Altera: Evolving Consciousness
Altera’s physical laws were designed so that the Nook’s minds could evolve. The Nook’s are competing for scare Food to avoid starving to death. Nooks that reproduce more frequently are better adapted for their environment. They will propogate their Mind more then less adapted Nooks. Beneficial random mutations will accumulate.
Imagine that, after a long period of time, the Nooks became concious. They developed language, which could be transmitted from one Nook to another via a series of pauses and movements. The developed civilization, wherein different Nooks played different roles. Some Nooks were responsible for gathering food and stockpiling it. Other Nooks were responsible for defense and protection of the food. Some Nooks were kings or priests. Others were dancers and poets. A wealthy civilization could encode knowledge using food, placed at regular intervals corresponding to their “spoken” language. In order to transmit information more quickly across their world, they could form communication chains, perhaps by having heavy Nooks push long chains of food.
It is also quite possible, even likely, that conciousness would never develop. Just because the elements necessary for evolution to occur are present, does not necessitate the development of consciousness. Perhaps the laws of physics that have been contrived are too simplistic to support conciousness. Or perhaps they lead evolution inevitably to a local maximum, or a dead world state wherein all of the Nooks perish.
The Nooks could perform scientific experiments to better understand the physical laws of Altera. Some laws would be easier to understand than others. They could learn when certain actions would be “allowed”. Perhaps, if all of the Nooks in the universe collaborated together, they could somehow deduce the equation for the pseudo random number generator that governs food placement.
Well before they developed conciousness, their minds would evolve to account for the physical laws of their universe. Thus in a sense they would “know” the physical laws without consciously knowing them. In the same way that insects have evolved to account for gravity despite not being aware of knowing the physical laws of gravity.
Perhaps the early concious Nooks would form some sort of religion to explain their existence. It seems likely that food, and its random placement, would be central to their early religions.