- The more general use of this term could apply to any kind of life.
- This is a sophontigraphic term used in biology and other studies of galactic life.
Please see the following AAB articles for more information:
- Lifeform Origins
- Lifeform Stages (Civilization)
- Lifeform Types
- Wet Life (organic)
- Dry Life (inorganic)
- Exotic Life (Neither organic nor inorganic)
- 1 Description (Specifications)
- 2 History & Background (Dossier)
- 3 References & Contributors (Sources)
A lifeform can be any kind of life, conventional or unconventional.
- Exotic life can properly be called lifeforms, but are usually more exactingly known as something else. The terms A-life or pseudo life are often used for non-baryonic lifeforms.
Creatures, Intelligence & Technology
And, by non-intelligent, what is really meant is a non-user of advanced technology. Some creatures are certainly intelligent on the level of animal (creature) cognizance (...or ethology), but not on the level of advanced technology-using sophonts. This is all a matter of subjective dispute though.
Creatures differ from the minor and major races (...of sophonts) in that they are not fully sentient or sapient (i.e. creatures are not sophonts). Some creatures may display some attributes of sentience or sapience, but lack enough of these attributes to be fully qualified as sophonts. This is also a highly subjective matter, much like the highly disputed definitions of the sophontic Minor and Major Races.
The presence of advanced lifeforms or sophonts is what most scientists believe distinguishes Charted Space from Uncharted Space or Wildspace. Simple life or creatures are rare enough, but still vastly more common than sophontic life. The rise and fall of creature and sophont species is of great interest to exobiologists and sophontologists throughout Charted Space.
Cycle of Life & Civilization
- A-life → Proto-Life → Creatures → Proto-Sophonts → Sophonts → Ascendants → Transcendents → Singularity
- Proto-Life (transitory stage)
- Proto-Sophonts (transitory stage)
- Ascendants (transitory stage)
A-life, or pseudo life, is life "not as we know it." These kinds of beings, are mostly conjectured at and do not fit the definitions of conventional or unconventional life. They are exotic in nature. They are often believed to be non-baryonic in nature and some believe that they come from destinations other than the known universe such as jumpspace or alternate dimensions.
Proto-Sophonts are TL–0 lifeforms possessing advanced intelligence hallmarks and forming sophont cultures and civilizations. Their proto-technologies form a proto-civilization that will become the foundation of more mature societies and civilizations.
Sophonts are an intelligent lifeform and technology-using beings [Native Intelligent Life (NIL)] or Sapients, including humans as well as other "intelligent" lifeforms, that have a significant presence within Charted Space.
Ascendants live strange lives with even stranger motives. Their technology has advanced to a point at which their cultures and civilizations are barely comprehensible to conventional sophonts. Many ascendants no longer confine themselves to single bodies or minds. Most flaut the laws of physics as their technology permits. Their very existence defies conventional paradigm.
Life that approaches the singularity and a post-technological period of civilization are known as Transcendents. These beings are only conjectured at by modern sophontologists although the legends and folklore of many sophont species discuss them at great length.
The Singularity is a point in the future at which all science, philosophy, and all conventional knowledge has lost normative meaning. It is functionally a post-technological existence where anything is possible. Some races think of it as the afterlife, while other consider it something entirely different. Whatever it is, it exists outside of the comprehension of TL–15 science as a much-disputed theory.