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!