Don’t Fall for Enemy Propaganda

Dissipative structures or conduits are not deterred from predatorily seeking additional resources even if this behavior is not in keeping with their intratribal morality. To accomplish this feat, the holder of coveted resources or territory, a nation that thereto may have been friendly or neutral, becomes the victim of the vilest chicanery through false flag operations. A false flag operation is a planned operation to make the target nation appear to have committed a heinous act, domestic or foreign, which then justifies retribution in furtherance of some preordained goal.

See more about false flags here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_flag

The false flag operation is usually accompanied by a preplanned propaganda campaign that goes into effect immediately, calling attention to the wrongdoing, vilifying the supposed culprit and calling for retalliation or elimination of the guilty parties. The propaganda campaign is meant to manufacture consent (Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media (1988), by Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky) amongst the predatory nation’s population for those actions necessary to gain some resource or strategic advantage and uses the innate tribalism of the population to accomplish its goals. At this point, the truth or facts are not important, but rather impressions are all important. Pharmaceutical companies use the similar tactics in their advertising, providing an engaging and attractive visual impression to viewers while reading in monotone the side-effects and drawbacks of their medicines. Impression is all important in the general population, not facts or reasoning. The faster you can call someone the devil, or evil, or Hitler or a dictator, the better, and repeat it often until the impression is firmly fixed in vulnerable minds. While doing so, provide visual stimuli for additional negative impact. Next comes the moral response to rid the world of the evil influence, sometimes called regime change. Include a few more graphics of dead babies (or throwing babies out of incubators), arrange a Nayirah testimony and you’re almost good to go.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nayirah_(testimony)

President George W. Bush strolling at the ranch with a special friend Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah

Was it a false flag, an unknown unknown, or simply a known known that got out of hand?

These deceptions are all part and parcel of operating as a predatory nation. After watching the recent episode in Syria with chemical weapons and Tomahawk missiles, and other similar instances, the “evil monster” story is becoming a bit lame. There was Osama Bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gaddafi, the Ayatollah, and now Assad, all evil monsters. Who’s next? Putin? As Forrest Gump might say, “evil is as evil does”. But one does not successively dispose of “evil monsters” unless one has a plan. What is the plan? My guess is that nations, being subject to death without adequate nutrition, are simply securing adequate supplies and routes for future fossil fuel delivery and must not inform the public of the peril of not obtaining adequate supplies. The United States campaigning in the Middle East reminds me of Sherman’s March to the Sea sowing destruction all the way, except this time it’s a march to the oil and natural gas. But not to worry, Europe will absorb the stunned stragglers into their loving embrace.

http://www.renegadetribune.com/u-s-plan-topple-7-countries-trumps-refugee-ban-list/

While emotionless strategic planners (“we came, we saw, he died” – Hillary Clinton in regard to the murder of Muammar Gaddafi), make chess moves, especially to meet personal, banking and corporate needs, the public is fed emotion-laden fabrications which elicit support for the predatory behaviors.

Propaganda can even work at home as with this Newsweek magazine that came out shortly after Donald Trump became President. Just a coincidence?  Hitler was a very effective psychopath and there are many of them in the general population, business and government. I don’t think Trump is a psychopath, but it’s not beyond the media to seek retribution against a President that berated the media executives for broadcasting “fake” news. Of course “it” (war/genocide) could happen again, and be much, much worse as the metabolic collapse gathers speed. Propaganda was being used in the United States long before Hitler came to power and both Hitler and Joseph Geobbels were fans of Edward Bernays that wrote “Crystallizing Public Opinion” in 1923 and “Propaganda” in 1928.

 

Edward Bernays, The Father Of American Propaganda

 

Deception is widespread in the ecosystem and there’s no doubt that the human mind has evolved to be adept at subterfuge. The medial prefrontal cortex (social brain) is monitoring the social environment for opportunities to gain wealth without upsetting the sensibilities of other humans, but someone always takes the last cookie (or the whole box of cookies). Recognizing deception is somewhat counteracted in many people by the optimism bias that encourages a sunny view of human nature.

Above is anti-propaganda propaganda poster  from WWII, only today it’s Fox news broadcasting in one ear and CNN broadcasting in the other. The bamboozled citizen remains the same.

Put “ISIS” on that sleeve and you have an effective propaganda for the United States current embroilment within the Middle East. Puppies and babies impaled by a dagger along with flag burning will also elicit strong emotions from the citizenry.

The take away message is that the national systems still strive for growth and assimilation of energy and resources and can clear a path with murder and deceit, all justified by the likely outcome of failing to act (an economy grinding to a halt, collapse of the financial system and starvation of the domestic population). The natural human tendency towards tribalism guarantees that there will be a “them” to take from until the human experiment is over. Governments will create a “them” if it’s necessary as an expedient to maintaining military readiness. Even a one world government with common language and identity, if that were possible, would not overcome the tendency for some individuals to cheat the system and accumulate an unfair share of resources resulting in societal bifurcation and tribal conflict. Eventually, the organism that was promoted to cancerhood and tasked with eliminating the energy tied-up in soil, biomass, fossil fuels and more, will accomplish its task bigley before starving within its own toxic excrement. The earth will be a place of eternal conflict and strife as long as conduits compete aggressively for thin margins of profit pursuing the Maximum Power Principle.

 

Last Roll of the Dice

To answer the age-old question “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?”, one must first travel back in time and examine the molecular ontogeny where the conservation of probabilistically unlikely molecular species was accomplished by ribonucleic acids (RNA) in the primordial soup or upon a substrate bathed by the primordial soup. The non-replicating environment of the RNA may have had catalytic and bonding properties (clay substrate?) which could concentrate the necessary nucleotides for strand assembly. RNA are also known to have enzymatic properties, although not as varied or capabable as the enzymatic proteins, but perhaps enough to facilitate self-replication. In any case, the most important condition for reproduction is the accumulation of resources necessary to build a replica. For such a molecule to reproduce successfully a “profit” must first be realized in that components must be concentrated against a tendency to otherwise disperse. These conditions, concentrating the building blocks of life and reproduction, are the foundations of life and have been conserved without exception. Those species, whether molecular, cellular, organismal or technological, behave in a manner to obtain the greatest profit to use in maximizing reproduction and growth. Some building blocks are diverted to defensive measures to thwart efforts at predation. The forms that are best at gathering the components for their own reproduction, which may occur multiple times before the mother form is defunct, will eventually displace less successful forms, unless the less successful occupy different environmental niches that bestow a reproductive advantage.

The freely reproducing molecules were eventually enclosed within cells, perhaps with primitive protein tools that allowed the capturing and sequestration of nutrients within the cellular envelope. At some point, a mechanical splitting process would occur separating randomly distributed populations of molecules. Perhaps not a complex fissioning that occurs with eukaryotic cells, but simply a budding-off due to mechanical necessity. Research continues on these subjects and the entirety of evolutionary steps may never be entirely elucidated before civilization fails to meet its own nutritional requirements. There were numerous steps and refinements leading to the complexity found within eukaryotic cells and undoubtedly it required significant amounts of energy as provided by the mitochondria. But just as a human mind is incapable of retaining large amounts of detailed information necessary for significant complexity, such as the diagrams and specifications for building and tools and related structures, RNA or RNA complexes didn’t do well at retaining all of the information in their populations, especially after the somewhat unpredictable process of fissioning. Much of the extra energy necessary to establish a permanent and replicable DNA library that could be separated with a spindle mechanism, must have been derived from the endosymbiotic relationship with the mitochondria. The increased energy also gave cells the extra energy necessary to form multicellular organsism. Human discovery and utilization of fossil fuels has allowed a similar increase in complexity, but on a temporary basis.

