent life. If our assumption is correct, then we would estimate that at least one billion planets scattered about the universe could have intelligent life.

I find these numbers to be compelling concerning the likelihood that not only does life exist elsewhere in the universe, but that other civilizations do as well. If true, it is also likely that many are more advanced than us, not only technologically, but also spiritually. The earth and sun are much younger than planets and galaxies that are in the far distant universe whose light has reached us. Therefore, humankind could be on the less developed end of the spectrum.

Wherever humanity may fall in the evolutionary and spiritual hierarchy of the cosmos, there is no doubt that we have a long way to go on both developmental pathways. Spiritual evolution of a civilization is a very slow process, as is biological evolution. As I look down that long road ahead, I envision one people united in common cause for the loving care and respect for one another and for the planet that sustains them.

You might like the following related articles:

One Species Among Millions

We Exist in the Ethereal Spaces Between the Atoms

“All that is composed shall be decomposed.”

 

Sources of Estimates

500 Billion –A Universe of Galaxies: Some Older than Milky Way

How many stars are there in the universe?

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From What Purpose Comes Meaning?

Meaning of Life

“Teacher, why am I here?” I asked.

“You are here to change the world,” the teacher replied in a matter-of-fact tone.

Taken aback I asked, “How can I change the world when I am only one among billions?”

“Ah, but you are not alone in this,” he said. “There are many like you around the world seeking to expand their spiritual awareness. There are even more who seek meaning for their lives, but are not yet spiritually aware.”

“But teacher, what is it that gives life meaning, or perhaps I should say: what is the meaning of life?” I wondered.

He smiled as a parent might to a child’s simple-minded question and replied, “There are some who seek meaning by pursuing a career. Others seek meaning through their family life. Still others seek meaning through devotion to their religion, but the answer is much more basic than these things.”

“I can see where one could get some measure of satisfaction and fulfillment from each of these,” I said.

“Yes, but there is something more fundamental that brings meaning to these and all human endeavors,” replied the teacher.

Not understanding where the teacher was going with this, I asked, “What is more basic than making one’s way in the world, love of family, and devotion to God?” When I heard his answer, I felt as if I were indeed a naive child again.

He said, “You must understand that all of the children of earth have kinship with one another. All of humanity arose from one and the same God the Father. Consequently, you are expected to give all persons you meet the same love and compassion that you would to your own parents, siblings, children, and so forth. It is helping and serving others that is most fulfilling and that gives life its true meaning.”

Trying to grasp a deeper understanding of what the teacher was saying, I declared, “So what you are saying is that love and compassion should underlie and guide all human interactions.”

“Yes, that is why you are here! That is how you will change the world! That is your life’s purpose!” he said. “This is the lesson that humanity must learn!”

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Spiritual Kinship

Can Love Save the World?