Tuesday, January 03, 2012


One of thing I realized recently annoys me in science fiction is the concept of post physicality. You know, the idea that a sufficiently advanced civilization reach a point in its “evolution”/ technological develloppement when it abandon the base needs of the physical to become something “better”. Usually, that means they become energy, or ascend to a higher plane of being. The first thing one would need to ask his how would becoming “energy” be removing yourself from the physical, energy is physical, yes not in the sense of “crude” matter but given e=mc2, one would argue there is no difference.

So that would leave the higher plane of being thing, sound like a religious concept, the “lucky” species is not in heaven like the god they have become. Leaving the universe behind apparently to greater things. With usually one of two results, they vanish from the universe never too be seen again or they withdraw from affair of mere mortal… except when they get involved for all the problem it can cause (see Stargate for an example of these alien). The first kind could be taught of as a mass suicide, no one ever sees them again and they never influence event.

Now what is annoying about it? Well it makes no real sense, there is no benefits for them as far as anyone can tell (even themselves if the Ancient from Stargate are an example) and it seems to exist only as homage to the belief of religions. It is an example of heaven that the good species can aspire to if they are nice and become one with the “spirit”. By itself it could make a good story, but it is so pervasive that it is becoming annoying, a sort of crutch or thing you have to include into your high civilization to make it “believable”. It is also a way to remove hyper advanced civilization from the scene and let humanity take a place in the stars. Sure it is “less” depressing than having them die off, or extinguish themselves to wars or plague or what have you. But it also remove the interesting story of having to deal with them, having to think, of how a specie that can accomplish everything. 

1 comment:

Denitsa said...

The idea of post-physical state is to avoid the limitations of the physical body. Such as diseases and death. Or at least to increase dramatically human life. The Stargate example is not so good, because they did not explore in depth the changes in the society coming from post-physical. Or in psychology.
If you're interested, Peter Hamilton's books have developed the topic with some interesting concepts like edenism or digitalization of the body to a huge computer etc.
But this is definitely not a religious thing. It's the eternal fight for more time and more fun. So to say.