The addition of DNA, a written library of tools that could be transcribed into RNA and then protein tools and complex organelles like the Golgi apparatus, made reproduction more complicated and a spindle apparatus was required to make sure daughter cells obtained a full copy of information., DNA is copied and segregated to both sides of a dividing plate before fission occurs. Incorporated into a cell, the RNA were no longer able to maximize their individual reproduction, but rather had to specialize functionally within the cell to maximize efficiency within the reproducing system. Their controlled reproduction came to serve the needs of the cell whose primary activity was making tools to use in accumulating the profit necessary to enable cellular fission. Humans have been pulled inside a similar structure, the technological cell to function in a manner similar to molecular RNA. Many RNA no longer reproduce themselves, but rather function in the cells to maximize profit and essentially become a “job” within a technological metabolism. If these “domesticated” humans do reproduce, their children will be modified and schooled to also function within the technological metabolism. Some free-living humans continue to use primitive tools to obtain profit from the ecosystem, necessary for their individual reproduction.

Dissipative organisms feeding in order to nourish themselves and larvae back at the colony. Many of these worker ants, like their biological cousins, the human RNA, have lost the capacity or will to reproduce, but unlike human RNA, these ants are not involved in using information to produce tools.

There is a natural “greed” built into life that is difficult or impossible to temper in that the dissipative organism must obtain an excess or profit to reproduce successfully, and for the most part all of its behaviors and forms are built around that necessity. It isn’t enough simply to maintain the fires of basal metabolism, a profit must be obtained and invested in the offspring. Reproduction is the foundation of complex life, but what started as a molecular happenstance has become the sole preoccupation of dissipative structures – the meaning of life (although modern RNA humans may think jobs, businesses and their profit are the meaning of life.) All forms subsequent to the molecular beginnings have followed in the same mold and cannot escape the “greed” to which they owe their reproductive success. By failing to reproduce, you have simply foregone the opportunity to burden a being with the responsibility for at least balancing the books and making a profit for reproduction in what is usually a competitive and vicious world. However, the reproductive sequence usually happens spontaneously, the dopamine/opioid rewards are sufficient to result in reproduction, no reasons necessary. The most recent human additions, 7.5 billion persons, have been born into a world of temporary abundance. Conditions will be returning to normal as soon as the finite gradients have been exhausted.

When you observe the humans, with their lust for accumulating wealth, their reproductive excesses (at least until they’re subverted into a cellular society and become jobs), with their idolization of billionaires and preoccupation with portfolios of wealth, just realize that they’re not different than any other reproducing life, life that must obtain a profit to reproduce. Unfortunately they have drifted from the ecosystem into a technological system that can readily consume and destroy the ecosystem in its natural tendency to accumulate profit and maximally reproduce. Just as organisms gather profit maximally and reproduce maximally, not because they want to, but because they’re programmed to do so, so too does the human in technological society strive to be wealthier and take market share from their perceived competition without any limitations.

Is this why questioning population control and capitalism (growth) are taboo topics for discussion in technological society? Because these traits (reproduction and pursuit of profit) are the basis of life and mentioning their undesirability brings about a juxtaposition in the brain between the idea in the neocortex and the “two commandments” of the limbic system? The strong and fertile survive while the weak and infertile do not and this has been the basis of evolution for billions of years, but to carry the same motivations and impulses into the technological system, the desire to consume, grow, reproduce and produce a profit guarantees destruction and collapse. Under this natural occurring regime, sustainability will never be achieved in the technological system. But seeing that humans are basically automatons following deeply embedded behaviors established over billions of years of evolution, can we expect that they will ever gain control before growing themselves into oblivion.

Model of the human brain from Wellcome Trust.  The egg-shaped area at the center  of the brain is where the “Two Commandments” are written (thou shalt accumulate resources and reproduce.) This area is also known as “(head)quarters” and or the limbic system.

All of the behaviors observable in the ecosystem and technosystem are derived from the need to extract a profit from the environment to enable reproduction. The human is programmed to ring-fence wealth to use in a reproductive capacity and because humans are a social, hierarchical species and the impression is that the more wealth you possess the more successful your reproduction will be, there can be no end to the conversion of the ecosystem and fossil gradients into wealth markers for humans, even though the innate behavior will eventually destroy them.

Throughout history, if resources were not available in the environment, reproduction failed through starvation and/or disease. Under the current circumstances for humans, because the natural areas for accumulating wealth (foraging, hunting and fishing) have been claimed and fenced by the cancer, the modern human must strive to make their own business (cells) succeed just to obtain money to obtain nutrition from other cells, the farms and groceries. The specialized RNA inside technological cells probably have no idea how to obtain nutrition from a natural ecosystem or through simple farming or gardening and are therefore at considerable risk of starvation once the technological system fails. The egotistical class accumulates wealth far above what is necessary for successful reproduction, thereby denying others that possibility. The brain of the multi-billionaire seems to work in much the same way as the brain of a peasant that successfully raises twenty kids in the ecosystem. Both seem to be guided by a limbic autopilot. Human civilization is a cancer whose open-ended appetite for the accumulation of wealth will destroy the ecosystem.

There seem to be many rational reasons for restricting growth and consumption, since technological competition within the ecosystem commons will eventually result in total system(s) failure. It should be sufficient by examining the despoiled landscape and the melting ice to determine that limitations must be observed, but there are very strong biases chiseled into the neurology of every organism’s brain that encourage the gathering of resources, getting rich and provisioning of offspring. Unfortunately we continue to follow the same old algorithms even though things have profoundly changed. For every increment of technological growth, an equal or greater amount of biological growth is damaged or made extinct. Most humans believe that a healthy techno-system is in their interest, but they are mistaken. The inhabitants of the cancer fail to perceive the nature of the malignant system that has captured them.

The human is a collection of minute predatory protists that follow the Maximum Reproduction Principle (MRP) whose combined values and behaviors have been transcribed into a suitable neurology at the core of the human brain. The maximum reproduction and growth tendencies no longer reside within the cells, but these goals have been invested in the neurology of the various organisms. Nations, businesses, humans, cells, and molecules are all a continuation of the first reproducing entity. This goal of dissipative structures, common to all of life has been preserved, passed into the overarching structure of the organism as trillions of cells cooperate to consume large masses of nutrition (individuals of other species) found in the environment. We can refer to this open-ended desire to control and utilize resources, limited only by the time necessary to digest them and turn them into offspring conduits, as greed.

Complex protist cells whose forms have specialized for independent living. Human cells are also specialized, but work within a system that consumes massive organisms before nutrients are distributed throughout an internal circulatory system.

Greed, the desire to acquire and accumulate wealth cannot be questioned effectively by the human because greed, individual and tribal, is the imperative of reproducing entities. Maintaining homeostasis and basal metabolism are insufficient, a profit must be had until the offspring are formed and then actively obtaining energy from the environment for themselves. It’s no wonder that academics are reluctant to speak of the hazards of unbridled greed as they will be ejected from the company of fellow conduits and be deprived of income and profit. Even for the well-reasoned scientist there is little control of greed or the prime motive of garnering more pay, more benefits, more grants, more power. The greed had to be present in the first reproducing entities, the RNA, then cells, organisms, tribes and technological businesses and nations. It seems that many technological RNA (humans using tools) have successfully thwarted their own natural desires to reproduce, but they have simply been fully entrained by the technological system that prepared them for their role in society. Even the “religious” seek expansion and enrichment for their own dissipative needs. The only “reasonable” question for the human is how to get around the limits to growth through technological innovation so that more resources and energy may be delivered to the insatiable population. Humans are not equipped to throttle their subconscious desires and motivations, and any social barriers to obtaining more than one’s fair share of resources are often breached through lying, cheating and stealing, nefarious behaviors pulled from the Mr. Hyde’s toolbox as opportunities arise.

President Trump, sensitive to the “no-growth” dissatisfaction of his citizenry, almost all of which “know in their heart” that they want more, strives to satisfy their needs by eliminating any impediment to further growth, even though “reason” should lead one to believe that this is suicidal. The rational brain has evolved so as not to question the desires and motivations of the limbic brain and reward systems.

Human RNA walk to and from various cells to make metabolic connections including gaining organic nourishment at groceries and restaurants. If the system is not meeting their needs, they are likely to communicate back to the Trumpothalamus and demand action.

