Friday, October 20, 2017

Why We're At War With Fish

Grzq had always been fascinated by humans.
True, to the untrained alien eye all this species seemed to do was wage a rather one-sided war against the fish on their planet. Which was strange, because the fish didn’t seem all that threatening, nor all that interested in the war. Nevertheless, the humans spent huge efforts turning all their natural resources into their most toxic subparts, just so they could dump them out in their oceans.
And they seemed to be winning. All indications were that they’d run out of fish just before running out of natural resources. But the question remained whether this really was an appropriate achievement.
But Grzq was fascinated by the humans nonetheless. For one thing, humans had by far the shortest lifespans of any sentient species. In a sector of the universe where the average lifespan was just under a thousand years, humans barely managed to reach a hundred – and they didn’t even seem all that eager to use the second half of their lives for anything remotely interesting.
Because of their ridiculously short life spans, it was widely assumed that humans would never reach the level of development at which meaningful interaction would be possible.
But Grzq kept finding reports that held his interest. Random fly-by’s of earth had yielded odd results. First, radio signals had been detected. Then, only a few decades later, digital video transmissions. And, in between, there had been bizarre tales of humans being spotted taking a stroll on their moon!
How was that possible?
If any of this was true, it would be extraordinary. Especially considering how each generation of humans had to spend its time.

First, a human would spend roughly twenty-five years doing nothing but study. Trying desperately to absorb as much of the knowledge that had been gathered by his dead predecessors. Basically playing a decades long game of catch-up.
Then he’d spend another fifty or so years putting a small fraction of this knowledge to use, building up to some valuable level of experience in a single field.
But then, when he’d finally become somewhat useful, when he could finally add something to the global repository of information, he’d suddenly stop working and move to a warmer climate to read fiction novels. This was something humans called: being a pensioner.
However, before this human could return from this pension well rested and ready to finally make a contribution to his species, he’d unexpectedly die.
Which was amazing.
Surely this outcome shouldn’t come as a surprise.
If your father, grandfather, and great grandfather all died before the age of a hundred, if only three people on a planet of seven billion were actually older than a hundred, you should probably not assume, without evidence of new medical breakthroughs, that you’d live any longer than that.
But still, their early demise seemed to catch them off guard. Meaning the following generation was forced to start all over again, and with very little new information to go on.
This was dubbed: ‘Stop-start evolution’.
It was a far cry from the advances a species could make with access to a thousand-year lifespan.
Obviously the humans had something special. To create, within the limitations of a stop-start evolution, a container which could be blasted to the moon on top of a giant primitive firework, and carry a group of people safely inside, that was amazing. And to achieve this in a mere twenty thousand years...
Extraordinary creatures indeed!

Read Grzq' ongoing adventure here

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Similar posts: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7

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