Resource Management P1: Creation/Destruction

The environment is a very important topic. It’s gotten to the forefront of political/social discussion recently, but let’s not kid ourselves, it’s always been significant. The difference is that we were blind to how we changed it and now we can’t be. It’s just not an option anymore. There are people far more qualified to discuss the nitty-gritty details on how to improve things in the short-term. What I’m focusing on here is the broad ways in which relatively simple physics can bring clarity to the problems and help us understand the scope of the possible solutions.

Mass and Energy can be neither created nor destroyed. This is taught in highschool physics, and a law which most adults can parrot. It may be simple, but rarely is it actually applied to the global biosphere. We talk of running out of fossil fuels, of adding CO2 to the atmosphere or about the decline of fresh water. The physical matter that makes up all of that is constant, nothing is being created and nothing is destroyed. The carbon and oxygen that make up the CO2 were in a different form, if it’s exhaust from fossil fuels then it was in the large hydrocarbon bonds found under ground. Those fossil fuels are made of the same basic stuff as all life on earth, it’s simply in a complex chemical bond which we’re breaking into smaller components. And the fresh water has had impurities added, in the case of excess sea water it’s mostly salt.

Now before I go further, I’m not saying everything is fine. The natural forces which gave us an abundance of the chemicals that we rely on (and a lack of the chemicals that could be damaging) are not things we can repeat currently. Ecosystems have wonderfully complex cycles to maintain a balance of the various elements, and they’re remarkably resilient to changes in the environment. Only to a certain point and we have clearly pushed them past that point.

What needs to be understood is that it is recoverable. All those atoms that made up the world as it was for millennia are still here. The earth is a closed system, at least in terms of matter. We just need to find out how to get them back to their previous compositions. We can recover them, we can recreate them. We just need to survive long enough to figure out how.

Except helium. That stuff just floats into space. Course if we live through the next 1000 years we can go get it back, it’s just floating around the solar system.

Sex and Passion

Sex is considered a physical manifestation of love by our society. That’s not universal but there’s a strong connection between the two; if there weren’t we wouldn’t call it “making love” (among many other things). I’d say there’s a stronger link between sex and passion than sex and love.

Sex without love can still be good and healthy, but sex without passion is boring. Lust is a kind of passion, a passion for the physical. Love itself is obviously passionate (if you disagree, then you and I have a serious difference on our definition of love). So those are both equally great drives for sex.

Anger or pain can both be passionate and they can both be channeled into sex. There’s nothing wrong with angry sex, it can be a very good outlet (assuming all involved parties are wanting it). Sex as a pain response, after suffering a major loss or trauma, can be therapeutic given the right person and circumstance. These may both be ‘negative’ emotions but that doesn’t discount the power of the feelings they can create.

Saying only happy sex is okay is like saying it’s never okay being happy while alone. We’re all different; how we feel and deal with our emotions is unique.

Just don’t have boring sex, that’s a waste of a wonderful thing.

Domain Mechanus

I wrote this piece around 4 years ago, but it’s still in tune with my current thoughts/feelings.

I feel like I’ve removed myself from a large machine, and can view it from a distance. It’s purpose seems as simple as watching a person go about their daily life. Like a person, it has no specific pre-meditated goal (when seen from an outside, long-term, unbiased point). It’s goal is a result of the collection of actions it preforms with regularity.

A person works their job, has kids, buys things, consumes them and throws them out. Their purpose is to maintain society in two ways. One, the propagation of humans and the specific meme which their society wants. Two, the ‘machine’ is operated and maintained. Think of a city as a machine. All aspects of the city make up the machine (buildings, infrastructure, etc) except the humans inside. They are the operators. You work to put goods/services into the machine and you use the machine to supply you with what you want.

This occurred to me a I entered downtown on a sky train thinking about when stores close. I felt that I was limited in how I could choose to schedule my day by when stores are open. It clicked in my head that the city as a whole is a giant machine that we all operate. Sometimes the machine needs to rest.

These machines (for each city is it’s own machine) form networks with each other along trade routes. Certain machines may not survive because they lose the ingredients they need (the human populace leaves, lack of local resources, etc). These machines can be analysed similar to an animal species. Each culture around the world is it’s own breed. Proximity means that resources are similarly difficult to acquire and therefore the machines develop similarly.

Cities everywhere follow this pattern. The development of humanity in a historical sense (circa roughly 10,000 years ago) is not human development but the evolution of these machines. They become bigger, more encompassing as we create new and better technologies for them. The detachment with other humans is because the machine itself is not acting in our best interests but it’s own. The more isolated from each other we are the more we need to take from the machine.

Sadly the Internet is just another extension of the machine. It’s actually one of the last major steps required for it to have total domination over human life. The Internet allows the machine to deliver constant streams of information to each of us individually. It further isolates us while providing an easy media to indoctrinate us. The Internet is a component of the machine which had to find it’s own justification for existence. It created a meme in all of us Onliners that the Internet is about freedom. We use it to rebel against the machine but it only further isolates us.

On seeing the machine from the outside it’s ugly in human terms. There isn’t a subjective aesthetic on this, it’s human bias to call it ugly. It’s a life form (in the universal Darwinian sense) like anything else and human opinions on beauty are not relevant. Organic beings also form conglomerations in nature, ants are a prime example. Why is one better than another?

Given the damage that the city-machine has done to it’s surrounding habitat, it’s clearly not a sustainable organism. Like dropping an invasive species onto an island with no similar predators, it will destroy it’s resource base and starve to death. Best case scenario is that a massive die off happens, but a minority of aberrant individuals have adaptations that allow them to survive. They can then repopulate and hopefully achieve some sort of equilibrium with their ecosystem.

And yes, what I’m discussing here would be catastrophic in human terms. The end of civilization (or a 95% drop) would entail massive loss of human life, which would be a tragedy. From a human perceptive. Looking at it from the big picture, from the scale of life and the earth, it would be one more learning experience for evolution.

I try and see the positive in everything, and that includes the apocalypse.