Like other great works of science fiction, Cixin Liu’s The Three-Body Problem is flawed in its writing and yet notable for conjecture on the human condition:
Humans have surely invested more than $45 billion in saving species near extinction. And probably more than $450 billion has been spent on saving the environment from degradation. But what’s the use? Civilization continues to follow its path of destruction of all life on Earth except for humans. It’s impossible to stop the madness of humanity. (311) The most surprising aspect of the Earth-Trisolaris Movement was that so many people had abandoned all hope in human civilization, hated and were willing to betray their own species, and even cherished as their highest ideal the elimination of the entire human race, including themselves and their children. (317) The Trisolarian plan focuses on emphasizing the negative environmental effects of scientific development and showing signs of supernatural power to the population of Earth. They will also attempt to use a series of ‘miracles’ to construct the illusory universe that cannot be explained by the logic of science. After these illusions are maintained for some time, it’s possible the Trisolarian civilization may be a target of worship here. (360)
We bald apes have always struggled with existence. Being aware that we are finite has made us depressed and self-serving. Ironically, it is this pattern of selfishness that has put us on the brink of self-extermination – consuming, hoarding, discarding – dragging every other earthly creature with us.In other words, as much as we want to blame Trump, Brexit and NASCAR, it’s each of us, every individual, who is to blame for this slide into the mediocre abyss where moronic agendas prosper. Indeed, as fervently as we might proclaim intelligence, the sad truth is we’re merely smart, if that. Clever enough to assess, post and download, we don’t know how to think about the purpose of any of it. To paraphrase, Ben Jonson’s Volpone, rarely do we allow our “conscience get in the way of our wit.” Further, as Cixin Liu posits in The Three-Body Problem: The relationship between humanity and evil (stupidity) is similar to the relationship between the ocean and an iceberg floating on its surface -both the ocean and the iceberg made of the same material. That the iceberg seems separate is only because it is in a different form.
Rather than intelligence, what we should look at, like it or not, is how good we are at being stupid. As sad as it is, that seems the naked truth.