Just as some species of unicellular organisms aggregated to form larger, multicellular organisms more than a billion years ago, hypercell organisms also began to form larger business organizations designed to take on common tasks. Much in the same way that the cells of multicellular bodies form larger, more efficient organs – such as the fins, eyes and bones – the larger bodies formed by thousands of hypercell organisms are also composed of "departments". Each is entrusted with a specific task: in a business enterprise, for example, these include management with its many executive branches, a production department, sales department, etc., all staffed by many hypercell organisms. In state governments, which are even larger, similar departments arose: the ministry responsible for security within the country’s borders, the ministry entrusted with national defense, and other ministries charged with finances, transportation, commerce, etc.
Our conventional way of thinking has made it difficult for us to distinguish terminologically between the multicellular organism "man" and the hypercell organisms he builds. The next step – differentiating between hypercell organisms and a larger business enterprises – is no less easy. In fact, no clear borders can be drawn. When a hypercell organism, for example an industrious master tailor, adds new additional organs to his capable entity (whether they be tools and machines or other specialized hypercell organisms that provide services to him, i.e. employees, co-workers), this gives rise to a capable entity at a higher level of integration. The result may be a major enterprise in the clothing industry. The entrepreneur who founded the company can remain at the helm of his/her business for a long time. In the normal course of development, however, this function is at some point assumed by a board consisting of several hypercell organisms (management, shareholders). The transition to the next-larger units – states or governments – is equally fluid. It proceeds via kinship groups, hordes, and increasingly differentiated and organized units; these are initially not bound to a particular territory, but eventually become sedentary and arrive at clearly defined borders with neighboring states.
From the evolutionary perspective, even a superficial examination shows that the semantic differentiation between business enterprises and governments is very difficult, even though we consider both to be quite different. A simple example must suffice here. Every state is composed of its citizens, of the hypercell organisms that these residents build, as well as of business enterprises and other organizations. The state ranks above them all: they are collectively under the jurisdiction of the state’s legal framework and are dependent on it in many matters. At the same time, the state – in its function as guarantor of life and property – can very well be viewed as a giant communal organ of all its citizens, of the hypercell organisms they form, and of business enterprises and other organizations. This large structure is ultimately under the control of each of these subunits and is, in this sense, their servant, their additional organ.
Before going into this knotty problem and its evolutionary
implications, another equally important question needs to be ventilated.
One feature common to both business enterprises and governments is their
reliance on large facilities and machines that are far removed from being
powered by the energy that humans gain from food. In the industrial sector,
this is clearly reflected in the ever-larger factories with ever more powerful
machinery. In states, this is evident in the public transportation sector
and, above all, in the cannons, tanks, fighter planes, battleships and
rockets on which our national defense is based. What source of energy powers
Environmental energy directly fuels additional organs
From an economic perspective, the energy gain in all animals including man is rather inefficient. The organic tissue gained through digestion, and the subsequent breakdown of its molecules and energy transformation within the cells, involves a considerable loss of energy to the environment through transformation and frictional losses in the form of heat (law of entropy). Only a small fraction remains available as useful energy to perform vital functions. The typical loss averages 70 to 90%, leaving a mere 30 to 10% (at times much less) for the animal.
The physiologist Werner Nachtigall calculated more precisely how much of energy released by the muscle cells of a breaststroke swimmer actually went toward propelling the swimmer forward in the water. The loss during the transformation of the chemical energy within the muscle cells (molecular bond energy) into mechanical energy (contraction) was approximately 70%. Nearly 40% of the remainder are lost through friction between the bones (despite the cartilage capsules and lubricating synovial fluids), through tissue deformation, as well as through the acceleration and deceleration of the arms and legs. Of the remainder, an additional 50% are lost in transferring hydromechanical energy to the water as well as through the movements of the fluid layers against one another and the turbulent wake that trails off and continues to rotate until its rotational energy is spent. Since the arm and leg strokes are circular movements rather than being perfectly directed from front to back, their resisting forces are also spread in all directions. The result is a further 60% reduction in usable swimming power (effective forward thrust). The overall efficiency is therefore a mere 4% forward thrust. If we also factor in the losses incurred in originally gaining this energy – the swimmer’s job, buying and eating food, digesting and transferring the incorporated fuel (molecules and atoms) into the bloodstream and on into the cells – then the useful energy that propels the swimmer forward is reduced to less than 2%. Ultimately, the energy balance is further burdened by the costs of operating and maintaining the body as a whole; these metabolic costs must pay off. In humans, Prof. Nachtigall assured me, less than 1% of the nutritional energy gained is effectively available to carry out necessary tasks. This, however, means that humans and most higher animals must have an extraordinarily positive energy balance. Specifically, they must consume more than one hundred times more energy than their maintenance costs.
