A friend of mine poked me on discord soon after they saw my article about how Earth fits into EVE’s lore as a whole, and they asked me a question that I hadn’t really considered in all that much depth: What does New Eden know about Earth? Even though we are aware that the Gallente are explicitly stated to have been settled by people from France, do the Gallente know? To put this another way, is there a study of Earthology?
Turns out that there are three major theories regarding the study of Earthology. People in New Eden are just as inquisitive as we are in real life, and out of that inquisitive nature came the “Common Origin Theory,” “Syncretism Theory,” and the “Mold Theory.” Rather, that all Humans in New Eden came from a single place, that there were pre-New Eden civilizations that explain the spread of Humanity across the cluster, or the idea that intelligent life taking on the human form is the inevitable result of “Convergent Evolution”, respectively.
This article is meant as a commentary on the old Earth Lore article CCP published before they took down EVElopedia in 2016. The original piece is both difficult to find for the uninitiated and is organized in a format that is difficult to follow. I cannot stress enough how amazing it is CCP decided to write such a heavily detailed lore piece on three different theories regarding the origin of humanity. Such an article adds a layer of immersion that desperately needs to be appreciated. My aim is to make the information easier to understand and point out its relevance to even the most passive connoisseur of EVE lore. The depth of EVE’s lore is a primary reason why I am so hopelessly in love with this game.
Common Origin Theory
According to the Earth Lore article, members of the Amarr clergy were the first to discuss the idea of a “common birthplace” for humanity during the Reclaiming. My Amarr timeline article notes that this theory came about when the Amarr had to reevaluate their entire worldview once they discovered the Ealur people living on a planet that was not Amarr Prime. Later, the Earth lore article states that Gallente scholars in the field of “Amarr Studies” rediscovered the Common Origin Theory, and removed the religious aspects before making it well known among the general populace of New Eden.
Unfortunately, Earthologists do not get very much respect in New Eden since their field of study is to combine mythology, linguistics, archaeology, and genetics to prove a pre-existing hypothesis. Apparently many scientists in New Eden approach the field with a healthy dose of skepticism. The counterpoint being that this theory uses the same evidence as the “Syncretism Theory” and the “Mold Theory,” and yet comes to a different conclusion. Even though we know that this is actually the truth, it is interesting to see that CCP provided us with a realistic scenario where the people of New Eden don’t actually know for sure where they came from. Instead, they used what was left behind to piece together potential pasts.
Battle of the Theories: Syncretism vs Common Origin
The Syncretism Theory uses basically the same evidence as the Common Origin theory. Syncretism, defined as a combination of different forms of belief or practices, is a fitting name. Instead of coming to the conclusion that the similarities found in the cultures and genetics of humanity have a single origin, this theory proposes that “Space-faring races existing prior to modern civilizations proves the possibility of inter-mixing between planets at some point in New Eden’s history.” Put another way, New Eden’s origins comes from multiple different races and civilizations, not just one source. Civilizations such as the Talocan have ruins throughout New Eden, which adds credence to this conclusion. A scientist that subscribes to the Syncretism theory looks at the same evidence as a Common Origin Theorist and come to the conclusion that the evidence the other provides actually supports other theories that disagree with the Earthologists. Each piece of evidence will be presented with both opposing views for simplicity.
Mythology and Origin Myths
As a historian myself, it is important to note that an analysis of ancient myths may often be all we have as a primary literary source of evidence for certain cultures, such as the Viking Sagas. One of the games we have to play is “How many Dragons?” or rather, how many fantastical things in the story are required for it to lose all credibility (as sometimes dragons are actually mentioned). While there are still 20,000 years of history between us and the time EVE Online is set, the scholars of New Eden have started to find startling similarities among the mythologies across the cluster. According to the Syncretism theory, however, all that the Earthologists are able to prove was that there was communication among the many great ancient civilizations. An example in the real world, the god “Odin” of Norse Mythology actually manifests among many different Germanic cultures across Europe and the British isles, taking on many different forms.
Regarding origin myths, there are supposedly a striking number of similar stories in New Eden. An example from the real world would be the story of Noah’s Ark from the Bible and the many flood myths that seem prevalent across the world. As in the real world, such similarities can really be read either way to either support a common origin, or coincidences due to functions of such myths. For origin myths, they provide the concept of place for the believers, and answers fundamental questions, and this tendency is often used as a counterpoint by Syncreticists.
Cryptozoology is the study of “Cryptids,” or mythological creatures, that operates under the assumption that such myths are based in fact. Basically Bigfoot hunters, but as there have been some animals in real life that were once thought mythic, such as the platypus, there is some value in studying such ancient animal lore. When the Common Origin Theory was introduced, this field enjoyed a renewed interest. Apparently, the total list of cryptids that are described in the myths of all four empires comes up to fifty-six, and over a hundred that shared descriptions in at least two empires (none of which were listed, sadly). However, this is far from conclusive evidence, as detractors describe, because thousands of mythological creatures will statistically have some similarities. For example, the concept of vampires, while fairly codified in today’s popular culture in the western world due to shared media, has a surprisingly diverse cultural spread, and not all of them are identifiably connected.
