ORIGIN OF THE TSAEB CIVILIZATION
By Morgan Silverleaf, Librarian of Wycliff District
The Tsaeb (silent T, long A, silent e—sāb) are the descendants of intelligent creatures who evolved far in the past and whose scientific and cultural evolution gave them mastery of their bodies and Earth’s natural systems.
Here’s how it happened: Billions of years after the Earth formed, the first living, self-replicating organisms appeared. Evolution progressed, and after another billion years, complex organisms became common. Among these, mutations and random evolution produced an occasional species with extra connections and tissue within their brains. Not needed to use muscles or sensory apparatus, the extra tissue added memory, emotion, and insight.
Intelligence first appeared in the seas, but it was during the long time of the dinosaurs that sentient creatures invented complex social and physical systems. In those times, intelligence was not great. The early intelligent beings had little knowledge of their surroundings. They could understand only their immediate sensations, their emotions, and their desires. Sparks of genius flared and faded. Conflict and war were incessant.
After great natural catastrophes ended the dinosaurs, sentient mammal species proliferated. Genius had been rare among the dinosaurs, but now it became commonplace. Mammals mastered genetics, ended disease and senescence, and reshaped their bodies. They built machines and weapons of great power. But, in spite of their intelligence, the mammals’ emotions, their fears and desires, ruled them just as they had ruled the dinosaurs. Dinosaurs were never at peace, but mammalian wars were far more destructive. The mammals’ first ten million years spanned the Paleocene epoch of Earth’s geologic history. Historians refer to it as the Age of War. During that long time, Earth’s intelligent creatures held each other locked in a deadly struggle for supremacy.
In dark years near the end of the Paleocene, the mammals brought the Earth itself to the edge of existence. Species’ numbers and needs increased rapidly. Massive industries poisoned the soil, the water, and the air. Global temperature rose. Weeds and fires covered the land, and the stability and productivity of Earth’s biosphere plummeted. Battles over dwindling resources became ever more devastating. As each great species faced the finality of extinction, the risk of a doomsday act of desperation or vengeance enveloped Earth like a dark shroud.
Natural forces caused the dinosaur extinction. Sentient self-indulgence carried the mammals toward their apocalypse. But, on the eve of oblivion, as crocus blossoms peep through January snow, wisdom began to appear. Some mammals sought and achieved control of fear and desire. They crossed the threshold to sapience.
Descendants of the eldest mammals, the cottontail rabbits, were first. They defined the goals, disciplines, and traditions that transmuted sentience to sapience. These small creatures began the revolution in a time of great physical hardship and danger. Individual survival required strength, endurance, and knowledge of defense, combat, and war. The warrior specialty emerged as a global guild unified by knowledge and purpose. Sapient warriors from species of the land, air, and sea became Earth’s greatest power.
Going beyond one’s fears and appetites to sapience requires a high degree of intelligence, self-discipline, and foresight. Warriors recognized these traits and unified them in a world view they called Immediacy. It is a simple fact that the consequences of one’s actions are most evident in one’s immediate vicinity. Immediacy, the philosophy of consequences, strives for balance in the conditions and concepts of existence.
The warriors fought many battles with individuals and species that did not accept Immediacy. In time, like the fertile layer of ash left by a firestorm, sapience and Immediacy covered the Earth. By the end of the twenty-million-year Eocene epoch of Earth’s geologic history, a sapient civilization following Immediacy covered the globe and warriors lost their supreme importance. But, to no one’s surprise, dangerous individuals and species appear from time to time, and civilization still needs its defenders.
In the Tsaeb civilization, new intelligent species are rare. In the aftermath of volcanic events and climatic shifts, natural barriers sometimes isolated groups of plants and animals and allowed evolution to produce something new. During the great Pleistocene Ice Ages, a member of the young primate group emerged with a big fat brain and all the physical features adopted by most ground-dwelling Tsaeb. The primates, the only evolutionary branch with a naturally upright bipedal body and hands able to manipulate small objects, came by their shape through evolution instead of through intentional genetic manipulation. In all the animal kingdom they were unique. Their big-brained prodigy was special.
The potential of the brainy new primate excited Tsaeb around the world. However, the excitement gradually faded as it became clear that the new species had limited intelligence. Calling itself human, the species’ shallow awareness and understanding of its surroundings led it to believe it was greater and more important than all other species. Clever, impatient, and ruled by emotions, humans quickly developed an environmentally destructive society that began to waste the Earth and threaten the lives of all other Tsaeb. If the intelligence problem that denied wisdom to the humans could not be solved, the Tsaeb civilization would have to eradicate the species just as they had destroyed other dangerous species in the past.
[From: History of the Tsaeb by Morgan Silverleaf, Librarian of Wycliff District]