Friday, December 4, 2009

Another Nature Rant

We think we are so advanced with our technology. We think nature is "primitive" and that people who live close to nature are somehow backward, but I for one think that nature utilizes the most advanced technologies.

Here's a thought. We think it is impossible to achieve a 100% efficiency rate in any kind of energy transfer whether chemical, thermal, mechanical, or a combination of these. It is impossible, we think, to put any amount of input into an equation and receive an identical amount of output. If you're driving a car, you have less than 100% mechanical efficiency because some of the energy from the fuel you burn is absorbed by the engine as heat, not converted directly into mechanical energy. Some of the motion created by the engine is not converted into forward motion because as the mechanical energy is transferred from the pistons to the crankshaft to the transmission to the drive shaft to the wheels to the road, that energy becomes less powerful. It's like a row of balls running into each other. If you line up ten balls in a row so that they will collide in succession, the last ball in the row will not move as fast as the ball that struck the first one because each time that collision takes place along the line, it loses some force. Some of the motion that does make it to the road is lost with the flexion and reflexion of the tires as well as wind resistance. We humans think we must always receive LESS than what we put in.

Compare that to the technology nature uses. A tree grows from one seed and produces many other seeds. The leaves of the tree fall to the ground along with the seed, providing its own source of nutrition for the tree itself and the next generation tree, or the seed. So, so far, this single seed has taken nutrients from the soil and created enough matter to grow itself, feed itself with its own waste products, and establish a descendant which will do the same things. The seed sprouts up and continues the cycle. Now, assuming the soil had to be amended to grow the tree in the first place--which would only be the case for the very first tree ever created-- and taking the existence of soil for granted--after you get the first tree going, you have a seemingly never-ending cycle of tree multiplication. Think about it. That means that if you take one single seed and allow it to propagate and reproduce, that single seed can be the source of millions of trees later. What this means is that nature has achieved chemical and mechanical efficiency rates of over 100%! Indeed, if you consider that trees and all other vegetation can and do reproduce spontaneously in the right conditions, that means nature's mechanical efficiency rate is INFINITY!

We think we know that matter can neither be created nor lost, and perhaps we're right. If we're not right, I think that would explain how nature is able to perform so impressively. If we are right, here are two possible explanations:

The earth is like a battery. Everything needed for an entire human race to survive for a several or so millenia (since I'm not sparing anyone my religious views, I think the earth is really only 7000 or so years old and that it won't be around in its current form for much longer) was packed into the earth when it was created. That means that somewhere deep in the layers of the earth, beneath all that seemingly useless uncultivated dirt (which may not seem to be so useless if we were a little more advanced in our powers of observation--Darwin and the earthworm, anybody?) all the material to create all those trees is just slowly being pumped to the surface of the earth by some unknown geological force, which means that one day the earth will run out of new materials to add to the cycle and no more new trees can be created without an equal amount of old ones dying first. Hey, it's been working that way for decades with our consumption of oil. Why can't dirt be the same way?

If the battery theory is correct, it would offer another explanation for the phenomenon known as desertification. All the fertile vegetation is leaving one part of the earth to fertilize another place on the earth. This movement could be governed by some sort of geological "survival of the fittest" criterion.

The second possible explanation is that we are not as smart as we think we are and that matter really can be created. Either explanation, whether true or not, provides an opportunity for us humans to slow down and think about our place in this world and in the universe and consider that perhaps there is a "next big thing" out there for us if we were open to the opportunity. I think those who are looking beyond the mark by placing faith and trust in their own creations end up ironically focusing through their distorted lenses on what is pitifully short of the mark--themselves.

Nature provides us with everything we need. Yes, modern technology has advanced our ability to utilize what is available to us, but we will never be able to manufacture oxygen. We will never be able to provide food for ourselves without nature. Unfortunately, because of our technological state, most people I've ever met don't understand the importance of nature and the importance of our being attuned to its harmony and knowledgeable about its processes.

A person who chooses to associate himself with and benefit from that entity which possesses the most advanced wisdom and technology doesn't seem to ME to be very backwards. It is said that when the student is ready, the teacher will appear. I hope one day we can all find ourselves ready to receive the teacher. When we do, we will find that she has been right there under our noses all along.

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