The future appears bleak as humans continue to build more cells and pack them full of “wealth”. Industry profits from this wealth accumulating tendency by periodically offering new and improved versions of products to replace those that have fallen out of fashion or been prematurely deposited in a waste dump. Unfortunately it is unlikely that humans will ever gain control of their behavioral tendencies instead continuing in an automatic mode, converting the natural world and fossil fuels into additional “wealth.” The end result is foretold in the prognostics of the “Limits to Growth”. Humans will march to their demise in a zombie-like state of stunned silence with occasional outbursts of violence, as opportunities to satisfy their greed disappear forever and previous gains are erased.

From the primordial soup of replicating RNA, to the complex cellular eukaryotic cell, to the human technological cancer, evolution shows an unbroken energy and resource flow through conduits which must reproduce before parent structures degrade. Humans have leveraged their ability to be successful predators through the use of technological tools and fossil fuel energy but fail to realize that they consume their own body just as a cellular cancer consumes its own body. In both cases, the biased mind will avoid truthful examination of the predicament as the disease slowly progresses towards catastrophic resolution.

Human civilization is a cancer which grows within the tissues of the ecosystem. It eats, it grows, it kills and its over. From where would it obtain the energy necessary for a second round of equivalent growth, even if the ecosystem were capable of surviving it and a third, fourth…a thousand generations. Will the energy and resources come from the vastly overstated collateral underlying an enormous debt that will supposedly be exchanged for a richness of resources in the future? The currency, bonds and stocks will be worthless in the future, as soon as the system breaks, capitalism, any -ism, will be finished and any reorganization will temporarily provide only meager salaries for a few and zero profit. As soon as a faltering economy induces the liquidation of paper assets, it’s only a matter of time before everyone rushes for the door to convert their paper into something real, only to find the algorithms have already passed through and locked the door a millisecond before them Most will be kept from liquidating in a timely fashion and will watch their illusory wealth realize its full potential – zero, leaving them with little hope of survival. A fully fledged zero sum game will emerge as impoverished masses spur governments to nationalize all assets, out-law hoarding, seize assets and distribute to those clamoring for salvation, a last ditch effort to keep the human RNA populations alive, even though the technological metabolism has ceased to function and cannot effectively restart. As soon as residual metabolites have been exhausted, the RNA will begin to starve and the technological order will descend into chaos and final disintegration.

But go about your business, enjoy your last days, you’re a winner in life, and that’s all that counts in the realm of competing dissipative structures. Make your last roll of the dice. When the game of accumulating wealth and reproduction restarts your grandchildren won’t be playing.

 

 

 

Gatto Got It Right – Human Resources

John Gatto has been a life-long educator in New York City and has garnered considerable acclaim for his skeptical views regarding formal public education. Gatto has observed the natural emergence of industrial strength education beginning with the utilization of coal in Western nations at the advent of industrialization. Destroying the coal gradient in the nineteenth century had to be accomplished with greatly expanded tool and distribution systems along with a workforce capable of building and working with new tools in a factory setting. To accomplish the new technological growth it was necessary to standardize the human RNA that would be synchronized with their tools in the production process. Formal schools at scale, previously unknown in the relatively rural and undeveloped areas came into being as a feeder system for the technological system. A “graduate” would possess the ability to manipulate information, at least at a basic level, allowing functioning within the technological sphere. Like most “good ideas” this was a feature of the self-organizing system that pursues the Maximum Power Principle or Maximum Entropy Principle. It was simply a matter of good “economics” and good economics is simply a matter of growing to do things faster and in greater amounts at a greater profit.

 

I’ve written on this topic before in the “Nucleolus” post, the place where rRNA go to be built and finished before release into the cytoplasm for attachment to an appropriate organelle to construct new protein tools from various information. Schools represent a finishing area for RNA, not primarily for student edification, but to prepare individuals to function within the economy.

This clip could also be titled “Convert Human Beings into Human RNA.”

As things developed there may have been other motives too, besides just provisioning the industrial process with technological RNA. The public school system provided the fodder for the factories while the private schools up East provided what would become the inheritors of capital with a liberal arts education, not so they could be functional in a factory, rather for managing the overall system to their own advantage. After all, those “workers” can’t be trusted to deploy capital effectively and there simply isn’t enough capital to go around, so they must be kept in their place. “Workers” were sold the American Dream, consumerism and  numerous entertainments including sports to keep them distracted from the real accumulation of capital that was occurring in the upper echelons. It seems that significant capital accumulation by the middle and lower classes never was in the cards.

As time has gone on there have been new ways to recapture wealth once found in the middle-class such as wage arbitrage and putting citizens in such deep debt they could never accumulate much wealth. When the average Joe tries to emulate Warren Buffet they are likely to do so with substantial debt, buying markers of wealth that soon depreciate leaving them with little net worth. It is very lucrative for government to encourage people to become wealthy, but the only ones becoming wealthy are those that have already accumulated significant capital. There is also substantial propaganda thrown around about starting one’s own business and that its “your fault” if you haven’t taken this path to success. The truth, as it seems to me, is that most people are educated and prepared only to become employees, to accept wages for their labor that are largely inadequate while the rich gloat over their good fortunes to have inherited substantial sums which they use to further rake wealth from the middle-class. Jobs are moved to China and India and Pay-day loan businesses sprout like mushrooms.

Perhaps these older students are being modified for a new work assignment. Generally, students must specialize in one area of knowledge and will receive a certificate from the nucleolus to prove they have undergone formal training.

Gatto was correct, the public school education with its ringing bells and whistles, authority and structure, daily attendance, watched closely, is simply factory fodder preparation. And those people that somehow escape the the fate of others by luck or effort, can often then be found striving for acceptance with the wealthy in-crowd, buying horses and farms, a jet, Ivy League educations for the kids and so on. Unfortunately, at this point in our societies, the economic court viziers have failed to read the tea leaves correctly as unbridled exponential growth will soon fall over the edge into unbridled exponential contraction of the most horrendous kind. The grand viziers of capitalism have been giving the impression that they are in control of the situation and undoubtedly much of the political class has believed them. The factory class only wonders why eight people have as much wealth as the least wealthy three billion people on the planet. Maybe they should get some loans, go back to school and give it another shot. That’s what the financiers would like. (Also buy a bigger house and take-out a big mortgage – the price of houses always goes up.)

Portrait of Ben Bernanke,  former Chairman of the Federal Reserve.  With his magic wand in hand (No. 2 pencil) he prepares to conjure-up a few trillion of Keynesian dollars to spur further suicidal growth.

Nothing New Under the Sun

The human imagination. “Wouldn’t it be neat if we could………………” The ecosystem plays that game too, all the time, by throwing out novel combinations of genes to see what they can do. Can they obtain enough energy to survive to reproduce? If you fail, you die and your unique combination of genes goes away. Humans do this too by forming new businesses based upon novel changes in information. The design team is always coming-up with something new that may catch-on in the broader economy. This is equivalent to a mutation occurring within the DNA of a cell and the tools or structural element changing as a result. A new cell line emerges in a body that possibly can do things more efficiently than some previous types, just as technological cells (businesses) may emerge to grow and supplant a less efficient combination.

Two-headed calf.  Most genetic mutations add little to the fitness of an individual and they are rapidly recycled after failing to compete in the environment. This is similar to an ill-conceived start-up business going bankrupt and their assets being sold and redistributed.

Humans are technological RNA and can play with information to create new tools, processes and structural elements. Sometimes new products get a foothold and sometimes they don’t and the business goes bankrupt. The energy finding, capturing and digesting organs can also potentially innovate, with the help of designers, engineers and many other contributors. Many different energy producing ideas have been explored including fracking, nuclear plants,  space based solar, PV, wind, hydro and more. But all of the other economic, metabolic activity that’s going on amongst the other cell lines in the body, like medical research and medicine, military, public health, entertainment and more, depend upon the effectiveness of the organs that exist to constantly shovel fuel into the system to be refined to energize the kinetics of the metabolisms.

Technology in the energy sector converts crude oil to finished products, similar in function to mitochondria turning glucose into ATP.

To summarize, a nation, with all of its competing businesses is equivalent to a body with many specialized cell types churning out various products to be used locally, regionally and nationally. The organic body has many different organ systems to help maintain homeostasis including ones for immunity, waste removal, oxygen acquisition, energy acquisition, water distribution, coordination and control of movement and more.

