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Old 05-16-2018, 12:34 AM   #1
Johnny1A.2
 
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Default ORICHALCUM UNIVERSE Sidebar: Multisapients

MULTISAPIENTS

SIMPLIFIED TAXONOMY: Solarigensis Terrigensis Eukaryota Animalia Chordata Vertebrata Mammalia Primates Hominidae Homininae Hominini Protohomina Nonhomo multisapiens

The species taxonomists in the early Twenty-Second Century will refer to as Nonhomo multisapiens is actually a remarkably close relative of Mankind, considering how very, very different from us they are. The evolutionary line that led to N. multisapiens diverged from that leading to H. sapiens only about two and a half million years before the present time, almost exactly at the Pliocene/Pleistocene boundary.

The first division of the two evolutionary lines occurred in eastern Africa, and for some time (on a mortal scale) the two lines coexisted in similar environments and exploiting comparable niches. Considerably hybridization occurred during the early stages of the split, before the two lines became too different to successfully interbreed, at about 2.4 million years BP.

Subsequent to this division, the first great change that pointed the two lines toward different destinies was the incursion into their African home territory of the invasive ancestors of the infamous species Incubus devoraris, a predatory ape that was a distant cousin of both the proto-human line and the proto-multisapient line. [1]

In those early times, both lines were of comparable intelligence, and both were among the most intelligent creatures that Earth had yet seen. Both had reached the minimum stage of mental organization that enabled them to actually use the latent psionic potential present in Solarigen life, and both were making extensive use of these new abilities, though in somewhat different ways, at the time that Devourer predation became a danger.

As described elsewhere, that initially use psionic potentiality actually made the early proto-humans and their proto-multisapient cousins very vulnerable to the new predators. [1]

In the proto-human line, the countering adaptations were self-nullification of psionic abilities by ever-increasing antipsionic activity, coupled to a steady increase in both intelligence and social organization.

The proto-multisapients displayed a different set of adaptations in response to the advent of I. devoraris. Instead of self-suppression of psionic power, the ancestors of the multisapients increased their telepathic connectivity, and became ever more organized socially. Initially, both evolutionary lines showed greater sociality, but the proto-human line became 'sociable' in the sense of groups of individuals, while their cousins became ever more mentally linked, so that their small tribes and bands were able to act with a coordination that made them very difficult prey.

The initial price of this, though, was that the telepathic nature of the sociality meant that higher intelligence was not necessarily a selective advantage to the same degree as with the proto-human line. The proto-multisapient line could achieve the same level of coordination and cooperation without the higher levels of social intelligence necessary for cooperation in the proto-human line. The high metabolic cost of greater brain size, in fact, selected to some degree against higher individual intelligence among this line, because the cost was not counterbalanced by advantages.

At the same time, climate shifts were causing various species to move around in Africa, and these creatures were no exception. It so happened that the two lines moved in different directions, for the most part, and eventually became separated by some hundreds of kilometers in their primary breeding populations.

(It should be kept in mind that at this stage, the numbers of both groups were very small in absolute terms.)

While the proto-human line eventually overcame the threat from I. devoraris through self-suppression of psionic activity and higher individual intelligence, the other line eventually achieved a victory of their own through the increase of collective intelligence, and refinement of their psionic power so that they could make use of it and conceal its presence from the senses of the Devourers.

Both evolutionary 'approaches' worked, but they worked in different ways and produced very different results and very different side-effects as well. By the time the proto-human line had overcome the Devourer danger, they had evolved into Homo erectus and were well on their way toward becoming modern Man and his close evolutionary cousins.

By the time of the extinction of I. devoraris, the other line had become something very different. Superficially, they still resembled their cousins, some of their physical evolution had paralleled the proto-human line. Both lines had gained height, become more comfortably bipedal, both had increased their brain size (though the proto-human line more so at this stage), both were comparable in size. Indeed, in later ages, proto-multisapient remains would occasionally be mistaken for H. erectus remains, especially when the skull was absent.

This error was made the less common, though, because by this stage (about one million years BP), the proto-human line, mostly meaning H. erectus in his various regional variations, was vastly more numerous than the proto-multisapient line. By this stage, H. erectus had spread through much of Africa and penetrated well into Eurasia and was still spreading.

