Divinity: Original Sin 2, and the Evolution of Life on this Planet

in #videogameslast year (edited)

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Life on this planet has evolved along different stages that are founded upon the type of technology available at any given stage. Unicellular lifeforms appeared 3-4 billion years ago with relatively simple mechanical abilities (compared to modern multicellular species). As time passed, these species mutated, grew in complexity, and upgraded to the latest wetware/software tech available. Updating to this new tech (e.g., gills, fins, lungs, backbones, arms, legs, etc) allowed life to migrate from the oceans to land & air. This evolutionary process was relentless and quite rapid in geological time. No matter what you threw at DNA (including meteors and ice ages), it always found away to survive and expand its code across the planet. It diversified by creating new species using the basic rules of Darwinian evolution. DNA machinery and intelligence became excellent at developing and manufacturing new species. Each stage, set up the next one, each one more complex, reaching a tipping point when the tool-using primates showed up to the party.

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Primate intelligence represents a unique development in the history of life. Our capacity to sense, perceive, and process matter-energy-information is second to none. Our development has followed a trajectory based on the various technologies (internal and external) that we have developed. Generally, we tend to group stages of human development based on the type of element we learn to process at various points in time- fire, stone, bronze, iron, etc. Eventually, we reached a stage of development in which the most important element was not material but symbolic. The Gutenberg press allowed us to store and disseminate our thoughts, inevitably leading to the industrial revolution. While Marxists liked to place emphasis on the "means of production," the true star of the show was information, but that wouldn't become clear until we reached the next stage- the information age. Since the industrial revolution, we have learned to use even more advanced technologies such as atomic, biochemical, and genetic. But none is more salient and more familiar to us than the electronic, and the digital worlds we now inhabit. Through our actions as we navigate and evolve in these info-oceans, we are now creating the foundations for the next evolutionary leap. What might that leap look like?

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The homo sapiens species has clearly become homo sapiens digitalus or maybe electronicus. Thanks to the work of physicists- who themselves didn’t know that they were unwitting evolutionary developers- we’re now seeing a great migration into the electronic realms. As it’s standard procedure, we have harnessed electronic energy to support the basic parameters of mammalian life- survival (e.g., food-production and processing), emotional-territoriality (e.g., weapons and national security), symbolic-thought (e.g., sci-tech engineering and development), and sexual domestication (e.g., tiktok gyrations and instagram lascivousness). As we migrate further into the electronic ecological niches of the cyber-verse, new possibilities open up. What are these possibilities? What form will they take?

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It’s not clear to me what shape the new virtual realities will take. Nevertheless, we are beginning to see glimpses of our virtual future. Video games are a good example. The adoption of video games since they first became widely available commercially in the 1970s has been phenomenal. The bleeps and flashes of the digital-quantum unmapped territories have turned into full fledged shimmering lattices of socio-economic environments. They are not frivolous pursuits, at least not broadly speaking, though they can be at an individual level. Video games are serious business, and I’m not just talking about EA profits. Video games are an early larval phase of our electronic mutation into a new digital species. We are the amphibians squirming, slipping, and sliding together along the shores of the metaverse.

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With rudimentary skills and gear, we prepare for the next stages of our evolution, which is fraught with so much danger, riddled with so many unknowns. Just as we began that journey from water to land millenia ago, we now begin our new adventure into the electronic future ahead. We'll evolve cheerfully with confidence, with our heads up, and with a little help from our (hopefully buxomy) friends.

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Video game: Divinity: Original Sin 2
Level: 1
Location: Fort Joy
Class: Wizard
Screenshots by @litguru

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I am a bit uncertain, if your text has a poetic approach or how it is meant ...

Just as we began the journey from water to land millennia ago, we are now beginning our new adventure into the electronic future.

For some an adventure, for others a horror show. I am not so sure that human evolution is really a straightforward success story. I find, it might be not necessarily linear, one speaks of cyclical "donut-like" events. I understand evolution as an organic, very slow process. Where the possibility of feedback loops are contained.

Somewhere I once heard, it must have been about twenty or more years ago, that a large part of the planetary population still exists as peasants, including the skills necessary for that. In comparison, it was said, technological development and its associated amenities are more accessible to a minority. I don't know if that is true or was true at the time.

I wouldn't know whether it is really a matter of further development and not a step backwards in our human organic existence, or of stagnation. For an extra sausage of the human race, I cannot imagine that a plunge into an electronic age will provide the brave new world, especially as we organics are very much in dependence and interaction with all other organic living beings on this earth. Dolphins and schools of fish, birds and mammals, insects, etc., all have no access to the electronic collective, but how can humans separate themselves from them without harming themselves? So wouldn't dolphins, giraffes, monkeys, dragonflies, bees also have to have an electronic future if we humans are heading towards it?

As I see it, flora and fauna have no access to our electronic world. Yet we use everything we think we know about The Plant and Animal Kingdom to create imagined habitats in the virtual environments. It would be a lot more boring without them, wouldn't it?

But I have a hard time separating the "we" in your sentence from the animal and plant life, which I believe is as much a part of the "we" as humans.

As Allan Watts once put it, the bee and the flower belong to one organism, even though they are different living beings. In the view of the whole, one could also consider our planet as a living being, I think. Humans, as just one species among many, would not this species, from "the point of view" of the larger life form, merely be something that occupies a place, but not the most important? For me, the question is not settled as to what role man occupies in his earthly existence; even knowledge of ourselves has its limits, for to think something beyond ourselves, outside the human mind, is a thing of the impossible. So a certain area remains inexplicable to us, I think.

In genius dwells madness as well as beauty; it often seems to me impossible to separate one from the other.

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