The sixth extinction

December 24, 2023

Five times, the fate of life on Earth was in the hands of a few skilful survivors. The origin of this life remains, to say the least, unknown. How tiny fossils, 3.5 billion years old, could have been discovered is beyond me. Microorganisms with no will other than the impulse of a nascent chemical or electrical circuit. It's like looking for a needle in a bunch of galaxies. The hypotheses are the measure of our ignorance. God or the Devil? Aliens or the Awakening of a single universal thought?

There was birth, then five times near destruction. We know the times. The first occurred 445 million years ago when a great ice age halted the optimism of marine plants and animals. 100 million years later, the unique ocean sank in a rage, poisoning an estimated 75% of marine species. Then, another 200 million years before the Great Extinction, the greatest catastrophe ever, probably originating in volcanoes belching their acid potions across the planet. Finally, 66 million years ago, the most famous was caused by the fall of an asteroid, which allowed mammals to supplant the cinematic dinosaurs.

And now, the sixth is underway, particularly accelerated by the arrival of Men and Women. We're talking about a descent that began a very long time ago on our small scale, some 13,000 years ago. In the worst-case scenario, life on Earth as we know it would have only 2270 years and a few months left.

After that, it's hard to know what our dust will bear witness to. If the trend continues, I fancy our descendants will be robots. Metal will gradually cover our skin, and our skeletons will soften, liquefy and become nothing more than the promise of caterpillars. Our brains will take off in unexpected directions.

Will there still be oceans? Will they be sulphurous and oxidized? Will we be the only ones with electrodes instead of senses? Perhaps only a few robots will remain, half-mobile, frozen in their calculations. Or will they be abundant, locked in peaceful dreams in tune with vibrations from galaxies even more robotized than our own?

Nightmare or Utopia?

Bing DALL•E + Midjourney