GOD FOR A DAY.
Humanity Magazine June July 1998
I recently took place in a fascinating experiment in which I, and about fourteen other people, were invited to imagine we were God, and able to fashion the entire Universe from scratch in any way we wanted. This didn’t take place as a Humanist exercise, but at a big Science Fiction Convention, (Intervention EasterCon, in Manchester on 12th April 98). This was no fictional exercise, but a test of logic and consequence. Here is what we came up with.
From the initial premise that our (real) world is flawed for having suffering pain and death, we decided to abolish these in our created Universe. The alternative ‘Humans’ we envisaged evolving (Yes, evolving) as immortal, and indestructible, would possibly be lizard like (as tortoises, and cold blooded creatures have long life spans). The problems with this were made immediately apparent. Immortality means this dominant race would soon become a plague, (literally), overpopulating their own world, and (if they become astronauts) the whole galaxy. (All worlds would be capable of supporting life. Lifeless lumps of rock are not worth creating. Are you listening, God?) The boredom that would come with such overpopulation would be intense. Clearly, our immortals would have to become sterile in order not to keep producing infinite offspring.
Our vegan people would be hermaphroditic. That would slow down, but not extinguish the population expansion problem. The problem central to our utopian creation was eventually solved in a wonderful way. Once the population grew to such a size that it was harming its world’s natural resources, it would evolve a new ability to be able to meld. This means that in sexual reproduction, the parents would actually fuse together and dissolve down into a new life-form, (becoming literally their own child), who would be born with the memories of his parents, and of many generations before him. This would not be seen as a death for the parents, as they literally live on as a single unified, united, fully integrated life form. Though immortal, and still breeding, they actually reduce their population, without ever dying. (Ten people meld down into five, twenty reduce to ten, etc). When they have reduced their population to a safe level, and while they migrate to safe areas of their planet (driven by the same migratory instincts as Wildebeest and birds), their world’s resources are replenished through cosmic bombardment, (meteor’s comets, etc), and volcanic activity pushing new supplies of minerals and rich soils to the planet’s service. While reptile like in population expansion, the melding counterbalance beings would be more insectoid, giving birth through egg-like cocoons. The race of beings (Homo-Meldsapians), then starts to actually breed normally again, reproducing hermaphroditic children, and the population replenishes the now fertile world until the beings need to meld down again. The system works on a Gaia like hypothesis, and the population expands or shrinks without death occurring (ever), and (deep joy) they still get lots of sex. When the population gets too expansive, the hour glass egg-timer is turned round, and the sand starts trickling the other way as the melding process takes over, and then the sands flow back again before the civilisation vanishes. Nice, eh?
There clearly are problems. All children are born orphans. The people of our new species would have a communal, clan like approach to raising the young, and no one would own property. As everyone remembers back many generations, legacies and wills would be outlawed, so no one could set high interest money aside for their thousandth generational heirs (themselves). Rape would be impossible to punish, as victim, and assailant would have become one single entity. Trauma over the identity of parents might create all sorts of neurosis, and psychological problems. We might end up with a full race of Woody Allen type angst driven depressives. Memory capacity, even for immortals can not be infinite, so sooner or later, earlier memories would fade away to make room for new experiences. Some knowledge would be lost at an innate level, but our people would be highly civilised and scholarly, and peaceful. Orgies would have to be biologically incapable of resulting in mass meldings, as this would result in drastic, monstrous mutant babies. Metamorphosis into the product child of a meld would have a very rapid gestation period (hours rather than months). The parents would become a chrysalis or cocoon, from which the infant emerges to the welcome arms of the clan.
The collective memory, and intelligence of a child would be carefully monitored. Only the most compatible parents would be allowed to meld officially, but a new generation of youth might rebel and go off to do their own thing. We could se a lot of Gretna Green melding situations, or full scale rebellion. So, our world is free of death and pain, but not perfect.
As I wasn’t the only God in pantheon (oh to be a complete megalomaniac) I wasn’t able to abolish belief in religion totally. We concluded that our meldlings would believe heavily in the notion of one day melding and fusing down to become a single perfect messianic avatar.
Perhaps this terrific exercise is one Humanists might want to continue. Maybe you would like to show; a/. why this utopian creation might fail. b/. what kind of Universe you would create if you got to be God for the day.
One thing is certain. The Judao-Christian God didn’t do much work on his school science project. We did in one day what took him six to achieve, and he still botched it up. Now it’s your turn to be a god.
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