If a technological body’s energy procuring organs and behaviors become inadequate, the body begins to starve and all of the downstream metabolism begins to falter, businesses go bankrupt and people lose jobs. This is never a problem in the ecosystem since combinations that can’t survive are simply recycled and other combinations are given a chance. If none of the individuals of a species are successful, then extinction occurs. Human societies have taken for granted their fuel sources and now must scramble to find adequate replacements. There may not be adequate replacements which means society must change to function with the net energy provided by the new energy source or face extinction. The ecosystem, being run by sunlight, never has had a problem with energy sourcing because it’s always been there. If the sun were to disappear or grow too dim, the ecosystem would simply die and not come back. Similarly for human technological society, when the fossil fuels are gone and substitute cell lines have failed to appear, then irreversible collapse occurs and death ensues. Perhaps the most damning feature of the human organism is its failure to establish limits and a life cycle, instead growing like a cancer. The technological RNA, derived from the ecosystem where limits and life cycles are the rule, somehow fails to recognize their importance and/or are completely out of control of the processes that consume their lives. The industrial system has a hard time with recycling because the failed bodies (building, machinery, tools) to not contribute any energy to their own recycling. Bacteria and fungi can break down and recycle ecosystem waste only because they can obtain energy by doing so.

Vultures eating an expired elephant in Africa. Waste in the ecosystem has a high energy content and can fuel the many decomposers. Human technological waste doesn’t have the same kind of energy content that would naturally favor the evolution of technological waste decomposers and therefore much of it must be hauled to dumps and be removed from the circulation of the economy.

Technological (human form) RNA prototype. This kind of technology depends completely upon a successful energy sector to supply ample net energy.

Humans don’t really know how to set limits to their own growth. I think they’re waiting for external forces, the interaction between the quasi-species to set the limits for them. Let the forces of nature determine what we are to become. Unfortunately, left to nature, they will become extinct, using the limited fossil fuel energy remaining to battle each other into submission. During WWII engineers and academics were working furiously on the Manhattan project to develop nuclear bombs to pound the competition into submission and even found a way to shunt that energy into the economy. What military wonder are they working on now? Soon it won’t matter what they’ve been working on because by placing so much emphasis on military might, the system will soon be (if not already) be deprived of enough net energy to make any kind of transition. Like primitive fungi on a agar plate, a nation’s only concern is with obtaining the nutrients and throwing a few antibiotics towards the competition if they get too close. They don’t see the limited nature of the nutrient medium and the enclosed glass ceiling overhead. Once they’ve exhausted their energy supplies and the externalities of their wastes take their toll, not much will remain.

Humans are very capable in their technological exploits but are not very circumspect regarding themselves, what they are and what’s likely to occur. It is all more comforting to believe that a benevolent God is in control and that God wants us to grow and get rich without end. Very satisfying to the limbic brain, makes you want to get out of bed in the morning as you imagine your own dopamine/opioid filled life with all of God’s bounty. And so they continue to fiddle with their technologies to speed up the flow of good things, striving to make the next big breakthrough, even as the energy flow is falling behind the growth of the organism. They just never stepped back to see themselves, too busy competing for the rewards that flow from utilizing all of that fuel.

The industrial metabolism can be red-lined waiting for a new tool or cell line to appear from the intentional evolution of the designers and engineers, but eventually the fuel gauge reads empty. You can wait and wait and wait hoping that the right innovation appears until your nation grinds to a halt. Evolution is not open-ended like the human mind. Sometimes things are not possible in the “real” world where physical, chemical and thermodynamic limitations scrap what seemed to be sophisticated, complex and enduring.

Here’s to avoiding an epic fail – we’re already more than half-way there.

Some identities for thinking about the problem.

Humans = RNA

Buildings/Homes = Cells

Nations = Species

Roads = Blood Vessels

Glucose = Fossil Fuels

Electricity/Gasoline = ATP

Information/Data = DNA

Hand Tools, Cars, Machinery = Protein Tools/Enzymes

Police Force = Immune System

Military = Antibiotics (Large scale aimed outward).

Collapsed Economy = Death/Extinction

Collapsed Ecosystem = Death/Extinction

 

Here is a map of the various human quasi-species, tribal areas which arose mostly because of geographic isolation and divergences in spoken language, a form of speciation.

I See Myself in the Mirror, Therefore I Am

I was recently considering which animal species are capable of self-recognition as this probably reflects an image of oneself in the analog world of the mind. It turns out the list of animals with this ability is fairly short and includes humans, apes, orcas, some Asian elephants, dolphins, the Eurasian Magpie and ants. Surprisingly dogs do not make the list, but perhaps they can distinguish themselves and others by the senses of smell and hearing. But these senses do not provide a “self” to occupy the analog mind., at least in a visual sense. All of the above species pass the “mirror test” in which individual self-recognition is accomplished. And why is this important? In order to form a memory of oneself within the mind, it is necessary to first recognize oneself as distinct as opposed to some other individual of the same species. Some species like the common house mouse likely have a rudimentary analog mind, especially with the use of hippocampus place cells so that paths to rewards may be remembered along with qualia like color, smell, shape. But the mouse brain is likely skewed on the sensory scale towards olfaction and perhaps mice can distinguish each other with this sense. But in my view this is inadequate for elaboration of the analog mind which is mostly a visual phenomenon. Therefore, your average mouse does not rehearse itself moving in its own mind or do any planning.

List of Animals That Have Passed the Mirror Test

Humans can recognize themselves in a mirror and distinguish themselves from other humans. This ability is linked to the social nature of the species in that the most important factor in living socially is the ability to form memories of faces and forms of the individuals with whom you co-exist and upon which your struggle for survival is dependent. An unusually large portion of the human memory is given to facial recognition which allows us to populate the analog mind with the faces of acquaintances and our own. The only reason we became self-aware is because our social nature required that we be aware of others and be able to link memories to various faces. A mouse perhaps does not know one mouse from another visually, but may use the olfactory sense to remember different individuals although they cannot populate an analog mind. The evolving social hominid, and the other social species listed and perhaps more, had to know and remember the characteristics and relationships within their respective social hierarchies. The faces of the other members of their groups were the most important memories that could be formed including the apparent submission and domination relationships. The “self” that now populates the human mind as a self-perception likely began as a necessary adaptation among the individuals of social species. Many species have some degree of analog mind, but what they lack is an area of the brain that can distinguish themselves from others of their species and therefore, for all cerebral purposes, they don’t exist. The evolution of the analog mind and behavioral control mediated by the medial prefrontal cortex likely evolved together as the “self” began to act in a less impulsively, lest they insult an alpha-ape that would let them know of their trespass. “Self” was preoccupied for millions of years with the social environment, knowing the members of the group and their characteristics, the hierarchical order, so that cooperation and competition could be managed with the co-evolving medial prefrontal cortex which places limits on our social behaviors, depending upon the environment of cultural mores and values in which we find ourselves.

After making faces in the mirror for several minutes, President Obama finally determined it was indeed himself in the mirror and thereby passed the mirror test.

President Trump had to be pulled away from the mirror by three secret service personnel and then took this selfie. He too passed the mirror test.

President George W. Bush aka “Mona Lisa” didn’t show-up for his mirror test but was found later at the Louvre. Authorities decided the mirror test would not be necessary.

There is no reason to possess a “self” in an analog mind when the social context is missing. Other organisms can do quite well without themselves in their minds, behaving in a more algorithmically controlled way, with some degree of analog mind but without a picture of themselves within their own minds to plan and rehearse future actions.

The human mind and its social preoccupation doesn’t seem to have changed much. People still spend most of their time socializing and competing with other humans, trying to pick behaviors that will elevate themselves within pertinent hierarchies. There is much grooming, talking, gossiping and fighting just like chimps under the banana tree. Washington, D.C. Must be the chimp capitol of the world and this has led us to our likely future, banana republic, led by venal chiefs and ton ton macoutes. Your brain will allow you to recognize them and your prefrontal cortex will plan the proper etiquette before you make a hasty retreat. Current leaders are not using their lofty thought processes to address the problems of the cancerous growth of civilization. Instead, they are acting like apes, fighting for the highest position in the hierarchy so they can receive the most sex and food (wealth) while deceptively pledging fealty to the Gods that keep the underlings in line.