The proto-multisapient ancestors, by contrast, were still limited to a few regions of Africa, particularly the deep jungles and some remote mountain regions. They were being severely outcompeted by their distant cousins.

The reason for this lay in the radically different mentalities of the two breeds.

To be continued...


[1] As noted here: http://forums.sjgames.com/showthread.php?t=70292&page=3
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Old 05-16-2018, 11:22 AM   #2
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Default Re: ORICHALCUM UNIVERSE Sidebar: Multisapients

Are multisapients shorter than normal humans?
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Old 05-16-2018, 11:17 PM   #3
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Default Re: ORICHALCUM UNIVERSE Sidebar: Multisapients

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Originally Posted by warellis View Post
Are multisapients shorter than normal humans?
Today? No. Remember, these aren't multisapients yet, just as H. erectus isn't quite us yet, either. They've both to a bit more changing to do yet, which I'll get to as soon as I get a chance.

At that time, their ancestors and H. erectus were physically about the same size, which is why, as a noted, that the remains of one could be mistaken for the other, if they weren't very complete and you didn't know what to look for.
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Old 05-17-2018, 09:34 PM   #4
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Default Re: ORICHALCUM UNIVERSE Sidebar: Multisapients

MULTISAPIENTS continued...

The proto-multisapients had survived the I. devoraris threat, and other dangers, by going in a different direction than the early proto-humans. They had refined their telepathic faculties, linking themselves ever more closely together, or rather, this was the result of ongoing selection processes.

This was effective on one level. A typical hunter-gatherer group of proto-multisapients could coordinate their activities far more closely and precisely than any comparable group of H. habilis, and later more effectively than any comparable group of H. erectus/ergaster. As the proto-human line grew in individuated intelligence, the proto-multisapients grew in the efficiency and reliability of this mental linkage. The proto-human line had become almost entirely latent psionically, the proto-multisapient line was highly active psionically, but individually less intelligent…with caveats.

The advantage to the mental linkage of the proto-multisapients was that they could coordinate far more effectively and efficiently than any group of proto-humans. They could do so mostly without spoken language, as well, making them more stealthy and also able to communicate silently at some modest distance in combat. Additionally, the ‘collective’ emphasis of this adaptation meant that a given proto-multisapient was much readier to risk life and limb for the group than a typical proto-human.

As a result, on their own territory, in a confrontation between comparable groups of proto-humans and proto-multisapients, the latter would almost always win. Generally, for a group of H. erectus to have a chance against a group of proto-multisapients, they needed to outnumber them by a factor of at least three, and be competently led and have prepared well beforehand. To be reasonably confident of success, it was better to outnumber the enemy by a factor of four or more.

Naturally, such odds, and the high cost of failed attempts, meant that it was rarely worth while for early proto-humans to invade the territory held by their distant relatives. The risk reward ratio was simply not worth it, unless matters were desperate or circumstances very, very unusual. As a result, even though the two groups thrived in similar environments and preferred similar niches, the proto-multisapients were rarely troubled by their distant cousins.

On the other hand, however, there was a high cost to this adaptation as well. The functional upshot of the shared consciousness of bands of proto-multisapients was that they were not only less intelligent than proto-humans on an individual basis, but as time passed, it became less and less meaningful to talk about ‘individual’ proto-multisapients at all. Over the course of a million years of evolution, they came to be reflections of their group, each individual member of the tribe had the same personality as the whole group, like a fractal pattern, or a hologram. Each member of the tribe was the tribe, and there was little if any discernable difference in personality between the members, and as the generations passed, this tendency grew ever the more so.

This made their advantages greater, but it also meant that these advantages accrued primarily to the group, as the individual became less meaningful. Since their thought processes were shared between multiple brains, an ‘individual’ of the tribe became literally less intelligent when out of range of the collective. When operating as a group, a tribe of proto-multisapient hunter-gatherers could display intelligence rivalling that of the proto-humans, and use that intelligence with greater precision, coordination, and efficiency, at the group level.

