X-Message-Number: 21657
Date: Thu, 24 Apr 2003 00:56:52 -0700
From: Mike Perry <>
Subject: Reply on Advanced Civilizations

Thomas Donaldson, #21647, writes in part

>As for civilizations expanding, your answer, from an
>    IMMORTALIST, seems short-sighted. OK, so it takes thousands
>    of years (ultimately it could probably be done in much less,
>    but still well beyond the lifespan of present human beings)
>    to travel from star to star. To immortal or very long-lived
>    creatures, thousands of years is trivial. You are imposing
>    ideas due to our present very short lifespans onto our
>    behavior (or the behavior of some other hypothetical
>    creature). We would hardly break up with the people who
>    live right next door, only 1000 LY away, would we?

A good point. One hopes that immortalization will bring with it both much 
greater wisdom and more of a sense of civilization being one happy family. 
So the idea of mine that a rapidly expanding civilization could develop 
internal hostilities leading to civil warfare is perhaps unrealistic--still 
we don't know for sure. I can see various possibilities. One could be that 
it will become clear to advanced, former humans that benevolence is the 
only sensible attitude. (Actually I am optimistic that that will be the 
case.) If it is clear *enough*, however, such beings could conclude that 
there is essentially no danger from any other civilizations that may exist 
or come into being, so no reason to rapidly occupy every reachable niche in 
space. (Instead they may focus more on some version of "inner space" as has 
been suggested.) That is only one possibility, though. At the other 
extreme, you could have rapid colonization *and* precautions to prevent any 
other intelligent life emerging anywhere, to minimize any possible threat. 
(Perhaps the advanced beings will realize that benevolence is not to be 
taken for granted after all.) I for one hope that never happens, of course; 
I'd like to see ETs if I could, though I think they will be hard to find. 
Anyway, it's clear that there is much we don't know about all this, and 
firm conclusions about the likely behavior of advanced civilizations are 

By the way, I'm looking forward to *Tales of Skastowe*. (I also will have 
more to say about other points in this posting.)

Mike Perry

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