Compared with swimming, Homo proteus achieved a much greater energetic efficiency by building a dugout canoe and using additional artificial organs (paddles) to transport himself across a river or lake. However, the energy that fueled this mode of transportation still stemmed entirely from the raw energy in our food. Much greater energy savings were achieved by directly harnessing environmental energy to power additional organs. This is precisely what happened when one of our early forefathers came up with the idea of erecting a mast on the boat, sewing a sail, and rigging the unit with ropes. A new source of energy was tamed. This improvement of the additional organ "boat" forced the wind as a natural source of energy to power the boat forward directly. Plying the waters no longer required a tedious and inefficient energetic detour via the mouth, digestive tract, bloodstream, cells etc. Rather, the kinetic energy of the wind was transformed into the kinetic energy of the boat with only little frictional loss. Sailing had the added advantage of being much quicker than paddling.
The capability boost achieved by hypercell organisms and their organizations is largely founded on this principle, namely of powering additional organs by harnessing environmental energy with appropriate equipment rather than using muscle power. In the case of the automobile, for example, we need not consume, transform and apply the energy required to turn the wheels ourselves; rather, the chemical energy contained in gasoline is used to power the car directly via the motor. The miller operating a water-powered mill doesn’t need to first direct the kinetic energy of the streamwater into his own body to grind the grain. The mill wheel and other additional energy-transforming organs directly power the rotational motion of the heavy millstone.
A variety of animal and plant species also directly harness environmental energy. This advance is therefore by no means a true divide that would justify the traditional separation of man’s sociocultural evolution from the biological evolution of plants and animals. Erigone dentipalpis, one of many species of ballooning spiders, is a case in point. E. dentipalpis climbs up to a wind-exposed site and produces a thread that is caught by the breeze. As soon as the thread is long enough to provide sufficient drag, the spider lifts off and is wafted over long distances as if driven by a sail. This may not only improve the situation of the individual spider, but also promotes the dispersal of the species as a whole. As mentioned earlier, many species of land plants use wind energy to spread their seeds. In ballooning spiders, the wind powers the entire body (much like gasoline powers the car we sit in) rather than merely a single organ (water turning the millstone in the mill). In plants such as the dandelion, for example, windborne dispersal carries individual organs (the seeds) over many kilometers, a feat that the plant itself could never accomplish. Nonetheless, these plants also require additional structural features such as feathery projections (like the sailboat’s mast, sail and rigging) to successfully exploit additional forms of energy (external energy).
In the sea, many species of animals such as coral polyps forgo the effort of developing the locomotory organs needed to capture prey. They position themselves in suitable locations on the seafloor and leave it up to water currents and wave action to bring planktonic food items directly to them. They merely need to develop tentacles and stinging capsules to capture, immobilize and convey the prey into the gastrovascular cavity. The body of sponges, on the other hand, is full of internal cavities lined with ciliated cells that generate a constant water current into the interior. There, other cells capture and digest the incoming plankton. This has prompted many "lodgers" (worms, small crabs, copepods, isopods, etc.) to inhabit the tube systems of these sponges and to exploit the reliable current, which brings a constant stream of food and an ample supply of oxygen-rich water to meet their energy demands. In addition, the sponge’s labyrinth of cavities affords protection from larger predators. In the Gulf of Mexico, Arthur S. Pearse counted 17 128 such lodgers (belonging to 22 species) in a single large specimen of Speciospongia vespara. In this case we are dealing with a mild case of parasitism: one organism exploits the efforts of another in order to save energy. Overall, every such exploitation of external energy represents the fundamental capability I term the utilization of favorable environmental factors, which is equally important for all unicellular, multicellular and hypercell organisms.