The converse of this, though, was that a lone proto-multisapient encountering a hostile lone proto-human was up against an opponent who was physically comparable and mentally superior in most ways, with greater skills and greater creativity and usually greater will, because this last trait also decreased when a proto-multisapient was away from his or her tribal group.

This also meant that proto-multisapients had great difficulty with certain actions that were trivially easy for proto-humans. A tribe of proto-multisapients could scarcely send out lone scouts or spies, for example, because their competence would dwindle away as they left their group behind. In an emergency or combat situation, the proto-multisapients could not hide their children and breeding-age females away from the danger, because such separation could cripple the abilities of the group. This, in turn, meant that when things did go badly wrong for such a tribe, they could be wiped out more completely and irrecoverably than would be the case for a proto-human tribe.

Expansion into new territories had to be done as a group, and that group had to be large enough to maintain full intelligence and ability. This in turn meant that generally, such expansion only happened when a tribe grew large enough to ‘fission’ into two new tribes, which might happen when the numbers reached several hundred people.

Because their groups could not readily spread out, when resources became scarce the carrying capacity of the local area might easily be overloaded by a proto-multisapient tribe, even in situations in which their rivals would simply spread their foraging out to cover more territory.

Also, because their overall intelligence and ability hinged directly upon the size of the tribe, if disaster did befall the group, the survivors would be less intelligent and able for a long time, until the population of the group could be brought back to former levels. The common proto-human tendency to capture the children and women of another tribe simply did not work for the proto-multisapients. They might capture proto-multisapient females from another tribe and use them as breeders, but they could never assimilate them and would have to keep them under constant control, and two tribes of proto-multisapients could not readily ‘merge’, since the mental fusion was bloodline-dependent.

As a result of all this, though groups of proto-multisapients usually won direct battles with groups of proto-humans, when things did go the other way, it could and usually did require decades for the proto-multisapients to recover, while their rivals might do so in just years.

Thus, it is not any great mystery that, even if they could not easily dislodge the proto-multisapients from their home territories, the proto-humans spread far and wide more easily than their rivals.

To be continued…
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Old 05-17-2018, 10:27 PM   #5
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Default Re: ORICHALCUM UNIVERSE Sidebar: Multisapients

Multisapients remind me of biological versions of the geth:
http://masseffect.wikia.com/wiki/Cod...cil_Races#Geth
http://masseffect.wikia.com/wiki/Cod...#Geth:_Culture

Makes me wonder if an eventual end goal for them would be to build a Dyson sphere to upload all their consciousness too. Or some giant orichalcum stone to stick all their consciousness into together to never be alone.
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Old 05-20-2018, 07:57 PM   #6
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Default Re: ORICHALCUM UNIVERSE Sidebar: Multisapients

MULTISAPIENTS continued...

It should not be thought that the proto-multisapients remained all unchanged through this vast sweep of time. Natural selection was at work, evolution continued for the proto-multisapients just as it did for the ancestors of modern humanity. Indeed, later Homosapient taxonomists divide the proto-multisapient ancestral line into several separate species of the genus Nonhomo, based on various subtle changes in their all-too-sparse remains.

The physical changes were far less significant than the ongoing mental changes that made the successive species of Nonhomo so very different from their close (in an evolutionary sense) relatives, Homo. Each successive wave of Nonhomo was more mentally integrated, less individual, and as their collective mentality grew more powerful and sophisticated, their intellectual power as discrete individuals actually decreased in tandem.

One reason that those few remains of Nonhomo that were recovered by paleontologists were mistaken for Homo is that the major changes were poorly reflected in the skeletons, which were by far the most commonly and recognizably preserved of their remains. Both evolutionary lines experienced considerable encephalization over the passing millennia, reflected in larger brain pans and similar-looking skulls.

The accumulating differences lay not in the size of the brains of the respective races, but rather in their internal neurological and paraphysical organization. The brains of Nonhomo were organized differently, at both a macro and cellular level, than those of proto-humans, and the more so as the ages passed. Developmental plateaus surmounted by the ever-more-alien Nonhomo lineages included larger and larger 'collectives', greater intelligence in such collectives, more specialized and effective use of their active psionic faculties, and more and more stability of these collectives over time, as their individual 'members' aged and passed.

