Becoming a Type 1 Civilization

The Kardashev Scale, created by Nikolai Kardashev in 1964, is a theory of advanced energy consumption. There are four types - and Earth isn't even one of them. We are currently below the scale because we can not yet make use of all available Earthly energy. The next few steps involve using an entire planet's energy, then expanding to other planets, then to galaxies, then the universe. There might be something beyond that, but let's not get too far into theory.

Because we don't know of any other civilizations out in space, Kardashev's scale remains pure guesswork. Granted, it is based off of available anthropological examples, such as what happened during the Industrial Revolution. While it can not currently be tested or verified, this scale does fulfill a useful function - it guides us in our creation.

When we read science fiction stories or see them played out on the screen, we begin to want what we see there. Remember those communication devices on Star Trek? Who knew that they would come with expensive contracts and be so widely available for civilians? Then there are the data crystals from Babylon 5. It is amazing that something which was originally imagined to be made of expensive, fancy looking natural rock is now often made of plastic and comes in an increasing variety of shapes and sizes. (Check out Disk On Key for some amusing and amazing types of USB sticks.) So when we see huge civilizations interacting with one another on a universal scale, the temptation to try and get out there is too much for some of us to exist.

You may be asking yourself, "Great! But where do Unitarian Universalists come into the picture?" It should be noted that, while science gives us great advances in technology and a lot more possibilities, religion both motivates people and divides them. If Earth were to travel further out into the universe and interact with other civilizations, what banner would it fly under? Will we bring a message of Jesus or Mohammed? Perhaps the further we get from home, the more we'll grow to love Gaia or the generic idea of Mother Earth. It seems highly unlikely that any religion would actually be suitable for all members of the Earth. Even within a single country, there are usually many different faiths. More likely we will all have to learn to get along.

Whether or not UUs actually live up to their principles, the idea behind the UU faith is that every quest for truth is beautiful. Under UU principles, no religious path is discarded; rather, each is celebrated and given its own space to grow. This cooperation is exactly what is needed to ensure that when technology gives us all a chance to move out among the stars, differences in ideology won't hold us back or cause us to destroy one another.

For more from Greenwick, check out his blog here on Lightbringers or visit Greenwick Press.