engulfs and contains complexity without understanding that complexity. It is not sentient, sapient, or conscious. Indeed, unlike an individual human child with fabulously complex behavior, its function as a simple energy- seeking heat engine can be effectively described using very simple equations. There ’ s a general societal belief that humans are becoming more enlightened and making progress, and this, in many cases, is true when it comes to individuals. However, what matters ecologically is the aggregate behavior of the species, and the aggregate behavior is that of a rampaging bacterium ripping through a finite growth medium. Thus, despite all existing science, social movements, reforms, and new inventions, the exponential growth of the human experiment continues unabated. Our collective behavior, so far, is like that of yeast replicating in a sealed bottle of grape juice, and there is just only ever one way that ends.
Urban growth in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA - 1972 and 2006 (Image from svs.gsfc.nasa.gov)
TaaL: Seen from space, it ’ s hard not to see the aggregate human amoeba; it looks exactly like any other bacterial growth pattern. It may seem counter- intuitive that nearly any single member of the human race is more competent than the species as a whole, but it ’ s true. You all assume that somewhere out of sight there ’ s a competent pilot navigating the course of human events, or at least some conspiracy of billionaires or Machiavellian supervillains with their hands on the wheel. But the cockpit is empty. The human experiment is careening out of control, and it ’ s only a matter of time before it slams into the solid limits of which physical reality is composed. Even those humans
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