Thursday, February 22, 2018

Why "precursor" tech is so advanced

[Originally posted at Ana Mardoll's Ramblings.  Another cut and paste of a comment.]
[There are a lot of settings where ancient technology is way more advanced than present stuff.  Not a "Roman Empire compared to Dark Ages" difference, more like a "hyperdrive as compared to walking barefoot" one.]
[This is the best explanation I can come up with.]

"Why would ancient technology be better than the stuff in cutting edge R&D labs that build off the best ideas our university system can come up with?"

And, once again, she looked at me as though I were the stupidest thing to ever be created in four universes.

"Ok, let me explain this in a way that you can understand. Everything ends, right? The mindless entertainment you watch, planets, stars, galaxies, so forth. It all has a finite lifespan and at the end it's kaput and anyone who hasn't gotten a new job at the next inane series to be pumped out of Enterprop* Megacorp, or a house on a new planet in a new solar system that's part of a new galaxy, well . . . they all go kaput with it.

"Follow so far?"

I nodded yes, then realized there was seemed to be a key problem with this line of reasoning, "What does that even have to do with--"

"Haven't you ever wondered what happens when there's nowhere new to go? The expansion of the universe is speeding up, not slowing down. The same amount of energy spread over more and more space even as ever greater quantities are converted from usable to entropy.

"The universe is ending. Not today or tomorrow, but as time goes on the one inescapable fact is that eventually this will all come to a close. The final curtain call, the actors, bow, and the heat death of the universe is a done deal."

I tried to counter, "Which has fuck all do do with stuff that ought to be dug up by archaeologists instead of--"

I failed.

"It has everything to do with it," she said, her voice just below a shout. "What the Hell do you think people faced with the end of everything, and armed with trillions of years of scientific progress, would do? Lay down and die?"

"I thought your whole point was that the end was unavoidable."

"The end of the universe, sure, but you don't have to stay there and take it," she said, again as if I were unforgivably stupid. "Well maybe you do, but they didn't."

I had a question, "Didn't you slip into the wrong tense?"

She had an answer, "No." It was followed by an elaboration, "With no future, but science on a level that makes current concepts of magic blush, they went to the one place they knew they could live out their days without ever having to worry about the lack of future. They went to the past."

"Isn't that reaching just a bit--"

"Nope," she said. "Why do you think we find ruins so old that we can't account for the beings that created them even evolving in time to create them? Why have I dug up weaponry based on singularity sheering from under the layers with the spear and arrow heads?"

"Because your grasp of stratigraphy is limited, you excavation lacks finesse, you tell rigor to go--"

"Because the so-called 'precursors' are actually our successors and so every advancement we make now has already been incorporated into their technology."

I distilled my response into three words, "Not buying it."

"And that is why you fail," she said.


* Is it entertainment? Is it propaganda? Why not both? With the latest intellectual properties from Enterprop Megacorp you'll be sure to be distracted from your soul crushing life and left thinking the right thoughts. Only officially approved and guaranteed-engrossing ideas go into our work so that only the best right-thinking and satisfaction comes out of it.

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