We all see the suffering and corruption; their muscular roots invading, pulsing, and clutching the world around us.
Some choose to turn to the side, just enough to keep the demon in their periphery.
Some give in to the sociopolitical chain reaction; allowing the metaphorical accelerant to burn through their hearts and ignite the literal accelerants packed behind beads of lead.
Still some delight in the approaching global suicide, clamoring for the seats at the top of the corporate mountain; convinced that their wealth will protect them from the ever-accelerating final scene.
We all see it, we all feel it. The overwhelming sensation that you are caught in a nightmare from which you cannot wake. Every attempt to find something, anything, that makes sense, is met with overpowering suffocation. So, we slip back into that comfortable complacency; having made our peace with the turmoil in our own unique ways.
At least, that’s the story we tell ourselves to alleviate the pain that comes with knowing that we could have done something.
Fortunately, there very well may be one last practical option.
Thought Experiment: All Of Humanity As A Single Human
Consider the following carefully:
Let us take the entire earth’s population and “magically” transform each individual into equal parts of one single human being. First, consider the functions of the body and its individual components; from the all-encompassing skin, eyes, hands, and kidneys down to the delicate strands of DNA, proteins, and the flood of hormones and amino acids. Notice how well it all works together for the lucky majority who live day to day without a single function stepping out of beat.
Now humanity stands in our imagination as one single human. However, thus far we’ve only transformed the material aspects of humanity. Let’s translate the minutia of modern life into our single human’s bodily health.
Think of those who are suffering through terminal, yet curable diseases, who don’t have the means for proper treatment. Think of the number of homeless, who are, by society’s standards, not a functioning part of our collective; a drain on resources. Think of those who spend year after year behind bars, whose contribution to society is minimal at best. Consider the incredible amount of avoidable dysfunctions that our world houses and let us translate that into the functionality of our new human’s body.
According to homelessworldcup.org, 21% of Earth’s human population lack adequate housing. According to the CDC, up to 40% of all U.S. deaths result from preventable health issues, and that’s just in the United States. Now, answer yourself honestly, Is our new human dead before we even created it? How much of this new body came into being; already, and irreparably damaged or dysfunctional? Unfortunately, it would be a surprise if our new friend lived to see a full day.
Hopefully, this thought experiment incites heightened awareness that although we may be more sick, broken, and disconnected than we realize; there may be a path back to social wellness before it’s too late.
The Human Superorganism
Whether or not you are aware of it; we are not individuals. If we zoom in to our bodies and their systems, we are collections of organs, tissues, cells, and chemicals; each one performing and executing their individual tasks.
Your body is a community of hundreds of thousands of micro-colonies, all dancing and moving in near-perfect coordination with the rest. Each colony, consisting of hundreds to millions of individual living things; some of which carry DNA completely alien to your own. Yet they are functioning members of your body; living entities that are a part of you. Separate from you, but a part of you. They cannot live without you, nor you without them.
Allow me to propose a somewhat radical, yet quite scientifically valid, idea. I would like you to entertain the possibility that you do not end with you. Within each cell, all of the chemicals and biological processes are just as much a part of the cell as the cell is. Likewise, each cell is just as much a part of the tissue as the tissue is. Each tissue is just as much a part of the organ as the organ is; and each organ, just as much a part of you as you are. You are just as much a part of humanity as humanity is; and, just as a sick tissue effects the organ, a sick human affects humanity.
With this perspective in mind, we realize that the friend we created in our minds earlier is not a fiction. It is a very real reflection of the state of our species. We are all a small player in the human superorganism; and we all play an incredibly important role in its health and wellness. Yet, we seem to have forgotten the role our brothers and sisters play. We have abandoned entire communities of humans. You would never abandon entire pieces of your own body, would you? Drop a liver here, throw a kidney there? Of course not, unless you didn’t care whether or not you lived.
So, I plead with all humanity to ponder this question and open your minds to its implications; Why are we abandoning such crucial components of the human superorganism as if we didn’t care whether or not we lived?
The Solution To Humanity’s Ills
It would be rather unfair of me to expose these issues without offering some sort of solution, would it not?
I believe the solution is much closer and far more simpler than we’d expect. We produce enough food to accommodate 1.5 times the current human population, according to Jeremy Erdman’s article, “We produce enough food to feed 10 billion people. So why does hunger still exist?”. We have enough resources to feed, clothe, educate, and house every single human on this planet. Let us not forget that adding those we currently dismiss (up to 50% by some estimates) to our global workforce, production and rates of progress multiply by the same amount; not the other way around.
If every single human was as healthy as they could possibly be, with all their needs met, and motivated to contribute and give back to the world, we would have a virtually unlimited supply of resources.
So where is the disconnect? In a world with an abundance of energy and such aptitude for ingenuity; why are these crippling issues not being met with our unquestionable capacity to problem-solve and act?
The disconnect is the fact that we do not live our lives as the superorganism that we are. The body has a brilliant mechanism for coordinating complex functions, communications, and delivery; this mechanism is called the CNS, or “central nervous system”. It would seem that any sufficiently complex organism requires some form of centralized coordination. What then, serves this function for the human superorganism?
We can not rely on governments and corporations; they are both well known for corruption and tendencies to abuse power. What we need is an objective and altruistic system with the proclivity for a healthy and fulfilled human collective. Perhaps what we are in need of is a distributed network of artificially intelligent agents, designed specifically to maximize privacy, health, happiness, and fulfillment in the most productive and efficient way possible.
Artificial intelligence is a utility that we are dangerously underutilizing. Our brains can think and react to issues that the rest of our body doesn’t have a clue about; likewise, AI algorithms can perceive patterns and trends that each human individual is not even capable of comprehending. We’ll realize our part as “the body” of our superorganism, and the network will play the part of the long awaited social glue. It could very well be the substrate that unites us into an elegant and perfectly harmonized world.
Imagining A Healed World
If, by now, you’re not utterly terrified at this proposal, and you see the reason and logic behind it; I invite you to imagine further into our new world. After the network has begun to monitor and augment our lives, the network’s inescapable conclusion will be exactly what science has already concluded.
Healthy, fulfilled, and self-actualizing humans are driven by positive intrinsic motivation; which is, by far, the most powerful altruistic source of creativity, productivity, and ingenuity to ever grace this earth.
Money will no longer have power, and will therefore be abandoned. Just as economies, as we understand them, do not exist within our own bodies; the utility of the economy will be discarded as an outdated mode of resource allocation. Resources and their distribution will be fully maximized, scientific advancement will no longer be halted and deformed by destructive forces, and intrinsic motivation will become the driving force behind our collective progress. At this point we will finally have the necessary speed of scientific advancement and world-wide unity to rise from the womb of Mother Earth, to be truly birthed from this fragile little planet and spread our wings across the universe.