In 1964, a Russian astrophysicist named Nikolai Kardashev who was looking for signs of extraterrestrial life within cosmic signals devised a system for classifying possible, very highly advanced distant civilizations. The original Kardashev system identified three “classes” of civilizations based on the amount of energy they were able to harness and use - a Type I civilization would be able to harness up to 1016 watts (all the energy available from a neighboring star), Type II up to 1026 watts (completely controlling a neighboring star), and Type III (incredibly advanced) up to 1036 watts*. Subsequent astronomers modified the Kardashev scale, expanding it to include Type IV civilizations, able to harness up to 1046 watts, and Type V, in which the civilization becomes all but god-like. Type V civilizations are particularly interesting because energy available to such a civilization would equal that of all energy available in not just our universe, but in all universes and all time-lines, and the figures for both Type IV and V civilizations include not only the energy to which they have access, but also the amount of knowledge the civilizations have access to. It's worth noting that, under this classification regime, human civilization (such as it is) doesn't even appear ... we'd be Type 0 at best.
Now this is interesting in a cerebral sort of way, and you can read more about it in this article if you're so inclined**. But I think there's a more useful way of classifying civilizations closer to home, like our own. I call it the "Trump Scale."
The Trump Scale rates civilizations on a scale of one to five Trumps, with five being the highest level of civilization:
Five Trumps: citizens pay no attention to unqualified and incoherent boors who seek major leadership positions.
Four Trumps: some citizens listen to speeches given by unqualified and incoherent boors seeking major leadership positions and think maybe he's on to something.
Three Trumps: large numbers of citizens rally in support of unqualified and incoherent boors seeking major leadership positions, using the argument that everybody we have now is worthless so we may as well vote for him because can't be any worse.
Two Trumps: citizens ignore factual news reports that do not conform to their preconceived notions, preferring instead to believe the worst fake news stories about candidates and parties they oppose and ideas with which they do not agree.
One Trump: citizens elect an unqualified and incoherent boor to a major leadership position, and so give other nations the right to question whether or not they are, in fact, civilized.
Sadly, last month our citizens declined to vote one no-Trump. Good luck with that ... I think we'll go on being a Type Zero/One Trump civilization, but only because neither scale allows for negative numbers. For that, check out the DUMBCON level, which remains at Negative 1. And for the record, I'm once again considering going to Negative 2.
Have as good a day as you can under the circumstances. More thoughts tomorrow.
* These figures are commonly referred to in the vernacular as "a whole effin' lot of energy."
** And I'd be surprised if you were.