Belly of the Beast
Let me out
The biological world self-organizes in a way that is distinct from the physical world of mountains and valleys and lakes and rivers.
The biological world has a common structure where macro things depend on microthings and visa versa. I look as I write out onto a grove of trees. They seem like distinct individuals. But I think they interact underground via microscopic root hairs exchanging chemicals.
For instance - all the trees start producing buds at once. I imagine that a chemical signal propagating through the grove when one tree passes some kind of triggering milestone.
In a forest with rich humus the interaction is more complex still. The root hairs also interact with the mycelia of various fungi as well as bacteria and bugs.
These interactions produce waves of propagating influence at a microscopic level that influences what happens at the macro level of trees.
We see this kind of structure in ourselves as animals with needs and projects.
On one level we are neurons controlling muscles and on another level we are reaching for a cup of coffee to take a sip.
People don't interact with each other by exchanging chemicals via root hairs. We can communicate via many forms of speech. This produces propagating waves of influence that influence our individual behavior.
That causes us to group together in various ways.
Groups of people group with other groups to form metagroups.
And the metagroups group to form metametagroups.
In a world with 7 billion people this can involve very many meta levels.
We end up with the fractal structure we call society.
When I look at those propagating waves of influence on a social level it looks crazy.
I've been in a reading group studying how capitalism works. For instance, why did society choose a polluting power source like steam over non-polluting sources like wind and water. It wasn't really good for the majority of people at the time and lead pretty directly to our global warming problem now so it looks like a pretty crazy thing to do from the perspective of a person.
It seems like society is like a beast that does what it wants no matter how crazy it seems to be to the people who make it up.
Lately we've been reading about the global banking and finance system. It really does seem crazy. But also, it's a system that evolved at the level of society - not at the level of any one wanting to create it.
The news is full of craziness.
A central thing these days is disinformation - I've seen the problem on a personal level for years. If people tell you straight up lies it's often hard to prove that they are lying.
I used to talk a lot with creation scientists who would deny Natural Selection and would insist that an "intelligent designer" (aka God) was required to explain the apparent design in the natural world. I'd point out that that God was impossible for various reasons.
That's what I believe they'd say and that would be that.
At the time I never dreamed of a Trump and trumpists who have taken disinformation to the highest level of society.
And think how crazy war is. But you can also see them coming from a distance and they are as unstoppable as a hurricane.
An element of the situation that is novel is that people are aware and smart and often can be pretty adaptable. We may be made of cells but the cells are not aware.
The beast may be made of people, but the twist is that the beast isn't smart or aware - people are.
What do you think?