This is an attempt at a bot design that’s driven and steered by only one servo. I have no justification for this other than it seemed like it had to be doable.
I’m absolutely sure a single servo actuated steering\drive mechanism exists somewhere, but I couldn’t find any. I’m guessing the designs that do exist are for very specialized applications where some factor makes using only one servo desirable. Using two 9g hobby servos for any reasonable DIY application is pretty much as easy as using one, so there’s really no advantage in the added complexity of the linkages at all.
But despite it being a fundamentally pointless idea, I couldn’t get rid of it. A servo set up as a rear paddle of a canoe could control direction and momentum so why not a wheel? I thought about doing something like a ‘wheel paddle’ that would work a bit like a skate, pushing laterally to roll forward and varying the angle to each side to control direction, but that seemed like a copout somehow so I thought about more classic wheel\axle setups. This design is optimized for simplicity- lol… what that means is this is the minimum effort required to satisfy my weird compulsion to demonstrate this is possible, knowing I have no intention of taking it any further than that.
So the drive is a simple ratcheting wheel rig with the teeth angled to turn the wheel on only one stroke direction. I’d seen more complex ‘mechanical rectifier’ setups that could drive on both strokes, but meh. I went with the T bar steering setup so you could kind of ‘set’ the direction and just work the servo around it so you can go straight and make smooth turns. Other options were to keep the steering connected to the servo but that would force it to always move in a serpentine pattern.
The video is a bit of a disaster. I tried to create the mechanism in the blender game engine using rigid body dynamics but I’m about 5 years out of practice with that program and forgot a lot so I just kind of winged it. The simulation is clearly jacked. The rachet wheel doesn’t work right because I couldn’t figure out a directional rotation constraint and friction is wonky in the bge. Everything kind of floats, it’s awful, but I think it shows the functionality I wanted it to show and that’s the whole point of this pointless thing. I also tried to 3d print it, but… yeah- lot of quick-n-dirty solutions in the game engine version didn’t translate to matter so it didn’t really come together. But since I spent the time and the PLA I put it in the video too.
This obviously wasn’t a success, but I don’t think I can call it a failure either. Like a lot of my projects it kind of works in a way and if someone with more skill and determination took a stab it could probably be cool little demo thing. Anyway- it’s something I did so I could stop thinking about doing it so now I guess I’m done and I can do another thing.
This light exists because a while back I bought some of that silicone-neon style strip diffusion and had to figure out something to do with it. Would have been cool to install the strip above a door or a footlight or something, but I rent so I don’t really do stuff like that.
So this is a pretty simple rig with (65) WS2812 LEDs on a D1 Mini running WLED. The structure is just a PLA printed holder that secures the strips and a small section of PVC housing the electronics. Originally there was a longer section of PVC and an 18650 battery module inside, but I wasn’t satisfied with the runtime with (65) LEDs so I just chopped it and went back to USB power. I popped in a mag-safe knock-off for the power supply. Those are really great.
I really like the diffusion these provide with 60/m LED strips. It’s not as great with 30/m and 144/m is very cool but probably overkill. They make several different profiles and focal patterns, I got this one by accident or mistake. I thought I ordered the circular neon style but this flat square style came so whatever. I’d love to make a larger installation of these on a staircase or something, but unless\until I own something worth a permanent setup I probably won’t be using this stuff very much. But now I have this little display piece to remind me how cool it would be if I ever did.
This is just a little housing idea for an ESP32CAM and AM312 PIR sensor A small section of 2″ PVC and PLA printed holder. Pretty simple and sturdy. I’m using this indoors with hass.io, but the PVC housing might be a good basis for exterior cameras too. I’m working on adding a battery module and using deep-sleep modes to make long-term time-lapses but this worked out pretty well so I figured I’d post it.
A long, long time ago in a timeline far, far, away, but still sort of here. Or maybe a long, long time from now, or maybe right now, however you correlate dates in alternate timeline stuff.
Anyways, whenever and wherever, on what we’d call Earth if we saw it, there were two really, really smart creatures that just kept getting smarter. If we saw them we’d call them whales and squid, and that wouldn’t be inaccurate, but those words don’t mean anything in this timeline, nor do any human words. But because this description of a timeline that humans never existed in is written in English I’ll just call them whales and squid.
Whales on this Earth started out doing pretty much what whales do here. They’re really smart, and they communicate and cooperate, and they live together and learn a lot from one another. But also on this Earth they evolved kind of a trunk type appendage so they can manipulate and grab things. Not sure what evolutionary pressures led to that but I can’t think of a way for whales to do much technology without a manipulator appendate so on this Earth they have that.
While the whale trunk was a strong and capable manipulator, it was tough to do fine work with only one largeish appendage. So for a long while whale technology was limited to fairly large structures of woven kelp, and animal bones, including whales.
Though a seemingly rudimentary framework for technology, whales pushed kelp and bone technology to astonishing limits. Mechanical structures were developed including pulleys, belts, levers, and ratchets. Arbitrary lengths of kelp could be woven into tensile structures providing means to store and preserve live food. Worldwide industry and commerce developed around the whales use of kelp and bones to raise, trade, and consume ocean livestock from kelp to cephalopods. Eventually the abundance of whale resources led to the creation of sophisticated whale culture including art, sports, and entertainment.
Long before the interspecies enlightenment, a common spectator event in whale society were the squid fights. Certain species of cephalopods had been domesticated by whales by breeding for desired characteristics. Though most breeds were selected for food and utility value, some were bred as pets, and some as fighting animals.
Fighting squids were bred to be both ferocious and intelligent. In addition, they were trained extensively to use their own bodies, and a range of provided weapons to injure their opponent in vicious, lethal matches. Though entertainment fighting squids were the most prominent use of aggressive squid breeds, they were also trained as guard and attack animals.
Effective guard and attack squids were essential to maintaining secure whale society. Though whales were powerful and very robust creatures, their ocean still contained many dangers. Sharks and lesser aquatic mammals posed an ever present threat to whales, though a healthy whale could generally protect themselves against reasonable threats of this nature.
