“Quarter/Power”

Geoffrey West has captured my free mind space with his book “Scale”. It’s a bit of a scientific lecture distilled down for somewhat less than a scientific audience. The underlying premise is the innate mathematical correlation between the growth of all life, and the systems from which it prevails. Conveying the same mathematical foundation supporting chemistry and physics to the discipline of biology opens up a conversation about life itself.  Overlaying this scientific connection with ideological mythology brings about much emotionally charged controversy. Seemingly, for everything we don’t have concrete answers for, we reach for mystical support from faith, absent of fact. Then, as the facts evolve through better understanding supported by innovation and scientific discovery, we rationalize and adjust the parameters of that faith. For example, Galileo was arrested and convicted of heiricy for his theories of early scientific discovery. Placed under house arrest by the Roman Catholic Church, he spent his final days isolated and publicly disgraced. Ultimately, his theoretical hypothesis were given credibility as the dawn of modern science, and the church apologized in the 1990’s. Devout followers didn’t discredit the institution as unsubstantiated gossip, but rather made Rationalized excuses for how it attempted to suppress revolutionary discovery. The miracle lies in the fact anyone ever attempted to discredit their mythological teachings. In spite of all these ideological pitfalls, varying perspectives on semantics concerning faith, and even the misguided threat of imprisonment, or even death, humanity has pushed forward with innovation and discovery. Social order comes from evolutionary tendencies, not ideological restraints. 

 

The realization that all living organisms are fundamentally extricably connected beyond a Devine construct is quite progressive. Scaling validates this correlation through logarithmic computation to link biological structure and their systems by their metabolic capacity. All mammals share an average total number of heartbeats over their lifetimes. Scaled up or down using the quarter power connection, and we know why mice and whales live distinctly different lifetimes. Apply this to social structure such as cities and organizations, and we can gain insight as to how we derive a better existence. Conversely, the dissemination of understanding and knowledge isn’t linear amongst our species. Distribution of any piece of information doesn’t spread evenly. Varying degrees of capacity, along with cultural distinctions, and language barriers make this process a bumpy disproportionate one. For me, it shifts to awareness and leveling those barriers with increased diversity among our species. These exclusionary roadblocks have risen from the ideological dogma of only the most recent time period. More innovative ideas have come about in the past 100 years, than the previous 100,000 years combined. We have yet to as a species resolve the barrier of distribution in regards to innovation and benefits. Ideological entities don’t like being challenged (remember Galileo) so delivery of change is slower than its creation. Progress on this front is cumbersome and slow as well, given the cloak of ideological influence that blankets so many of those available for engagement, verses the vast majority who won't benefit short of a grand awakening throughout all of Asia, Africa, and South America. Cultural influences have supported the massive increases in population among these regions in just the last century, thus challenging the political and economic capacity to distribute resources to all of these people living there. We are finally realizing our planet has physical and biological limitations for its capacity to support the excesses of this mythology driven trajectory for our species, and averting a future of forced scarcity for the laggards lies in the hands of today’s progressive visionaries, not the faithful.