The Frontal Lobe versus Planet Earth

The frontal lobe is responsible for abstract thinking. It is the youngest and largest region of the human brain located just behind the forehead. While the rest of the brain abides by the normal mammalian genome adapted to Earth’s biosphere, the frontal lobe of a human brain is not bound by such mundane relationships.

In an exercise to pass time while sheltered, mariner developed an analog which eliminated conflict between humans and the biosphere by stepping backward in history until the conflict had yet to occur. An example everyone is aware of is the fossil fuel conflict. By tracking backwards to the point where the cause (a frontal lobe invention) did not exist, one can deduce the lifestyle, politics and what at that point would be compatible with the biosphere.

Herewith is a summation of the results:

SOCIETY

  • THERE IS NO FREE WILL. HUMAN BEHAVIOR AND INTELLECT ARE TIGHTLY BOUND TO A GENOME THAT EVOLUTION TOOK 70 MILLION YEARS TO CREATE. IN THIS RESPECT, HUMANS ARE NO DIFFERENT THAN OPOSSUMS AND KING COBRAS.
  • THERE IS ONLY 2% DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE GENOME OF A CHIMPANZEE AND THAT OF A HUMAN. THE DIFFERENCE IS THE FRONTAL LOBE.
  • ONE IN TEN HUMANS CAN THINK IN THE ABSTRACT. THE REST ARE SMART SIMIANS, ALSO KNOWN AS THE ELECTORATE.

HOMO SAPIENS

  • AS AN EVOLUTIONARY PHENOMENON, THE HUMAN BRAIN IS AN UNSTABLE ABERRATION. LIKE THE DINOSAURS, WHICH EVENTUALLY BECAME EXTINCT BECAUSE THEY WERE IN CONFLICT WITH THE BIOSPHERE, HUMANS HAVE AN END DATE FOR EXISTENCE.[1]

ECONOMY

  • CAPITALISM AND SOCIALISM ARE SOPHISTICATED ARGUMENTS FOR GREED.
  • COMMUNISM, SANS ALL THE AUTHORITARIAN INFLUENCES, IS THE NATURAL ECONOMY FOR THE HUMAN SPECIES. TODAY’S EXAMPLE IS OFF-THE-GRID HOMESTEADING – A NATURALLY COMPLIANT BEHAVIOR WITH THE BIOSPHERE. NOTE THAT THIS LIFESTYLE MATCHES THE REST OF THE SIMIAN GENOME WITHOUT THE IRRITATING INVENTIONS COMING FROM THE FRONTAL LOBE.

SCIENCE

  • CREATES INTELLECTUALISM AT THE COST OF DISRUPTING THE NATURAL ENVIRONMENT, E,G., LIFE SPAN OF A HUMAN BEING. RELEVANT HUMAN HISTORY IS SUPPOSED ONLY TO BE ABOUT 60 YEARS OR THREE GENERATIONS.

TECHNOLOGY

  • THE CENTER OF GROWTH FOR GREED-BASED ECONOMIES.

Well, there it is. Humans get in trouble when they let the frontal lobe do its thing without respecting the rest of the simian brain and its agreeable relationship with Planet Earth.

So much for shelter-in-place.

Ancient Mariner

 

[1] The asteroid just hastened the end of a declining existence for the dinosaurs; Covid-19 tried hard to bring an end to humans but came up a little short. Humans will have to end it on their own.

Evolutionary Change

For those readers who have an interest in the evolution of species on a grand, Earth-time scale, they may have learned that significant changes in the basic form of living things occurs in a relatively short amount of time. A couple of examples: The most significant ice age in Earth’s history lasted from 720-635 million years ago. The ice age caused a complete extinction of single celled flora that thrived on microscopic fungi and dissolved chemicals. As the ice age receded, a new form of life rapidly emerged: diversified plankton, similar boneless creatures and importantly, primitive sponges – the first evidence of the animal kingdom.

Another more popular example is the end of the Paleogene Extinction 66 million years ago when dinosaurs disappeared and the age of mammals literally exploded into the many branches of diversification that are familiar today.

