Captain’s Report, StarDate: -309230
31 measures ago our starship set out in search of the origins of a strange signal. We have been able to trace it back to an inhabited planet in Galaxy M24 of Quadrant 42. The planet has a single natural satellite and is third in the inner orbit of a single-star system of 12 planets in total, although our observations indicate that its inhabitants are unaware of 4 of the outer planets.
The dominant and unchallenged species on this planet are a form of bipedal, bilaterally symmetric beings, notably physically fragile for their harsh environment but capable of imagination , persuasive visualization [NSFW] and as a consequence, dreaming. Although our speculation is that they have been given a favourable evolutionary push at some point in their history, we have not been able to determine the genus responsible for this push, nor the motivation. Our landing party has observed behaviour that is quite unlike self-awareness that we are familiar with in other star systems, where the target organisms almost always unite in the singular purpose of discovering their origins and objectives. Although certain members of this species demonstrate the qualities of curiosity, the species as a whole seems to be ambivalent towards question of their place in the cosmos. The prevailing popular belief (although there are many interesting alternates) is a cyclical view of time that postulates that a massive null explosion as the origin of all creation. This is accompanied by a view biased in favour of liquid water and anthropomorphism regarding life elsewhere.
It is not clear whether the bulk of the knowledge on this planet has been lost, stolen, not yet discovered or simply misinterpreted and miscommunicated over generations. For example we have witnessed ancient megalithic structures (that form part of a disused free energy network) exhibiting symbols intended to communicate ideas, concepts and information. The same concept has been reinvented in the present time on portable personal communication devices, yet the species fails to see the connection between its past and its future. This inability to think combinatorially is also severely impacting their general progress and well-being, notably through severely damaging side effects of unsustainable technological advancements. The best example of this is a personal mechanized transportation apparatus that was invented more than 127 planet-years ago, when the estimated known population was less than 14.29% of present numbers. Yet it remains widely in use, despite having achieved an efficiency of only 30% (not taking into account the environmentally damaging effects of manufacturing, operation and disposal) and an average lifespan of 7 planet-years.
Our experts believe that the subconscious search for missing knowledge (and ultimately, its source) manifests itself in primal urges to be accepted and to establish a routine habitat as a dependable source of comfort. A specially appointed away team is currently in the process of discreetly investigating certain anomalies and encounters.
Members of this species mainly congregate in large groups in unhealthy and inefficient settlements, in which they go through a strictly regimented process of education directed at conditioning them for aimless employment, coupled with mindless entertainment. A communally obligated schedule serves to keep their minds occupied over the short course of their lives, making them unwilling and incapable of sustained deep thought. Our observations further reveal that individuals are capable of exemplary willpower in overcoming great obstacles, yet readily succumb to a less meaningful life unless compelled by external circumstances.
Most noteworthy projects are inefficiently executed and poorly managed. We have noted a marked rise in intelligent, autonomous life forms to which they are willingly transferring critical responsibilities and decisions. This unmistakable bias towards being led [NSFW] as opposed to leading indicates that the species we have encountered was most likely created to serve as a mass workforce.
Since their limited understanding stipulates time as the ruling dimension (and therefore unalterable), they try to over-compensate for this through excessive spatial expansion. They have not yet discovered interstellar travel (although there are a number of documented theories), but have started systematically scanning their surroundings and have embarking on expeditions within their star system. Interestingly, although they have not yet fully discovered statistical theology or psycohistory, they are exploring the possibility of transcending their present condition. In general, their advancements in science are motivated by materialistic gain more than the pursuit of knowledge.
Territorial and ideological conflicts seem to be disproportionately high on this planet. Virtually all technological advancements have their origins in war and they are rapidly evolving into a warrior race. They appear to be more focused on amassing resources rather than improving the inefficiencies in their processes or seeking alternatives, as has been observed in intelligent lifeforms elsewhere. They have established large-scale production processes which are depleting their resources at an alarming rate, although this does not seem to concern them. Trade is carried out by exchanging of tokens of assurances for goods or services. Profits are made by exploiting scarcity and through other unsustainable instruments.
The majority collectively shares a largely unproven agreement that a higher power is responsible for the course of their lives. While on one hand this serves to maintain discipline, law & order (evidently only to a limited extent), on the other it is the single largest source of all conflict on the planet. Multiple variations exist, all of which preach essentially the same doctrine adapted to local customs and tastes. For example all of them are proponents of an hypothetical underworld which more accurately describes the existing state of the planet itself.
There exists a system in which a hierarchy of elected representatives serves to direct a predetermined percentage of a geographically concentrated population’s assets primarily towards the efficient and systematic execution of conflict. In its current form, this system inadvertently motivates the elected representatives to maximize personal gains over typically a 4 planet-year period. Evidence exists of a previous system that encouraged a ruling dynasty to genuinely protect their interests by virtue of being responsible for its progress and well-being for successive generations. In conjunction, social stratification ensured that limited resources were divided such that the needs of non-arbitrarily selected members of the population were fulfilled.
A last noteworthy institution is that in which two members of the species entering into a lifelong cohabitation arrangement. This is usually followed by a process of reproduction, even though it is evident that the available resources on the planet are incapable of supporting an ever-increasing population. Our hypothesis links this infinite replication to (a) vanity and (b) the perceived failure in leading a meaningful life, hence the desire to make improvements in a future iteration.
Despite advancements in health care and metacognition, and in part due to socially asymmetric growth, disease , food deprivation and other preventable causes of mortality are still widespread on the planet. Their definition of consciousness is limited to changes they can perceive over the course of their limited lifespan. For example they do not recognize the planet itself as a complex, living organism; they do not yet acknowledge collective consciousness; they consider changes that happen at a scale much larger than themselves to be chance events and are unaware of beings coexisting in a higher dimension than their own. Despite that fact that most of their own surroundings remain largely unexplored and not understood , virtually all other species on the planet (and its vicinity) face severe threat of extinction through actions of the dominant species. Clearly they have lost their way and knowledge of their rightful place as the Guardian Species of this planet.