Keywords: Huge, rich, advanced, humanoids and AI’s, loosely organized, closed
In-game language: Danish
The Culture is a vast loosely organized civilization in which only a small part of the population live on the surface of actual planets. The majority of the humanoid (and other kinds of) citizens and artificial intelligences (AIs) live in artificial habitats, giant ring structures in space called orbitals, or gigantic spaceships which are constantly moving through space from orbital to orbital or planet.
Abuse of living beings or inanimate objects within the Culture does not exist. Everything is produced in automated factories. Due to advanced technology, there is a rich abundance of energy and there is plenty of inhabitable space due to the planetary independency. AI’s of course have the same rights as humanoids. Although most decisions are taken by polls, in many ways AI’s does in fact control the Culture. Some very intelligent humanoids function as advisors to the governing AI’s. Otherwise most people are not required to do any kind of work, and thus the work done by humanoids can hardly be distinguished from games children play. There are also no machine intelligences that are required to perform tedious work, since a plant can be run by an advanced computer, designed to be far from achieving self awareness.
Artificial lifeforms can be found in many shapes and forms from drones the size of a human with proximately the same level of intelligence, to the huge brains that are able to monitor and manage an entire orbital with a population of several hundred million people and machines. In addition, the immense, interplanetary space crafts are controlled by an AI, the ships are in effect their bodies.
The Culture is very self-conscious and rational, sceptical and materialistic. Everything is important and nothing is important. Although the Culture spreads across a vast area and is home to 30 trillion people, there is a huge distance between the inhabited areas. The culture can be found only in this one galaxy and, in relation to the history of the universe, it has existed for but a short moment. “There is life, it can be enjoyed. What else matters?” So the individual person within the Culture, man or machine, is aware that they are lucky to be where they are and to live at this time.
Part of their education, both early and continuing throughout life, includes the understanding of the fact that there are beings less fortunate than themselves, beings that are in no way inferior, neither morally nor intellectually, Beings who suffer or have suffered. To preserve the Culture’s way of life and prevent it from descending into decadence, all the members must be aware that this is not something that is easily achieved, and that it is not a natural state. Their civilization is something to be valued and continually worked for now and in the future.
Philosophically, the Culture accepts that there is no other purpose in life than the one you yourself give it. The question: “What is the meaning of life?” is without meaning because it assumes a moral network outside of us. We all create our own opinions, whether we like it or not, and the same is true for the AI’s of the Culture. They are designed to exist within very broad parameters, which means that they want to live, to experience, to understand and to find existence and their own thoughts interesting, worth dealing with, even something to enjoy.
Since the humans of the Culture have resolved all the obvious problems of the past, in that they are free from hunger, poverty, disease and fear of natural disasters, they would find their existence empty, if they had nothing to do but to enjoy life. Therefore they occupy themselves with the civilizations that surround them. Their Department of Contact allows them a sense of purpose, a meaningful task to accomplish in the universe. Generally the Culture does not promote or encourage immigration. They think it looks like a kind of colonialism and would suggest that they believe themselves much better than everyone else. The Culture does however help other civilizations achieve their full potential, in a discreet manner. They are afraid to lure the most intelligent and enlightened individuals away from these evolving civilizations, or to transform them into smaller versions of themselves. Occasionally individuals or groups are allowed to become part of the Culture, if there is a really good reason, and that is of course the hope of many refugees. Due to an increasing amount of people seeking refuge in the Culture, within the past centuries, and in fear of being unable to absorb all these refugees without losing their identity, the Culture has become more restrictive.
The Culture has no actual laws as such: there are ways that are more reputable to behave in than others, behaviour that is considered polite, but nothing corresponding to a legal system. Social exclusion in the form of being ignored, excluded from social events, or to find sarcastic anonymous articles about oneself in the information network, are the normal ways used to influence people to follow the social norms. The worst crime (though they do not use that word) is murder. The murderer will be offered treatment and will be shadowed by a companion drone for rest of their lives, to ensure they do not kill again.
The Culture does not offer a fixed way for families to live together. Any imaginable combination and variation exists, but most frequently groups of people from different generations, bound only by loose family ties, live together in a semi collective housing. Children of the Culture, have a mother, possibly a father, probably no siblings, and huge amounts of aunts, uncles, and cousins.
Currently it is not fashionable in the Culture to make major changes to your body, but it has been very different at times in the past. Practically all members of the Culture carry genetic alterations to their DNA with a wide array of effects. The average individual within the Culture is born healthy, with a significant intelligence, greater than the genetic human norm. Their body regenerates faster. They never get sick due to an optimized immune system, their senses are improved, and they have a high degree of control over their body and nervous system. Thus, they can control their heart rate, turn off the stimuli of pain etc. Due to this, they can survive conditions that would kill any normal human.
The majority have many additional and changed glands, capable of generating different substances. People within the Culture are often capable of secreting euphoric drugs directly into the bloodstream, if they so desire. They are able to control their ovulation and pregnancy, or even change their gender (it takes about a year), merely by wanting to do so. It is common in the Culture that most people, at some point in their lives, assume the female gender and gives birth to a child. People within the Culture have a lifespan of approximately 350-400 years; they are fully grown once they are around twenty years old. After they fully mature, they do not change much for 300 years, then they begin to age rapidly and eventually die.
People from the Culture therefore have a much wider horizon than most people in the galaxy, and to them a tourist trip of 20 years is nothing remarkable. Up to one tenth of the Culture’s population at any given time is traveling from one place to another in space.
Residents within the Culture dress however they like.
In the Culture names act as a kind of address of where a person has grown up. Here’s an example: Juboal-Rabaroansa Perosteck Alseyn Balveda dam T’seif. The first part means she was born on the Rabaroan Orbital, in the Juboal solar system, Perosteck is the name she was given by her mother, Alseyn is a name she chose upon reaching adulthood, (The alseyn is a graceful bird of prey frequently seen in the wilds of Rabaroan.) Balveda is her family name, (usually one’s mother’s family name.) and T’seif is the house she grew up in.
Culture Residents are very confident. They show great respect for other people’s agency, and expect that respect to be mutual. They live for new and exciting encounters, and they are willing to do reckless things just to get a rush. Usually, they have made a recent backup of their consciousness, so they can just get a new cloned body.
The Culture uses a constructed language, known as Marain, that can be used by the majority of the known, intelligent species.
Dades Adello, tourist and self-appointed VR reporter (M / F), wants to report on the plight of the refugees, traveling around the primitive parts of the galaxy to experience real adventure that is actually dangerous, 152 years