As is apparent in the current culture, most people are preoccupied with the lives of the rich and famous and their Facebook and Twitter tribes and don’t seem to have much time or ability to think about anything else. This preoccupation with other apes goes back a long way as it was the most important knowledge one could have, other than recognizing the right berries to pick and where to kill and antelope or two. Most of reality was the reality shared by tribal members under the banana tree with a few good shared myths or stories to otherwise occupy the mind. As most of the remainder of reality is being ignored or candy-coated in favor of ape politics, it is likely that civilization will fail and we will return to a condition in which there is little else than social status to occupy ones’ mind.

It is apparent that human bonobos have risen to the top and will march towards the cliff, backs turned, as they hurl insults at each other and fight for ape supremacy, providing ample entertainment for the lesser apes whose attention is split between quarreling alphas and the awe and spectacle of technological shamans. The best solution is perhaps to load them into Elon Musk’s spaceship X (do they always have to use a Z or X in these names. I guess it came out of marketing.) and blast them into intergalactic space, but let’s be reasonable, they’re just doing what apes do. Too bad.

The ability to recognize others goes along with the ability to recognize oneself. The planning ability of the prefrontal cortex likely emerged to calculate and evaluate the potential effects of various actions within the social hierarchy. You, as an individual, are in your brain because you had to recognize personally all of the faces and personalities of your tribe. Without that necessity, it’s really not necessary that you exist. Most organisms exist very well without knowing they exist. And now that “you” or your image shares space in an analog mind with the specter of death, there can be constant fear allayed only by elaborate religious rituals and beliefs. Long gone are the days of being a mindless automaton without a “self” in the mind to fear death which has made a deep impression in the analog mind.  Elephants have also been known to perform death rituals.

Humans like to think they’re very special, and they are in a pathological sense, but when humans with their analog minds and self-perception have passed, there will still be the ants which, although social, will likely never function as RNA. Hard to guess what the cetaceans like orcas or dolphins are thinking, but they’ll probably pass if the ocean environment changes too rapidly.  The rules of evolution are written in thermodynamics and cancer has always been a possibility for the ecosystem just as it is for many organisms.  But little modular cells will stick together again with the potential for millions of different combinations, but will a brain large enough to create an analog mind, and a social living arrangement that requires perceiving individual differences and by consequence self-perception ever happen again? I doubt it, not like the humans. Perhaps it will be the time of the ants whose social arrangement seems to have given them some self-recognition, although I don’t expect much of an analog mind in their diminutive neural ganglia.

Ants, somewhat self-aware? Be careful where you step.

Many things that humans are motivated to do stems from their self-perception and imagined perception by others within the social group. Having moved from living beneath the banana tree to functioning in technological cells, the impulse to gain power or relative position within the hierarchy promotes growth and wealth accumulation beyond what is necessary for bodily survival. Humans are continually at war with each other in a never-ending quest for dominance. With the apes at the helm the cancer will grow until it collapses and/or the supporting environment no longer favors hominid existence. If they should survive, sometime in the future the self may be lost along with any desire to achieve dominance in a hierarchical structure. But instead of living freely like most organisms they may simply function as human RNA with each functioning human unable to recognize any difference between self and co-workers. Instead of people with names we will be RNA with job descriptions. The future is here. It is called political correctness.

Human RNA work on maintaining a major artery of the technological system.

 

 

Wired for Stage IV Success – Extinction

The brain of industrial Homo sapiens perceives the civilization it inhabits as something with long-term prospects, something that will deliver wealth during one’s lifetime and then be left to the kids for further conduiting of energy and resources. That the technological system is pathological to the ecosystem goes mostly unnoticed. If some recognition harmful effects creeps into the mind, it is easier to come to terms with dispatching the ecosystem and its collection of often malevolent organisms rather than considering any scaling-back of the humanity-serving malignant growth known as technological civilization. It’s not surprising that humans forsake their cellular ecosystem family in pursuit of maximal returns to the striate nucleus because they are not aware that further evolution of the technical system will eventually see them replaced by mechanical equivalents.

Who are they that make such a profound mistake, and is it really a mistake? If Homo sapiens had remained exclusively within the ecosystem, there would not have been any need for a brain capable of creating an elaborate analog world, nor the need to create tools and store information beyond the DNA within the cells, but man has evolved to become the reducer of gradients at the human scale. Couldn’t this have been accomplished by organisms from the ecosystem without involving a second macro-scale system of tool-building and use?  But the tiny protein enzymes could not accomplish the task and it is because none could metabolize the large gradients, that the complexity of the ecosystem emerged. Any organism that becomes too successful will devour completely its prey species and more, just as humans have, and thereby eliminate itself. Instead of creating novel enzymatic tools to digest the gradients, DNA had to rearrange human cellular organization to create the organs necessary for the emergence of a new information/RNA-human/tool system. It would take massive tools to effectively attack and consume the gradients. Organisms like termites, with the help of gut protists that produce specific enzymatic tools capable of digesting cellulose, were able to attack the dead wood gradient. The biomass gradient remained because not a single arrangement of cells could be good at consuming more than one or a handful of other species, until man’s new adaptations allowed him to become systematic.

The build-up of energy gradients created an energy potential awaiting release. Humans slowly evolved into the role of gradient destroyer, slowing prying open the energy rich prizes as tool making abilities advanced. When the energy flow became sufficient, man became more systematic, with specialized roles building tools and storing, modifying and using information. Humans began to build their own concrete, steel and pavement corpus with the nutrients derived from those gradients. Thermodynamics gladly led Homo sapiens along the path to the destruction of the gradients and much of the ecosystem.

Even though humans entertain a self-perception that can rehearse actions within their frontal cortices and can then realize those reward seeking behaviors through activation of the motor cortex, one has to wonder if there is any free will within the brain to control the evolved circuitry which has led the species close to the edge. The reason for existence as a dissipative structure is the acquiring of energy and other resources motivated by regular jolts of electric dopamine and opioids. Even though humans do have an analog mind which can be developed to varying degrees, their actions to this point seem to be mostly unexamined and uncontrolled, automatic behavior leading them to unfettered growth, consumption and associated neural rewards. Is there any hope that some part of the human brain will say, “Enough is enough, we’re going to do some unrewarding things just so we can survive.”, or will they simply continue their reward seeking behavior until nothing remains?

The hedonist (reptilian brain) hides beneath the neocortex which will preferentially remember rewarding situations and motivate the body accordingly. Later the neocortex may communicate that it was all a matter of freewill, unwilling to admit that the primitive hedonist is whispering from down below.

Reptilian Brain: “I’m hungry (a feeling).”

Neocortex: “Yes master, (the neocortex retrieves a well-worn memory) I’ll go to the kitchen and get you something to eat.”

Motor Cortex: ” Legs swinging, arms flailing, tongue wets lips, hand grasps door handle and opens refrigerator door.”

Neocortex:”Apple?” Reptile Brain: “No”.

Neocortex: “Left-over meat loaf?” Reptile Brain: “Hell No.”

Neocortex: “Ice Cream?”  Reptile Brain: “Yes, yes, yes”.

Once the pesky reptile brain is satisfied, the neocortex can go to sleep or think about how to satisfy the master’s many pending requests.

Part of the prefrontal cortex has been removed from the brain above. The white areas are axonal wiring connecting various areas of the brain. The hippocampus, the cartographer, essential for memory formation and recall, can be found on the sides, nested within the temporal lobes. The analog mind is not constructed as an artist would paint a mural, instead a stimulus such as a word can activate the lighting-up of previously connected and stored information from various areas of the cortex to create a schema or memory. An observation, odor, sound, or flavor may be enough to pull together a memory or schema. Simply mentioning the word “car” produces not just a mental construction of a single car, but can begin the process of an almost infinite number of schema involving cars. By paring down the recall to just “the car I drove when I was sixteen” can help the cartographer wander less broadly. Each time you reach for something in your memory, it must be assembled from separate areas of the brain. The retrieval and assembly can sometimes be faulty as when years later, recollection of an event witnessed by different individuals, no longer completely meshes, although they may still fully agree on its emotional content. The out-of-body experience also likely occurs completely within the memory recall system in which the cartographer has assembled a scene looking down upon oneself in that scene.

