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《2001太空奥德赛》中的生命进化

已有 4744 次阅读 2010-8-30 18:13 |个人分类:人类的宇宙环境|系统分类:科研笔记|关键词:Clarke,2001:,A,Space,Odyssey,2001太空奥德赛| space, Clarke, Odyssey, 2001太空奥德赛

2001太空奥德赛》中的生命进化

 

        1968A. C. 克拉克(A. C. Clarke)的小说《2001太空奥德赛(2001: A Space Odyssey)》里有关于生命进化的形态的描述。现摘录如下: 

感谢Clarke和翻译者。以下文字和图片无商业用途。

  

 

  五、银河系主宰

  管它叫星门吧。

  三百万年以来,它一直在围着土星转,等待着也可能永远不会到来的这一命运攸关的时刻。为了制造它。曾经劈碎一个卫星,至今那卫星的碎块还在轨道上运转。

  现在,长久的等侯即将结束。在另一颗行星上,有智慧的生物已经成长起来,正在越出他们的行星摇篮。古老的实验就要达到高潮。

  在他们探索的过程中,他们发现各种形式的生命,并且在数以千计的世界上观察到进化的过程。他们看到,在宇宙的黑暗时代,最初的智慧星火一瞬即逝是多么寻常的事。

  在他们的调查飞船经过千年的旅程进人太阳系时,巨大的恐龙早已灭绝。飞船扫过冰冻的外圈行星,在正趋向死亡的火星的沙漠上空稍事停留之后,很快就属意于地球。

  探索者们发现,在他们眼前展现出一个生命繁茂的世界。他们花了许多年进行研究、搜集和分类。他们把一切都学习到手以后,就开始改造工作。他们对陆地上和海洋中的许多种类都进行了实验。但是究竟哪些实验将会成功,至少要在一百万年之后才见分晓。

  他们是耐心的,但他们还不是永生的。在宇宙间有那么多事要做,一千亿个星球都在向他们召唤。所以他们又返回深渊,知道他们再也不会重到这一带地方来了。

  再来也没有必要。他们留下来奴仆将继续他们未竟的事业。

  在地球上,一次次冰河期到来又复过去,而天上毫无变化的月球仍然保存着他们的秘密。在整个银河系里,文明的消长要比极冰的消失还慢得多。陌生的、美好的、可怕的帝国兴起又衰亡,经验代代相传。他们并没忘怀地球,但重返也没多大意义。

  地球只不过是百万个沉默的世界之一,而在百万个里边真会说话的也不多。

  他们在这种躯壳中漫游于星际之间。他们不再建造宇宙飞船。他们本身已是宇宙飞船。

  但是机器实体的世纪很快又已告终。在他们不断的实验中,他们懂得怎样把知识储存在空间本身的结构里,把思想永久凝聚成光格。他们可以变成辐射性的生物,最终摆脱掉物质的控制。

  因此,他们不久又把自己转变成纯粹的能量;他们抛弃在成千个世界上的空壳,先是在失去头脑指挥的情况下抽搐地跳着死亡的舞蹈,随即又锈烂解体。

  现在,他们已经成为银河系的主宰,时间再也奈何不了他们。他们可以随心所欲地漫游星际,象一层薄雾在空间浮沉。但他们虽已具有神仙般法力,他们并没完全忘记自己的起源,在早已消失的海洋底下的温暖粘土中。

  而且,他们还在观察他们祖先很久前开始的那些实验。

 

  

37 - Experiment

Call it the Star Crate.

For three million years, it had circled Saturn, waiting for a moment of destiny that might never come. In its making, a moon had been shattered, and the debris of its creation orbited still.

Now the long wait was ending. On yet another world, intelligence had been born and was escaping from its planetary cradle. An ancient experiment was about to reach its climax.

Those who had begun that experiment, so long ago, had not been men - or even remotely human. But they were flesh and blood, and when they looked out across the deeps of space, they bad felt awe, and wonder, and loneliness. As soon as they possessed the power, they set forth for the stars.

In their explorations, they encountered life in many forms, and watched the workings of evolution on a thousand worlds. They saw how often the first faint sparks of intelligence flickered and died in the cosmic night.

And because, in all the galaxy, they had found nothing more precious than Mind, they encouraged its dawning everywhere. They became farmers in the fields of stars; they sowed, and sometimes they reaped.

And sometimes, dispassionately, they had to weed.

The great dinosaurs had long since perished when the survey ship entered the Solar System after a voyage that had already lasted a thousand years. It swept past the frozen outer planets, paused briefly above the deserts of dying Mars, and presently looked down on Earth.

Spread out beneath them, the explorers saw a world swarming with life. For years they studied, collected, catalogued. When they had learned all that they could, they began to modify. They tinkered with the destiny of many species, on land and in the ocean. But which of their experiments would succeed they could not know for at least a million years.

They were patient, but they were not yet immortal. There was so much to do in this universe of a hundred billion suns, and other worlds were calling. So they set out once more into the abyss, knowing that they would never come this way again.

Nor was there any need. The servants they had left behind would do the rest.

On Earth, the glaciers came and went, while above them the changeless Moon still carried its secret. With a yet slower rhythm than the polar ice, the tides of civilization ebbed and flowed across the galaxy. Strange and beautiful and terrible empires rose and fell, and passed on their knowledge to their successors. Earth was not forgotten, but another visit would serve little purpose. It was one of a million silent worlds, few of which would ever speak.

And now, out among the stars, evolution was driving toward new goals. The first explorers of Earth had long since come to the limits of flesh and blood; as soon as their machines were better than their bodies, it was time to move. First their brains, and then their thoughts alone, they transferred into shining new homes of metal and of plastic.

In these, they roamed among the stars. They no longer built spaceships. They were spaceships.

But the age of the Machine-entities swiftly passed. In their ceaseless experimenting, they had learned to store knowledge in the structure of space itself, and to preserve their thoughts for eternity in frozen lattices of light. They could become creatures of radiation, free at last from the tyranny of matter.

Into pure energy, therefore, they presently transformed themselves; and on a thousand worlds, the empty shells they had discarded twitched for a while in a mindless dance of death, then crumbled into rusty

Now they were lords of the galaxy, and beyond the reach of time. They could rove at will among the stars, and sink like a subtle mist through the very interstices of space. But despite their godlike powers, they had not wholly forgotten their origin, in the warm slime of a vanished sea.

And they still watched over the experiments their ancestors had started, so long ago.

 

 


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