Mariner apologizes for the lesson in paleontology but it sets a clear model for the absolute dissolution of social history as humans have known it since the Roman Empire and now, in the early decades of the twenty-first century a sudden, brand new, seemingly unevolved society – the age of artificial intelligence – is emerging. Thanks to Covid-19, one generation of humans can experience the rapid extinction of the industrial/technical age virtually overnight, leaving a new form of society ready to explode into the future.

The whole premise for future society is different. For example, capitalism is too slow for future society; capitalism has been the core economic philosophy all the way back to ancient times; it’s a horse-and-buggy single flow movement of resources. Cash flows only in one direction and ends up wasted in the coffers of the super-rich. Artificial Intelligence (AI) will redistribute static assets in a flash.

The tight, dark age relationship between work and wage will be separated so that work is an act of participation in society and wage is more related to sustaining an optimized GDP. This allows AI to utilize income as a fluid resource throughout the economy rather than the very slow, piecemeal process of distributing wages to each person one-on-one – another horse-and-buggy process.

The stock market already has acquiesced to the presence of AI. Twenty-nine percent of all transactions are decided by self-learning computer algorithms without human intervention – doubling since 2013.

Although at the moment many social behaviors are in turbulence as the dynamics of change already are shaking things around, new forms will emerge relatively quickly. For example, the bipolar political situation around the world is a sign of pushing out the old and reforming differently. In the US, it is quite plain that the republican concept of capitalism isn’t working well and is on the verge of losing dominance. New economic concepts will be a combination of capitalism, socialism, communism and AI’s philosophy, pragmatism – whatever works best in a market situation is what will set the –ism.

At the personal level and involving emotional comfort, secure identity, sufficient privacy, and the right to human judgment versus AI, things will be sticky. Human feelings and behaviors, bound by genome, don’t fit as smoothly to the bit and byte world of AI as economic policy does. There will be a struggle between the public and the never ending encroachment of AI psychology, Pavlovian control (witness how humans have adapted to smartphones and Alexi) and environmental manipulation, e.g., who can live where and in what kind of housing.

Add to personal uneasiness the issue of race. By 2045 caucasians will be a mathematical minority of US population. This will affect long standing social taboos and class definitions. Worldwide, mariner has mentioned in a previous post that Indians and Chinese will constitute one in every three humans.

And finally, the center of civilization will leave Europe, the Balkans, the Mediterranean and the Middle East and settle on the boundaries of the Pacific Ocean and the Southern Hemisphere.

Don’t bother packing bags, AI will do that.

Ancient Mariner

 

About that cat

Mathematics has always been a numbing topic to most people. Yet, innately, all people utilize math in their everyday lives. The human brain doesn’t call it math; the brain may concede a visible logic to things, for example, don’t put on your coat before you put on your shirt but usually it isn’t about math, it’s about common sense. So the brain helps out immensely by learning wordless formulas to make sense of everything. Just as spoken language has a structure behind it called grammar, science of every kind depends on a similar grammar but not about words, it’s about physical laws – Nature.

To make things more complex, there are different kinds of math that use different realities to construct mathematical truths. Most everyone suffers through algebra, trigonometry, geometry, and perhaps laws of motion in Physics class. All these categories are in one realm of reality: Newtonian Physics – remember the guy that had an apple fall on his head so he devised a mathematic definition for gravity. Well heck, humans don’t need math to know about gravity – what goes up must come down; the brain has a handle on it.

Then along comes Einstein, AKA Einsteinian physics or the theory of relativity. Einstein said that the Earth moves toward the apple as much as the apple moves toward the Earth. Wait a minute, the brain doesn’t know about the Earth moving. That’s because the movement is relative to the mass of the apple and the mass of the Earth. If one thinks about this situation hard enough and is lucky to fathom Einstein’s version of common sense, the passing of time also is involved. Time must move around mass. As the Earth and the apple move toward each other time is slowed because it must flow around their mass. – but just in a really, really tiny space around each object. Should a person have two sensitive clocks one at the front of the apple and the other at the back showing identical time, surely (hah) one realizes that the time at the front of the apple will be ahead of the time behind the apple when all is said and done. Somewhat associated with this is the phenomenon that if astronauts spend years in space moving at high speeds, when they return they will be much younger than their classmates.