Whale society required the use of powerful domesticated squid protectors in their struggle against squid society.
Squids on this Earth started out doing pretty much what squids do here. They’re really smart, extremely wily and clever, but they don’t live very long or have much of a social instinct. But on this Earth a species of cephalopods evolved the capability to kind of care about each other and they started hanging out in cooperative groups that learned to communicate danger and resources. So they got eaten a lot less and evolved a longer lifespan than most cephalopods.
Squid life was never easy, and even as a budding society they faced ever present existential threats. But squids minds are pretty amazing and once they learned to share what worked and didn’t work it wasn’t long before squids learned technological tricks that started blowing even the most proficient whale bone-kelp smith’s minds.
Squids mastered kelp and bone to a much finer degree than even whale masters. They could assemble complex, functional clockwork mechanisms from sculpted fish bones, coral, and shells. But they were curious, observant, and fearless to their individual detriment, but a lot of squids trying a lot of things and sharing the results led to an explosion in their technological capability. They learned to concentrate and mix substances to create a self-hardening, cement like material they could use to construct structures no other creature could penetrate. They utilized gas generating microbes to generate power by harnessing buoyancy as a sort of analog to steam power. They even experimented with long range acoustic communication systems, but that created some problems.
Squid society existed in a microcosm for a long time. The cooperative squid species was native to a small gulf area that was unattractive and largely inaccessible to whale society. They were aware of large aquatic mammals, but had never interacted directly or even been observed by a civilized whale.
Squid acoustic detection systems had revealed a complex ocean full of strange sounds from unknown creatures. They were believed to be aquatic mammals, and some squids suggested the communications indicated an intelligent society, but many dismissed the idea. Even so long range acoustic transmission research was strictly banned until more was known about the wider ocean.
By that time, squid society had developed extremely effective hunting tools and techniques, such that they had no trouble bringing down an aquatic mammal the size of whale, provided it was alone and the squids were prepared.
So eventually the curious squids finally agreed to send an expedition beyond the gulf with an acoustic transmission device. With the intent of using it to re-broadcast some of the recorded acoustic sounds, and see what happens. The assumption was at worst it wouldn’t work at all, and at best they might have figured out a great new way to bait aquatic mammals and they’d all go home with some fresh carcasses to share.
The outcome of the expedition is only known through the dying testament of the only survivor. In which he described a vast army of whales that carried giant kelp nets and bone spears. This single event was the essential catalyst of all future civilization on this Earth.
Predictably the squids freaked out and became psychotically militant for 100 generations or so. The reports of subsequent reconnaissance missions into whale society revealed a nightmare world of squid being bought, sold, eaten alive, worked to death then eaten, experimented on then eaten, killed by another squid and then eaten, or even trained to kill other squids at their whale master’s command, and then still eaten.
They aggressively expanded within and then far beyond their gulf. They developed long range communications undetectable to whales, built incredible weapons and defenses, and even began a program to breed and train aquatic mammals, including whales as war animals.
It was open interspecies warfare for about 1000 years. Both species killed one another with abandon. And occasionally one side or the other would marshal an unimaginably massive force with the intent of finally ending the threat the other species posed. But that always ended with lots of dead squid and whales, but still plenty more live squid and whales with even more apparent reason to hate and fear one another.
It is unclear how the interspecies enlightenment began, but the accepted apocryphal account is that two lost juvenile whales were met by a remote tribe of squid society that had been out of contact for several generations and had lost a cultural memory of the species wars. They tribe accepted the whales as members and taught them squid ways and lived harmoniously for years. The story tells that one day the tribe heard a skirmish between squid and whales and some went to investigate.
The tribesmen, a whale and four squids, were seen and attacked by both sides, each thinking they were an attempt to flank the others.
Then this Earth timeline splits again. In the nice timeline, the skirmishers see the whale and squid tribesmen defending one another and it stops the battle. Then they find out about the whale-squid tribe and everyone is inspired and slowly but surely both societies change and yada yada yada you got your happy whale-squid planet.
In the regular timeline all the tribesmen were killed immediately. The skirmishers understood the whale and squid tribesmen were defending one another but they were disgusted by it and considered them traitors to their species.
The tribe later discovered their dead, and went to find out what the hell, and found a world where whales and squids hated each other.
Well the tribe was a tribe, and they said screw both these idiotic species for messing with our tribe, so the whale-squid tribe set out teach whales and squids you don’t mess with the whale-squid tribe.
It took the whale-squid tribe a while to catch up both in population and technology, but they had some willing converts from both species that helped them get started. And most importantly they had both whales and squids, and whale and squid technology, and new and interesting intersections and synergies with whales and squids and whale and squid technology. The whale-squid tribe deployed increasingly overwhelming force against remaining whale society and squid society. Though the war between whales and squids had raged for a 1000 years, it took less than 100 for the whale-squid tribe to end the interspecies war and annihilate any semblance of the global powers that once struggled for dominance.
After that things went a lot like human civilization. The whale-squid tribe only remained unified as long as their was a whale and squid society to fight against. After they ran out of common enemies they just became whale-squid society and started dividing along all the other stupid lines people find to divide over. They have regional differences, biological distinctions, even identity politics, which is super weird with two entire species. It’s pretty stupid, but they do have but way cooler movies and TV because it’s not all from one species perspective.
The space program was pretty interesting. They never had combustion but they started with high atmospheric balloons and eventually were able to use a combination of buoyant lift and rotational launch mechanisms to deploy small vessels to orbit, which could then use cold gas thrust and slow aerobraking to deorbit. Whales obviously never saddled up but squid could basically pack themselves into a padded bag with a water circulation system and withstand upwards of 30G’s.
Interesting footnote, the aliens in Star Trek IV weren’t aliens, they were timeline-jumpers from the nicer whale-squid timeline where they all got along better. The ship was broadcasting looking for whales or squids, so the crew could have saved a lot of trouble building that giant whale tank by just taking a few squid back instead.
I like the quote “The total number of minds in the universe is one”, and also “atman equals brahman” but I’m probably not using that right and I prefer to explain what I think more explicitly rather than rely on other people’s associations so I’ll just do that.
