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>all life develops at more or less the same rate

I don't think that's likely. Earth is billions of years old but we have just been around for a few thousand. If we an alien world had evolved just a few thousand years earlier, it could have colonized the galaxy by now. We can't possibly be synced that perfectly. All sorts of random events, like asteroid collisions, had a huge impact on the timing of our evolution.

>we're unable to perceive or comprehend it

That doesn't seem likely either. An advanced civilization could easily build many kinds of megastructures that would be detectable to us, like dyson spheres. I also think it's very unlikely they wouldn't interact with us. Either to help us if they were moral, or to exterminate us if they were not.

Life and human intelligence hasn't only been around for a few thousand though... it's been a few billion for all life and 40-50k yrs for modern humans.

The fact the circumstances for intelligent beings took so long may have been random circumstance. There's no guarantee it would take that long on other planets to go from general life -> intelligent beings. The environments could easily be more welcoming to it, they may have had fewer extinction events restarting growth, etc, etc.

Do you often care about what an innocuous population of nematodes are up to in the soil of your backyard? I think given the sheer differing scales of life it's more likely that superintelligence just really wouldn't care about any particular population of significantly less developed life for anything other than research purposes.

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