The Three-Body Problem - Deepstash
The Three-Body Problem


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The Three-Body Problem

by Cixin Liu

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The universe is a dark forest. Every civilization is an armed hunter stalking through the trees like a ghost, gently pushing aside branches that block the path and trying to tread without sound. Even breathing is done with care. The hunter has to be careful, because everywhere in the forest are stealthy hunters like him.


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If he finds other life another hunter, an angel or a demon, a delicate infant or a tottering old man, a fairy or a demigod—there’s only one thing he can do: open fire and eliminate them. In this forest, hell is other people. An eternal threat that any life that exposes its own existence will be swiftly wiped out. This is the picture of cosmic civilization. It’s the explanation for the Fermi Paradox.


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Dividing civilizations

Soviet astrophysicist Nicolai Kardashev once proposed that we can divide civilizations into three types based on the power they can command for communication purposes, let's say.


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The Kardashev Scale

A Type I civilization can muster an amount of energy equivalent to the total energy output of the Earth. Based on his estimates, the energy output of the Earth is about 10^15 to 10^16 watts.

A Type II civilization can marshal the energy equivalent to the output of a typical star - 10^26 watts.

A Type III civilization's communication energy can reach 10^36 watts, approximately equal to the energy output of a galaxy.

Civilization on Earth is currently about Type 0.7 not even a full Type I.


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Emptiness is not nothingness

And to attain that state, you need to empty yourself.

I said, "I'm empty enough. Fame and fortune are nothing to me. Many of the monks in this temple are worldlier than me.

The abbot shook his head and said,

"No, emptiness is not nothingness. Emptiness is a type of existence. You must use this existential emptiness to fill yourself."

His words were very enlightening to me. Later, after I thought about it a bit, I realized that it wasn't Buddhist philosophy at all, but was more akin to some modern physics theories. The abbot also told me he would not discuss Buddhism with me.


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Interesting that I’ve found this book as a side note in “The denial of death” by Ernest Becker. Didn’t expect something from it, and for sure didn’t expect it to grab my attention at all. Unquestionably an enthralling book, first of the “Remembrance of Earth’s past” trilogy. I would recommend it to anyone who dares to imagine beyond our existence.