There is only one mind in the universe to me just means that consciousness is a property of the universe. It’s like combustion in that it just happens whenever and wherever it can, and it’s uniqueness is its initial conditions and the environment it interacts with. Of course it doesn’t work to say “there is only one flame in the universe” but I use the analogy because nobody has a problem with the idea that ‘flame’ is just a phenomenon.
But each of our flames of consciousness feels pretty distinct to us. It’s hard to argue that I’m not you and you’re not me, but I like to say we’re both just different versions of “I”. Of course that sounds solipsist because “I” is me, when I say it, and I’m the one writing. But “I” means more than me to me.
“I” is really a whole continuum of I-ness. At one end is a unit system of biologically active materials that feels things and at least thinks it thinks things, at the other end is the universal phenomenon of self-aware consciousness. Let’s call them lower I and upper I respectively. It’s a first person plural but it’s distinct from ‘we’ because there’s only one upper I’s, and all lower I’s are the same upper I.
Upper I might share some features that others might identify as a soul, but if it’s a soul it’s more accurate to say it’s the soul of the universe. It’s the part of consciousness that is the universe trying to understand itself. I like that description because it’s both functional and aspirational. Even if you’re using your consciousness to understand how to eat all the chocolate you can, it’s kind of true. I like to think it’s most true when you’re trying to understand physics and consciousness, but that feels arrogant and elitist, so it’s good to remember it’s just as true if you’re trying to understand the digestive system of cockroaches, or how to teach little humans to wash their hands and tie their shoes.
Of course you can do all of that for 1000 motivations, it’s not like everyone who studies the universe walks around thinking “I am the universe’s brain!” all the time or anything. It’s a continuum for everyone every minute of every day. Nobody stays very upper I for long. I think that might even apply to alien consciousness. Being a lower I is pretty demanding. I just think there’s some truth to the idea that consciousness has some intrinsic curiosity and that’s a thing that really does connect all minds.
So what good is all that? Well, you can have fun with it if you imagine it means you get to be everyone, and everything. Not psyched about all the shittty human lifetimes, but if it’s universal that means aliens. So I might get to be a giant alien worm person that uses its cilia to perform on some thousand toned musical instrument. Also get to be their backup band, and their fans, and maybe the giant beetle thing that eats the whole band in a tragic onstage accident.
But I don’t think that’s useful except for fun. It’s not parallel reincarnation or anything like that. There’s obviously no physical connection between the minds of the giant worm and the band and the beetle that could join as a ‘universal mind’ to understand all their experiences.
That’s a seductive idea and it would be the only way there could be some kind of comparative analysis of experience itself, but I just don’t think that’s a thing. There’s no ‘great mind’ in the sense that it knows us or our experience just because we are all it. Even if we just say a ‘great mind’ doesn’t exist on this plane, say it exists in some 5th dimensional space and the connections are invisible to us because we exist on a lower dimension or something, it still doesn’t work. I think the experience of upper I through a lower I is kind of an atomic unit. It cannot be anything but what it is without becoming something else entirely.
There’s no way to know what it’s like to be a bat, as a human. Even if you could, somehow, force the neural information from a bats experience through your mind, and forget you were a human for that time, when you woke up your memory of the experience would be as a human analyzing their human memory of being a bat. You would recall the experience only through human recollection, with human faculties. If you could truly ‘share’ the experience of batness with your human consciousness you might be overwhelmingly compelled to eat bugs and hang upside down, but you can’t. You cannot share the experience of a mind, it’s a totally isolated phenomenon by it’s nature.
Just wanted to be clear that this isn’t an edge to work in a new age philosophy of oneness or anything. It’s a perspective that accepts the fundamentally isolated state of self-aware consciousness, but tries to put a more entertaining spin on it and maybe derive a functional framework for morality from it.
This seems related to the idea of karma but to me that is just an expression of the symmetry of the fact that in this arrangement we all experience everything we do to one another because all conscious experience is fundamentally the same phenomenon.
Seems like the idea that all minds have a similar basis of experience is a decent rationalization, maybe even a justification for empathy and compassion. Not that we should really need all that to understand reciprocity, but it helps take it beyond human cultures and lifetimes, maybe even to AI, and it works for aliens if we meet any. It takes the theory of mind out on a limb a bit, but I think that’s probably where it belongs.
It’s probably a good idea to just say minds are minds and humans happen to have them. But when we find anything that looks remotely like a human mind, it gets the same status, so we avoid any robot uprisings over sentient being’s rights. If we’re going to get wiped out by machine life I’d prefer it was because they actually were evil or indifferent to human life, not because we deserved it.
The punchline is a six-base DNA sequence describing proteins found in the eggsacks of a red siphonic coral.
DNA Radio is a general term for various forms of one-way, mass communication in societies with languages relying on chemical information transfer. There are a number of variations of the practice depending on the species individual chemical cycles and environment, but all share the common feature of being a branching or broadcast style of chemical information transmission.
Some advanced technological civilizations have developed DNA Radio into a sophisticated medium for art and social discourse.
The Anurog people are vaguely amphibian-like and evolved to communicate by exchanging a form of saliva encoded with subtle but highly complex variations in acidity. One long lick may exchange the information and emotional equivalent of a 3 page letter, a drawing, and a pressed flower. In effect they communicate by creating and sensing specific tastes while kind of making out with each other.
Their technology is largely biologically based and their implementation of DNA radio is entirely organic. An Anurog DJ licks into a device that functions as ‘microphone’ but is a genetically engineered sponge colony that converts their saliva acidity into a serialized stream of chemical data. The data is encoded in the same chemical sequences of base pairs the Anurog’s biological equivalent of DNA.
The DNA is conveyed by fluid or aerosol to a similar receiver sponge that then converts the DNA back into tastable acidic patterns that can be understood by any Anurog. There is a small loss of subtle tone and intent in the conversion to DNA radio, but the fidelity to their natural communication is more than adequate.
