Men Into Aliens

As we have noted before, with the barrier of light speed communication, in many ways  a colony around another star is almost an alien civilization, as we can expect them to diverge from us quite quickly, as these things go. This is something we have discussed before in the episode on the Kardashev Scale, cultures diverge pretty quickly in isolation and when you toss in options for genetic engineering and cybernetics you could get major physical and psychological divergences quite quickly.

So that is why our focus today is on Early Extrasolar Colonies. What the ones relatively near Earth would be like early on, not what some colony halfway across the galaxy might be like by the time we get their message saying they arrived safely, fifty thousand years after they sent it and maybe half a million years since they left. Possibly hopping from planet to planet, settling each in a long chain from Earth all the way out to the edge of the galaxy.

— Issac Arthur, Life in a Space Colony, ep3: Early Interstellar Colonies

This would make an awesome sci-fi scenario, by the way.

To Travellerize it:

  • Assume the Ancients were men from Earth, sending tens of thousands of STL (10% lightspeed) interstellar settlers for a thousand years before mysteriously going dark.
  • X thousand years pass…
  • A cluster of human worlds, baseline/near-baseline in genetics, discover the impossible: a cheap and safe FTL drive.
  • They surge out to find the other (often far more modified, genetically/digitally/cybernetically) human settlements, settle new worlds, avoid the super-hightech powers on certain systems (or kill them in epic and costly battles), and eventually found the Imperium;
  • Discover that the other Old Settlements have not heard anything from Earth for a long, long time, and set up a FTL expedition to discover what happened.

PS: Due to the sheer scale and power of these Old Settlements, the jumpships will probably be able to use the astonishing levels of power needed to make an FTL jump, and weaponize it. Incredibly powerful warships, coupled with FTL communication and artigrav, would give the Imperium a powerful military edge…

…for a time.

Now, about those cyborgs:

Just as a postscript, I don’t have any great opposition to upgrading people who wish it: if electronic eyes make the blind see, go ahead and install them! If certain genetic tweaks would help us live longer and better lives, I don’t have any issue with it.

Sure, our lived experience will vary more and more greatly than the peasant farmers that has dominated human history until now: but the farmers have a very different lived experience than the hunter-gatherers. And would you really want to go back to being a farmer? If not, why would you force a cybernetic man of the future to be just like you, with your un-networked mind and limited abilities?

It is ethics, justice, law, righteousness, truth that concerns the Christian believer: not so much the tools (organic or not), but how those tools are used.

Moreover, eternal stability is not the goal: growth and improvement is. Not to remain in a safe environment, and remain the same as always; but to master the environment, master our own hearts, and grow better at Imaging God.

About Alvin Plummer

I'm working to build a better world, a world that blesses Christ and is blessed by Him. I hope that you're doing the same!
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