One thing that nearly every multi cellular organism and complex thinking species is communicate, either it be pheromones, chemicals, chirps and sounds, symbols and shapes, to even complex sentences and languages.

One thing that we would expect from All intelligent species is at least one of those mentioned forms of communication. So this got me thinking:

could a highly advanced species exist or form without any form of communication, especially without the use of chirps, chemicals, and pheromones?

Also, if possible yet not necessary, could you explain how a advanced species would function without a language or a form of communication

  • $\begingroup$ Is telepathy or direct neural link allowed? $\endgroup$ – Alexander Mar 2 '20 at 19:17
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, neural links and telepathy are allowed $\endgroup$ – RotNDecay Mar 2 '20 at 19:19
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ 'Without any form of communication' means that methods of exchanging information, be it written record, spoken word, or even body language is off the table. This makes any form of social interaction impossible. Is that what you're asking? $\endgroup$ – Halfthawed Mar 2 '20 at 19:30
  • $\begingroup$ I’d suspect that a very advanced race that doesn’t communicate wouldn’t interact, but essentially, I’m asking if what you somewhat have said, but adding the remark of how could one form $\endgroup$ – RotNDecay Mar 2 '20 at 19:34
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Without any communication? Absolutely not, leaving aside that this is almost impossible anyway; you can't interact at all without communicating on some level. AFAIK, there are no (non-microscopic, at least) organisms that do not communicate. Without spoken or written language? Sure; they're telepaths. Incidentally, you might want to read up on Formics. $\endgroup$ – Matthew Mar 3 '20 at 0:30


Everything that allows creatures to develop even the most basic things requires communication. Noticing if a creature is hostile is a visual or audio communication (low crouched predator = ready to pounce or brightly colored dart frog = poison or growling = hostile).

"They can't communicate doesn't mean that they won't be able to receive communications"

Doesn't it though? There will be an evolutionary pressure to develop communication if you can understand communication. It is our most elementary tool that even extremely micro organisms can accomplish. In the end, they will develop communication if it is a tool they can understand. Avoiding it means extinction.


In the absence of a recorded history or any method of communication between individuals, the advancement of the species would be limited to that knowledge which could be collected by a single individual, starting from scratch, within a single lifetime.

But if the individuals of your species were immortal or at least very, very long lived, that limitation could be nullified.

Of course, the result of such a long life of learning would be a very advanced individual, not an advanced species, but perhaps that individual could discover and somehow introduce language and a method for recording history to the rest of its society.


With telepathy or direct neural links, there's little need for a language

Language is a form of communication. It is required in the first place because ideas can not be transmitted directly between the individuals. But what if they could? What if one individual can easily communicate an idea of "big red tasty fruit" to others, do these individuals ever develop words for "big", "red" "tasty" or "fruit"? As long as this "idea exchange" is reliable, no intermediary language is necessary, it would only slow the communication down.

The lack of written language would impede any technological development. Without an ability to confine ideas to some sort of medium knowledge cannot be effectively preserved or distributed. Here we probably have to do more handwaving and introduce a kind of medium where ideas can "written" and "read" - all without a need for language.

Next hurdle would be to invent "machine language". In XIX century people already had a need to make up some form of instructions that was supposed to be read by some mechanism, for example Jacquard machines or music boxes. In XX century these machine languages became indispensable. We can continue our handwaing and say that in this civilization primitive machines can read ideas too, however I think this would be definitely in the realm of magic.

Overall it seems very plausible that a civilization of telepaths can reach XVIII century level of technology without the need to develop any language.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.