Since the Anurog DNA Radio chemical format shares elements with DNA from their planetary ecosystem, it didn’t take long before they started experimenting with including natural DNA elements in the DNA Radio feeds, much like human DJs might sample sounds from nature.
Red siphonic coral creates stunningly beautiful structures, and its eggs have cultural significance and preserved eggs are highly valued in some older traditions. More modern cultures prioritize protecting the coral and consider decorative egg harvesting a sadly backwards relic. Though it is tolerated in moderation, the practice is a regular subject of ridicule in the media.
A popular DNA Radio children’s program popularized a villainous character who desperately sought preserved coral eggs. The villain’s entrance was always accompanied, much like a theme song, with a theme DNA sequence, which was borrowed verbatim from DNA found in the red siphonic coral eggs. The program helped turn cultural values against coral egg harvesting, but even long after the program was considered outdated, references to the egg loving villain remain in the cultural memory.
The human analogy might be the end theme of a looney toons episode, but for someone to synesthesia who hears it as a smell that also smells a bit like roasting Porky Pig.
— — —
The punchline is a human with a blackhole alien pet named “spray painted grapefruit the devourer of paint”.
Though the punchline is a human, it’s not an offensive thing because the human it’s about considered himself a member of the alien society he’s a joke in and he didn’t mind being the source of amusement and even enjoyed it to some degree, but since he considers himself an alien, and other aliens laugh at it, it’s an alien joke.
Blackhole aliens have nothing to do with black holes. They just don’t reflect any light because their fur is like that carbon nano vanta black stuff, but from radio to xray frequencies. They are humanoid bipeds, but if you saw one even in broad daylight you’d just see a cavity black silhouette. They call themselves blackhole people because they do strongly identify with the celestial black holes. It’s a kind of sun worship combined with some weird narcissism because they say it’s a big version of them, but it’s kind of cute and it’s not a big deal in modern blackhole alien society.
Blackhole aliens are curious researchers, and they have a strong advantage in doing things they don’t want advertised to other species, so they’ve become one of the galaxy’s most prolific abductors and probers. The stereotype of a big headed green alien is totally unfair, those guys barely abduct anyone. And though the blackhole aliens were actually quite gentile and generally humane, the fact that they appeared as two dimensional shadow beings is enough to invoke primal fear in pretty much any species that has any kind of vision sense.
Though the blackhole aliens had abducted many, many humans, they were unprepared to meet young Franklin Weiss. He was accidentally abducted when they scooped up an entire RV to save some time. He was brought all the way back to the blackhole alien homeworld before he was discovered. His actual age is unknown, but he was less than a meter tall and extremely rambunctious, but had a generally pleasant disposition.
It’s unclear what Franklin’s deal was, he might have been a little simple, or maybe really smart, but unlike pretty much every other being they abducted, he demonstrated unprecedented contentment with his circumstances. Once he was provided basic sustenance he was astonishingly chill. He was not afraid of the blackhole aliens and interacted with them freely and delighted in making shadow puppets with them, which he and a few of his handlers developed into a fairly sophisticated language since Franklin could not understand the tactile language used by blackhole aliens. By the time he reached adulthood he was considered essentially a blackhole alien, but with a disability that he could only communicate in a made up language.
Franklin was given a pet companion, a smallish blackhole fur animal not unlike a dog. Franklin named his pet after the most significant celestial object in blackhole alien culture, a particularly gigantic black hole. The culturally significant black hole was called “Dark Sphere Drinks Light” in the highly literal blackhole alien language, but since Franklins handlers had the limited base conceptual vocabulary of a juvenile human to work with, their direct translation to human concepts somehow became “spray painted grapefruit the devourer of paint”.
The error was only discovered much later, after Franklin began participating in abductions of other humans. Upon learning more human words and the correct associations, he was able to piece together the chain of misunderstandings that led to his well meaning but misinformed black-hole handlers teaching him that their revered celestial object was a spray painted grapefruit.
So I guess that’s not really even a joke, just a humorous circumstance, but I started this alien joke thing with a punchline first format so apparently I’m sticking to that even when it doesn’t make a lot of sense.
Also I forgot to number the jokes at first but then I wasn’t sure why I started doing that in the first place so I’m not numbering these. It was only funny for number seven and I don’t think you can do that twice so I think this way is fine.
Jesunauts follow the original, uninterpreted lessons of Jesus of Nazareth as they pertain to the struggles of sentient beings on and beyond Earth.
Jesunauts recognize the literal truth that the kingdom of God is not of this world, and follow his ascension to heaven in mind, spirit, and as possible- body. Each Jesunaut seeks to contribute their lives and work to the physical and spiritual ascension of humankind.
Jesunauts practice, teach, and advocate the duty of radical compassion, humanitarianism, and self-sacrifice. God’s gifts of intelligence and empathy are to be used as tools to analyze and minimize causes of unnecessary, involuntary suffering. Jesunauts hold humans responsible for defining and challenging their own morality by its rational benefit to humans and humanity.
Jesunauts are wary of the inevitability of human weakness. Jesunauts do not judge humans for their moral failures, but rather seek to create and encourage circumstances that allow human beings to live and coexist in the universe peacefully and sustainably.
Jesunauts commit to stewardship of the Earth. The Earth and every living creature are God’s gifts to humankind. These blessings are ours to honor and cherish as examples of God’s perfect creation. Jesunauts preserve and study the perfection of nature as the living word of God.
Jesunauts minister by studying and teaching God’s creation as God has presented it. God’s creation itself is his word and no human word is to be given precedence over what God shows us in nature. God’s will cannot be translated into human language. Creation itself is the only language rich enough to convey God’s will. Any human who tries to condense God’s will into specific human action authorized by God is fundamentally mistaken.
Jesunauts dedicate themselves to the provision of healing arts for all humanity. Jesus healed through direct divinity to show primitive human cultures that healing is possible through God’s power. Humans are guided to God’s power by the diligent study of His creation. Jesus’ examples of healing were a clear mandate for human beings to use God’s gift of reason to understand, share, and diligently support all knowledge and practice of healing.