Einstein is a prerequisite before moving on to really weird mathematics about reality. It’s called Quantum Physics. Newton’s reality was about normal stuff like apples and snow. Einstein was more comfortable among very large bodies like stars and planets and time at very high speeds. Quantum physics deals with reality in subatomic space, that is, how electrons, neurons, quasars and other tiny stuff behave. It is also the reason mariner has written all this math stuff.

Because Quantum Physics is so unlike the other very finite mathematics, it takes more than an apple to comprehend Quantum Physics. For example, the line between past events and future events is blurred; in a sense, there is no present. What the past brings to the table, however, will determine any number of outcomes. To help those who haven’t grasped this past-future relationship, a famous metaphor is ‘Schrödinger’s cat’:

Mariner brings to the reader a box. In this box is a cat. Is it alive? Is it dead? A rational reader would say, “How do I know?” That’s because humans are born and bred to reason in finite terms. The correct answer, in Quantum Physics is, “Yes.” Until an event occurs that opens the box, only then will the finite answer be known. This is an example of how the past and future are interdependent without a present.

But now to the title of this post. Mariner has construed another example that may be easier to accept. Imagine the reader is traveling on an interstate. There is a ‘fast’ lane and a ‘slow’ lane. Frequently along the Interstate there are signs that say ‘slower traffic keep right’ (Let’s not open a box full of irritating comments about other drivers). As it turns out, the reader has the only vehicle in sight. Is the vehicle slow and moves to the right lane or is the vehicle fast and moves to the left lane? Logically, the answer is ‘yes.’ There are other factors like speed limit, weather, heavy load on a hill, etc. These variables give insight into the fact that scientists have predicted as many as 16 different futures for a subatomic particle in the same moment.

Thanks for tolerating the pontification.

REFERENCE SECTION

Mariner watched an episode of “Dirty Money” on Netflix. It turned out to be free of pundit interpretations and approached the Wells Fargo abuses from the point of view of line staff that had worked for Wells Fargo. The wrong doing, which is now in court and has the attention of the House of Representatives, is what Wells Fargo calls ‘cross-selling’, that is, in an honest sales pitch, convincing customers to open more than one account. For example, a customer should have at least two checking accounts, a debit card, a credit card, a retirement savings account, a loan or mortgage and a few more savings accounts. To the stock market and shareholders, all these accounts represented growth so Wells Fargo stock kept rising in value.

At the line level, called personal bankers, it was run like a sweat shop. The bankers had quotas that were unreasonable and even irrational. Eventually, with awareness on the part of management all the way to the CEO, the personal bankers ran out of friends and family members to foist accounts onto and began creating accounts without consulting the customers. Large numbers of customers had many accounts they were not aware of until collection agencies began calling them for not paying account fees.

Needless to say cross-selling, while legal to an extent, is not a good banking practice in any case. The documentary was above average. If Elizabeth Warren watched it, she would need a tranquilizer.

Ancient Mariner

 

It’s Monday

The Monday morning gossip around the keyboard is speculating about Joe Biden’s VP, cabinet positions, etc. The most succinct list is produced from Axios:

“Joe Biden confidants are privately discussing potential leaders and Cabinet members for his White House, including the need to name a woman or African American — perhaps both — as vice president.

John Kerry would love to take a new Cabinet position. Mike Bloomberg would be a top possibility to head the World Bank.

Sally Yates, the deputy attorney general under Obama who stood up to Trump and was fired is a leading contender for attorney general. Sen. Elizabeth Warren as Treasury secretary.

Jamie Dimon — chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase, and mentioned over the years as a potential presidential candidate — would also be considered for Treasury.

Another possibility to head Treasury: Anne Finucane, vice chairman of Bank of America.

Behind the curtain: Campaign officials say the name game isn’t where Biden’s head is — he knows he has major primary and general-election fights ahead.

