In effect extinction is our ultimate fate. The most noble ideals we have come up with, or those most often lauded as ideal, involve ideas of our long if not eternal existence. Yet in effect our existence is most likely a cosmic flash. We are in effect victims of our own success. It is the case in science that any answer to some foundational problem inevitably leads to further questions. We are not likely to ever close the “circle,” so to speak, so that in some future day we can sit back with some idea of knowing it all. Much the same appears to be the case with our applied arts and sciences as well. The solution to one practical problem gives rise to further problems. The ability to manipulate nature in some new way gives us powers which we can’t manage, or where we are unable to ensure those entrusted with such power will behave properly. This situation became very clear after July 16, 1945, where at that point we had immense power; power which we could use to destroy everything. We are also in a time where the rate at which we learn how to manipulate nature is expanding far faster than our institutions are capable of adjusting or responding to what changes these imply. No matter the high level of education or accomplishment by those who are in the profession of understanding large scale human behavior or governance, these people are simply imposing biases and ideological scripts that are hopelessly flawed.
I might suppose if there is some purpose to intelligent life it might be that it confers some ontology to the universe by becoming consciously aware of it. Maybe consciousness is the ingredient which has contextuality in the universe, which is absent from quantum mechanics, and is what in some chain of macroscopic structures confers existence onto the universe. We may be one tiny example of this in the vast number of possible examples that the universe may display. So maybe we can at least come to understand the universe up to the limits of what we can observe and understand. I honestly think we have about a century at best to accomplish this.
In the end, we evolved to manage ourselves in small bands and tribes, not in large scale complex societies. Our history pretty clearly shows that we really do a shit lousy job of managing our affairs, and the complexity of our world is growing exponentially. Further, on balance we select the least intellectually qualified, the most dishonest and those with the greatest avarice to manage things; we always have and we continue to do the same today.and this is different from going extinct?Bob Zannelli