Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Galactic Mission

Poul Anderson, Brain Wave (London, 1977).

One omission: Anderson does not tell us how organized religions respond to the "change." However, I think that it is predictable:

first, that they would split;

secondly, that every possible judgment ("It's good," "It's bad," "We don't know") would be made;

thirdly, that some groups would have to acknowledge that, after the period of transition, the problem of moral evil in human beings had been resolved - this could be interpreted as the arrival, or return, of a Savior in an unexpected form.

What of other races? When an intelligent race has changed its environment, it does not need to develop any greater intelligence, especially since it can augment its intellectual abilities with writing and computers. Because Earth entered the inhibitor field before intelligence had emerged, Terrestrial organisms compensated for the field and therefore became more intelligent when their planet had left the field. Human beings might meet a few other such species but they are like an Elder Race to most of the intelligent beings that they encounter. They will come neither as gods nor as guides but as givers - of opportunity (p. 187).

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Hi, Paul!

I am frankly skeptical that the kind of enhanced intelligence we see in BRAIN WAVE will mean the end of sin and evil (or at least of moral imperfection, if you prefer that kind of wording). Rather, as time passes, the enhanced humans will continue to show themselves as flawed and error prone as they were before leaving the "inhibiting field." This will simply be shown in differerent ways than in the past.

Therefore, the Catholic teachings about the fall of man, God's promise of a redeemer, the Incarnation, Passion, and Resurrection of Christ, will not have been rendered irrelevant or shown to be false. It would have been very interesting if Poul Anderson had given us some speculations about how "enhanced intelligence" might have affected Christianity and the other major religions or philosophies.