Alien life part 5- Government
To recap- I defined culture as the learned responses to external stimuli that is learned and taught to subsequent generations. As such it is unique to the group of organisms that created them and can be voluntarily chosen, abandoned or adopted by an alien species. Civilization is defined as modified from Webster to accommodate alien life an advanced state of society in which a high level of culture, science and organizing authority has been reached.
I changed the definition of civilization to replace government with a more general organizing authority. In order to create a civilization there must be some kind of cooperative behavior that pushes the species to a high degree of culture or sophisticated interconnections of responses to stimuli that is taught to subsequent generations. A government can teach and enforce these cultural norms to all their members, but then again so can a religion, a family, or a species might have genetic memory or that individuals are part of a larger group consciousness.
In order to advance the level of technology and accumulate a high level of scientific knowledge, then there must be some driving force, either intrinsic or extrinsic to the individuals. An intrinsically motivated species would strive to build a society and seek out knowledge without the need for a government, and an extrinsically motivated one some strong leadership cast or other compelling group would be necessary to do so. Naturally these would be the two extremes of this spectrum and anything in between could be possible, including conflicts between the two extremes.
Some form of government would be necessary, however, for a species to be mobilized to a particular task or goal, unless of course the species shares a group consciousness.
These are my current thoughts on the matter, please give me yours.
Alien life part 4 –
What is culture?
In my last entry I started with what I thought would be a fairly straightforward, although not a simple answer. What is necessary for an alien species to develop an advanced civilization? The longer I thought of this question, the less straightforward it became. I consulted with some of the best minds I know of and that served to further muddy the waters. So in this entry I will focus on a single aspect. What is culture, how does it differ from instinct?
I think I will begin with a definition of instinct as the genetically inherited biochemical instructions that cause an organism to react in specific ways to specific stimuli. These can be a simple as eating whatever the organism perceives as food and avoiding pain to advanced and elaborate mating procedures seen in some higher organisms. Instincts are genetic and are not voluntarily chosen by an alien organism.
Culture. Wow this is a hard one. I think I will for the moment, define it as the learned responses to external stimuli that is learned and taught to subsequent generations. As such it is unique to the group of organisms that created them and can be voluntarily chosen, abandoned or adopted by an alien species.
Let’s think on this for a while.
As always I look forward to your thoughts
Until next time, have fun!
On Alien Life part 3
What is civilization?
What characteristics are really necessary for a species to develop civilization? How would we define a non -human civilization? Well some degree of intellect would be necessary, wouldn’t it? Do ants have a society? I mean they have a caste system based on birth, it’s purely biological, but it’s there. So I guess I’d better come up with a definition for what exactly society is.
Webster provides us with the following: an advanced state of human society in which a high level of culture, science and government has been reached. Well that’s a worthless description for a non-human civilization. If we take out the word human it off the definition it still might apply to the ant, depending on how we knew how to define culture.
Webster says culture is artistic and intellectual pursuits. Ok that leaves the ants out. I don’t think they have art or pursue any line of reasoning beyond their biological station. It also leave out many human’s I know who also do not engage in artist endeavors and do not think beyond their biological station. Does every member of the group need to be cultured or just a few leaders. Does a civilization require leaders, how about inspired dreamers that pull the rest of the group along with them. Ok then, could an inspired queen bee lead her ant hill to universal domination?
Why or why not?
Thoughts on Alien Life part two
Concerning Alien Intelligence
Intelligence, like a good many other racial attributes is an evolutionary trait developed to help a species to succeed. Of course there are numerous examples on earth of creatures that have done very well without developing a very high degree of intellectual ability; sharks, snakes, cockroaches, dragon flies. Some species have been around since the dawn of life, such as cyanobacteria, with very little change whatsoever.
I therefore contend that what we, as an intelligent species, would consider intelligent life will only evolve if it gave the species a survival advantage. I also contend that such intelligence would only develop to improve only so long as it gave that species an advantage. Sharks are more intelligent than bacteria, but they did not go on to develop advanced physics or a space program. Sharks only became as intelligent as sharks needed to become in order to survive and become one of the dominant species in their ecosystem.
If an alien species was to develop advanced, symbolic, problem solving, society building, universe analyzing intelligence, then it must be an evolutionary advantage for them to do so. It is therefore unlikely that a peaceful world with little to challenge the lives of the inhabitants would develop a very high level of intelligence. A planet on which life is a daily struggle to survive would most likely produce more intelligent creatures as the stupid ones would not survive long enough to prosper.
Till next time.