Over geologic history energy has been concentrated in both living biomass, soils and fossil fuels. These depots of energy such as forests, soils, and herbivores were unavailable for life to exploit except on a limited sustainable basis. No species could gain a significant advantage over others due to similar rates of mutation and evolution. The sun’s energy traveled through a diversity of conduits known as the ecosystem resulting in what is commonly called the pyramid of life with many millions of species. But as nature, and especially nature equipped with DNA information hates a missed opportunity, eventually the cellular arrangement of one organism approached a configuration that could begin a second transformation into systematicity. This term, at least in this context, means an arrangement of cells that can manipulate both information and use that information to build tools capable of accessing previously inaccessible energy and resources. Humans first became systematic through the use of simple tools requiring little shaping or working which magnified the amount of net energy available to them. Even though it may have cost Homo erectus a certain amount of energy to chip a sharp spear from a rock and tie it to a pole, it more than payed for itself in the meat of large herbivores. Humans increasingly functioned like the RNA molecules inside their own cells that many millions of years before evolved to use and record information (DNA) to code for protein tools, greatly enhancing the net energy from previously unavailable energy sources.
Today, in our relatively complex state, young humans are deliberately schooled in the use of information, tool-making and usage before being released into the economy to function as a DNA-tool intermediary or RNA. The more schooling and specialization in tool use one receives, the more compensation one can earn. A brain surgeon, due to the delicate nature of the work, may be in school for many, many years and work and design sophisticated tools to repair the brains of fellow RNAs and therefore receive greater compensation than average. Also, the amount of dopamine one can elicit in other human brains, for example by popular comedians, sports stars and musicians may greatly enhance the amount of income one can command from the system. In any case, most humans perform rather routine, repetitive functions somewhere in the metabolism of society for rather common wages or energy equivalents. The great variety of human occupations is related to the energy flow and complexity of the system which is now disposing of the fossil fuels at a rapid pace. That technological tools have been turned loose against the ecosystem and that fossil fuel combustion by-products are poisoning the ecosystem does not seem to concern the human RNA. Humans, busily metabolizing in their cells, are imagining the next reward that may require just a few more days, weeks or years of work.
For many the pursuit of credentials and education has become a life-long obsession, each degree and completed program hopefully opening the door to higher paying RNA jobs in which more of the cancer’s swag can be diverted in their own direction. The people become their technological jobs having been trained to perform certain tasks for most of their lives. This accomplishment allows the feeling of greater status in the de facto social hierarchy and perhaps the opportunity to hit the dopamine/opioid releasing levers provided by society, more times than before. When someone asks “What do you do for a living?” just tell them “I’m a highly trained human RNA working within a technological metastatic cancer.” The particulars are not important considering the destination of this growth. Later you can say “I’m a cancer survivor.” Maybe you will survive and maybe you won’t.
The ecosystem and environment in general are taken for granted as the humans work upon all available energy and resource gradients as fast as possible. Why? Because human awareness is a slave to thoughts and imaginations of rewards and actions which will bring happiness. The human, like all dissipative structures, must behave in such a way as to support the structure of the body with energy and resources and this is interpreted by the brain as “success” or “happiness”. Humans cannot be distracted from their life nourishing activity – those things that bring rewards and happiness. Dopamine……opioids……..feels good……………do it again is the human behavioral cycle and this is likely the way it will draw to a close, a super-effective evolving organism (cancerous with respect to the ecosystem) runs out of resources to convert into human rewards. Human RNAs become sluggish and then stop working completely. What rewards do the RNA in cells receive? They don’t need the dopamine/opioid rewards found in the brain to get them moving. They run on brownian motion and molecular bonding as long as the intracellular matrix provides them the necessary information and building blocks. In many ways the human also runs on automatic with a little guidance from pleasure inducing molecules.
Even at this point in human evolution, learning, manipulating information and building tools have been tied into the dopamine/opioid pathways. This is in some ways maladaptive in that the engineering and designing of tools is favored over non-remunerative learning which could provide some circumspection regarding overall system behavior. There’s almost always an engineering fix to a problem because there’s always a design and consulting fee associated with the work which magically appears in the brain because of the dopamine associated with it. In reality many engineered solutions just add to the problems.
Once the system becomes massively complex with energy and resources flowing into millions of bifurcating avenues, the stage is set for system failure. As energy input at the base begins to decrease you may see, as with a tree having their roots cut, certain branches turning brown and leaves falling. The reason being that adequate metabolic resources are no longer available to complete some essential task. As the roots are cut off more branches of the tree die. The tree downsizes involuntarily just as human society will downsize involuntarily as energy inputs are diminished. Many technological structures, their cells and RNA will end up leaf litter before the entire organism ceases functioning. Many expensively and well-educated graduated leaf litter are occupying the basements of their parent’s technological cells at this very moment. Does the technological system have a life cycle? No. The only strategy it seems to have is that of a metastasizing cancer. Find new areas in which to grow and consume. Mars? A pathetic idea hatched from a metastatic system that has nowhere to go but to a terminus just as terminal human cellular cancers end-up with nowhere to go.
If we could just open-up a new continent or two we could all flourish, become super-educated, complex and siphon-off more money for dopamine lever pushes. But alas the growth is coming to an end and your newest occupation will perhaps be insurmountable, something like a cellular RNA surviving the death of the body and cell in which it used to work, to return to the “natural” world from where it originally came. Humans are not as “all in”, not as dedicated to cellular life as cellular RNA. Some humans may make it out of the decaying civilization back to nature, only to find that nature itself is no longer the healthy and giving entity it once was, but a body ravaged by cancer. But behaving like a cancer and trying to grow forever and live forever with our overly complex medical system was worth it – wasn’t it? Or did we ever really have a choice?