02 August 2011

A thought experiment

Okay, so imagine that some unknown force transports you and a sample of other people from the past with roughly similar socioeconomic and educational/occupational backgrounds to a prehistoric spacetime zone. It doesn't really matter which. Any time after flowering plants appear will do. Let's say up until 40,000 years ago. Somewhere temperate.

For the purposes of this experiment, let us assume that there are no representatives from our future. Let's also imagine that the unknown force provides each of you with some kind of magic universal translator device.

What do you think will happen? More specifically, how well do you think you'd survive, compared to the others?

I reckon you'd be crappest at everything that doesn't involve advanced technology, which in this situation means everything. You'd just be the crappest. (And this would hold no matter what kind of outdoorsy, huntin' and fishin' background you have.) I also reckon that cross-cultural misunderstanding would make sustained meaningful communication impossible, even with your universal translators.

I reckon it'd end up like on Pitcairn Island. The first attempts at community building fragment into armed individual strongholds, from which only one person survives into old age.

Unfortunately, that's the kind of species we are.

Except for the artists of course. We'd get along.

Ha ha ha ha ha!

Answers on a postcard, please.

No comments:

visitors since 29 March 2004.