One of the most important additional forms of energy that Homo proteus pressed into service was fire, which, through oxidation, converts the chemical energy contained in dead organic material into heat. Our forefathers used fire to ward off the cold, but more importantly to cook and roast food. The cell walls of organic tissue lose their toughness when heated, so that the energy and matter contained in plant- and animal-based food can be better digested. While our early ancestors were unaware of this, it did make their food more edible and their diets tastier. Note that this important capability of hypercell organisms – and we are in fact dealing with a true enhancement – was only achievable through additional organs that could withstand high temperatures (hearth, oven, pots, pans). We tend to view this crucial activity, which can only be achieved by organs that are separate from the body, as something apart from the life process. This once again shows how we overrate the "cell" as a building block. It also does little justice to the essence of the phenomenon of life.
Humans are warm-blooded animals. This is a considerable selective advantage over poikilothermic vertebrates such as the dinosaurs, who had to curtail their activities during the night when temperatures dropped. Additional organs that augment the effect of warm-bloodedness are the clothes that warm us and, ultimately, ovens that give off heat. Today we take heating units for granted; from the evolutionary standpoint, however, they have expanded the habitat suitable for hypercell organisms two- to three-fold. Even more so: the colder regions, where the struggle for survival was tougher, put human intelligence to the test. The result was progress and inventions that biological evolution may never have attained under more favorable living conditions. An additional factor was the use of fire to melt metals.
Heat is a form of energy known as kinetic energy (energy of motion). Heat is defined as the vibratory movement of atoms and molecules that cause the heated media, for example air or metals, to expand. Since this movement is undirected, only the expansion itself can be exploited as useful energy, as was done by the steam engines that burned coal as a fossil fuel. This was a crucial factor in enabling hypercell organisms to disperse across all continents and seas.
Crude oil is also a fossil organic substance: burning it in the internal combustion engines of automobiles and airplanes greatly promoted the power base of hypercell organisms. At this point it would be appropriate to say a few words about the importance of communal organs. The additional organs formed by Homo proteus can not only be put aside and require no nourishment via a continuously operating circulatory system, they have the added advantage that they can be produced by a team of people and can alternately or simultaneously serve many masters. Trains, oceanliners, automobiles and airplanes are striking examples. A single hypercell organisms could never have built one by him- or herself. Teamwork, however, enabled them to be produced, and once means of transportation were built and functional, many other persons who were not involved in the manufacturing process were able to enjoy their advantages; short-term rental (purchasing a ticket) also helped cover the costs of production, maintenance and replacement.
Artificial energy sources, such as gunpowder and dynamite, were discovered. The spear that Homo proteus used to hunt and that made him so superior to his early enemies and competitors still had to be powered by energy gained from food. The bow and arrow represent progress in that the elastic bow transformed muscle power into the potential energy of deformation, which in turn was again converted in propelling the miniature spear with even greater energy and accuracy. In this case, however, the necessary energy still stemmed from the very uneconomical breakdown of food. The musket, rifle, revolver and canon, on the other hand, represent artificial organs that are powered directly by external energy rather than the body’s own energy. This development ultimately led to the rockets with which hypercell organisms not only threaten their rivals on other continents, but which also helped some of our fellow human beings to visit the moon.
Electricity was a decisive discovery in the history of exploiting external energy. This form of energy belongs, together with visible and invisible radiation (waves) and magnetism, to the electromagnetic forms of energy. Its particular advantage in boosting the capability of hypercell organisms and their organizations was the rapid, directed transfer of energy from one location to another. Also, it was easily convertible into almost every other form of energy.