From an external point of view, it would have looked as if the proto-human line was by far the more successful, toward the end of this period. The proto-multisapients were still confined to Africa, and limited regions of that continent, while Homo erectus broadly defined had spread across most of Africa and far into Eurasia, and crossed stretches of ocean as well to settle various islands. In terms of numbers, H. erectus enormously outnumbered the numbers of members of the various Nonhomo species.

Somewhere between three hundred and two hundred thousand years before the present, something interesting was happening to both lines. Out of various groups of H. erectus now emerged a wide number of new, closely akin but usually non-interfertile species, including archaic Homo sapiens proper, but also a wide number of closely akin races. All were still of the same basic genus and all showed increases in ability over their H. erectus ancestors, increases in both intellectual power and physical dexterity. Their intelligence increased and their hands got better, more or less.

At about the same time that this burst of speciation occurred, the proto-multisapients were crossing yet another evolutionary chasm. Some members of the proto-multisapients evolved new mental/psionic abilities, and improved what they already had, and achieved a level of unity and collective intelligence beyond anything their ancestors had ever displayed. Their psionic power increased geometrically, and their collective intelligence soared rapidly over the course of a relatively few generations. It was this change that marked the emergence of the species Terran taxonomists would, many hundreds of millennia later, call Nonhomo multisapiens proper.

The humans and near-humans were still far more numerous, spread out across much of Africa, Asia, and Europe, and incomparably more individually capable than 'individuals' of H. multisapiens. Indeed, a lone, unintegrated H. multisapiens was substantially less intelligent than their immediate ancestors, indeed barely more intelligent than a chimpanzee.

On the other hand, within their limited enclaves, the Multisapients were fairly secure, and largely keeping up with Homo technologically. Their new powers were orders of magnitude beyond what their relatively immediate ancestors could have displayed, and they were collectively much more intelligent than their evolutionarily recent ancestors as well. What would have eventually happened had events gone on uninterrupted from outside is an interesting and ultimately unanswerable question.

The question is unanswerable because events were interrupted, rather suddenly and very spectacularly.

To be continued...
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Old 05-20-2018, 08:36 PM   #7
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Default Re: ORICHALCUM UNIVERSE Sidebar: Multisapients

MULTISAPIENTS continued...

Very approximately eighty thousand years ago, the Familiar Eldren finally noticed that sapient, tool-using life forms had evolved on Earth. Caught by surprise, the Familiar Eldren looked more closely and discovered, to their mixed shock and delight, that not just one but a variety of closely related sapient species were living on the source-world of Solarigen life. [1]

Even the Familiar Eldren did not immediately notice the presence of the Multisapients, because their numbers and range were so much smaller than that of the Homosapients now spread all over Eurasia and Africa. It was over one thousand Terran years before the Familiar Eldren recognized the fundamental difference of the Multisapients and the Homosapients. This discovery increased the wonder and fascination of the Familiar Eldren, even as they were debating what do about the presence of such life. [1]

Both the Homosapients and the Multisapients had good reason to be grateful that it was the Familiar Eldren, and not the ancient Helian AI known as NEMESIS, that first realized they existed, that is, if they had had any comprehension of such matters at all that time.

As detailed elsewhere, the Familiar Eldren decided to transplant the intelligent races of Earth to other worlds across the Milky Way and beyond, for the protection of both the planet Earth and its biosphere, and the intelligent races as well. The nature of the threat and their response have been covered elsewhere, as well as the intervention by the Rivalrous Eldren. [1]

When the dust settled from the above-referenced events, the large majority of the Homosapients of Earth had been transported to other worlds, leaving only a handful of remnant populations, mostly of H. sapiens but with a scattering of other races. These remnants would go on to form the seed populations that would in time grow into the modern population of Earth.