Officials point out they don’t yet have a transition — and haven’t run a process that would surface new talent, like Dr. Steven Chu, the Nobel Prize physicist who was Obama’s first secretary of energy.

It’s a sign of the sudden optimism around his candidacy that some in his circle of trust are starting to think down the road.”

It’s Monday morning and it will rain all day. No garden work today; mariner likely will stay in his workshop to make trellises for tomato plants.

As many families plan to do, mariner’s family is having a family get together this spring. This involves airline flights, interstate travel, old folks, children and dogs. The question for family gatherings is whether the virus will permit them.

In response to Ben’s speculation about the disappearance of Earth in the storm of the Sun’s death and therefore sustainability in the long run is not sustainable, Guru chimed in with his typical abstruse comment: There is no ultimate sustainability in the Universe. The Universe is the result of an explosion and, like explosions, will continue to dissipate that original energy until it is gone. This fact resides in all objects in space and in every living creature on Earth and elsewhere. There is no object or circumstance that does not dissipate energy from that original explosion.

First, however, humanity must make it to the twenty-second century. In the meantime, mariner is off to his shop to dissipate some energy making trellises.

Ancient Mariner

 

Sustainability

Increasingly, mariner sees the word ‘sustainability’ popping up in news releases and articles. This is a good sign. It is raising the political thought that classism, elitism, nationalism and identity politics don’t really solve the problems of today’s world.

Were it not for the presence of a global pandemic, failing international economies and global warming, the idea of sustainability may not have emerged so quickly. Thinking in the abstract, as Guru is wont to do, the world may not be able to support oligarchy much longer. The liquidity and business investment value is needed to assuage true hardship experienced by everyone else in the world.

Beyond economics, global warming and pandemics don’t recognize borders or class distinctions. The politics that must deal with these subjects requires sustainability – by everyone. Sustainability is a unification word; it means the solution is more important than individual nations, individual cultures, corporations or individual political movements.

For several decades nations have been trying to deal with global warming by any means that will work other than sustainability (none do). The prime example is the fossil fuel industry dodging sustainability at every turn because its investment value will diminish greatly as the world population insists on moving to more sustainable energy resources.

As to pandemics, if properly funded and given direction, science will slowly make progress in dealing with pandemics from the perspective of sustainable practices, economics and politics. For example, it is not a sustainable behavior when items like face masks suffer price gouging under the not-so-sustainable concept of supply and demand.

One can hope sooner than later that war and its destructive conclusions will be seen as a solution that does not support sustainability.

Sustainability is an updated word that no longer means just surviving on a homestead; it also means surviving on a planet. Perhaps finally the United Nations may come into its own as THE organization responsible for sustainability. Goodness knows it has been trying.

Ancient Mariner

 

CRISPR

Chicken Little stopped by today to bring to mariner’s attention a news item from National Public Radio (NPR). An excerpt follows:

“For the first time, scientists have used the gene-editing technique CRISPR to try to edit a gene while the DNA is still inside a person’s body.

The groundbreaking procedure involved injecting the microscopic gene-editing tool into the eye of a patient blinded by a rare genetic disorder, in hopes of enabling the volunteer to see. They hope to know within weeks whether the approach is working and, if so, to know within two or three months how much vision will be restored.”

“Don’t be fooled,” Chicken said. “There may be good intentions today but gene splicing in living humans opens the door to permanent slavery, super human football players, over-sexed men who will never need Cialis and a class of super smart people who will control everything.”

“Do you remember Matrix?” he said. “CRISPR is how they will prepare humans to live in caskets for organ donation and battery power. Or maybe CRISPR is how everyone was made identical in the book 1984.”

Mariner wishes his father knew about CRISPR; maybe it won’t take zillions of years to evolve a three-fingered hand.

Actually, the emergence of CRISPR gives one pause. It wouldn’t take much to breed humans who could live for two hundred years (Lord, who would want to?). Conversely, sperm and egg production could be stopped as a way to limit an over populated world. These are extreme ideas, though. How will CRISPR be used in the general population? Have a propensity for a disabling disease? Have it removed with CRISPR. Any deformity can be repaired or removed with a few gene modifications; bad allergies? Use CRISPR. Lose a limb? Grow a new one with CRISPR.

