Cancer cells undergoing fission.
Life has always needed to solve the problem of where to safely store its complex machinery and resources, where to accumulate the resources necessary for the strived-for reproductive success. Cells have solved this problem by sequestering resources behind cell membranes, within the cytoplasm and within vacuoles until successful fission is accomplished. However, any store of nutrition is only an opportunity awaiting the evolutionary process and has resulted in parasites, bacteria and viruses that can break-through these defenses and use cellular resources and tools for their own reproduction. Cells infected in this way are usually doomed to die on their own or be engulfed by immune cells. Most healthy cells will undergo mitosis or meiosis after a substantial amount of time in a resource acquisition interphase.
Each level of organization seeks to store energy and resources. Cellular societies in the form of organisms must also find ways to accumulate the resources necessary to foster the growth of progeny. Most organisms will use one of two strategies including eating beyond immediate caloric need and storing the excess in food storage cells (adipocytes). The second means of insuring adequate nutrition is through enforcement of territories, the equivalent of an invisible cell wall surrounding resources from which competitors are excluded.
A wealth of resources stored behind the integumentary barrier.
Individuals with substantial adipose tissue have lived for over a year without eating, although a couple or three months is more typical. The man shown above is not about to undergo fission regardless of appearances. The pregnant woman shown below will soon give birth to her replacement but not before increasing her caloric intake and laying down extra fat stores. Her egg came equipped with substantial nutrition within its cell membrane and his spermatozoa spin across a banquet table of accessory nutritious substances to achieve a timely fusion and embedding within the uterine wall. Love is grand, but you’d better have the resources.
A pregnant woman with elevated appetite to nourish developing fetus and provide fat storage and milk for nursing baby.
In pregnancy, extra food is necessary and is sequestered beneath the skin in adipose tissues and the liver. The male may also suffer from sympathetic weight gain during pregnancy while family caloric intake is high. In the ecosystem, food adequate for reproduction isn’t necessarily forthcoming. As a cancerous, exponentially growing entity, human civilization will have a surfeit until it has exhausted its sources.
Artwork by Bruce Blaus
Fatty acids stored in adipocytes are a specialization enabled by an organismal arrangement of cells. Typically these cells, if not specialized within an organism, would rely upon standard vacuoles to store resources.
Resources can also be stored through territoriality or establishing of a defensive perimeter surrounding resources. Territoriality is especially strong when mating and reproduction is at hand. Humans are also territorial and exclude interlopers trying to steal resources meant for their own progeny. Today, in technological society, pairs will usually maintain a technological cell (house/home) in which to collect resources and provide a safe place for reproduction and raising offspring. This too is a form of territoriality, “a man’s home is his castle.” It may be equipped with locks and alarm systems to discourage thieves. Much of life is simply about maintaining and defending a store of resources necessary for reproducing and raising offspring.
Aerial view of the Biltmore Mansion
The Biltmore Mansion near Ashville, NC, is a beautiful place, but a bit overdone if the needs of raising a family are considered. The impulses to build this monument come from the primitive areas of the brain most obsessed with maintaining a superior position within a hierarchy of those with questionable sanity. The newer USAF plane is part of territory defense and patrols the national perimeters, just as a wolf would patrol its own sylvan territory.
Storage Units. Photo by Lee Beaumont.
Instead of maintaining a storehouse of resources to satisfy metabolic needs essential for reproduction, as in maintaining a healthy ecosystem, humans are more likely to store myriad technological products of limited use made available by the sudden wealth of fossil fuels. The fact that we have a chimerical technological system that has emerged from the ecosystem is bad news indeed, especially since the human RNA cannot recognize their real interests and would rather imagine a long and fruitful technological existence in which their organic offspring are safely ensconced. Unfortunately technological civilization does not have a life cycle. Organic metastatic cancers never last long and neither do technological ones, but they will gorge on the available glucose (oil) and grow as long as it is available.
Rainforest Slash and Burn. Photo by M. Tracy Hunter
These guards/soldiers, human RNA using specialized tools, training and information, or ones like them, will patrol the territories of their nations, the next step up in organizational hierarchy. Just like wolves guarding a territory, they’ll make sure those without the proper citizenship are denied resources that can be used internally. They will also prevent marauders (terrorists) from taking over technological cells and destroying them. Resources may include anything within the national boundaries, including both technological ones (strategic petroleum reserve) and organic ones (granaries).
The sum it up, there is a “greed” that runs through life directly associated with the need to acquire, defend and store resources for reproduction. Cells store energy in vesicles, organisms store energy in adipose tissue or as territory, humans as organisms accumulate wealth or what they perceive as wealth and surround it with walls, fences and associated barriers. The next level of organization involves political subdivisions defending territories with advanced technology. In essence, the entire complex has evolved to protect gametes trying to fuse and create new organisms. New energy brought about by technological evolution has fostered the next levels of defense. Sometimes real territorial defenses are constructed to impede marauding competitors such as the Great Wall of China and the Maginot Line. There are even missile defense shields for those wanting to impede counterattacks from the air as the scuffling for territory occurs on the ground.
When the fossil fuels run out, the walls will crumble all the way to the cellular level and as the great technological, mitochondrial nukes melt-down with their highly toxic waste ponds, the organic barriers will be breached, the information will be corrupted and life will be further laid waste.