Our yearning to be heard, to have our ideas propagated, is a hunger for life itself. This makes social media a survival instinct. Of course, conflating tweets with some form of innate drive to pass our genes on to the next generation seems silly, overblown, bombastically ornate … until you realize that if digital tools are just extensions of our hands, then digital social congress could be an extension of our sex.
Put another way, individuals exist with two basic purposes: to fulfill their daily caloric intake to keep on living, and to stay alive long enough to produce offspring, who in turn will continue the chain of life. Individuals are really micro-links in the macro species, and it is the species itself that has evolved to survive over time. This is the reason that 13-year-old boys fantasize about sex, and that the cry of a baby on an airplane is so annoying, because the lust to pass genes on and the need to provide solace to a helpless infant are mini-memes that support our species’ survival. Unseen by individuals, the collective urges and consoling of our chain of forefathers is passed to the mothers beyond us in time. We only exist as conduits to this future.
We are cells in a collective species of time.
So if together a group of individuals, mapped out over history, is really a collaboratively living, breathing organism fighting for its survival, then the superior species will be the one in which every cell — us — acts to support the health of the greater being. We will strengthen cells by fighting among each other to eliminate the weak (with wars or, as we evolve, less-bloody politics). We will sustain cell growth by mating as rapidly as possible. And we will, as a species, seek to dominate other collective organisms by either confining them (hello, dogs), eating them (chickens, pigs and cows), or destroying them (any species in our way, such as unneeded trees that must fall before our constructions).
Unfortunately, any given species’ survival can be threatened by its own success, if its growth expands too rapidly. Like a cancer, cell growth can destroy the healthy ecosystem around it. Malignancies spun out of control are difficult to stop, because the cells — individuals — inside cannot see the havoc they are wreaking. And like cancer, something triggers cells to fight and expand and reproduce in a new, hyper-fast way, one in which the programming of the original species’ DNA did not anticipate. Within the organism, the cells become runaway cars, crashing into everything. The very urges we feel to have dominion over the Earth can destroy the world around us.
This loop of destruction must be recognized for it to stop. Somewhere, a cell realizes its mistake, but the species of tomorrow is too hungry to really listen. There is no code to send the message up. This is a concept yearning to be heard, an idea to be propagated, a hunger for life itself.
Posted by Ben Kunz.