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The culture of the Nivenian Empire is not uniform at all. A citizen from Nivenia Prime or B3 will behave very differently than one from the system secondary's ringworlds or A11.2. However, there are some general cultural trends that can be discussed.
Major Empire-wide trends Edit
The Nivenian Empire, while very diverse, has some major empire-wide cultural trends that must be acknowledged. While these may be stronger or weaker in some places, there are empire-wide laws that prohibit going against most of them.
The Societal Divides Edit
Nivenian Society is in general, stratified based on intelligence and persistence. Those at the top of the ladder, the researchers, business owners, reasonably high government officials, and corporate executives are viewed as "more important" than the average Nivenian. This is because although the average intelligence for a Nivenian is slightly lower than a human, they have a larger standard deviation, so although most of them are not as smart as the average human, their socioeconomic elite and geniuses are smarter than their human equivalents.
This has the interesting side effect of creating multiple different cultures for places on the socioeconomic hierarchy, namely, the socioeconomic elite, the management, the specialists, the workers, and the indentured servants. As voting rights are highly restricted to only about 1 in 40,000 residents, the socioeconomic elite control the government, the legislature, and by extension, the culture.
The Power of Nuclear Technology Edit
Given as how the discovery of nuclear fission as an energy source was the whole reason for founding what would become the Nivenian Empire and what led the precursor to the Nivenian Empire to planetary domination twice, it comes as no surprise that nuclear technologies are still trusted today. In fact, other fields such as computing and biotechnology are behind even 21st century earth, while the Nivenian Empire has demonstrated partial control over the strong nuclear force with its QCD shields.
Another contributing factor is the fact that Nivenians have inadvertently been selectively bred to resist radiation. Not only is the system that they evolved in abnormally radioactive to begin with, but the nuclear wars have bred out any traces of radiation sensitivity, and the lenient radiation regulations afterwards for hundreds of years meant that those with less radiation tolerance were not able to have children, and were replaced with the children of individuals with higher tolerances. These factors contribute to the Nivenian attitude toward nuclear technology as well.
Research and Profit Edit
A trend in the Nivenian Empire is to view research as the most noble goal that one can strive for, followed closely by profit. As such, patents are fiercely guarded, and take until the end of the inventor's lifetime to expire. Being an entrepreneur and donating your money to research initiative, or better still setting up your own research initiatives, is considered very respectful toward the society and population as a whole.
Utilitarianism is the ethical theory that most Nivenians use when making decisions as it is used by the government. Utilitarianism states that an action is ethical if that action brings about the best possible benefit to everyone, when its effects are summed together. The theory is very popular in Nivenian culture and most decisions made use cost-benefit analysis to determine the best course of action. This is the reason why the population of the Nivenian Empire has been growing almost constantly from its beginning to today: The more Nivenians, the greater the total happiness.
Cybernetics as a Status Symbol Edit
One of the most interesting societal trends in the Nivenian Empire is the use of cybernetic enhancement (something that is quite expensive with relatively slow computers) as a status symbol. The wealthier an individual is, the more likely that that individual will want extra appendages or senses and turn to cybernetics. Common improvements are extra robotic arms, infrared vision, and health-monitoring equipment. This trend is ubiquitous in most of the Nivenian Empire.
The Nivenian Empire has many different religions inside it, but none control more than 20% of the population. As such, the Nivenian Empire is not a particularly religious place, with important decisions being decided mainly on the basis of pragmaticity and Utilitarianism. Utilitarianism is not a religion, but an ethical viewpoint, so even though it is pervasive, it is only an ethical theory. However, subversive cults and outright wackos are strongly discouraged, as they "interrupt the smooth functioning of the public order." Religion is in some places uniform, and is sometimes incorporated into local governments, but the Nivenian Empire as a whole does not embrace any particular religion.
However, random cults sometimes amass trillions of followers and go on "rightous crusades" to unify the Nivenian Empire under their religion, which always results in a lot of stuff exploding, followed by a Nivenian Empire victory.
The Brute Force Method Edit
A staple of Nivenian technology and culture is the brute force method: "If brute force does not work, you are not using enough of it."
Most of the Nivenian Empire is quite keen on privacy considerations, except for cramped areas like Nivenia Prime and orbital habitats, but even these value privacy, even if to a lesser degree. Privacy is maintained as well as possible, and computer networks larger than a certain size (about 400 GHz total) are taxed quite heavily, making them too expensive for most users. As a result, information is usually exchanged via book and memory storage device, and nothing remotely similar to the terran internet has ever existed. Security cameras are sparse, and applications that require storage of personal data must be explicitly consented to by all users of the application in question.
Regional Culture Edit
The Nivenian Empire is by no means culturally unified, and Nivenians in different parts of the empire have very different customs.
Nivenia Prime has a unique culture, as it is both the capital of the Nivenian Empire and the Nivenian homeworld. On Nivenia Prime, there is a higher tolerance for bureaucracy, and for cramped living conditions. Research is seen as even more important than everywhere else, since the planet is covered in over ten kilometers of technology. As the atmosphere randomly becomes ruined every so often due to stupidity/revenge/preventing something worse, government surveillance is accepted on Nivenia Prime much more than anywhere else. While most other places are very strongly anti-surveillance, citizens from Nivenia Prime consider that there is likely to be someone within 8 meters of them most of the time, and someone who escaped from the loony bin only a few months ago within 400 meters, and re-evaluate accordingly.
A12, A12.1, B4, and A11 have a culture that is different than most other places in the Nivenian Empire because they live on the ground (not in a rotating habitat or on top of a metal surface) and so do not have mass limitations for their buildings. In these places, architecture and popular tastes tend to flaunt this, and most luxurious buildings are built out of polished stone with thick walls as a result. As the surfaces are covered in a large number of independent domes, most tend to view those from outside their own "home-dome" as outsiders, sometimes even more so than those from off-world. This creates dome-dome tensions, which usually stay under control but sometimes flare up as riots. This is why many of the laws in these places seem to make no sense to outsiders; most find "you cannot marry outside your own dome, unless the potential partner is from off-world" to be an absurd law, but this law has prevented hundreds of thousands of riots over the years (Anyone who falls in love with someone not from their home-dome can just use the obvious loop-hole anyway: Move off-world.).
Non-habitable Objects Edit
Gas Giants Edit
Orbital Habitats Edit