Human brain wiring, or connectome.

On its surface the brain seems rather dull, but inside there is an almost infinite potential for storing experience and novel connections. The cartographer ventures into this space daily, pulling up maps, eliminating some and remaking others. The ones that provide ample reward are likely reinforced to make sure we pay attention to the things that keep us alive. When John Lilly enters an isolation tank and cuts himself off from external stimuli, the cartographer is free to roam about unconstrained which undoubtedly can provide some rather fantastic experiences. Those that have not bothered to sample the real world can also have fantastic ideas, even though fully awake and not under the influence of any mind-altering substances.

Mind explorer John Lilly – to go where no man has gone before. For my own experience of the mind unleashed I’m going to stick to dreams while I sleep, especially since I don’t remember most of them.

Hippocampus cell from rat courtesy of Zeiss Microscopy. Hippocampus “place cells” record spatial memories while other hippocampus cell types are involved in other types of memory.

In a manner similar to the storage of images on your computer thumb drive, all of the images and many details of massive objects in the environment are stored within the microscopic networks of the brain to be recalled later.  Incoming axonal and dendritic depolarization lights-up a network of neurons like the one above. As you read a novel, it is unnecessary for the writer to describe too fully the scenes within the story. Just a few words can elicit a construction from the reader’s memory that will far surpass the ability of any string of written words and also will be custom made for the reader by their own brain.

Each generation of industrial humans has a mind populated with the images and experiences extant in the environment beginning at birth until death. They may not see as unusual the advancement of the growing pathology which has been occurring in the environment throughout their lives but are rather preoccupied with obtaining the most rewards possible within the paradigm of cancerous growth. Where in the brain will anti-growth, anti-consumption sentiment come from when the very basis of life is the acquisition of energy and resources and reproduction. Can abstractions about the future residing within the neocortex control the primitive desires emanating from the reptilian brain when the neocortex evolved to serve the passions? Even the conformity demanded by the medial prefrontal cortex in social situations, adhering to social taboos, may be inadequate to curb the basic  appetites of the reptilian brain. Arranging a culture that condemns being rich and consuming a lot may be impossible since these activities seem to release a lot of dopamine and opioid at the reward centers.

Below are a few links regarding the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex, a tandem that along with language centers, helps define who we are.  From the third link “Interplay of Hippocampus and Prefrontal Cortex in Memory”, I found this paragraph to be interesting.

Schemas were introduced to cognitive psychology by Piaget [51] and Bartlett [76] in their efforts to understand how new information is integrated with pre-existing knowledge. Piaget argued that humans possess structured mental representations embodied as organizations of related associations called schemas. During development, new events are interpreted in terms of existing schemas. When those events are consistent with an activated schema, they are assimilated into the mental structure. When new events challenge the existing schema, the interpretation of the events themselves may be modified to fit the schema and assimilated. Consistent with this characterization of assimilation, Bartlett’s study on recall of a surreal story showed that story elements that were consistent with his subjects’ culture were better remembered, and that elements inconsistent with that culture were lost or modified to fit their pre-existing conceptions. Alternatively, Piaget proposed, learning may demand that the schema itself is modified to accommodate new, conflicting information. Assimilation of new information and accommodation of schema structure continuously interact and ultimately reach an equilibration that adapts schemas to be consistent with external reality. Another key element of Piaget’s theory was that organized mental structures support inferences, the ability to make logical deductions about relations between elements within schemas that are only indirectly related.

 

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-athletes-way/201507/the-neuroscience-recalling-old-memories

http://www.jneurosci.org/content/35/21/8333

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3789138/

Casino Carcinoma

Free energy has been a scarce commodity throughout evolutionary history on earth. Even plants and phytoplankton compete for access to sunlight and nutrients. Dissipative structures employ various defensive measures so as not to be an easy target in providing relatively free energy to predators. Free pools of energy have a tendency to be used-up quickly. Much energy is embedded within the organic tissues of ecosystem species which have evolved to consume each other for nutrition. There is great variability in the offensive and defensive attributes they possess which has led to a proliferation of forms.

The Eastern Box Turtle has excellent armor which can make this potential meal more trouble than its worth for many predators. A similar strategy has been taken by the mollusks such as clams, but their thick shells have been penetrated by the rasps of oyster drills, small snails that attach and create a small hole through which soft tissues are accessed. I am unaware of any species that can drill through a turtle or tortoise shell, but mankind’s technology has imitated that found in nature and large rasping drills penetrate thick rock shells covering the black fossil nutrition below ground.

Human ancestors inhabited a landscape of relative scarcity with predatory ability carefully balanced against other species ability to defend themselves. Free energy in excess of that allowing survival of two offspring was not readily had in the environment. There was life, struggle, balance and eventual death, sometimes with more than two offspring, sometimes with one and sometimes with none.

Humans, enhanced by their evolving social and communicative behaviors, began to access more of the energy formerly beyond their reach including wood for fire and large herbivores unable to cope with human/dog pack hunting. What once was adequately protected through co-evolution of offensive predatory and defensive herbivore behaviors and body plans, became accessible energy, not necessarily with tools, but with novel coordinated hunting strategies. Fire was also likely used as a defensive adaptation to be used against nocturnal predators. An increase of net energy within human social groups allowed  human numbers to expand, but success meant decimation of herbivore populations and a consequent fall in human numbers due to being too successful. Lotka-Volterra population dynamics kept any population from rising too high.

The greatest expansion in human numbers and complexity likely took place when much larger gradients were exploited to augment the human diet, including the soils and agriculture. Instead of relying upon transfer of energy from plants to herbivores to humans, it was possible to short-circuit the flow and transfer plant energy directly to humans. At this point the energy flow was great enough to support temple building, primitive information development, some specialization in occupation. These cultures grew and regressed as the conditions for successful agriculture came and went over time. The exhaustion of nearby soils may also have limited population in a manner similar to the Lotka-Volterra dynamics, soils that were not washed away having an opportunity to regenerate following agricultural use.

Even though agricultural civilizations collapsed, the information systems were often preserved and flourished in other areas where new growth emerged. The Latin language and alphabet of Rome was preserved in the priestly class of the Catholic Church which was in the practice of transcribing religious texts and creating illuminated manuscripts.  Eventually, with increasing net energy, those using such language would begin to describe the world in a semi-scientific manner, recording observations along with drawings and artistic impressions. The written language, the emergent DNA of technological civilization, although used for religious purposes, soon found itself describing the secular world and being employed to describe the dimensions and processes in the production of useful items such as tools. Once the information/human/tool nexus had been made, it was only a matter of time before energy began to flow more readily as the written information could be disseminated and populations  be trained to read and utilize it. The craftsman economies soon gave way to the cellular, organized environments of the modern factory where tools could be made systematically. With sufficient energy from fossil fuels, the complexity of the modern factory and supporting society could be maintained to maximize output of tools and related items.

The ecosystem was defenseless against the new tools of man and more areas were annexed for agricultural use. But not until the tools were invented to access fossil fuels and the invention of the steam engine did the human technological experiment begin to snowball into what we see today – an overwhelmingly massive technological malignancy.  The wealth of organic biological molecules, first utilized to feed an expanding population of mankind and then fossilized molecules to feed man’s tools, were pumped and mined and brought to the surface to react with oxygen.  With the advent of the internal combustion engine we could create complex tools that were energized by combustion, not entirely dissimilar to the combing of glucose with oxygen to form ATP.  One of those tools, the chain saw, is pivotal in harvesting the now defenseless trees which were initially hacked with axes and crosscut saws.  Locomotives could also be used distribute the wealth that was now open to human harvest. Having been trained by evolution to struggle and compete for scarce energy, we could use our new fossil fuel energy harvest to invest in tools to harvest the now defenseless ecosystem. Sailing ships and harpoons to kill whales, nets to capture fish, saws to down trees, guns to shoot anything that moves. And so we grew like a cancer, out of control, because we were, and we still are, out of control, harvesting all of nature’s gradients to feed through the multiplying conduits of technological civilization.