Jesunauts share communion with Jesus and one another through model aircraft and rocketry. Building and launching gravity defying machines is necessary to experience the truth of God’s gifts and laws, and represents Jesus’ diligent work on Earth and final ascension through God’s grace.
Jesunauts are unconcerned with the state of an individual consciousness beyond a mortal existence. God has given human beings mortal life and anything beyond mortal life is exclusively God’s domain. Jesunauts glorify God with efforts to extend, preserve, and enhance mortal life. God’s perfection and the perfection of his gifts of life necessarily imply that whatever lies beyond mortal life will also be perfect.
Jesunauts mourn the tragedy of Jesus’ torture and execution on Earth and do not make or possess monuments or relics symbolizing the brutality done to Jesus. Jesunauts celebrate Jesus’ life and message of peace, compassion, ascension.
Jesunauts party with any other ‘naut or non ‘naut that share the above sentiments.
A Jesunaut does not identify with any belief system and only follows their own personally validated beliefs. A Jesunaut makes no claim to represent any system of belief. A Jesunaut does claim to be a Jesunaut. There are no Jesunauts. There are just people who have heard about Jesunauts and share their sentiment and generally act like they think a Jesunaut would.
At some point I stumbled on the term misanthropic humanitarian, or humanitarian misanthrope to describe my general sentiment towards humanity. I don’t think anyone would argue that I’m a misanthrope, but the humanitarian part might be more debatable. And misanthropy seems like it’s mutually exclusive to humanitarianism, but I actually think they can be complimentary.
I think my brand of misanthropy can be a basis for a kind of humanitarianism. Definitely not the same kind as actual good people that take risks and make sacrifices to help people, that’s a more applied humanitarianism that does actual good. This is a more theoretical framework that doesn’t help anyone but just arrogantly suggests that if we all thought this way the world would magically be a better place.
I’m not suggesting you have to be a full-on misanthrope to be a humanitarian, but I think some of the principles of misanthropy can be applied to humanitarian goals.
So I’m a misanthrope, what’s that mean? Basically it means that as a rule I don’t trust humans. Not as a species, not as a civilization, not even as individuals, and definitely not in large groups. Some of that is because I think the word ‘trust’ is too subjective to mean anything, but somehow it still feels right to say I just don’t trust humans. To me trust is just a weirdly sentimental way of measuring the accuracy with which you can predict or rely on a desired behavioral outcome, and by that definition, humans are very untrustworthy animals.
But trust has all this intent and value attached to it, and I don’t not trust humans because I think they’re all bad people or evil or any of that nonsense, it’s just because we’re incredibly complex and the more complex things become the more bizarrely unpredictable their behavior. And maybe I’m socially inept or whatever, but I’m talking about history here- sacrificing to sun gods, wars between incestuous ruling families and over religions, steam powered flat earther rockets 50 years after the moon landing, like 80% of the internet, this is humanity, just absolute batshit craziness on tap.
It’s partially biology. We’re mammals, and mammals are all pretty nuts, plus all life is nuts. Evolution works with what works, not with what makes sense or doesn’t suck. Humans are the product of what worked on Earth, and we do have some amazing advantages, but we’re just complicated animals, and even simple animals are nuts.
But we don’t really talk about trust with animals unless we’re anthropomorphizing them like with dogs. We describe wild animals as ‘unpredictable’ sometimes but I think we know intuitively they’re not, their nuttiness is within well established parameters so whether we say it or not it’s pretty easy to ‘trust’ animals, because we trust them to be animals. That’s really the only kind of trust that makes any sense to me. But if you just trust things to be what they are, then trust doesn’t mean anything, but I guess that’s kind of my point so, yeah…
But so I trust animals to be animals, and humans are animals, so why not trust humans to be humans? Well because like I just said- they’re animals. The human part is not a given. Humans are precariously built out of animals and if much of anything goes wrong with that construction what’s left is just the animal.
We accept this on a sort of medical level. From full-on lobotomies to Phineas Gage to meth-brain and just regular old dementia, it’s no secret that human minds can degrade into functionally different beings, sometimes to the point they are only human by biological standards. But those are the hard-core, obvious cases where the faculties necessary for doing human things are damaged so they just stop acting as much like a human.
But a lot of things can go wrong with people that are not really biological, and they continue to act exactly like humans. A sociopath is, for all intents and purposes, much better equipped to deal with the complexities of modern culture than someone burdened by empathy. They act more human than most humans, they’re good at it, but- I don’t think they’re really being all that human. Obviously that puts a judgement on what human means, so I’ll say I think ‘human’ is the part of ‘human animal’ that makes civilization together, and a sociopath doesn’t seem like they’re really using that part.
Our culture doesn’t really teach much about the human-animal duality of human nature, so people tend to think of human beings as atomic things, you’re born human and you die human, no matter how much of an animal or otherwise not a human you become along the way. So we may casually say a sociopath is an animal, but they really do get all the benefits of being a human being.
And for moral clarity we it’s probably best to say they’re all still human. It’s hard to argue the value of humans just saying all human life is sacred, full stop. And I think we can keep that value, but with a modified understanding that actually doing ‘being’ a human being is more than just being of the species homo sapien sapien.
Unfortunately the whole ‘human animal’ thing is pretty easy to run afoul of the whole ‘sanctify of human life’ thing, because where do you draw the line except by literal species without the danger of some people being labeled less than human life? I think the simple prevention is just don’t think of human being as a permanent state, but a potential, and give the whole species credit for the potential no matter what. That way you can say accurately when people are animals, but you can’t cross the line of treating them like animals because they have a body that has the potential to be human.
That said, I’m not saying ‘thou shalt not kill’ or anything. If people try to kill you, I think it’s acceptable to try to kill them right back. And there are some threats that cannot be neutralized any other way than permanently. But to me it’s a pretty simple rule- if you can neutralize a threat without death, do that, if not- stay alive. In simpler terms I can deal with a death penalty for a stranded colony with no means to effectively neutralize dangerous prisoners, but not in places with the means to build literal prison cities.
