We are creatures driven by our biology and environment. Human actions can be attributed to everything from sexual reproduction to geography. The needs of biology and environment form the basis by which society develops. Those needs, however, are also tempered by science and technology. Science can help make the biological and environmental needs less pressing. We can control human reproduction thanks to medical advancements and we can overcome some of the limitations of geography with transportation and communication.
Given that biology and environment have had such a huge impact on human development, what would that mean for beings with much different biology and coming from a much different environment? Anthropologists, when considering extraterrestrial First Contact, say those differences could be quite dramatic.
There is another aspect to consider when it comes to development, though. Is there a way in which intelligent beings develop so that they actually become more alike? Let’s take human development 200 years into the future. It seems likely we would have overcome many of the limitations of our biology through the use of medical technology. Take that another 500 years in the future. If we’re bright enough to survive that long as a civilization, we might even learn how to overcome our biology altogether, shedding our skin, quite literally, to move our intelligence to a virtual or machine based environment. My timeline could be way off…but that’s not the point. The point is that we would eventually reach a stage of our development that would supersede our biology and environment. What if aliens did the same? Could we meet in 1000 years and have much more in common? Or at least, could we have developed in a way that would leave us more open to differences in extraterrestrials?
The idea of extraterrestrials developing beyond their biological limitations, and the impact that could have during a First Contact event with humanity, is explored in my new fiction novel “The Ashland City Landing”. When I started writing the blog five years ago the primary purpose was to develop ideas for the novel and now it’s finally done. Here’s the synopsis:
Alex Morrison has made a new friend on the Internet. It’s a relationship that could drive his wife and friends half-crazy and that’s if federal agents and newspaper reporters don’t blow it wide open before the big moment. Can Alex hold it all together before The Ashland City Landing?
The Ashland City Landing is a sometimes-funny, sometimes-serious, science fiction novel about the practicalities of meeting space aliens and having to save the world from itself and also perhaps those very same aliens. Alex fights to keep his sanity, while concocting an introduction that will change the course of human civilization. He’s being pursued by a journalist desperate for a cover story. Alex’s best friend is a real ass and sometimes his psychologist. Alex’s wife does her best to be the Southern belle, but that’s not going too well. And yet he needs them both to pull it off. Along the way Alex enlists help from a burned-out astrophysicist and meets federal agents who are definitely not amused.