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the inevitability factor

Tuesday,  05/07/24  08:03 AM

Imagine another world, similar to ours.  Call it Echo.  Same basic setup with a planet orbiting a star, water, elements and compounds.  How much of what we have here on Earth would be found on Echo?  That is to say, how much is inevitable?

Some things would clearly be the same.  Arithmetic.  Physics.  Chemistry.  Basic properties of atoms, molecules, materials.  Oh, and Logic.  (By the way, the "clearly" part is definitely subject to discussion...)  Some things would clearly be different.  People.  You and me.  Much of our culture, our music, art.  Specific things.  For example it is most unlikely anyone on Echo would make this specific blog post.

But many things are somewhere in the middle.  Concepts.  Would Biology be this same?  Certainly many things in Biology would be - things dependent on chemistry and physics and materials - but other things would not be - the specific evolution of various species.  Evolution itself would be inevitable.

Let's say that, given atmosphere and properties of materials, visual and auditory sensory organs would be inevitable.  Which means there would be scope for visual and auditory "art".  (Would the concept of Art be inevitable?  I think so.)  It would be wild to see what the beings of Echo (Echolings?) came up with.  Would they like abstract sculpture?  Would they have music, and different kinds of music?  Would there be artists, specialists in the creation of Art?

Much of Philosophy would be inevitable too, given Logic and Reasoning.  Echolings would wonder about the Universe and their place in it.  The would develop the equivalent of Science, a means of producing facts from other facts.  The would most likely develop a way to record what they learn, and to transmit what they've learned forward in time. 

I think Life is inevitable, would Lifetimes be?  I think so ... given Life, and Lifetimes, and individual Beings, a means of Educating new Beings would likely develop...  there would be a Society, with Customs and Values.  The specific Customs and Values themselves could be quite different.  Would they be?

When science fiction authors do their world-building, some of it is amazingly creative, but ultimately they are influenced by what exists on Earth.  They relax certain constraints to come up with a new world.  It's always interesting to see which constraints are fixed - the laws of Physics - and which are variable - Biology, and Society.  Always there would be the relentless influence of Evolution, survival of the fittest, a competition of not only beings but ideas.

Would the concept of inevitability be inevitable?  Maybe.  In fact, maybe it would not be "most unlikely that anyone on Echo would make this specific blog post".  Maybe it would be inevitable :)