Science & Tech
Astrobiologists Say Planet Earth Itself Might Actually Be An Intelligent Being
A truly mind-blowing thought-experiment.
If a planet like Earth can be “alive,“—could it also have a mind of its own?
That is the question a group of researchers recently addressed in their thought experiment, which is both fascinating and truly mind-blowing to think about.
The team published a new paper in the International Journal of Astrobiology investigating this question in the International Journal of Astrobiology. In it, they analyze the concept of “planetary intelligence,” which refers to the collective knowledge and cognition of an entire planet.
They believe the idea can genuinely assist us in addressing global challenges we face as a species and may even aid in the search for extraterrestrial life.
Can a planet really be an intelligent being? The answer may actually be yes.
Pointing to evidence that underground networks of fungi can communicate, the researchers argue that large-scale networks of life may constitute a gigantic unseen intelligence that drastically affects the condition of the entire planet.
They also warn that humans are the main species causing changes on the planet right now, and that between the plastic crisis and the climate, we may be permanently altering the balance of the environment.
“We don’t yet have the ability to communally respond in the best interests of the planet,” said Adam Frank, professor of physics at the University of Rochester and coauthor of the paper, in a press release about the research.
“We’re saying the only technological civilizations we may ever see—the ones we should expect to see—are the ones that didn’t kill themselves, meaning they must have reached the stage of a true planetary intelligence,” Frank added.
“That’s the power of this line of inquiry,” he said. “It unites what we need to know to survive the climate crisis with what might happen on any planet where life and intelligence evolve.”
It’s totally possible that a school of thought based on planetary intelligence could soon have a radical interpretation.
If there is a collective body of knowledge, one that is produced across space and time and is passed on from one species to another, then the concept of it functioning in a way that is self-sustaining is more likely to be true.
To put it another way, if people considered the elements of nature to be intelligent beings, they would probably be more mindful of the consequences of their actions.
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