What concerns mariner is not the science but how it will be managed by governments. So far government isn’t controlling the use of data distribution and its effect on privacy. Government has no idea how to manage the age of artificial intelligence. Mariner is more anxious about today’s moral discipline than he is about the potential of CRISPR.

So, add CRISPR as a path to a new world – along with global warming, plutocracy, and tropical, disease carrying mosquitos moving up the coast from Florida because the weather is warmer. Mariner told Chicken Little not to worry about CRISPR, worry about normal people.

Ancient Mariner

Nationalism under 5G

5G?

Fifth-generation wireless (5G) is the latest iteration of cellular technology, engineered to greatly increase the speed and responsiveness of wireless networks. With 5G, data transmitted over wireless broadband connections can travel at multigigabit speeds, with potential peak speeds as high as 20 gigabits per second (Gbps) by some estimates. These speeds exceed wireline network speeds and offer latency of 1 millisecond (ms) or lower for uses that require real-time feedback. 5G will also enable a sharp increase in the amount of data transmitted over wireless systems due to more available bandwidth and advanced antenna technology.

– – – –

A big conference will be held in Germany soon. Its primary speakers are the foreign ministers of China, Japan, India and South Korea. There is concern in Europe that the nations of Europe will never have 5G independence. Germany’s cybersecurity chief struck a pessimistic tone at a pre-Munich cyber conference: “If you talk about digital sovereignty, we don’t have it. And we’ll never have it.” There will be presentations by Pelosi, Pompeo and Zuckerberg as well. [Politico]

The idea of sovereignty may undergo significant political transformation if, as feared, whole nations are just uplinks to a few communication systems owned and operated by a few nations like China and the US. National privacy, very much like personal privacy, may not be available. In the old days the spy business used to be a face-to-face transaction but with China manufacturing its technical equipment and the US eavesdropping, no nation will have secrets.

The US already is pushing back on China for a number of manufactured items used in smartphones and cloud-based games. The US asked the European Union not to install Huawei hardware but, said the EU, what else is there? The US is behind China in 5G development.

Nations, just as with a person’s decision making, will be influenced by 5G operators who already know what the target nation is thinking, what its economic conditions are and where its vulnerabilities lie. What will this do to traditional diplomatic relationships? Will a robot wearing suit and tie replace Pompeo?

A current model may provide insight. At the turn of the millennium there were 12 significant stock exchanges around the world. The differences in time zone meant that transactional business for a given stock exchange was local and finished before other stock exchanges opened. Today, that is not the case. An investor can issue trades to any exchange in the world at any time of day. An investor doesn’t have to miss daily opportunities that would be gone had the investor had to wait until the exchange opened for business the next day.

Continuous access has the effect of leveling the monetary value of daily interactions between exchanges. It also reduces the range of highs and lows relative to other exchanges.

Applying these causes and effects to nations using 5G, the positive side may be the prevention of surprises that lead to political or military conflict. The downside may be a new form of authoritarianism – similar to the direction AI is taking with US citizens.

Ancient Mariner

Observations in Passing

֎ Has anyone noticed that constraints on nuclear weapon manufacturing, in place since the cold war days, are gone? Has anyone noticed that mature nations with sound ethos like North Korea, Iran, Russia, China and the US are building these weapons again? Perhaps this is preparation for uncontrolled climate change – something like euthanasia . . . .

֎ Science Magazine had a couple of new insights: the African Grey Parrot has compassion – the only bird known to comprehend the act of sharing between adults without recompense. If a parrot can pass it forward, one would think humans may be capable as well.

The second insight is that the average body temperature of human beings has been dropping for the last 160 years. Traditional perception is a temperature of 98.6 m/l; it has dropped to an average of 97.5. That drop may be a product of lower overall levels of inflammation, thanks to antibiotics, vaccines, and improved water quality.

