The Galactic Culture
By admin on Mar 21, 2009 | In Welcome
The above video is not an endorsement of this short fictional writing piece, only an introduction.
The Galactic Culture
Galactic civilizations take time to form. Alien civilizations come and go. Star systems almost never have more than one intelligent species naturally, with more than one planet in the habitable zone. Microbial life permeates the universe, but sentience is far more rare. The technology of alien races varies greatly, but generally goes through a range of types.
Pre-type 1 beings are usually limited to a single planet; they evolve via natural selection in a planetary gravity well and become sentient. They may use space travel to colonize or explore other worlds either robotically or in person. Some civilizations never seem to need to venture beyond their home worlds; these civilizations are not the norm. They can be deceptively simple, and since space travel cannot be used to measure their capabilities, caution is advised when contacting these civilizations.
They usually suffer a cataclysmic event, a planetary collision by a large massive body such as a comet or meteor. Their existence is generally short lived on the cosmic time scale.
However, most civilizations tend to advance with each milestone; invention of language and recorded communication, use of tools, agriculture, architecture, industry, computers, rockets, self-directed genetic modification, nano construction and so on. Each technological revolution leading to the next, building upon the foundations of the previous. Unless there is something very unique about a race or their civilization, direct contact is normally avoided until full maturity.
Near-type 1 beings usually have intra-solar travel between nearby planets or moons and maybe attempting interstellar travel to a nearby star. A technological singularity is sometimes reached near this time, which is a convergence of technologies leading to a point beyond which there is maximum change and advancement is so rapid it becomes unpredictable to the species itself. For some individuals of the species this can lead to a condition called future shock, resulting in a backlash to technology or temporary setback.
Once a type 1 civilization has achieved the significant milestone of star travel, contact is usually made. In fact, the civilization may have been under close clandestine surveillance for a long time, with aliens awaiting just this significant event. Unfortunately this time is a very dangerous one for a young race. Many civilizations become highly unstable, self-destructing under the pressures of the constant accelerating change of technological progress, sometimes resulting in a total extinction event (explaining the Fermi Paradox).
This could be an all-out nuclear war, genetically engineered plague, runaway global warming or a nano-replication disaster (gray or green goo). The dangers are many. This is why it is best to avoid contact until type 1 status is achieved and the civilization is deemed stable. Although some type 1 civilizations have been saved from themselves by aliens, these cases are extreme exceptions. It is more likely that they are saved by alternative surviving quantum future versions of their civilizations which have chosen to visit them through alternate-past simulation in the form of alien (i.e. UFOs, Ghosts, etc.) situations. Not entirely unfeasible.
If a natural extinction event has occurred, it is not unusual for another type 1 civilization to reclaim a habitable planet and take up residence in the star system. After all, if they don?t pick over the bones of information, someone else might.
Advancement by extraterrestrial civilizations can be measured by other criteria than space travel, although in most cases space travel coincides with other criteria. These criteria include the amount of energy a civilization can manipulate or measurements of their computational density. Example: Have they reached limits on miniaturization of computers using parallel processor silicon chips, biogenetic DNA molecular processors, quantum optical processors, etc? How many of these permeate their habitable environment? Have they achieved transference of their consciousness into dense computational devices yet?
Finally, in order to survive the approaching technological singularity and remove their aggressive and self-destructive evolved behaviors, pre-type 1 species sometimes begin an extensive program of self-initiated genetic re-engineering and intelligence amplification (usually proceeded by development of a global computing system -Internet). Sometimes this is successful, other times not.
Around this time the species has several optional paths it can take: they can genetically modify their bodies, adding robotics, and nano technology, to essentially become cyborgs, potentially integrating their minds into a group collective, or hive mind (i.e. the Borg of Star Trek). Allowing each individual to think independently or become much more capable than themselves when merged.
Alternately, they could shed their bodies, wiring brains together and immersing themselves inside a virtual reality of their own making, while overlaying it with input from shared external robotic "Body Remotes". Eventually converting brain into pure digital computation and storage. New bodies could then be grown, if wished, but virtual bodies would usually suffice. This option might be called "Brain in a Jar VR" or "The Matrix without Flesh" (or Kung Fu, just joking).
Finally a relatively small percentage, or large percentage would refuse either option, choosing to remain Homo Sapient or whatever. Inheriting the Earth, left behind on a ruined and ravaged world while other more advanced variants, species of post-humans, specially adapted for star travel, spread themselves out among the stars in search of others, aliens, but more like themselves.
Type 2 and 3 beings are orders of magnitude more advanced and different than type 1 beings. They have self-evolved to the point of becoming unrecognizable by their own ancestors. For all intents and purposes they have become immortal gods and judiciously avoid type 1 species, unless their curiosity is peaked, or they?re bored, not likely in either case.
Unlike type 1 civilizations, which shuffle across the stars by slow sub-light propulsion, type 2 civilizations warp space-time itself. By controlling and using massive energies at their disposal, they hurtle themselves nearly instantaneously across star systems. It is difficult to generalize what type 2 beings do, but more simply they busy themselves with cataloging and recording civilizations, alive or dead, along with interesting cosmic phenomena. They seem content to build networks of interstellar wormholes and other large galactic infrastructure projects, possibly Dyson Spheres (again, this Clarke, Niven, Ringworld RAMA theory seems to fly into the face of the Fermi Paradox) , shared only with other type 2 species in alternate realities.
Type 3 beings are the rarest of all, because of the young age of the universe, about 13.7 billion years; it is believed that there has not been enough time for a significant number of them to arise. There are maybe only a few existing, if that is the proper term. They busy themselves exploring other galaxies and other parallel universes, sometimes studying universes in which their species may never have arose or are significantly different in some way.
Type 3 civilizations are masters of multi-verse physics. They basically engineer universes. Sometimes they end up creating their own parallel universes somewhere or some when, which they promptly move into, winking out of existence entirely, never to return. It has been suggested, that the creation of this big bang universe bubble is the result of just such an experiment, possibly an abandoned type 3 tinker toy.
If a Type 4 species even exists, ?they? are beyond the perceptive capabilities of any of the other sub-types combined. It is suggested it-they may have become a being of pure quantum energy-thought, weaving itself into the parallel multi-dimensional fabric of the meta-verse engine itself, becoming "God", for lack of a better description, in the future, past, and present for all realities.
-Michael Blade, Just Sci-Fi 's
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