Almost all of the Multisapients were successfully transferred to small colony sites on worlds scattered across the galaxy. A tiny handful of them were left behind on Earth in the chaos of the last stages of the event, but as lone stragglers they were essentially doomed. With personal intelligence little greater than that of chimpanzees, and a population too small to be viable, it was no more than two or three generations before Multisapients were extinct...on Earth. Elsewhere was quite another matter. [2]

The starting population of Multisapients on Earth was not large, in comparison to the Homosapients, but there were still several thousands in total. The peculiar mental nature of the Multisapients meant that they had to be settled in groups, and it had to be the specific pre-extant groups from Earth, they could not be divided up and mixed and matched without destroying them.

Altogether, the Familiar Eldren chose nine worlds, already host to thriving Earth-like biospheres, as settlement sites for the Multisapients. The cosmic beings prepared the local colony sites to make the odds of success as high as reasonably possible, and placed their colonies. Some sites were home to only one 'collective' of the Multisapients, other sites received several 'collectives' in a single region. All were in areas of beneficent climate and good resources.

Naturally, the death rate among these beings, armed only with basic lithic technology and having no idea what had just happened to them, was high. The same thing was happening to their transplanted Homosapient cousins, for that matter, on worlds spread across the galactic spiral.

Still, enough of the involuntary colonists survived, and eventually thrived, to enable the species to endure. One thousand Terran years after the involuntary transplantation, the Multisapients had managed to create dozens of thriving settlements across their nine planets. Another Terran millennium saw some of those settlements expanding and growing into collectives larger than could possibly have happened on Earth, because of Homosapient competition and limited territorial resources.

On the other worlds, with much of the other potential sources of trouble initially suppressed by the Familiar Eldren, and Homosapient competition light-years away, the Multisapients began to discover how enormous was their own latent potentials.

On Earth, the largest Multisapient collectives had numbered perhaps five hundred, the majority had been no more than one to two hundred. Now on some of the more successful worlds, Multisapient collectives numbering as many as three to five thousand members were emerging, with concomitant increases in their intellectual and psionic abilities.

This rapid increase was made possible by the peculiar circumstances of the times and places. The Familiar Eldren, before establishing a settlement, would first clear out all the large, potentially dangerous predators, and they would chose near-ideal sites, with good access to food, water, and easy climates. Once the initial, horrible losses of life associated with their first arrival and adaptation to their new homes was past, their populations were free to grow rapidly, with relatively little difficulty. By Stone Age standards, once they adjusted to their new circumstances, it was slightly like being transplanted into paradise.

Of course this was a temporary situation. Predators eventually returned to the regions, populations grew until carrying capacities were strained, disease would again afflict them, but for a brief time, matters were otherwise.

To be continued...



[1] As detailed here: http://forums.sjgames.com/showthread.php?t=70292&page=3

[2] Homo sapiens was the most numerous of the remnant species, and grew into the huge majority of the population of modern Earth, but some of the other Homosapient species survived here and there, in small numbers and in the shadows, and continue to do so today. The Multisapients, though, simply could not do this under the circumstances.
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Old 05-20-2018, 11:42 PM   #8
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Default Re: ORICHALCUM UNIVERSE Sidebar: Multisapients

MULTISAPIENTS continued...

These extraterrestrial 'colonies' were established roughly 75,000 years ago, and over the course of the next 10,000-20,000 years, the surviving settlements grew in size, and subdivided into new collectives when the populations of previous collectives reached the limit that the groupminds could maintain. Over time, these Multisapient collectives began to spread out across their worlds, much as their Homosapient cousins were doing on their own worlds, and the remnant populations were once again doing on Earth.

The primary lines of development for the Multisapient populations on their worlds were twofold: a gradual technological development much like that occurring on the Homosapient worlds, and progress in maintaining larger, more complex 'collectives'.

There were limits to how 'large' a collective could form, at any given time, and when a collective grew much past that limit, it usually 'fissioned' into two or more smaller new collectives that would be new 'individuals', so to speak. Also, there were time limits on how long a collective of a given size, even a normally viable size, could last before it too would fission. The collectives could endure for many Terran centuries, far outlasting the lifespans of their 'component members', but they too were more or less mortal.

