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See Dark Forest theory (spoiler warning for Dark Forest by Cixin Liu - second book after Three Body Problem):

http://philosophy.stackexchange.com/questions/18127/dark-for...

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/lovesick-cyborg/2015/10/31...

https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-Dark-Forest-Theory-of-the-...

which is basically what you said - every civilization's prime directive is to survive, resources in the universe are limited, and what they call "chains of suspicion"

Resources limited in universe: think about how fast we have used many of the resources on earth. The universe has a finite amount of resources.

He also talks about how fast technology progresses. In just the past 100 years we've made airplane travel common, gone to the moon, launched a probe that is on the edge/outside the solar system, have self driving cars, computers, etc. Who's to say that this is fast or slow? By the time new communcation from an alien race arrives, they/we might have had that technological progress.




Without FTL travel, the notion of a species expanding far into sp ce becomes a little silly IMO. You'd need an enormously stable society, otherwise the best case scenario for viable colonies is that you never hear from them again. If you do hear from them, it's likely to be thousands of years since you sent them out, and they're now your competitors. Perhaps they've even speciated.




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