An unusual solution to the Fermi Paradox: alien secrecy

July 10, 2006

…of course, any solution to the Fermi paradox is going to be unusual. Back in 1950, Nobel laureate physicist Enrico Fermi wondered why, given the vastness of our universe and the fact of our own existence, we haven’t heard from any alien civilizations. His thinking led to several seemingly insoluble questions. Is life really so rare that we are literally alone, at least in our local galactic area? Or is it our observational methodologies that are “rare,” and are we in fact bathing in messages that we simply cannot detect? Another classic 20th century problem of uncertainty… Until now?

Dr. Gato-Rivera suggests that we might be embedded in a higher civilization in the same way that mountain gorillas and chimpanzees are embedded in our civilization, and that alien secrecy may be nothing more than an inability to communicate with beings on a lower level. She points out that it might make as little sense for aliens to send us an ambassador as it would for us to send ambassadors to baboon troupes. (

An abstract of Ms. Gato-Rivera’s paper can be found here, along with a PDF of the text itself.

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