Solar System

May 7th, 2015

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Solar System page #471:

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5 . by: Matthew November 6, 2015, 1:04 am

I think I understand the question, "what else is there," but it seems there's a simple enough answer for me: nothing else. Because of the combination of the four fundamental forces of our universe, the Big Bang produced quarks, quarks self-organized into subatomic particles, particles self-organized into elements, the elements self-organized themselves into molecules, molecules self-organized themselves into living things, and living things self-organized themselves into us. Our psychology is the psychology produced by the universe's fundamental forces combined. We'll probably continue organizing into ever greater complexity (we're doing it now), but whatever we become, it won't be anything more than what we already are, the continuing evolution of nature. All animals are always evolving. If we ever stop evolving, that's when we won't be animals anymore.
4 . by: Zack November 5, 2015, 8:43 pm

Hi Matthew,

Thank you for your compliments and criticisms.

Yuri's lament here is somewhat abstract, for a human brain. The nature of what he's talking about should become more clear near the end of the story, as you approach it.

The gist of it, is that technology and culture have advanced by leaps and bounds, and continue to advance, but they only continue to do so under ancient reward structures deeply embedded in homo sapiens (and animal) psychology. Even ascending to another planet, like Mars, we will engage in the same fights and fancy that we do here.

The question is... what else is there? Being as animal as they are, "human" becomes an alien concept. What is "human"? In the face of all of these other civilizations, each one much more advanced and prosperous than Earth's civilization, it begs the question, and they don't have an easy answer.
3 . by: Matthew November 5, 2015, 7:46 pm

Zach, I've recently discovered your comics and have been reading all of them, this being the last one on the list. You are amazing. Page 482 of this comic was actually the first of NOFNA I saw, and it was so inspiring, I had to go back and read the rest. But, I do want to offer the criticism that I think your characters are all jumping the gun in their judgments about humanity being stagnant animals. Yuri's line here, "It's so pathetic, the same history over and over again." It makes me wonder, what history is he reading? Considering our history, that we've lived basically the same hunter-gatherer lives for at least a hundred thousand years, and then in just the last four, we've started changing, discovering civilization, math, philosophy, engineering, inventing and reinventing all the known sciences, measuring the fabric of time and space, charting the history of our universe back to the big bang and divining its fundamental forces, etc., we're not really stagnating, are we? We're exploding.

I mean, in your story, look at the animals. It's been what, 500 years since they decided to become a society? And in that time, they've gone from wild animals to these hyperintelligent, philosophical artists and space engineers, communicating through telepathy, interconnected via internet and intranet, and just now, with the color computer, learning to commune with the fabric of space itself. In other words, stagnation? It looks more like they're developing exponentially in every direction.

I know there was an anti-space movement and a moratorium on space travel in this story, but even so, it hardly seems possible to make the case for stagnation here. They're all beating themselves up because they're three-dimensional, animals, haven't yet invented the technologies of the other civilizations, etc. But what's wrong with that? Why should we be in such a hurry to be like Plutonians, when we haven't even finished exploring our own nature yet? Watch this, and see how much the art of music has evolved in the last century alone: - Music is animal. It's our animal instinct that causes us to make and enjoy music, but that doesn't mean it's wrong or stagnant of us to do it. Music is evolving just as we are, and so are all our arts. You're proving that yourself. How is that stagnation, and why would we want to put and end to it, and leave "animal" behind just when animal is getting interesting?
2 . by: Kidna May 13, 2015, 5:23 am

*cue Gurren Lagan Soundtrack
1 . by: kuu May 12, 2015, 7:09 am

i had another dream where this comic ended in a kind of "was a dream all along" *sigh* I hope not

even if this page makes it look like everyone is in some kind of reincarnation version of "groundhog day loop"