Over the ages, the collectives became more sophisticated, ever-larger, and ever longer-lived. Since the 'offspring' collectives retained much of the knowledge of their ancestral groups, they could build on that knowledge and use it to make themselves more efficient and effective.

Some of the worlds advanced more rapidly than others, along either line of development. On the most successful of the nine Multisapient worlds, by ~35,000 B.C., collectives with one million members had emerged, and some of them were able to maintain themselves as long as a thousand Terran years.

As for their technological development, on this world the collectives had mastered agriculture and the creation of a simple metallic technology, roughly the equivalent of the Bronze Age on Earth, though that time still lay far in the future. Their planetary population was about fifty million 'individuals', but it makes more sense to speak of the population of 'collectives', which on this particular planet at that time was about two hundred.

Other Multisapient worlds were less advanced, but all of them were moving forward along such lines. By this time, they had long since forgotten their origins on Earth, and had no concept that others of their kind existed elsewhere. Like their Homosapient cousins, they were still very primitive in terms of astronomical knowledge or scientific understanding. [1]

(A few Homosapient worlds were more advanced at this time, but not many.)

By 25,000 B.C., the most advanced of the Multisapient worlds had reached the point of maintaining ten million member collectives, and increased the average 'lifespan' of their collectives to as much as 2500 years. Their technology had reached the point of building steam engines and world-wide transportation and communication. [2]

It should be noted here that the Multisapients were by no means pacific, on any of their worlds. Though they essentially never fought within their collectives, since such collectives were a single entity holographically spread across a population, the collectives could, and most certainly did, compete with each other, and sometimes they engaged in savage warfare. As their technology advanced, so too did their power to destroy, just as was the case with their Homosapient cousins.

As with war, the collectives sometimes traded with each other, some had good relations, some were driven by deep and abiding hatreds.

On this most advanced Multisapient world, a long period of peace and prosperity, and relative good will, endured long enough for them to achieve technology and scientific understanding roughly equal to that found on Earth in the Twentieth Century, and they achieved this by 24,000 B.C.

This period of peace and prosperity ended in a world-wrecking war that reduced the population of the planet by over two-thirds, and destroyed over eighty percent of the collectives. Only the largest, most powerful collectives endured the war, and the subsequent loss of knowledge and skill, but these survivors gave rise to an even more powerful population of even larger collectives. Subsequent to this period of nuclear and biological warfare, competition drove the often hostile collectives to ever larger sizes.

Subsequent wars were fought, some of them nuclear and biological, some psionic, sometimes things collapsed to the point that warfare was a matter of swords and spears, but always there followed recovery, and as these cycles played out the collectives became fewer, and larger, and more powerful.

It was on this planet that eventually, a single collective came to encompass the entire race of Multisapients on the entire planet. This finally happened in the aftermath of yet another round of devastating wars, and the single surviving collective barely made it through the devastation, but survive it did, and it had mastered enough knowledge that it could grow to more or less fill its entire world.

By 19,500 B.C., this new world-wide collective had spread across every continent of their/its world, and it 'numbered' in the hundreds of millions.

To be continued...


[1] Multisapient collectives inherit memory and knowledge, but not with perfect efficiency, over 'generations' knowledge can be lost.

[2] In GURPS 3e terms, they had reached approximately TL4.
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Old 05-22-2018, 01:23 PM   #9
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Default Re: ORICHALCUM UNIVERSE Sidebar: Multisapients

It's interesting how while their single-mindedness is useful for stuff like negotiations, it also means at the same time they might fall victim to hard mentalities or groupthink even more easily than Homo Sapien Sapien societies?
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Old 05-23-2018, 11:28 AM   #10
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Default Re: ORICHALCUM UNIVERSE Sidebar: Multisapients

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Originally Posted by warellis View Post
It's interesting how while their single-mindedness is useful for stuff like negotiations, it also means at the same time they might fall victim to hard mentalities or groupthink even more easily than Homo Sapien Sapien societies?
It's difficult to use that term, because they're essentially an anthill like entity - the individual multisapient organisms are not separate personalities that can be swayed to one viewpoint or another; they're just a decentralized storage point for the tribal, collective, or hive intelligence.

It's hard to accuse ants of groupthink.
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