Let us examine a practical example. According to conventional thought, rivers run downhill. Since there is no "up" and "down" in space, rivers actually strive to flow toward the center of our planet. The steeper the gradient, the more energy each drop of water in the river contains. The larger the river, the more water drops bear the respective amount of energy. The origin of all this kinetic energy is the Earth’s gravity or, more precisely, the attractive forces that one mass of matter exerts upon the other. The kinetic energy of rivers therefore represents converted gravitational energy. The losses in this conversion are minimal; they are limited to the friction of the river flowing over the stones on the underlying riverbed.
If we install turbines under a waterfall and use these to power generators, then these machines convert the kinetic energy of the falling water into electrical energy, which can then be conducted virtually instantaneously through cables to any desired destination. The conversion losses here amount to approximately 15%, with an additional 1-2% being lost per 100 kilometers of power lines. If the final destination is a factory, for example, then the electricity can be converted into any number of different energy forms, e.g. into light emitted by a light bulb (this is a very costly transformation in which 97% of the energy is lost as heat). It can also be converted back into kinetic energy by being used to power electricity-driven machinery (loss: 8-25%), converted into heat by electric ovens (loss: virtually zero), or transformed into bond energy through chemical processes that combine atoms and molecules into new plastics. Finally, it can also be transformed back into gravitational energy if an electric pump is used to pump water into a higher reservoir (i.e. one that is further away from the center of the Earth); in this case, the water is a source of potential energy that is impotent until the tap is opened and the downhill-flowing water can be reconverted into electrical energy through turbines and generators (overall loss in this transaction about 25%). The above example clearly illustrates what the renowned chemist and philosopher Wilhelm Ostwald meant when he termed electricity a "jack-of-all-trades".
There is a remarkable relationship between electricity and money: Just as money can convert one type of service into virtually any other type, electricity can also convert almost every form of energy into any other form. If, as I outlined earlier, money enables shifts of great evolutionary significance, then this is analogous to the conversion between different forms of energy. Such energy transformations enable equally momentous boosts in capability. Just to pick an example, this is the case when electrically operated news services such as radio or television transmit information that averts a global catastrophe.
As modern physics has shown, the greatest energy source
on our planet would be the conversion of mass into energy. Einstein was
able to define the precise relationship (mass-energy equivalent) with the
astonishingly simple formula E = mc² (energy E equals mass m times
the speed of light c squared). This means that every kilogram of a particular
substance, i.e. 1 kg hay, 1 kg diamonds, 1 kg oxygen or 1 kg meat, have
the same potential energy, namely 9 x 1023 erg. This is equivalent
to 100x the energy released by the atomic bomb dropped over Hiroshima.
Humans and the hypercell organisms they form are currently investing huge
sums of money to harness and subjugate this form of external energy to
further their own goals. One consequence could well be the self-destruction
of the evolutionary process on our planet.
Throughout evolution, increasing size has always turned out to be an selective advantage. Larger fish eat smaller ones; amoebas engulf the much smaller bacteria and convert them into food; larger buffalo drive smaller ones away from the waterhole or, in the mating season, away from the females; the collective unit formed by piranhas or a wolf pack is far superior to the prey they surround and attack from all sides. It would therefore contravene biological laws if the hypercell organisms formed by humans did not show the same tendency: capable entities do, in fact, continuously grow by adding ever greater numbers of employees, tools, machines, buildings and other functional units in order to surpass and eclipse the competition, and to achieve even higher returns.
Note once again that I define a hypercell organism to be every person who increases the capability of their somatic body with additional organs and who, via learning processes, "wires" their brains to better perform some job that secures their existence. Early in human evolution, this was restricted to optimizing foraging and hunting strategies and competing against other humans. As the social groups grew in size, hypercell organisms began to specialize in producing additional organs or in providing services for other members. In return, they received money with which they could purchase food, products, or services from others. This new form of business involves a "two-fold exchange" in which the food (energy) that fueled life was not gained directly. Rather, money served as the mediator. Money is by no means a new manifestation of energy in the physical sense. In the framework of a well-functioning economy, it represents a remittance for tasks fulfilled by others, with one such task being the provision of food. This explains why food items can be much more expensive in one location than in another. There can be no precise key for converting money into energy. A one-hundred-dollar bill is of little use to the traveler who is lost and starving in the desert. On the other hand, money can be variously converted into energy units. Not only can it be used to buy food to power the body directly, but it can also pay for fuels to drive machines. Above all, money can be used to purchase a wide range of products that others produce and sell, i.e. that are the product of specialized energy inputs or of services, which themselves merely represent the result of differentiated energy inputs.