While the four empires have translators and are able to communicate freely with each other now, they do have distinct languages that have varying levels of popularity within their borders. Earthologists in favor of the common origin theory claimed that there would be similarities among different languages that transcended planetary boundaries. For a while, dead languages proved to be goldmines of similar words and scholars who compared linguistics. However, this field has not been taken very seriously by the greater scientific community due to the thousands of potential false positives, as well as the limited range of sounds that can come out of the human mouth. Similar sounding words can easily be chalked up to inevitability due to the thousands of languages found throughout New Eden.
When interstellar archaeologists were investigating the ancient gates (left by the original Terran colonists), they found a pattern stemming from the system of New Eden to indicate they were all built within the same 50-100 year period. However, exactly who built these ancient structures was still hotly debated. Due to the lack of evidence to the contrary, archaeologists point to the EVE Gate in the New Eden system as a point of origin. Just as all roads led to Rome, so to do the interstellar routes from New Eden. The system of New Eden itself is unremarkable, and no evidence points to any of its barren planets having more than micro-organisms for signs of life. For Earthologists, this is conclusive evidence of a common origin, though the greater scientific community points to the lack of evidence that any civilization that may have come from that system seems to be the ancestors of any modern peoples.
The Jove & EVE Gate Questions
For Earthologists, the Jove are a point of obsession as they are believed to be the oldest civilization currently in the New Eden cluster, and the air of mystery due to the private nature of the Jove only fuels Earthologists’ frustrations to try and unlock their secrets. The Caroline’s Star event likely added to this frustration.
The EVE Gate, like the Jove, remains a mystery due to the gate’s inactivity. The scientific community in New Eden argues about how accurate is its dating system of whether or not it is the oldest of the gates. Syncreticists also argue that the EVE Gate could have been used by an original civilization to leave New Eden (rather than come from it) and they simply closed the door on their way out.
This field actually provides the most promising source of evidence and likely would also be one of the fields taken the most seriously by the actual scientific community if this topic was a real debate. For The Common Origin theory, this is their most important field, as DNA structures of all human beings are extremely similar regardless of what planet they come from. The Earth article points out that there is still division among the scientific community, often for political reasons, but a general consensus is starting to be reached in favor of the Common Origin Theory.
The Syncreticists do acknowledge that such similarities can be seen as evidence that life on different planets may not have originated there. However, they often conclude that this evidence shows favor towards the “Convergent Evolution Theory,” which is covered under “Mold Theory.” Others look at how humans share DNA with some other species, but not with most of the plants across New Eden, and claim that this is proof of the “mixing-bowl” ideology in the Syncretism Theory, or that different ancient civilizations overlapped with each other before the Big Four.
This theory, in my opinion, is the most likely that would be proposed if humans suddenly discovered other humans on a multitude of other planets without any solid evidence that we didn’t come from another planet in real life. It also seems to be the most popular in New Eden, apparently. Similar to the real world idea of “Convergent Evolution”, or that different species will evolve similar attributes simply because they are the most efficient for their environment (such as fins in whales, dolphins, and fish) New Eden scientists that hold to the mold theory claim “that human beings share such genetic similarities not due to evolving from the same place, but to the same place”. Rather than deduce that similar genetics equals similar origin, Mold Theory scientists believe that for life to be successful, it will inevitably follow the same path.
For those familiar with Plato’s “Theory of forms”, this concept would also make sense given the evidence New Eden has to work with. Plato argues that there are “ideal” things with ideal aspects to them, and they are the perfection pursued by everything. Without getting bogged down with the philosophical aspects of this idea, Mold Theory scientists argue that there are humans on other worlds than their own because that is how apex intelligent life will evolve. No other form can come from evolution, in their eyes, and be as successful as humans will be. Thus none will.
The most interesting part about this theory is that, given the context, it would be extremely easy to see this as a valid idea, even though in real life we know the truth. However, given the evidence that the scientists of New Eden have to work with, this theory would be seriously credible. On a side note, it was pointed out to me by one of my editors, Ryan, how ironic this mold theory is in the context of capsuleers. Since capsuleers are, for all intents and purposes due to the neural connectors along their spines to their pods, effectively “water” that molds to the shape of their ship when they control it. A pilot controlling a carrier is different from a pilot controlling an interceptor. It is the same water, but it fills the shape differently. While a bit of an off-topic tangent, it is still interesting to think about.
One of the things I love about writing articles like these, is I get to be a teacher. EVE’s lore is criminally underrated and not given nearly the attention it deserves. The fact that CCP came up with three extremely plausible theories, rather than just giving the NPCs the answers we actually know, just goes to show how much the original lorecrafters of this game truly cared about their project. Hopefully, I have made this difficult lore article easier to digest. I would love if any of you contacted me in the comments or messaged me on discord (Vulxanis Viceroy#6819) or in-game. I can either answer your questions directly or you may just be the inspiration for the next article!