Information, RNA and tools and the cells that contain them serve the function of creating conduits that maximize the flow of energy from a highly energetic source to a cold sink that accepts the waste heat. It’s a thermodynamically favorable arrangement of matter, even considering the amount of energy it takes to build it. The extant biological forms are “profitable”, if not they go extinct. Those conduits that are best at acquiring energy and dissipating it are also those that can reproduce themselves most prolifically from the profit derived from the energy and resources that flow through them.
Human societies are no different in that they use information, RNA (humans) and tools at the human scale to attack energy and resource gradients to maximally degrade energy from high density fossil fuel deposits, converting it to waste heat. All of the structures built by humans facilitate the acquisition and degradation of high grade energy. Self-organizing systems like the ecosystem and the technosystem evolve to maximize the acquisition and flow of energy. Metabolism, cellular and technological, is the sum total of movements to build and distribute materials for building conduits, reproducing conduits, moving conduits (in pursuit of energy) all fed by the primary source of energy (ecosystem/sun, technosystem/fossil fuels). Even though complexity is created in the conduits, entropy overall is accelerated as conversion of high grade energy to low grade waste heat. Prior to the use of fossil fuels, the emerging technological system relied upon wood.
A very profitable brand of conduits that has expanded rapidly based upon the amount of profit it has been able to skim is Wal-Mart. Fed by products made with low-low wages in China, the company was able to offer low-low prices in the U.S.
Biological and technological conduits will evolve and reproduce and those forms that are best adapted to the environment and can skim the most profit from the energy flow will reproduce to a greater extent than others. Technological forms like Wal-Mart can likewise evolve and reproduce based upon the profits generated by the energy that flows through their stores and distribution channels. One store becomes ten, becomes one hundred, becomes one thousand. It expands because it is best at maximizing the energy flow, deriving a profit and reproducing. Same story for Starbucks, Kentucky Fried Chicken and so on. Those structures less capable of processing energy and deriving profit grow slowly, if at all, and may also go bankrupt or become extinct.
Early logging operation in Queensland. These human RNA are very hungry for a profit as their numbers expand exponentially. The wood is used for both building cellular and other structures and in firing the metabolism of steam driven tools, heating and cooking. The tree they stand upon had evolved to skim a profit from the solar radiation it collected. The humans, in their malignant form, equipped with rapidly evolved tools, will skim a profit and grow by essentially consuming themselves – the ecosystem. Malignant cancers always perish as the system which gave birth to them dies.
Humans have found thousands of ways to channel the fossil fuel energy through the metabolisms of their technological cells (factories/workshops). For work performed in the cells, each human is given a stipend of paycheck with which to vote for their favorite products. Typically, instead of maximizing their own reproduction (children), they’ll instead choose from a variety of product-oriented mental masturbation and neural opioid release instead of pursuing the natural orgasmic opioid release associated with copulation and production of offspring. The variety of opioid possibilities has greatly expanded with technological civilization. Humans will defeat reproductive success, the only measure of success in the ecosystem, through the use of various barriers to conception. Instead of the limbic system tricking the cortex into pursuing sexual relations, the cortex can now trick the limbic system into providing the reward without the associated offspring. “What’s it going to be honey, another kid or a trip to Cancun every year for twenty years?” The typical human will choose the trips, even though they will be less represented in the species DNA in the future, if there is one.
Large families happen when pleasure is religiously pursued. Each offspring is a potentially successful conduit that will both assist and compete against other conduits depending upon the closeness of their DNA – typically.