IN BRIEF: I'm wondering if anyone has any hard mechanisms/explanations in mind for a planet-sized single consciousness that's able to move itself freely in space while developing its own distinct personality. I'm also wondering if anyone is familiar with discussions among futurists on the development of distinct personalities within groups of neurolinked individuals.

Recommendations on similar concepts in fiction would be helpful as well since the only similar ideas I'm familiar with are Asimov's Gaia, the Culture Series or the Borg.

. . .


I'm imagining a society composed of planet-sized individuals. They are planets composed of populations of individuals (I believe necessarily cyborgs or fully nonorganic) that are neurolinked, thus giving each planet a distinct and subjective consciousness. The technology level of this civilization would need to be such that they are able to have planet-wide neurolinking, but not interplanetary neurolinking, just instantaneous communication. Thus these planet-individuals interact with each other in much the same way as individuals in our society, just on a vaster scale.

Reproduction and relationships form when these planet-individuals encounter other planet-individuals with compatible personalities. This would require different neurolinked populations developing distinct personalities in the first place. The analog of parenting entails these compatible planets coupling by sending colonists of individuals to an uninhabited planet. These colonists given sufficient time and population growth develop a new collective sentience that remains dependent on its parents for a period but gradually develops full independence.

In order for this society to be analogous to our own I would also need to assume that these planets are able to move fairly freely within a section of space. If the population of this society is in the billions then I would need it to be galactic.

I'm trying to also wrap my head around how such things as mental illness, education and warfare would play out.

Because this is all rather grand I'm assuming I would need a lot of handwavery to pull this off but I'm wondering if anyone has any hard mechanisms in mind for a planet-sized single consciousness being able to move itself freely in space while developing its own distinct personality.

And to be honest, I like the idea of planetary consciousness more than the idea of planet-sized artificial creations, like giant space ships, so I'm wondering if there are reasons why a collective sentience might choose to inhabit and steer a planet rather than build itself a ship.

I found this article that discusses the possibility of "advanced civilizations" "steering" "rogue" planets using "controlled fusion."


From the article . . .

It’s possible that rogue planets, either in the Milky Way or some of the other hundreds of billions of galaxies, carry their own life with them in subsurface oceans kept warm by radiogenic decay. Then if they meet a star and become gravitationally bound, that life has effectively used a rogue planet to transport itself, hopefully, to somewhere more hospitable. So why couldn’t a civilization mimic that?

We think of free-floating planets as dark, cold, and inhospitable. And they are unless they have warm subsurface oceans. But they also offer some advantages.

“Free-floating planets can provide constant surface gravity, large amounts of space and resources,” Romanovskaya writes.

“Free-floating planets with surface and subsurface oceans can provide water as a consumable resource and for protection from space radiation.”

An advanced civilization could also engineer the planet for an even greater advantage by steering it and developing energy sources. Romanovskaya suggests that if we’re on the verge of using controlled fusion, then advanced civilizations might already be using it, which could change a frigid rogue planet into something that could support life.

  • $\begingroup$ Planet-sized consciousness... Stanislaw Lem's Solaris (1961). $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Jun 21 at 0:08
  • $\begingroup$ See Terry Pratchett's First Sirian Bank which is a dwarf planet made of crystalline rock with triillion of fault lines that create transistors and other circuits which also allows it to manipulate its own magnetic field. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Jun 21 at 0:37
  • $\begingroup$ If "Neurolinked" = "Telepathy" then there is no real-hard-science explanation, since telepathy is imaginary. If "Neurolinked" = "Whole-lotta-wifi-and-cyborgs" then your main problem is energy. The energy required to keep a civilization warm between suns is monumental, even with ready fusion power. But it's insignificant compared to the incredible energy needed to move the planet. You should do a little math on that. Planet entities meeting is plausible, reproducing is not -- why would they have a biological reproduction drive at that scale? And who gets custody of the kid? $\endgroup$
    – user535733
    Jun 21 at 2:56
  • $\begingroup$ VTC because the help center states, "To prevent your question from being flagged and possibly removed, avoid asking subjective questions where every answer is equally valid, there is no actual problem to be solved, [and] you are asking an open-ended question." The help center also states, "If you are looking for discussion, brainstorming, or an overall process rather than specific questions and answers, the Worldbuilding Stack Exchange might not be a good place for your question." $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Jun 21 at 7:00


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