Two technological humans with simple tools for harvesting the wood gradient.

Through the mechanisms of capitalism, early surpluses were hurriedly invested in new ventures like the Hudson Bay Company established in 1670 in England to seek opportunities for growth in Canada, a metastatic expansion facilitated by French explorers. Growth and becoming rich with the realized surpluses was civilization’s primary activity.

Stock certificate for investment in the Oil Creek Rail Road Company,  to transport newly found oil in Pennsylvania – 1866.

Plentiful surpluses were reinvested again and again in search of returns and growth. Everyone wanted a piece of the action in building and owning the technological juggernaut which was very effective at conversion of energy and resources into technological products. Eventually the ownership stocks and bonds came to be valued and traded on exchanges. The primary determinants of value were growth, dividends and interest.

Humans at work on the floor of Casino Carcinoma.

Cancer inducing cellular human RNA work at trading floors around the world dealing in ownership of various cancerous cell lines (companies).  The more malignant and metastasizing the company, the more it’s stock is desired because of the energy and resources it can bring the owner.

Various companies advertising at Times Square, New York. Each company or cell line wants to expand maximally and as quickly as possible. In fact, their stockholders demand it and by law management is obligated to “maximize” profit and growth.

Recently, the cancer may have reached the limits of its growth as the amount of debt required to spur growth is greatly in excess of the amount of growth that results from the investment. The surplus returned from investment is not a surplus at all, but a loss. Due to the cost of looking for a needle in a haystack and the fact that most fossil fuels are heavily defended by thousands of feet of water, polar cold, a massive overburden of rock, or are of poor energy content, the fossil fuel predator (oil company) may soon stop spending energy trying to find and develop them at a loss. This means that society is left with what it is already feeding on, which won’t last long. Like a fox eating the last rabbit, things seem fine now, but when the last meal is digested and gone and further hunting returns less than the amount of energy expended finding it, there is a critical problem. Even today in technological societies, the body (society) is being starved to divert energy to finding and retrieving energy, at a loss. Starvation eventually ends with an emaciated body (society)  followed by death and decomposition.

Who’s the Boss?

 

Competitive body builders. The billionaires of Davos could strike a similar pose but instead of muscular toning, they have accumulated wealth to impress the world. Photo from Wellcome Trust.

I’ve noticed that humans spend an inordinate amount of time gossiping, reporting on others behaviors and actions, guessing at their motives and assigning moral judgments. It almost seems that network news has become exclusively a forum for denigration of the competition. I can’t imagine that people really find this interesting, so why do they watch? If you can make the assumption that historically, in a pre-technological setting, the only way to improve ones standing in a social hierarchy was to constantly make positive statements about oneself and allies while denigrating all others, it becomes clearer why humans still do this much of the time, to gain advantages in the power structure of the political hierarchy. They seem to do it naturally without involving much conscious thought. They are stuck in a behavioral groove cut for them by evolution and continuously engage in the monkey politics even as devastation is preparing to make a surprise visit.

Brain circuitry involved in social dominance. A lot of fear involved with the amygdala (see photos below). Left prefrontal cortex (LPFC)  inhibits inappropriate social behavior. There’s a lot of dopamine at the striatum that may encourage alpha-apes to cruise around in their limousines to display their social dominance.

For a social, hierarchical ape that finds socializing unavoidable and perhaps desirable, the common objects of discussion are rarely anything of substance, but rather socially salient information. This gossip is not innocuous and is not meant to be, rather it is yet another mostly unconscious behavior that humans participate in, given to them by thermodynamics, to establish hierarchy and resource distribution. The gossip you hear every night on the news channels, night after night, is nothing better than social warfare, where moving oneself and one’s tribe into a brighter light is always the objective and casting other individuals and tribes in darkness is the primary goal.

Nancy Pelosi (or is it Elizabeth Warren) of the Democrat tribe vocalizing displeasure with the election of strongman, Donald Trump, of the Republican tribe.

Interested humans watch the battle, day after day, anxiously awaiting the report of some social faux pas that will sink the reputation of some luminous ape. Republicans and Democrats in the United States are competing coalitions intent on putting their hands on as much power, money and perks as possible. The dupes at home are made to feel like they are a part of the tribal competition as seen on TV, and if their leader comes out ahead, they have the misapprehension that they will share in the rewards. Instead, when the feces throwing contest is over they’ll find that climate change is making continued existence a dicey proposition while their 401ks and pensions are being stuffed with worthless promises-to-pay in exchange for underwriting a sick economy sputtering on the dregs of oil extraction.

Even though we inhabit rapidly evolving technological systems, the systems cannot alter the basic mental attributes of the human RNA that have underwritten human success for millions of years but which now, as part of a new systematic configuration, move us ever closer to collapse and extinction. Humans are dissipatives and will always hunger and compete for energy and resources and will use their tools to access and protect scarce gradients. There is a natural impetus towards growth in fulfilling the Maximum Power Principle and in the particular case of humans there is an impetus to growth, not only to gain a minimum of nutrition, but to accumulate wealth as a signal to others of a dominant position in the social hierarchy. No matter the level of wealth achieved, the competition requires vigilance in continued acquisition lest some other ape gain a decisive advantage.

The stalemate in the competition for resources at the national level is not a result of a heartfelt moral imperative, but rather the terrifying prospect of mutual assured destruction from nuclear war. As hunger mounts, the mutual assured destruction may be inadequate to prevent resource grabbing behavior and nuclear war.

Soldiers wrestling. No snowflakes here, just a raw dominance contest among members of the same team. They’ll cooperate later to fight the “bad guys.”

Wildebeests doing the same as the soldiers above.

Just as an afterthought, how is it that hierarchical position is established in modern societies of strangers? Does everyone seem to be competing with their clothes and friends and hairdos and vacations and …………… It almost seems automatic that upon meeting a seldom encountered friend that they will bore you with a list of recent lofty accomplishments, victories and acquaintances.  It does get tiresome.

Hey Dude, Where’s the Party?

In an evolving near equilibrium thermodynamic (NET) system the Maximum Power Principle (MPP) is adhered to, shaping competitive dissipative structures into successful acquirers of energy and resources for growth, maintenance and reproduction. Those structures that are most successful in a given environment will grow in extent and number and their evolved structures and behaviors will predominate and be conserved.

How is it that cells can cooperate to limit individual enrichment in order to maintain an organization that works for all the cells? Even though the cells of a body are clonal and one would not expect them to eat each other, it would be expected that they would pursue the MPP if they were uninhibited by limiting communications and relationships occurring between cells in the body. If they were free-living they would grow exponentially, given the resources. Cancer cells no longer pay attention to the “law” of the body.  Humans have similarly evolved the cooperation necessary to form their own massive and complex structures or societies (encoded in a rather complex accumulation of laws, regulations derived from an evolved sense of morality) where no single human RNA is allowed to behave in a manner that is not in the interest of the whole. Where humans fail is in pursuing the Maximum Power Principle with the technological system while ignoring the pathological effect upon the ecosystem. The quasi-species of nations will not have many millions and billions of years of competition as found in the ecosystem. Just a few more decades and the entire ecosystem should be all shot to hell and the human RNA within the technological cells will be poisoned and/or starved.

Even though humans have different DNA and compete for rewards, they have evolved a degree of cooperation, especially inside  tribal and family groups, that creates a cohesive evolutionary unit, even as inter-tribal competition rages. The differential flow of energy and resources within the cooperating group is determined by the shared adaptive hierarchical behaviors. Cohesion in human populations is accomplished by sharing, albeit unevenly.

Japanese Sumo wrestlers compete for rewards but can remember their common tribal identity if necessary.