As I have indicated earlier, no clearly defined boundary can be drawn between hypercell organisms, which are geared toward satisfying a wide-range of demands (in a wide-range of markets), and business enterprises, which I will continue to term businesses based on the traditional understanding of the word. Perhaps the main difference is that businesses are supra-individual organizations in which virtually every unit (including the owner) is exchangeable. They can develop through steady growth, but another equally common strategy is for several hypercell organisms (business executives) to identify a promising new market and pool their resources, interest financial backers for the project, purchase the necessary real estate, and commission the necessary factory buildings and other means of production. Like Aphrodite’s birth from seafoam, within a relatively brief period a new industrial enterprise, a new living entity, arises and quickly enters the fray of the business world.
Reproduction is one vital fundamental capability which saddles all organisms with considerable constraints. I have already mentioned that reproduction no longer needs be pursued by hypercell organisms themselves because their genetic makeup no longer requires them to reproduce in a species-specific manner. If the appropriate demand arises, then new members of the "species" appear on the scene all by themselves – financed by nascent competitors. This may appear grotesque at first glance, but it reflects reality and is fully conform with the fact that conspecifics, from the onset of evolution, were the strongest food competitors: they were designed to exploit the very same energy and material resources. This makes for a rather curious situation in which each individual uni- or multicellular organism is genetically compelled to apply the fruits of its labor to creating its own competition. Evolution was forced to accept this handicap over most of its course. For us it is self-evident that every frog can only produce spitting images of itself and that each fir tree produces only new fir trees. Hypercell organisms were able to cast off this specific reproduction in one fell swoop thanks to the mental capabilities of Homo proteus and to his array of additionally formed organs. Human beings, depending on their talents and their assessment of currently promising markets, can pursue a very broad range of income- (energy-) providing business opportunities. The same holds true for every business enterprise. At least in the market economy, none are forced to spend their hard-earned profits to found additional companies whose products are not in demand and therefore unprofitable. New businesses can therefore arise by any number of means; this type of genesis clearly impacts the evolutive process far less than wastefully investing profits in sectors with no chance of success.
Due to their size, businesses often, but not always, have considerable advantages over hypercell organisms. All those people who invested heavily to raise starting capital have a personal stake in seeing their investment turn a profit. The result is that businesses have a much stronger power base than an individual hypercell organism. Thanks to bigger and better-equipped facilities, mass production allows them to offer their products or services at lower prices than smaller competitors, who must cover their costs with considerably lower turnovers. Above all, large businesses can manufacture products whose capabilities exceed those of even the most successful hypercell organism, namely automobiles, airplanes, major construction projects, space technology and other cost- or labor-intensive projects.
While hypercell organisms remain more or less distinct, functional extensions of individual human beings that have merely boosted the body’s capability with additional organs, major businesses clearly represent living entities at a higher integrative level. They are higher-order organisms with a correspondingly strong power base: subjectively, we shy away from acknowledging their affinity to unicellular and multicellular organisms because their physical structure is so radically different. This viewpoint will need extensive reconsideration once we recognize that capabilities rather than external appearance are the characteristic feature of all organisms. Natural selection is the ultimate mediator in deciding what qualifies as an organism. Based on the impact exerted by humans and their hypercell organisms, many additional factors have come into play in the selection process: the legal framework in the various countries, the job market situation, the available means of transportation, the stability of the currency. The traditional criteria, however, have lost none of their importance.