֎ Rather quickly, Iran announced it was culpable for downing the Ukrainian passenger aircraft. Likely, it was because evidence to the cause of the explosion was available around the world. Nevertheless, mariner thinks Donald would never admit culpability if it were his fault. His Base would have a good guess at whose fault it was – Hillary or Nancy.

It isn’t that mariner is an advocate of continued identity conflict; the US is a nation torn apart and flailing a bit. Still the electorate, mariner’s nemesis, is required to think – even a tiny bit – about the cause and effect of reality. Even if the nation’s ‘astute’ politicians suddenly were to economically repair forty years of wage suppression across the country, the Base would attribute that gift to their emotional and irrational interference with democracy without any concern for the facts and would thumb their noses at Hillary and Nancy. Democracy is a thinking person’s philosophy of government, dammit.

֎ In a similar model to Russia meddling in US elections, China is doing the same to Taiwan elections. However, the democratic forces won in Taiwan rejecting China’s “one country, two systems” model for unification that China has used in Hong Kong which promises a “high degree” of autonomy, was soundly debunked by the recent election that re-elected Tsai Ing-wen, the current president of Taiwan.

During his career Mariner spent some time in Taiwan and he was impressed with the democratic aura of the nation. It has a tough row to hoe being only 110 miles from the China coast. Three cheers for the solid rejection despite China’s political invasion.

Ancient Mariner

 

 

The New Economics

For the last post or two, mariner has been lamenting the human creature. A creature who foremost is selfish, then vain, grossly insufferable and narrow minded especially as seen by other creatures in the biosphere. There are more adjectives but the reader gets the point. If the reader is a human creature, do not discount one’s self; you are selfish, vain, grossly insufferable and narrow minded. Mariner speaks his mind in the name of his alter ego and mentor, the prophet Amos.
More abstractly, the societies that human creatures build are based on their inherent characteristics but formulated into a system of measure that illustrates their success at being human creatures. The measuring system is economics in its varying forms and philosophies. Very briefly but without jaundice, consider these behavioral definitions of various economic patterns:
Capitalism is parasitic. Profit is the end product of consumed biosphere – whether human or environmental. Profit is a visible measure of selfishness, vanity, oppressive behavior and narrow mindedness.
Socialism is less parasitic as long as defined territories guarantee that everyone is assured of being equally selfish, vain, grossly insufferable and narrow minded.
Communism is less parasitic in that it constrains the opportunity for just about everyone to be selfish, vain, grossly insufferable and narrow minded.
Corporatism is parasitic, a child of capitalism that has developed better skills at being selfish, vain, grossly insufferable and narrow minded.
There are other isms but by and large they are governmental variations applied to economics that promote selfishness, vanity, oppressive behavior and narrow mindedness. One thinks of authoritarianism, dictatorships, slavery, monarchies, militarism, plutocracy and oligarchy. Oh, about democracy: it’s a method of altering overly abusive practices between human creatures; it’s just like war but it takes several generations. Parasitic economics isn’t the focus.
Mariner is sorry to be redundant but again he references the Native American societies that existed for thousands of years across the North American continent – until white man appeared. The Indians may not be any less vain, selfish, etc. than white people but they had not mastered Mother Nature. Indians had not learned how to be parasites. As human creatures they still were bound by a quid pro quo with their ecosystem. What was their economic philosophy? Sustainability.
The tribal hunters were the ‘capitalists’ except that the profits taken from the environment were not owned by the hunters; the ‘gross domestic product’, if you will, was distributed to the entire tribe (That is not true today in white man’s world).The primary requirement was sustainability – not profit or possession or any of the other human creature adjectives. Indians could not dominate their environment; rather they had to survive within the constraints of their quid pro quo agreement. The first order of economic importance was sustaining the ecosystem. The Native American economic model worked for thousands of years. Dependence on the ecosystem held a cap on abusive selfishness, vanity, oppressive behavior and narrow mindedness, AKA parasitic behavior.
– – – –
Today, just a few decades past Adam Smith, John Maynard Keynes, Karl Marx, Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman, the planet itself has bought a seat at the economics table. New issues that aren’t focused on the human creature adjectives have come into play. Things like global warming, overpopulation, disappearing agriculture, scarcity of minerals and critical chemicals, depth of ecological sustainability, global extinction of important plants and animals and the chemistry of survivability itself.
Whether human creatures want to or not, it is time to settle with Mother Nature. The combination of parasitic behavior, planetary cycles, and shifting biosphere dependencies all will have serious impact on human creatures in the near future and in the far future.
The new rule for human economics is not parasitic behavior. It is sustainability as a member of the biosphere. Sustainability has no room for parasites.
Ancient Mariner

