Monday, April 19, 2021

Microstory 1606: The Advantage of Diversity

There is a special brane in the bulkverse that’s called Havenverse, because it mostly doesn’t allow crazy scifi things to happen. There’s no time travel, no aliens, no technology too advanced for a given time period. It’s, for lack of a better term, normal. There was a breach into this universe once, but the window was sealed quickly, and in general, it’s the safest place to be if you want to get away from whatever insane adventures you’re having. Of course, because it’s so pristine, it’s the hardest one to access, and it’s pretty well protected by outsiders who want to keep it as it is, and will do anything to stop it from being corrupted. All told, however, it is not unique. There are many universes like it, where its inhabitants tell stories about robot werewolves from another dimension, or fairies that live in your hair, but where these things are not real. Havenverse is different because it doesn’t allow such things to exist, but many others, for all practical purposes, are the same, because such things simply never came to be. There’s one in particular I want to talk about that is insignificant, except for an interesting prehistorical twist. Much like the Linsetol of the last story, a certain species managed to survive in their world longer than their parallel universe counterparts. They’re known as the Neanderthals, and while they did not last through the modern day, they did have a much greater impact on human evolution. On most versions of Earth, a human will contain up to four percent of Neanderthal DNA, indicating that the two hominids interbred, at least minimally, before the latter went extinct. Experts believe that homo sapiens out-competed their brethren for food and other resources, but had they become more cooperative, and less selective with their mates, co-existence could have persisted, for a little while, anyway. Like I said, Neanderthals did eventually disappear, but a lot more had to do with them becoming assimilated into the homo sapien population. Modern humans, thusly, found themselves walking around with anywhere between eleven and twenty-four percent Neanderthal DNA. Not only is this six times greater than it is on other Earths, but it also presents a much wider genetic gap amongst the population, which at one point threatened to generate a divide between different peoples in the modern day. This didn’t happen. Actually, the opposite happened. Upon learning more about their own genetic evolution, the humans of this Earth ended up uniting to form a singular society much earlier than other Earths. They recognized that diversity was a good thing, and a source of strength, rather than a weakness. They started working together more, and quickly abolished war. They staved off climate breakdown, and prepared for potential pandemics. Science progressed faster, and capitalism fell to a civilization defined by post-scarcity. It is for this reason that antinatalist species, the Ochivari ignored this universe. By preventing themselves from destroying their planet, they also kept themselves out of The Darning Wars.

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