Just like a living plant or animal, every business must chalk up a positive energy balance. In the event of failure, the government or the banks may step in over the short term to help save jobs. In the long run, however, if operating costs remain in the red (the financial balance sheet is the key statistic describing energy and material gains as well as other performance criteria), then the business is doomed just like any plant or ladybug that fails to meet its output target. A company that is unable to withstand predatory practices, unfavorable environmental conditions or competition inevitably suffers the same fate as an earthworm facing the same pressures. Closer scrutiny of these so widely diverging entities reveals astounding parallels.
Whether this body be an earthworm or the Volkswagen concern: the parts that make up the capable entity must somehow be interconnected. The earthworm impresses us as being a single, solid unit. Yet when we examine it more closely, we discover that tonofibrils in the cell membranes are responsible for connecting each individual cell to the other highly specialized units; other units such as dermal layers, ligaments and muscles attach other organs and tissues to one another. In the Volkswagen concern, workers and employees are bound to the company by wage agreements and contracts, while machines and facilities are company property based on rights of ownership guaranteed by the government (and paid for through taxes). Here again, many roads lead to Rome. For natural selection, or in Spencer’s words for "the survival of the fittest", only the concrete result counts, regardless of how it came about or what it looks like.
Let us examine another vital capability common to the internal structure of both "Volkswagen" as a business and the "earthworm" as an organism: the coordination of internal processes. Granted: this coordination is less complex in the worm. Nonetheless, when it burrows its way through the soil, the muscle cells must fulfill their task in an orderly sequence, and the sensory organs must convey their signals to the responsible control centers, which must interpret and coordinate them correctly. In the Volkswagen facility, the task is to monitor the activity and coordinate the output of thousands of workers and machines. This bustle would be reduced to cacophonous insignificance and chaos if each task were not performed at the correct location and at the precisely the correct time.
Perhaps a third and final example can make the seemingly impossible possible, namely force our brain - despite all its experience – to recognize that the Volkswagen concern and the earthworm are comparable entities. A vital prerequisite in every living organism is that its organs be neither too large nor too small: they must appropriately dimensioned to meet the demands placed on them by the whole. The Volkswagen concern consists of tens of thousands of functional units (organs), whether they be hypercell organisms, machines or assembly lines. The company would soon succumb to other auto manufacturers if key components were over- or under-sized by a factor of three. This would lead to major unforeseen expenditures and weak points that would cripple competitiveness. Simply put, the components responsible for any organism’s overall capability must match with one another. Every factor that represents a weak link or entails superfluous expenditures is far more critical in real life than any difference in impression we may have of automobile plants and earthworms.
The list of functional correspondences between the Volkswagen facility and the earthworm – indeed between any business and any multicellular organism – are endless. Every organ in either realm must be maintained, inspected, and repaired or replaced as the need arises. Each must be provided with energy. Each must be rid of waste products. Each organ that operates below full capacity is a potential threat to the output of the whole. Functionless units (regardless of how they came about) are a handicap, a disadvantage in both systems. They take up space, must be detoured, run up additional costs and can trigger disturbances. Here, businesses are at a clear advantage over multicellular organisms: they can simply discard functionless or decrepit units. Should these units still have a market value, they can even be sold. If not, they can at least be removed from the facility. In multicellular organisms, however, it often takes many millions of years to reduce a superfluous organ. In both cases, the lock-and-key analogy best describes the relationship between each organ and its task. The bit of the key represents the required task profile. The tighter the tolerances, the more efficient the process. In both cases, the lock (the required task) thereby controls the necessary shape of the key and bit (task profile). The more we analyze the inherent functionality and interactions of organic bodies and their organs, the clearer this correspondence becomes. This is as true of businesses and multicellular organisms as it is of all unicells and hypercell organisms. It is valid for virtually all vital, life-promoting structures in time and space.
My theory therefore distinguishes four major groups of structural entities that perpetuate evolution, each with many transitional forms and intermediate stages.
