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December 26, 2012 / 74

Humans As Moties – Riding The Civilization Merry-Go-Round

(To completely understand this post, you should read (or have read) the book “The Mote In God’s Eye” by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle.)

I was thinking about how technology is advancing at an exponential rate, especially weapons technology. From the time the first atom bomb was dropped on a population to the present time was only about 67 years. And the time it took to go from the first bomb carrying airplane to the Enola Gay was shorter than the time it took to get there from the bolt action magazine fed rifles and machine guns, and then go on back to canon and on back to siege engines and bows and arrows and spears and clubs.

The point being that each “advance” in the technology that we humans use to kill each other comes at shorter and shorter intervals, while at the same time such advances in technology exponentially increase the death that they can deliver, while decreasing the effort to use them. As we “advance” it seems to get easier and easier to kill each other in larger and larger numbers.

What started me thinking about this was the Obama Drone Wars. At first, drones were just for observation of the ground, much like hot air balloons during the American “Civil War”, dirigibles and, at first, airplanes in WW I. In the beginnings of aviation and war, some bright folks started throwing rocks from their aeries, then bombs.

But in each of those early cases of aerial assault, the deed required a human actor whose life was also at risk to deliver the destruction. The people on the ground could shoot back at the person bedeviling them from above.

Then came the drone. As above, at first it was for purposes of surveillance. Then some bright individual figured out how to engineer them to carry bombs and missiles. At first these were used in war against active participants. ie A modern siege engine with a bigger rock.

But during the Bush43 administration, some bright induhvidual decided that they could launch assaults against their “enemies” without risking the lives of pilots by using drones – where the person launching the death from above could sit in air conditioned comfort half a world away, then after killing 20 or 30 people on the ground, go home to the wife and kiddies who all existed in near perfect safety.

More efficient and safer too! What’s not to like about that? Soon the USA wasn’t the only nation with drones…

Then the technology took another leap… or perhaps we should say it crawled into a new slime pool? The bright folks figured out how to listen in to everything that goes on in the vicinity of a cell phone, and to track the location of that phone in real time.

So now the folks launching missiles of death from halfway around the world can launch them at specific individuals! But since people are herd creatures, you rarely find your target individual alone. You find him with his family – the wife and kiddies. You find him having a coffee down at the local bistro with about 50 strangers around him.

So you take your best shot, and chalk up whoever might be near them when the missile hits their cell phone to “collateral damage.” (A tidy phrase that avoids mentioning the “death” of those not specifically targeted.) And just as a huge rock lofted over a castle wall that kills a milk maid, innocents are being killed. And isn’t it a curious thing that neither the Prince or King who ordered the rock launched, nor today’s “leaders”, give thought to the milk maid or the first responders at the scene of a drone missile strike when a “double tap” is ordered?

Now back to the Moties.

In 1972, the Oklo “natural” nuclear reactors at Oklo, Gabon were “discovered”. These reactors were about two billion years old.  If you go to the linked site, you will see references to an unexplained crater near Bombay and other mysteries, that some believe are indications of an advanced civilization that existed, and was destroyed/destroyed itself, two billion years ago.

The Moties were a civilization that had a problem – uncontrollable breeding. They multiplied and multiplied until some disaster overtook them (Motie caused) and knocked their civilization back to around their equivalent of the stone age. (See my article, “Too many Rats In A Cage“) Then they would struggle on the ladder of scientific advancement upward until they once again became over-populated and destroyed themselves again. This happened many times. Without ruining the book for you (it really is a good book!) I really can’t tell you more than that except, for the purposes of this article, I will say that one of their former civilizations realized what was happening and left a “sign post” that would give subsequent iterations of Moties clues to shorten the cycles – with the ultimate goal of getting into Space before they destroyed themselves again. Space would allow them to expand without limit.

It occurred to me that the “cave man paintings” that are found around the world may not be… cave man paintings, that is. It occurs to me that most of them present simple depictions of primitive weapons and weapon systems used in hunting. It occurs to me that these cave paintings could be “sign posts” to humans – from the last civilization, and addressed to ours.

Think of the issues here… you live in an advanced civilization that has discovered that your civilization has been destroyed before. How would you communicate with future iterations, with individuals if they survived? Since no existing language would survive the time lag, you’d have to use pictures. But what would your message be? And where would you put it?

You would attempt to assist the future humans to feed themselves since as naked and few in number animals, we’re dinner for just about any other animal on Earth. To advance, these future people must first stay alive. So you arm them.

Where would you put this message? The only logical place would be both protected from the elements, and a place where the new primitives who survive would be likely to go… a sheltered place… like a cave.

After you’ve helped them to survive – the rest is up to them. The question of whether they get off the planet and continue to advance as a civilization? Or to destroy themselves once again?

From my perspective… it looks like we’re losing again. And tickets for rides on the merry-go-round of life/civilization are expensive, and few.

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