Also while I’m on the death penalty I’ll say I’ve actually come around to the position that there is a moral basis for a death penalty even in prosperous civilizations, but only for abuse of public power. To abuse public power is to undermine the basis of civilization. If someone tries to make you do something against your will, you have the right to fight them. But if they wield the power of the state, you may willingly, or unknowingly give up that right. So it seems fair that the price for wielding the power of submission is enhanced punishment for its misuse. I also think that this is the only case where capital punishment actually would be a deterrent. I don’t think violent psychopaths are pensive enough about mortality for a death penalty to really change their behavior, but I’d prefer anyone who assumed public power would be.
Sorry, I kind of accidentally then on purpose shoehorned my death penalty shpeil in there, but back to the thing…
So the gist is- I’m misanthropic because humans are animals, and animals are nuts, but I don’t not trust animals, and even though humans are sometimes animals they’re still humans and we can’t not treat them like humans, so what the hell am I talking about?
I’m just trying to get around to the point that to be a very effective humanitarian, especially at large scales, you have to recognize and account for the human animal. We’re weak, imminently corruptible, and intrinsically vain, but- we can help each other rise above it, and that’s kind of nice. Maybe misanthropy takes it too far, and brings the implication of disappointment or something, which goes against the point that this is about looking at the ‘human animal’ dispassionately, but I like the juxtaposition of misanthropic humanitarianism as a reminder that responsible compassion isn’t always snuggly.
It really helps when you need to look at humans as data. We are raw data, sucks to think of ourselves that way but we are, and that data is valuable. Humans actually are fairly predictable in large numbers. Being a little misanthropic can help you get over the fact that we’re just numbers, and being a little humanitarian can help you use your ability to get over our statistical predictability and use it to create beneficial outcomes for human beings.
When you want horses to do something, do you don’t moralize about it being the right thing to do, or why they should have done it. You create the conditions in which that horse will be most likely to do the thing you want them to do. There’s no judgement, just observation.
Of course you can create conditions that make the horse do it because it’s terrified not to, or because it associates it with a reward. Both can be called for in various circumstances. But most handlers tend to understand that horses are better to you when you’re better to them, but more importantly, they’re better when you create the conditions that are favorable to them being better.
Also just to be clear none of this is an argument for philosophical zombies. Everything feels, even sociopaths. I do think some meta-cognitivie capacity varies wildly between humans, but I don’t think that’s a critical defining factor of the human experience, it just can be. And again, it’s the potential to be human that grants the rights of humanity, so it doesn’t matter either way.
So that’s the main point I want to make about humanitarian misanthropy, the human-animal thing, but it actually goes a little further into cultural connections for me too. I don’t advocate this level of misanthropy for everyone, and it’s not as well coupled to humanitarianism, but I think the best way to avoid an us vs them mentality is to not be an us.
The ‘them’ part is pretty hard to ignore. I see ‘them’ everywhere, but everytime I think I find an ‘us’, it turns out to be another them, or just a few of us with a bunch of them hanging around confusing things. So for expediency I’ve just taken to assuming there is no us. Or I guess I’ll qualify that by saying there is no ‘us’ beyond people you’re on a first-name basis with, and even there- people change.
There’s a lot of focus on human’s destructive tendency to identify ‘the other’ as the enemy, but I think the easily disprovable ‘us’ part is what creates the unfalsifiable ‘other’ part. But as many times as the ‘us’ is disproven, the ‘other’ remains compelling. Best way out, just be a ‘me’.
Sounds too lonely to be right though, right? Because humans are social creatures, etc… yeah, fine. I’m not saying you have to be a hermit over it. You can hang out with people, and like I said- people know actually know by the sound of their voice can be your ‘us’, just don’t join any clubs. That seems like a great rule to me. And by clubs I mean anything. Political parties, religions, ‘isms’ of any kind, maybe even fan clubs, but that’s a bit too literal. You speak for yourself on your own behalf and no one else’s, always and forever, and no one else can speak on your behalf by group association. Every club you join inherits some of your character and will, but you can’t control how other members use that association, so I consider it irresponsible to grant it.
Also the jackie gleason thing- won’t be a part of any club that would have me as a member. Great recognition of the paradox of self-standards. You should never meet your own standards, so if you meet someone elses, theirs aren’t as good as yours, but that’s not really a misanthropic humanitarian reasoning, just a good one.
The Thinnys are a race of sentient membranes. They have an average area of 2 sq meters and a thickness of 1-1.5mm. They can flex tendons interconnected between about 64 anchor points allowing complex sinuous movements they use to locomote and manipulate their environment. Though exceptionally powerful for their mass, their planet’s extremely high gravity prevents Thinny’s from doing much besides sliding over one another to get around. It’s a weird existence even by alien standards.
Thinny’s photosynthesize most efficiently on their ‘top’ surface. The bottom surface is slightly rougher and provides more conduits to exchange materials with its surroundings. If a Thinny spends significant time photosynthesizing in a given area they leave a thin effluent mixture with a distinct impression of their tendons and anchor points, which are features distinct to each individual. It’s a bit like if everyone naturally pooped very distinguishable sculptures of their own face. It’s a poop faceprint.
In ancient Thinny history, some cultures celebrated the photosynthetic poop faceprint phenomenon. Revered figures poop faceprints were preserved and ornamented. Family crests were often combinations of ancestral poop faceprints. Thinny’s were even known to memorialize the leavings of other membrane based creatures they kept as pets and work animals.
The modern Thinny era rose from a scientific renaissance, which prioritized reason and discovery over tradition. Unfortunately it got a little out of hand and questioning tradition became a mandate such that pretty much anything anyone had done in the past that couldn’t be explicitly justified in modern terms was condemned. And so many beautifully decorated and historically revered poop prints were destroyed. Without poop prints constantly reminding them that poop exists, Thinny society became extremely reserved and bashful about poop faceprints, and photosynthetic pooping in general.