Examining Existence

The planet is embroiled in many confrontations. It has its own issues regarding its tendency to grow warmer and warmer; something Earth has been doing since the last ice age over twenty thousand years ago. Further, hominids have pitched in for the last 12,000 years, putting Earth on something akin to Cocaine. More on that later.

Earth, given its proximity to the Sun and carrying its own moon around, permits a certain pattern of life to exist. Hominids call it environment, ecosystem, life, nature, laws of physics and quantum mechanics. For the planet, though, the patterns of life are very much trial and error; Earth is indifferent to any intellectual perception that there is meaning to this randomness. Every evolutionary change is totally arbitrary.

This randomness is a characteristic of the entire universe, its stars, planets, moons and any order of nature that may exist in or among celestial reality. Consequently, all modifications to life are indifferent and may enhance an environment or may damage that environment. For example, recently an asteroid collided with the Earth in Mexico destroying ninety percent of life on the planet. On other occasions, volcanoes and earthquakes have stressed the environment to the point of having to start most of evolution over again. On the other hand, the assimilation of oceans of water placed on the planet allowed a supportive, temperate climate to emerge. Life was free to effortlessly experiment and has created a highly diversified environment.

The ethical premise of the universe and Earth is “what happens is what happens.” This applies to evolution in its entirety. In general, what keeps evolution going and surviving is, if mariner may borrow a politicized phrase, a quid pro quo arrangement between a species and its environment. A species takes from the environment to survive but also in the final analysis gives something back to the ecosystem. Overall there is a balance between species and environment.

If evolution is to be sustained, there is a need for predators. Many species in ignorance will over indulge their environment and breed to the point that nature becomes imbalanced; consider the cougar versus white tailed deer or the Peregrine falcon versus pigeons.

There is an exception: parasites. Parasites will consume an entire ecosystem even to the point it becomes fatal for the parasite. In the bacteria-virus world, parasites are common: the black plague, measles, sexually transmitted disease, ebola, etc. In the mammalian age, there are hominids.

– – – –

The ‘what happens is what happens’ phenomenon in this case is intelligence. Hominids are subject to the same quid pro quo as other mammals but after a while, intelligence learned how to break that deal between nature and the species. And by the time Homo sapiens sapiens evolved, brutalizing nature was an art form. Humans had become parasites of the planet’s environment. No aspect of nature was protected. Mining, chemical farming, destruction of large ecosystems like the Brazilian rain forest, and the extinction of 83 percent of the world’s species is de rigeuer. Atmospheric pollution took a back seat to profit – a classic parasitic move.

Elizabeth Kolbert, author of ‘The Sixth Extinction’, believes that Homo will bring about the global extinction of the mammalian age. Species are driven to extinction by simple but thorough intrusions into sensitive biospheres. A blatant example of parasitic behavior is to open the world’s largest surface mine and the largest oil drilling operation in Alaska – thereby wiping out the salmon that must use the same rivers to populate. As the reader reads this post, profiteering (AKA parasitic behavior) has moved to the bottom of the Earth’s oceans in search of new profits.

Mariner believes that the imminent recession in the world economy, the inability of governments around the world to find an ethical compass, and the disregard of individual citizens to take responsibility for the state of the planet, all may lead to a great collapse made more punitive by a planet on cocaine. How Homo and Earth’s creatures will recover is open to question.

If nothing else, vote to sustain the future, not to repair the past.

Ancient Mariner