Ex-News Junkie
Seven Hypothetical Stages of Civilization
Sun Nov 5, 2017 11:30am

I view the Kardashev Scale of civilization as being a bit silly. Why would humans stagnate, unchanging like mindless animals, until we utilize all the energy & resources from a planet, or star, or galaxy, before developing the technology to do things better and advance to the next stage of civilization. Animals don't think about how to obtain food more easily, or control their behavior in any way, they just react instinctively: if they see food they eat it, if they see a mate they have babies. As a result, in the absence of predators they reproduce until they exhaust their food supply and a mass die-off occurs. This cycle repeats endlessly. Humans are better than that. (Or at least I am!) Surely we would improve the way we do things before colonizing all 400 billion star systems in the galaxy. Maybe colonize a few star systems to get the hang of it, but colonizing 400 billion would be hyper-redundant and would really get old (in more ways than one!). Assuming key technologies for interstellar travel are even possible, I conclude that any civilization would get really bored, would "level-up" and move on before even encountering, let alone conquering another, and that this is possibly a reason why we haven't made first contact with any alien civilizations. Therefore I have represented below the various stages of development of civilization as I anticipate them occurring as a straight line of incremental progressions. Enjoy!

1. Prehistoric. Most people are hunter-gatherers and migrate between various hunting grounds, especially seasonal migrations. Stone and wood tools. Tribal hierarchies. Most conflicts resulted in extinction for the loser. Ancient history.

2. Agricultural. Plant & animal domestication and selective breeding. Most people live in fixed farm dwellings within many feudal empires with often contested borders or no fixed borders vying for territorial control through continuous genocidal war and slavery. Metal tools. Written language. Recent history.

3. Industrial. Mass production of goods, including food. Most people live & work in cities and/or have a commuter lifestyle. Petroleum-based materials. Digitization of information. World is divided among hundreds of nations with fixed borders, and thousands of political/religious/ideological/legal/linguistic systems all vying for domination through international trade agreements and limited wars. Some nations space-launch capability via rocket technology. Current stage of civilization.

4. Space-based. Key technology = Ultra-high tensile strength (150 GPa) carbon nanotubes enabling non-tapered conveyor-style space elevator cables and McKendree cylinder structures. Hundreds of cities around the world build at least one space elevator, and all geostationary stations eventually join into a large orbital ring that surrounds the Earth. Most people live on the orbital ring in one of many cylindrical habitats that provide a higher quality of life than is possible on Earth (a great view too!). Mastery of biotechnology progresses rapidly as new ways of increasing survivability in space are adopted. New subspecies of humans emerge. Space elevators and orbital rings are built around other solar system bodies as well.

5. Interstellar. Key technology = ultra-high field (1 million Tesla) magnets. Energy is obtained from magnetic fusion of interstellar hydrogen. Movement of large ring structures through space is accomplished by non-relativistic magnetic sail propulsion utilizing interstellar hydrogen as a propellant, and by fusion rocket. Interstellar migration of living things that are short-lived, or have a short attention span, is accomplished by diamagnetic levitation within relativistic circular accelerators that slow time sufficiently for travel between the stars, and which are incorporated within giant ring structures which move at non-relativistic speeds. Interstellar hydrogen and Oort Cloud objects are primary resources. Independence is achieved from inner system planetary resources. Beings recognizable as human are extinct due to cumulative genetic modifications necessary for living & moving through interstellar space. For example, living within relativistic accelerator ring structures for long periods gives rise to profoundly reduced need for individual locomotion; augmented and virtual realities with robotic tele-presence are utilized to overcome the physical restraint and time dilation of relativistic interstellar travel but also result in profoundly alien social behaviors; post-humans live for thousands of years in time-dilated states; temporal discontinuity protocols are developed for interstellar communications.

6. Ascended. Key technology = Understanding of how consciousness emerges from a physical substrate, whether biological or otherwise. Most people expand or entirely transfer their cognitive functions to non-biological substrates and become effectively immortal. Mastery of all universal physics is achieved. The highest rung on the evolutionary ladder.

7. Transcended. Key technology = Unknown. Unknowns become known. The constraints of universal physics are overcome. Most beings transition beyond known reality.

Click here to receive daily updates