There are times when I feel like we're all Moties, the aliens in Pournelle and Niven's The Mote in God's Eye. Here's what one of them looks like:
And here's what Wikipedia says about how their civilizations end and begin again:
Each war typically ends in the complete destruction of the current civilization on Mote Prime. However, due to their high birth rates, enough Moties always survive to eventually repopulate the planet. A faster rise to civilization leads to a longer period between Collapses, since productivity increases more quickly than the population. The museums exist to accelerate this process after a collapse. They are located in unpopulated areas to avoid their destruction during the inevitable wars. Once the surviving population is advanced enough to solve the puzzle at the door, they have access to a literal catalogue of civilizations, and the weapons to put them into effect. Population is controlled by disease and injury between collapses and reconstructions, but the cycles have thus far never been stopped completely.When I think of Moties being a metaphor for humans, then I think of myself as a Crazy Eddie. As the passage above concludes, "Only a mythical character called "Crazy Eddie" believes there is a way to change this, and any Motie who comes to believe a solution is possible is labeled as a "Crazy Eddie" and deemed insane." The term is also "a translation of the term the Moties use for any exercise in futility, or any attempt to do, or even think about doing, anything to try to stop the inevitable collapse of their current civilization which is war driven by overpopulation."
The Cycles of civilization, war, and collapse have apparently been repeating for hundreds of thousands of years. In some cases, Mote Prime was completely sterilized and then repopulated by those living in hollowed-out asteroids within the system. The current asymmetrical form is probably a mutation resulting from nuclear weaponry prior to a collapse.
Presumably, each civilization arises, unlocks the museums, and discovers that unless they can solve a problem that had plagued countless others, they are doomed. Thus, the Moties have become fatalistically resigned to the never-ending Cycles.
Consequently, all my environmental and political activism seems like an exercise in being a "Crazy Eddie." I'm half tempted to start a blog about civilizational collapse (as if there aren't enough of them already) and how to try to stave it off or at least survive it (not enough of those, IMHO), then name it "Crazy Eddie's Motie News." A Google search shows no uses of this term. The field's wide open for me.
Originally posted here. Originally crossposted to neonvincent on Dreamwidth. Comment here or there, whichever you prefer. http://neonvincent.dreamwidth.org/8303.html