“Biomimicry is the examination of nature, its models, systems, processes, and elements to emulate or take inspiration from in order to solve human problems” – (Wikipedia)
We have been looking at nature for inspiration since the beginning of time, from the desire of flight by looking at birds, to being able to explore the underwater world like fish, and being able to see without looking as dolphins and bats do with the use of sonar. Other notable examples of inventions and designs include velcro from plants, batteries from electric fish, artificial photosynthesis – or the photoelectric cells from plants, Nanowires, Nanotubes, and Quantum Dots from microscopic organisms and viruses, and the list goes on.
So how does nature get all this unique and wonderful novelty? all this complexity and innovation?
In the past it was argued that divine beings were involved in nature’s unique creations, but today we understand this innovative process that of emergent complexity. We can even recreate this process artificially in the virtual computing space. You see, nature is solving a problem by trial and error, in fact, you are one of many natures attempts to solve the problem of a preservation strategy of self-continuity using feedback loops of emergent informational structures in the form of genetic code.
To quote the author David Hunter Tow: “By transforming information, life evolves towards greater complexity. The more complex life becomes, the better it’s able to learn, adapt and continue its trajectory in the universe.”
So now that we are beginning to grasp our understanding of our deepest existential questions, who we are? and why are we here? why are we not asking the next question – what should we become? what should we do? and how should we get there?
But before we start planning epic strategies of galactic colonization, or how we will fuse our biological entities with technological tools to become cyborgs and become immortal, or how we will be recreating alternative universes in virtual environments, first we have to recognize that humanity is at that point where it needs to solve a wide variety of organizational problems in order to go on about living on this planet in a stable humanly manner. Problems like resource depletion, systematic ecosystem destruction, unsustainable population growth, climate change, and the inevitable ending of fossil fuels.
Unfortunately, we will probably not proactively solve any of these problems in the current cultural, political, and values state until things get much worse. You see we are becoming stuck in a completely artificial problem we created ourselves, the economic money system that has chugged along the last couple hundred years or so is reaching its end game. Too many IOU’s between different parties, lots of entitlements between ourselves in terms of debts, and the values of these have been manipulated and distorted out of proportion. We tend to think this monetary scheme of inequality is somehow a measure of everything we are capable of? whether we like it or not this scheme is going to hit a bump soon, nature will get in its way and remind us who’s really in charge here, and this will remind ourselves our common struggles and endeavors is a non-zero-sum game.
So going back to Biomimicry, what can we learn from nature that will help the upcoming generations how a different scheme of social organization we could pursue once our addiction to this frail economic inequality game has run out. Since nature is the reason of our humble existence, and nature is our ultimate guidance of what we are capable of and what boundaries exist, maybe we can take a cue from nature and use Biomimicry to define our existence along side with nature? What if instead of fighting nature and trying to conquer nature we were to become a complement to nature – to continue its trajectory of emergence of higher complexity.
What is the ultimate form of Biomimicry? well maybe instead of examining specific examples that nature has created we examine the process that nature has taken to produce all examples in existence, and take this process and apply it into our social organization? So what is this process that nature uses? Well like I mentioned earlier is it simply trial and error, in a way it is using the scientific method for discovering what is possible and with a constant feedback loop of revisions that build up the complex informational structures of genetic code that creates life, and continue to probe the adjacent possibilities to expand and increase its ability to exist in the universe.
So in a way your DNA is the proposed experiment and your life is the trial run – or the experiment, depending how many offspring you have and how successfully you have brought them up to repeat this process – you are signalling back the experiment’s results.
Now imagine if we were to take this process to our social organization? Well I imagined and I have come up with an idea called Zemerge – it may not be the best solution but its the only one out there as far as I know!
We live our lives in a social structural system based on rules, communication semantics, theories, laws, traditions, customs, and shared understandings, etc.
You could call this the Zeitgeist of the day – Zeitgeist meaning the “the spirit of the times” or “the spirit of the age.”
“Zeitgeist is the general cultural, intellectual, ethical, spiritual, or political climate within a nation or even specific groups, along with the general ambiance, morals, sociocultural direction, and mood associated with an era.” – Wikipedia
This zeitgeist is in a perpetual state of change, as new rules and laws are adopted, communication semantics are altered, new theories are proposed, traditions and customs changed, and our shared understandings of the natural world expand. So how does this zeitgeist change? or what process drives this change? well there is no defined process, its chaotic complexity at its best, it is the summation of all our emotions, all our experiences, all our dreams and desires, all our fears and misunderstandings, all our relationships to one another and our environment – projected into the physical world as our social landscape that we call the human civilization.
Now as a humble member of the human civilization I look at our present state of being – our current zeitgeist, and I wonder, where are we heading? there is no process that drives our zeitgeist forward, our process is chaotic in nature void of any direction, it is both creative and destructive in its path forward, there is no way to predict ourselves a century into the future let alone a millennium or longer. Imagine if we had a process – a raison d’etre! a prerogative for existence! imagine if we knew the direction of the zeitgeist a hundred millenniums into the future!
You ask what is this process? it is the ultimate form of biomimicry that will drive our civilization with the same process that drives nature! it is simply trial and error to discover what is possible and with a constant feedback loop of revisions to build up the complex informational structures – the zeitgeist of the era – the DNA of our culture – our social landscape of our civilization, that will continue to probe the adjacent possibilities to expand and increase in complexity! Our dreams and our desires, our abundant capabilities to contribute, create, connect, and transform of what is will be truly brought forth into reality.
We actually do accomplish this today to some degree! the scientific drive to understand and discover! the technological progression to improve our state of being and provide abundance! to creative ideas and methods that we all build upon one other! the way we cooperate, communicate, and empathize other’s state of being. These things do probe the adjacent possibilities! they do drive our prerogative to discover and progress! but they are greatly influenced by our undesirable setbacks, like our distorted values motivated by the economic money system, our self preserving institutions and corporations that resist change and progress for the improvement of the human condition, and of course our primitive belief systems that take no cue from the natural world but are simply projections of our ignorant fears and misunderstandings.
I am jealous what our future generations will get to experience, once we remove our artificial obstacles to progress and fix the immediate oncoming problems that are facing in our future, this amazing novelty will emerge out of our social landscape and will transform the physical with no immediate bounds, my pale attempts to imagine anything remote outside of my current frame of zeitgeist is miniscule and unoriginal. Future populations will grow solutions that will continue to grow in complexity, they might even get as complex as recreating whole reality simulations that resemble our reality in order to calculate solutions.
Even thought I will probably not get to experience this emergent explosion of novelty at least I have lived in a time when a small minority is starting to realize the existence of the unimaginable possibilities – the deep unexplored adjacent states of possibilities that our species will experience, and the impact it will have on our universe and beyond!
Even thought we are so far away from this realization I will relentlessly pursue this ultimate goal, to witness the limits of reality and redefine what reality means for us, and then I want to go out like every other mortal human out of this conscious existence knowing that my kind – the greater super organism that I am – is heading in the right direction.