One Hundred And Fifty
Dunbar’s Number Blog 1
Centuries ago on Terra, this guy Dunbar took a long look at animals called primates and the size of the human brain, and came up with one hundred and fifty as the maximum amount of people who can live in a stable social group. A group in which an individual knows who each person is and how each person relates to every other person. A group that can solve problems on their own, without the need for police or a formal government. A group that can effectively work together, where everyone knows their place and their worth.
When we started colonizing, one hundred and fifty became the law. As long as a planet is undergoing the terraforming process, no more than one hundred and fifty people are allowed to live in one dome. It is incredibly stupid some precolonial research on primates is the basis of our laws. Guess what? The animals are all extinct and humans rule the galaxy.
But, just pointing out how dumb it is won’t change anyone’s mind. The rule has been proven again and again, at over a dozen colonies. Each of them turned into viable human habitats without major social problems.
The problems come later. When the surplus population arrives from other planets, looking to build their fortune. A population who soon discovers that a virgin planet isn’t as romantic as it sounds. That building everything from the ground up is hard and often frustrating work. Of course these things are well documented. But the sort of people who end up as surplus, are not often the sort to do a lot of studying.
Under normal circumstances, I’m not one to do a lot of studying either. But my circumstances are far from normal. In fact, as far as I can tell from my studies, my circumstances are unprecedented.
The terraforming of my planet ran into some logistical problems. That means some cargo pilot jacked up on crystals completely collapsed the wormhole. It took forever to reestablish a stable wormhole that could fit anything bigger than a shuttle pod. Twenty tears into the project, we’re still operating with a single dome. The second dome is under construction and the most optimistic estimates say it won’t be completed for another five years.
In two months I will be turning sixteen. Children born in the domes get their number when they turn sixteen. My official Dunbar’s number? One hundred and fifty one. No amount of objection of my mother made any difference. In two months I am expected to make a decision on what I am going to do with my life. And honestly, I have no clue. The only thing I know for certain is I will not be allowed to stay here.
I’m not sure what scares me more, having to make this decision myself, or having someone else make the decision for me. The dome’s therapist, Hallie, is feeding me this “you can be whatever you want to be” line, as if it’s some sort of amazing opportunity that awaits me. I suppose it is, only that does require me to know what I want. I don’t know that. It takes me five minutes just to decide what to eat for breakfast. I’m having another series of tests today. The outcome is supposed to help me decide. But I know I can spend the next two months making every aptitude test known to humankind and still get it wrong.
Mom is trying to help, but I’m so angry with her for getting pregnant with me, I can’t talk to her right now. Besides, she’ll want me to go into stasis. Sleep for five years! Can you believe it? Stasis is for frail old grandmas afraid of dying. It’s the cowards way out. I may be indecisive, but I’m no coward.
Hallie is making me write my thoughts down and send them out on the Strings. She says people my age used to do it all the time. They called it ‘Blogs’. I looked the word up. It’s short for ‘Weblog’. I don’t know what a Web is. Ancient Strings, maybe? I don’t know what good this will do, but I will give it a try.
Author’s note; when I sat down to write this idea I had for a Sci-Fi story, I was surprised to see what came out was a blog from the future. I kind of like this format. I’ll be playing around with it on a semi-regular basis. It will be a nice vessel for me to pour all my angst about having a young adult daughter who is about to leave home for her studies. The fictional blogs live in their own fancy page in Unsolicited Bloggings.