*** PLASTICITY OF HUMAN RACE ***

Question asked by Fironzelle 4/8 12 :18 am

Jack:

I've seen you use sentient aliens with good effect to contrast with humanity in the future. The Wannek, Chasch, Pnume, and Dirdir particularly molded their human symbiotes on Tschai. The aliens of the Last Castle, Dragon Masters, and Marune were all engaged in being remade in Man's image, remaking Man to their specifications, or remaining aloof from Man as much as possible.

The Demon Prince stories were more devoid of alien-human interaction (with the major exception of the almost human Star King, Malagate), but often portrayed mutually incomprehensible members of the human universe dealing with one another. Will the constantly changing scientific background to our lives force us and our descendants to abandon social rigidity and adopt a protean flexibility toward morality and social thought? Do you think that the apparent plasticity of our behavior patterns will allow us to change with scientific progress, or even permit the survival of core values of Western civilization?



Jacks answer:
The question is impossible to answer intelligently regarding the future of the human race, there are so many trillion possibilities that its pointless to have any specific theories in this regard. Any ideas you have are bound to be wrong.
From our contemporary point of view, we might as well just observe whats happening, with interest of course; but predicting anything seriously is just blowing smoke. I dont think seriously, at all, about future changes. The possibilities are so awesome, or not awesome, but so many that its pointless. I dont have any theories about the future of the human race- though nothing would surprise me.

[Johns prompt: But will our behaviors continue to flex, to adapt to changing conditions?]

Jack: Well of course, that goes without saying.

[Johns prompt: Do you think that the core values of Western civilization will survive?]

Jack: Not so much a question of surviving, theyre going to alter, go different directions I dont even know what the core values are anyway, they alter from year to year.
There will be changes, probably very slow, maybe so slow that nobody will notice. For instance if we were transplanted back to Victorian times, we could very easily adapt to life there, without any big, whats the word, dislocation. Wed have to think a bit, tip our hat a little more often .. wed just be careful. In the same way, if we were transplanted to a society a hundred years from now, we might not even recognize the difference; there might be laws against fast automobiles, or ...
As far as my use of aliens, I use them as plot devices. I dont like to use aliens in my stories, generally speaking, because theyre well I wont go into the reasons, theyre complicated - but I use them only when necessary; the thrust of my work, I think, is about the way human societies act and react to each other, with ordinary, garden-type human beings...

[Johns prompt: Would you postulate that in the future, and under widely varied conditions, that human society will allow a continuum of behaviors?]

No, I wouldnt. That kind of talk is for people, very earnest young fellows, with funny eyeglasses, that go to coffee bars, and have earnest arguments with each other, very avant- garde types This is just one possibility, among ten thousand, it might go the other way; society might get more strict, its not impossible, although the tendency seems to be, as we look back over the last hundred, two hundred years, that people are acting a little bit more loose all the time, more undisciplined, a little bit more free and open, which is, I believe, all to the good - in general.