I've just read the Commonwealth Saga and in a scene of MorningLightMountain it described how the immotile have a short-term benefit in creation of new immotiles to colonize new terrain as for a short period it shares its thoughts.

However it seems to me that it provides a large long-term danger and little short term benefits and hence it is illogical. Is it just a natural reproductive instinct (hence the immotile are not perfectly rational) or did I overlook some aspects?

4 Answers 4


While there aren't any specific numbers given in the book, my understanding is that divergence ocurred slowly - giving the original immotile the benefit of several years, possibly several decades of alliance with a neighbour due to common thought patterns.

This length of time also gives plenty of opportunity to establish a mutually beneficial alliance, providing motivation for the continuation of cordial relations.


It was more my impression that they were short-sighted. They'd create a new immotile, and then make every effort to keep it from diverging. When it did diverge, that was a problem. Remember, the thing that made MLM so powerful was when he started using radio to keep is immotiles from diverging.

  • I was under impression he was mass-spawning immotiles after discovering radio - which is logical - but before invention it was short-sighted. I'm not discussing the case after discovering radio or wormhole. Commented Feb 25, 2011 at 15:01
  • 3
    @MaciejPiechotka: There's strong evidence that immotiles are short-sighted. They're lousy environmentalists, for example, even when they think they're stuck eternally on a single world. As functional immortals, they should care about the future planetary resources, but they don't. They're also not capable of grasping the benefits of long-term cooperation.
    – Tynam
    Commented May 30, 2012 at 7:50

Is it just an natural reproductive instinct

Perhaps, or rather an instinct to expand and conquer other immotile's territory (and thus destroy competition).

Before the immotile development of remote communications the extra, remote, immotiles were likely to drift from their initial instructions provided at their birth.

  • Well - but it create the competition and put some unoccupied territory under someone's else control (eventually). Commented Feb 24, 2011 at 23:47

I think that the immotiles that compete with each other were not created by others, they were the last generation of creatures that give birth. There might be 7000 of them to begin with, then they kill each other off. To survive and conquer, the immotiles must have large armies of motiles. At first, the immotile would have whatever amount of motiles, but as it expands, his grip would become looser. Imagine if you constantly grew new toes, and had to wiggle them all in specific patterns. Eventually, you couldn't control all your toes. It would be the same for an immotile.

The second immotile would be almost like a second brain for a while. Then, when it develops, it is weaker then the one that created it, like a high level motile. You'll notice that most of the immotiles are called MorningLightMountain35, or 6735. They are the minions of the original MorningLightMountain. If the original is killed, the minion immotiles become sentient, taking their own names and their own motiles.

The first immotile suppresses their intelligence. Each immotile owns their own motiles, and the one that created them, rules them. Really, as long as the original is alive, it has nothing to worry about. If it's dead, then it also doesn't need to worry about it. When it first creates another immotile, it has the extra mental capacity provided by the developing immotile.

Then, when it becomes sentient, the original could just control it, and it would control the motiles. It's like the difference between commanding your army, and commanding the guy who commands your army.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.