As Thinny science and technology progressed, the Thinny’s finally developed the ability to capture, reproduce and modify images from the world around them. Before long, someone figured out that if you take a photograph of a Thinny’s underside, crumple it a bit and splatter a bit of mud on it, it looks exactly like a giant steaming poop that is obviously from whatever Thinny they took the picture of. It’s pretty much a right of passage for a young Thinny to prank their loved ones, and not so loved ones by leaving fabricated poop faceprints around in this manner.
The Nightticks Coalition consists of 8 colonies of microscopic, eusocial insect-like creatures that metabolize radioisotopes of hydrogen. They exist solely in a crater on an oblong asteroid at the edge of a lazy solar system. The eight colonies each control one of eight spires of frozen hydrogen that began condensing at the edges of eight hydrogen vents. The colonies occasionally cooperate, but mostly maintain a tense peace that lasts only as long as each colony maintains homeostasis with its own population and its slow accumulation of deuterium and tritium. The insects themselves are not sentient, but the vast numbers of specialized individual creatures working in concert form a functioning, though primitive awareness.
The Nighttick colony minds each recognize the others as separate creatures, though they can and do exchange individual creatures for a variety of reasons including accident, altruism, sabotage, and mutually beneficial exchange. The only Nighttick individuals that are never exchanged are the reaper caste. This caste is exclusively responsible for disposing of the bodies of other expired individuals, or more commonly disposing of them before they’ve expired, but have otherwise served their purpose.
The Nighttick colony minds have some methods of control over their constituent castes activities, but they are as much at the mercy of their colonies as a human mind is to its body. They do not control individual creatures any more than humans control individual cells, though they can influence larger scale movements and changes within their colony.
Reaper activity is largely involuntary, though the Nighttick colony minds must monitor and influence the reapers to sometimes reap other reapers when they become too numerous.
One reaper seen reaping another reaper is not particularly notable, as it could have been a natural death. But more than a few reapers reaping other reapers is a clear sign of poor hygiene and self maintenance.
Nighttick colony mind’s expression of laughter manifests as sympathetic thorax vibrations that members of the sensory and reproductive castes generate when the colony mind is amused. There’s not much to be amused about when you’re a meter tall stack of microscopic insects floating on a cold rock alone in space, so any time a squad of reapers runs out of a colony carrying a bunch of other reapers, you’re going to hear a lot of vibrating thoraxes.
— — —
AlphaFoamCube is both a planet and a person. It’s a unique planetary lifeform that developed from the interactions of dense layers of foam that cascade and sloth through and around the planet. Though from orbit it appears a common ice world, AlphaFoamCube is essentially a giant spherical bubble fountain with thermal geysers blasting rivers of foamy slop from the core into the atmosphere, constantly refreshing the surface with delightful bubbles. It is the universe’s only known example of self-sustaining bubble tectonics, and also the only known example of self-sustaining bubble biology.
AlphaFoamCube was first discovered to be a sentient life form when complex bubble flows entrapped and apparently played with a probe sent to examine it more closely. The probe remained functional while it was surfed around on bubble waves and tossed up into the air and even kept returning data as it was broken into even sections and juggled quite expertly.
It quickly became apparent that the planet itself was intelligent, and various means of communication were devised. AlphaFoamCube chose the name for itself to represent that it was the first of its kind, it was made of foam, and it aspired to grow and change. The name also represents the first three concepts that anyone was able to effectively translate from a planetary beings mind. Sequence and ordering, texture, and shapes, that’s about it for a long time. Not a great framework for conversation, but in terms of interspecies communication it was a cosmic achievement.
Shapes were a bit of a hang up in developing a communication framework. Alpha had developed its own sophisticated understanding of geometry and spatial relationships from its own observations, but anytime the concept of a sphere was approached, Alpha became difficult to understand. It would express nonsensical texture pattern combinations and intentionally disordered sequences. Alpha was systematically exposed to new concepts from other beings to allow it to make associations it could express to smaller minds.
Eventually it became clear that Alpha found spherical shapes to be intrinsically amusing. Free floating bubbles in Alpha’s world are temporarily disconnected from its foam mass and not subject to its direct control. They are the only things in its world that are not Alpha. Occasionally large formations of free floating bubbles can annoy Alpha and create minor discomforts by obscuring or distorting his senses. Relating Alpha’s senses to the usual animal features does neither any justice, but Alpha itself drew the connection between the annoyance of a mass of bubbles briefly distorting his senses with flatulence briefly overwhelming one’s sense of smell.
So turns out every time a linguist tried to talk to Alpha about spheres, it thought they wanted to know its opinion on farts, which it found amusing. The misunderstanding did create some friction when a linguist suggested AlphaFoamSphere would be a more appropriate name. The linguists had to develop a rudimentary imaging system to allow Alpha to visualize other beings to understand concepts related to their existence. But so far no one has had the heart to show Alpha a picture of itself from orbit.
The study of intelligent life in the universe would be pretty dull if all the intelligent life in the universe was also rational life, but rational life isn’t really a thing, so no worries about the universe getting dull.
One of the most common things intelligent life does with intelligence, is come up with kind of brilliantly imaginative, but also batshit crazy and ultimately destructive explanations for how the hell everything got where it is and what it’s all about. Throughout the universe, mythology is all intelligence’s first and favorite pastime.
I’d like to say there is wisdom to be gained in studying myth. I’d like to say that they represent the universal phenomenon of minds being blown by the paradoxical confusion of being a finite being in an infinite universe. I’d like to say that the universality of myth gives us a way to relate to all minds, that the crushing recognition of our miniscule, futile lives begs for the soothing mercy of myth, that this is all good, and fine, and okay. But I don’t think that- I think myths are pointless. If they ever were good things, then that time has long passed by the time anybody knows what a myth is enough to study it as a myth. They’re kind of like a civilization’s equivalent to a bad dream where you know you’re in a dream but can’t wake up and you keep punching yourself in the face for some reason.
That said, myths exist, and they can be interesting, funny, sometimes thoughtful and even insightful, most importantly though, they’re never boring. So it’s fun to learn about other alien culture’s myths, especially the big ones about where life came from and what happens after it.
