The Viability of Extended Colonization

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The Viability of Extended Colonization was an essay written by Preston J. Cole for his high school Freshman English class, in approximately 2485. It predicted increasing divergence between the society and culture of Earth and its colonies over the course of the Colonial era. The essay received an overall grade of a B.[1]

An excerpt of the essay was included in the report Historical/Psychological Analysis of Cole, Preston J., sent by Codename: SURGEON to Codename: USUAL SUSPECTS in 2552.[2] SURGEON characterized the essay as clear-sighted and "prophetic", noting that if it had not been verified as legitimate one could easily assume it to have been a fabrication of an Office of Naval Intelligence Section-II propaganda campaign.[3]

{Excerpt} The Viability of Extended Colonization By Preston J. Cole (age 14)[edit]

Freshman English / Miss Alexander
Grade received: B
(Teacher's comments: "Thesis: B / Conclusions: C / Too much speculation and gratuitous use of Yeats quotation")
The metaphor of a biological system, for example a population of wolves or fungus growth in a Petri dish, is tempting to apply to colonial expansion.
There can be three fates for any biological system. It may grow as long as there are sufficient nutrients, a suitable environment, and no over-predation - the system can enter a balanced state of growth and loss - or the system may decline from over-predation, lack of nutrients, environmental disaster, or being poisoned by its own waste products.
Off-world colonies similarly require a stable environment with suitable food and water, and no over-predation. It is considered an open system because there are limitless numbers of habitable planets. (Or at least a very large number within the Milky Way Galaxy. See my Drake calculation assumptions in Appendix B.)
Human colonies, however, differ in one critical aspect: they are, by rule, inhabited by predictably intelligent entities. The values of these entities can diverge from the parent world with each successive generation. That is, while colonies directly seeded from Earth remain very earthlike in social, economic, and political values, they change with successive generations as they adapt to local environmental pressures, and in turn send out new colonies farther in physical distance and values from the original parent.
Such diversification in biological systems is a normal evolutionary process, but it produces offspring that are increasingly alien in nature to the parent.
Such was the case of colonial expansion in early Earth history, most notably in the British colonies in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Those colonies diverged from their parent nations and their resulting different social and economic values culminated in a schism, and in one notable case a war that resulted in a shift in the balance of power, such that one former colony became the dominant military, cultural and industrial complex on Earth for hundreds of years.
How long can Earth and its close colonies extend without producing offspring that differ sufficiently to want to break away from the parent? As William Butler Yeats said: "The center cannot hold."

List of appearances[edit]


  1. ^ Halo: Evolutions - Essential Tales of the Halo Universe, The Impossible Life and the Possible Death of Preston J. Cole page 256 (2010 edition, Vol. I)
  2. ^ Halo: Evolutions - Essential Tales of the Halo Universe, The Impossible Life and the Possible Death of Preston J. Cole pages 256-258 (2010 edition, Vol. I)
  3. ^ Halo: Evolutions - Essential Tales of the Halo Universe, The Impossible Life and the Possible Death of Preston J. Cole pages 258-259 (2010 edition, Vol. I)

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