Human social behaviors with co-evolved communication can, without further development of technological tools or external recorded information, enhance survival. This also happened in Canus sp., Orcas and other species practicing coordinated hunting. These cooperating species evolved means of communicating and to some degree an analog mind, but were not in a fortuitous stage of evolution to have both a large communicating brain and free hands for bonding with potential tools found in the environment. Only humans could take the next step along the MPP road. Initially the competition among human tribes would have been for the natural abundance within the boundaries of a claimed territory. But the creative analog mind and free hands catalyzed the utilization of external tools. Once the association areas in the human brain had developed, it set the stage for the fastest possible evolution. Instead of having to wait millions of years for organic evolution to provide a novel organ, the proto-human could use images captured from its surrounding to match against seemingly useless objects in the environment. Therefore the sharp tooth of a saber tooth tiger would bear a striking resemblance to a sharp lancet stone found on the ground. The human equipped with the sharp stone acquired much of the effective power of the saber tooth tiger in just a fraction of the time it took the tiger to evolve its dentition. The new fast evolution had begun – technological evolution. Eventually, with enough experimentation and tool development, energy gradients would be opened-up for the new technological human being and technological evolution could progress, slowly at first and then systematically with recorded information and modern science.  A found tool, as long as you don’t have to search too long, is always better than one you have to expend energy creating, but the energy invested in creating some tools could be repaid with a very high energy-return-on-energy-investment (EROEI). Personal risk could also be reduced by creating tools, a spear for instance, that puts combative prey at a greater distance.

Well-equipped pre-industrial man with spear. The idea for clothing also likely emerged from an association area in the brain.

The tribally competitive humans, held together by familial bonds, would proceed to share common languages, common belief systems and often a central, symbolic edifice which could bind together large numbers of humans into a cooperative whole, not only the typical one-hundred humans thought to be the maximum for a stable tribe. Even today vast national tribes exist, held together with common identities, symbols, tribal chiefs (a President usually occupying the biggest pyramid or edifice) as in Washington, D.C. “We’re all (fill in your nationhood) and we believe in…….” and the ideas and symbols fill the mind acting as a social, tribal glue.

Sailor saluting at 2005 presidential inauguration in Washington, D.C.  Humans have evolved altruism and self-sacrifice in response to threats to the welfare of the tribe.

The increasing net energy, beyond the metabolic needs of the body, provided the extra fuel enabling the building of structures and distribution channels like roads. Complexity advanced and humans came to function as cellular RNA, the intermediary between the store of information and the tools that are produced from that information. The level of the complexity depends upon both the flow of energy from the energy/resource gradients and the effectiveness and efficiency of the tools doing the work.  The tools produced must not only cover their own production costs, but they must be good enough to cover the system costs which fosters the production of the tools. There must be energy for the education of the human RNA, building of houses, factories and roads, trucks, cars, medical systems, immune systems…….. If the energy gradients are depleted and/or the total net energy is inadequate to provide for basal metabolic activity (including repairs), the entire system is likely to enter a period of decay and eventual collapse. It remains to be seen if the low-grade energy sources like tar sands will be able to meet the base energy needs of a world civilization in overshoot while growth stops and interest is paid in an ever-increasing tsunami of fiat currency.

Having built a civilization based upon the consumption of limited stores of energy and somewhat renewable natural stocks and being competitive by the MPP in their depletion, it seems that a new massive gradient must be opened with novel tools or the existing, highly complex human civilization must begin starvation with eventual collapse. Pursuing the MPP in an aggressive and competitive manner using warfare in an attempt to acquire more resources will only result in a more rapid collapse and potential poisoning of the environment.

The only other option, and some say the opportunity has passed, is to transition to solar energy through a metamorphosis that leaves much of the current infrastructure abandoned. Due to natural human instincts and the Maximum Power Principle, most owners of the existing infrastructure will resist abandoning it until it is bankrupt and then there will be very little energy remaining with which to adjust. Our task is similar to asking a starving Bengal tiger to rearrange itself into a fern without letting the cellular RNA starve or suffer inordinately. Instead it seems like the tiger is going to eat the last gaur, the last sambar, and then civilization dies. Any process of metamorphosis would likely have to occur simultaneously world-wide, with greatly diminished military budgets, if not a one-world government so that no area undergoing conversion would be vulnerable to those maintaining powerful fossil-fuel fed militaries.

Wax model. Photo from Wellcome Trust.

Humans have one of the largest and most capable brains on earth, the most complex structure in the Universe. I asked the specimen above, “What is the meaning of life?” He responded, “Hey dude, where’s the party?” The dopamine was surging in his brain as he imagined the raucous good times and the lovely girls at the imagined destination. I couldn’t bring myself to inform him that his legs were gone and that it was far too late, that the party was almost over. As the last of the glucose was burned he fell asleep still dreaming of good times and then decay set in.

It may be that the technological fossil fuel ape will burn its last BTU with a bang and the survivors, if any,  be forever trapped within the ecosystem, whatever remains of it, to cyclically emerge, grow, party and collapse until something eventually causes extinction of the species.

Trumpothalamus

I’ve always thought that the brain of the organism was somehow homologous to the governmental structures of human societies. Recently this has only been reinforced as I consider the phenomenon of hunger. Within the human brain there is an old and important structure known as the hypothalamus, a small almond-shaped structure at the base of the brain with many different nuclei, responsible for monitoring key parameters of homeostasis, like glucose levels, blood pressure and libido. That there should be an equivalent structure monitoring societal homeostasis is not beyond reason.

“Wiithin the brain, a number of anatomical regions are recognised to play a role in metabolic homeostasis [3 and 4]. However, the hypothalamus in particular is critical in sensing and integrating signals from the periphery and effecting appropriate physiological changes to maintain homeostasis.”

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1471489213001707

Shown in the picture above is the hypothalamus (Trumpothalamus) in blue with the attached Twitter (pituitary) for sending hormonal messages throughout the body.

The hunger signal is an important one physiologically, second only to signals emanating from a lack of oxygen and lack of water.  I believe that the most recent presidential election in the United States was decided by just such a hunger signal coming from a large geographic area of the country. The hunger was not for glucose in the bloodstream, but rather fiat in the banking account. The human RNA, in their many metabolic operations, are having a hard time making ends meet, maintaining cells, getting the kids educated, feeding themselves so that they may remain healthy and perform adequately and especially challenging has been maintaining all of the various debt payments, taxes and health insurance payments while wages fail to grow. The outcome of the election resulted from  a “hunger pang” that overcame other esoteric considerations. Trump, the new president, is what happens when hunger becomes the overriding signal within the hypothalamus and you don’t mess around when the RNA are hungry.

Trump will make America great again or will at least try to put a little more cash in the American human RNA pockets. (Hasbro’s Stretch Armstrong, but there is a likeness.)

Trump has already made some proposals to alleviate economic hunger in the United States including building a wall between Mexico and the United States, renegotiating trade deals with trading partners, trashing the TPP, eliminating Obamacare, eliminating regulations, opening-up public lands, making NATO partners pay a greater share, supporting the Dakota and XL pipelines and putting pressure on manufacturer’s to move jobs back to the United States.

The real problem, however, is the ever-falling net energy obtainable by society from the fossil fuels we consume. There’s not a whole lot he can do about that. The total number of societal metabolic interactions will have to fall as the energy necessary to accomplish them is no longer available and this will result in unemployment. The hunger pangs will grow louder and may eventually result in an aggressive taking of remaining high EROEI fuel reserves somewhere in the world.

Once most of the technological civilization is at standstill and climatic externalities add to the burden, the human RNA will themselves begin to starve and the Trumpothalamus will have become insignificant as the civilizational body breaks down. On an individual human basis, the hypothalamus will still be monitoring the low glucose levels of the body, but the mind will have few behavioral options that produce more energy than they burn. Eventually there’s not enough energy to do anything except hope that someone else with a surplus brings you some food.  It all could have been avoided if humans were rational, but they’re not, they’re guided by the Maximum Power Principle to acquire wealth and reproduce maximally until it’s no longer possible and hope that their fat reserves carry them through the die-off resulting from overshoot. They scramble to eat and pack on the fat (wealth) before it’s all gone and then they hide so as not to become someone’s meal. The rich are busily buying remote outposts at this time.

Starving in India (Photo from the Wellcome Trust.) The fat is gone, the muscle is going and then you just wait. Those in the northern temperate zones will likely never reach this state of emaciation, but will freeze to death first or perish for lack of medical care to treat their industrial disease.