Humans might be surprised that a large majority of intelligent life believes in some form of altered-state psycho-genesis. That is to say- most aliens believe the universe was created by and\or is a cosmic mind experiencing some kind of trip.
Humans in general are shockingly prudish about altered mental states. Even Terence Mckenna would be considered a little reserved about mental states by universal or even galactic standards.
A lot of it has to do with human physiology. We do sleep and dream, and have puberty, pregnancy, and menopause, but overall human experience of consciousness is a pretty constant flow over a lifetime. Aliens that evolved from species that pupate, go through multiple gender stages, or undergo radical hibernation cycles are far more common than the relatively smooth birth-growth-death cycle humans enjoy. These species develop much greater comfort levels with radical changes to their mental states for extended periods, even becoming different beings entirely. Subsequently a lot of alien cultures require very little justification for inducing or modifying mental states voluntarily for a range of purposes including recreation. On the universally relative scale of behaviors, getting completely blasted out of your mind for whatever reason you want is about as significant as most human cultures consider burping.
So turns out myths like the cosmos being the dream of a giant turtle are pretty standard issue, except the turtle is usually something else, and usually not dreaming, but hallucinating its balls off on some chemical or radiation or gravitational effect.
The best Earth analog might be The Dreaming in Aboriginal myths, but influencing culture at planetary scales and with expansive organizations that dwarf the Catholic Church.
The Cyloforms are an interesting example of altered-state psycho-genesis myth’s and its long term effects on an interplanetary culture. The Cyloforms are a colonial cellular species capable of collating the consciousnesses of up to a dozen individuals by carefully structured mingling of their cellular colonies. The co-experience of the conscious coupling can be changed dramatically by changing the physical patterns of their minglings. A small group may choose to integrate in a pattern that induces experiences of dispassionate communication of ideas, or they may integrate in a pattern that induces sharing extreme emotional drives.
This deep experience with conscious states beyond their own control generated a vast and sophisticated cultural belief system of loop-instantiated self-imagining cosmo-genesis. In the Cyloform belief system the universe quite literally continuously imagines itself into existence. Everything that exists in the universe is a construct of the imagination of something else in the universe. I imagine you, and you imagine me, and it doesn’t matter that I’m now and you’re later, neither of us can exist without the other. Scale that up to a whole universe full of creatures imagining each other and you’ve got the Cyloforms basic belief system.
As the Cyloforms species dominated its home planet this belief system primarily affected the Cyloforms worldview regarding other Cyloforms and indiginous planetary life. Traditions and rituals surrounding consumption of nutrition, colonial mitosis, and colonial dispersion respected the value of actively imagining the experiences of everything necessary for life. It was morally expected that a Cyloform should vividly imagine the entire lifecycle of creatures that it consumes, including being consumed. Since Cyloforms could mingle their consciousnesses, some individuals specialized in facilitating these important experiences. A Gontaform is Cyloform profession somewhere between a psychedelic chef, a spiritual guide, and a drill sergeant. From a coarse human perspective they were sloppy goo balls that mixed themselves with other sloppy goo balls to make the sloppy goo ball temporarily think they’re whatever the sloppy goo ball had for lunch. But in Cyloform culture they served the influential function of both supporting and enforcing adherence to tradition by creating experiences that the culture defined as beneficial or otherwise required.
The Gontaforms became a priestlike guild and eventually dictated experiential requirements that supported their own power base rather than conforming to anything resembling ancient Cyloform cosmo-genesis beliefs. In practice this meant they would selectively force undesirable or uncooperative Cyloform individuals and groups to undergo horrific experiences, while reserving enjoyable experiences as rewards for allies.
The Gontaform era came to a rather abrupt end with the introduction of ultrasonic cellular stimulation that could create rough, though satisfying alternatives to the experiences facilitated by direct Cyloform-to-Cyloform contact. The Gontaforms initially tried to embrace the technology, but were unable to control its dissemination and it quickly eroded their bases of power.
With ultrasonic stimulated experiences came greater experimentation and a period of explosive cultural growth and change, culminating in the development of entirely new understandings of physics that paved the way for the Cyloform expansion into space. Also they had a lot of advantages in their manned space program because they’re basically homogenous goo. They started sending people up on like the third test launch because why wouldn’t you if you could just pour yourself into a can on top of a rocket?
An interesting facet of Cyloform space exploration to a human observer might be that the Cyloforms never really asked the question ‘is their life on other planets’? Cyloforms had begun to imagine life on other planets as soon as they understood the uncountable lights in the sky suggested the existence of uncountable planets. And if they imagined it, it was out there.
There were some pretty heroically insane efforts to define how cosmo-genesis beliefs should be interpreted in the context of exploring a vast universe. Cyloform supremacy happened- something about Cyloforms being the only ones who really imagine anything, then it was only certain Cyloforms, then those Cyloforms killed each other over who was imagining who and eventually things settled back to more sustainable levels of stupid and crazy.
Modern spacefaring Cyloform civilization carries the remnants of their spiritual cosmo-genesis origins, and there are still radical sects here and there doing batshit nonsense in the name of imagining the universe so it doesn’t blink out existence or do something with robot snakes. But on the whole they’ve learned to use the abstract, unknowable aspects of loop-instantiated self-imagining cosmo-genesis as a loose spiritual inspiration and ignore assholes who say do this because I imagined the universe said so.
Though their brand of cosmo-genesis had its own equivalent expressions of terribleness, Cyloform beliefs avoided the usual pitfalls of afterlife myths. The acceptance of non-sequential imaginative dependence didn’t really inspire a question of what happens ‘after life’. It was assumed that your life might be being imagined by something that lived after you anyway. So even after your life, your life might still be being imaged. This seemed to satisfy their mortal curiosity to the extent they didn’t really bother with afterlife questions other species might consider philosophically irresistible.
Plenty of other alien species to get into afterlife myths though. There’s one that’s sort of like the Cyloforms where they think their life is a dream they dream in death, so they have some outrageous preservation rituals and amenities. But a lot of that is economic and nobody really believes it. Anyway I’ll do a more afterlife focused one in volume 2 maybe.