PDA

View Full Version : Basic necessities for civilizations



Plat
2014-Apr-27, 06:13 PM
What are some of the things we have do you think alien civilizations will also have?

-Food
-Energy Source
-Transportation vehicles
-Entertainment?

Noclevername
2014-Apr-27, 07:55 PM
Depends on your definition of a civilization. Do you mean in industrial tool-using society? If so, tools and industries should be on the list.

If you mean a spacefaring society, some means of reaching space.

And probably, to achieve these things, the aliens in question would need some means of manipulating objects, some form of intelligent curiosity and capacity for abstract thought, and an environment amenable to both supporting life and developing technology.

As for entertainment, that depends again on what they find entertaining, if they even have that concept.

Paul Wally
2014-Apr-27, 08:48 PM
What are some of the things we have do you think alien civilizations will also have?

-Food
-Energy Source
-Transportation vehicles
-Entertainment?

Most importantly, I'll say ideas. A civilization is build around ideas, and without them it would very quickly disintegrate.

Jens
2014-Apr-27, 10:33 PM
I can think of two things offhand. One, as you mentioned, is energy, because without it you can't have life. And note that food is just a kind of energy, like batteries. The other I'd say is communication, because otherwise I don't think we would call it a civilization.

swampyankee
2014-Apr-27, 11:34 PM
Language.

Noclevername
2014-Apr-27, 11:36 PM
A species social enough to stay together despite conflicting ideas.

danscope
2014-Apr-28, 12:44 AM
" We know the worth of water when the well runs dry " . Benjamin Franklin from 'Poor Richard's Almanac' .
If you don't think it is important, get a newspaper from anywhere in California ..... and a few other places.

Delvo
2014-Apr-28, 02:34 AM
What are some of the things we have do you think alien civilizations will also have?Civilization means living in cities, and in our case it's pretty clear how that got started...


-FoodFood is what it was all about in our case. A bunch of people all staying put, in the same small space, can't be fed by hunting & gathering, because of both the limited amount of food you can get that way and the fact that it usually means migrating. A dense, highly productive food source within reach without going anywhere to get it is required. For that matter, we originally set off on that path in order to have a large regular supply of food by producing it ourselves instead of just finding it; towns were just a presumably unforeseen side effect of farms.

Aliens won't need to take that step, if their natural diet of what they can just "find" in their area happens to have the required density & productivity. But it's rare for animal to get such a convenient natural food source. Even species that seem to be surrounded by exactly what they eat still usually are not surrounded by enough of it to support a population of city-like density. And if any exceptions can possibly exist somewhere out there, the lack of challenge in finding food doesn't give them much pressure to evolve technological intelligence. And even if they have the technology, we still don't have reasons for them to want to build buildings or other engineering projects. So I'm going with the theory that they're overwhelmingly more likely to go the same path as us: first, farming for the sake of the food supply, then settling in cities because of the farms.


-Energy SourcePresuming you don't just mean stuff that applies to any macroscopic self-propelled animal life, like the sun or food or even more subtle stuff like geothermal heat from isotope decay, the only one we had at the time was fire, and using only fresh fuels, not fossil fuels. It certainly was very useful but I'm not convinced farming & civilization couldn't have happened without it.


-Transportation vehiclesWe had none back then, so we know it's not necessary.


-Entertainment?Well, they'd need the capacity for things like imagination and socialization, and we know of a bunch of other Earthling critters that like to play, so this one seems like pretty much a certainty whether it's required or not.

eburacum45
2014-Apr-28, 11:11 AM
Reduced to the basics, all that a civilisation would need is an energy source, matter of some kind and a capacity to process information. The most sophisticated civilisations might consist of nothing but virtual worlds encapsulated within data processors, consuming energy from one source or another.

Perhaps it is possible to process information in some other way than using matter; but this might be a speculation too far.

Noclevername
2014-Apr-28, 11:16 AM
Reduced to the basics, all that a civilisation would need is an energy source, matter of some kind and a capacity to process information. The most sophisticated civilisations might consist of nothing but virtual worlds encapsulated within data processors, consuming energy from one source or another.


Along with some means of manufacturing and repairing data processors and energy collectors, and some means of making/repairing the manufacturing and repair systems.

FarmMarsNow
2014-Apr-29, 09:16 PM
Boredom and waste are among the things that inhibit space travel. They may not need the same things. We are very fragile creatures with very wasteful bodies. Perhaps they aren't. They may not understand the concept of boredom.

Barabino
2014-May-18, 10:17 AM
I can think of two things offhand. One, as you mentioned, is energy, because without it you can't have life. And note that food is just a kind of energy, like batteries. The other I'd say is communication, because otherwise I don't think we would call it a civilization.

Lions have food but they are not a civilization... I think artificial energy was considered a test of industrial civilization...

In the same vein, this reminds me the (nanobots) martians of Olaf Stapledon, who perceived electric power and so tried to make contact with power plants/stations, ignoring the human cattle around them...

Jens
2014-May-19, 03:50 AM
Lions have food but they are not a civilization... I think artificial energy was considered a test of industrial civilization...


Certainly true, but the question was, "What are some of the things we have do you think alien civilizations will also have?" It wasn't about what lions might not have, but about what civilizations would have.

Barabino
2014-May-19, 09:41 AM
in my (biased) mind frame, every civilization must have buildings... living in shells or in caves, means being just wild animals...

FarmMarsNow
2014-May-19, 02:36 PM
in my (biased) mind frame, every civilization must have buildings... living in shells or in caves, means being just wild animals... We human beings might someday invent clothing that allows us to live without our buildings. It would solve a lot of problems on Earth. In space we will probably always need buildings though, structures to keep the cosmic rays and other cosmic items from cutting through our bodies. I would be intererested to hear about ways of living comfortably without buildings but not uncomfortably. I wouldn't want people to be miserable or crowded or living in huge puffy cases. That would be going backward, but if we could live comfortably in the rain and sun with smart clothes that kept us healthy and clean I'd think it was an advance.

Barabino
2014-May-19, 05:52 PM
Getting a shower may be a problem? :)

Smart clothes might eat my dead skin :-/

(one of my dreams in my teen age)

swampyankee
2014-May-20, 02:26 AM
Getting a shower may be a problem? :)

Smart clothes might eat my dead skin :-/

(one of my dreams in my teen age)

Why would they stop with the dead skin? Oops! Software glitch....