First: Unicellular organisms. They encompass all early stages in this evolutionary series and ultimately lead to the highly differentiated, extremely efficient unit we refer to as the "cell". They comprise a broad range of species adapted to various lifestyles, allowing them to conquer the world’s oceans and other aquatic systems.
Second: Multicellular organisms, a group in which the cell – the highly complex life form that dominated the sea – became a building block of even larger organisms. About 400 million years ago, the increasingly efficient members of this group succeeded in conquering land. They ultimately gave rise to human beings.
Third: Hypercell organisms. They originated from humans, whose mental capabilities were particularly well developed. While other organisms had already formed organs that were separate from the body, man did this consciously and purposefully, enabling him to boost his capability many-fold. Each hypercell has a human being at its center, enabling it to produce – by acquiring artificially formed organs – ever larger, more efficient species of hypercell organisms.
Fourth: Business organizations. They are composed of numerous hypercell organisms, are capable of tapping new energy sources, and develop an internal momentum that enables them to multiply their power and capability. Today, the wastes they produce and their other negative impacts make them a threat to the entire evolutionary process, including themselves.
At each of these transitions, independent living individuals
became organs of larger entities. Conflicts of interest were inevitable.
Businesses represent a direct continuation in the developmental series from unicellular organisms, multicellular organisms to hypercell organisms (as far as acquisition, growth, reproduction, competition and increased capability is concerned). States or governments are a more complex phenomenon. In his book "Allgemeine Staatslehre" (1925), the philosopher of law Hans Kelsen underlined that it was possible to discern more than a dozen entirely different meanings of the word "state", even "with an only superficial perusal of the scientific terminology". I believe my theory is in a position to at least show where this definitional Gordian knot lies and how it might be unraveled.
My line of argument is not based on a historical perspective. Rather, it begins with the contention that there is a compulsory, forthright causal relationship between the underlying structure of all successful states – as different as their external appearances may be – and the formation of additional organs by human beings. This bold approach goes beyond superficial similarities, as an analysis from the evolutionary perspective shows.
All additional organs have a clear advantage: they can be set aside, exchanged, need not be nourished by the bloodstream, and need not be produced by the organisms themselves. An inherent feature is that communal organs can be produced by a group of hypercell organisms and then used either proportionately or alternately to satisfy individual needs. In Homo proteus and his descendents, such additional organs enabled a previously unattainable form of organization based on manifold specialization. These organs ushered in the evolution of hypercell organisms, which then proceeded to take advantage of novel life strategies; this process continues to bring forth new species to this very day. Communal organs also led to the introduction of the mediator "money", which enabled hypercell organisms and business organizations to acquire ever new capabilities. This went hand in hand with the ability to exploit new sources of energy and apply environmental forces in order to power additional organs directly. This, in turn, was the prerequisite for developing ever-larger businesses and corporations, culminating in unbridled industrial production.
The long list of significant advantages afforded by man’s additional organs is offset by a number of major disadvantages. One disadvantage was particularly grave: organs not firmly attached to the body were easy to steal. This raises the acute problem of how to protect them from theft. Their very nature makes them equally suited to serve other humans, other hypercell organisms, or other businesses by boosting the effectiveness of the respective capable entity.
This was a novelty in evolutionary history. While animals can consume other animals, they are unable to utilize their preys’ cellular organs for their own purposes. When a lizard devours a dragonfly, it cannot fly with the insect’s wings. In order to add new tissue to their bodies, animals must break the organic material they consume down into its smallest components and then exploit the energy and matter contained therein. An average of 90% of the consumed energy is lost in this process. In addition, each animal can develop only those organs whose structure is coded in its genetic makeup. When one human steals a tool from another, however, he or she can use that tool with no loss of value whatsoever. Should the theft involve a bicycle, and the thief have no experience in riding bicycles, then the new owner can receive instruction in the art and learn to use the vehicle. In biological terms, the thief in effect becomes a lizard that can fly with the prey’s wings. One consequence is that the additional organs of humans exert a strong inherent attraction on others to steal them. From their earliest evolution, hypercell organisms attacked one another to gain possession of weapons, tools and other additional organs. They also stole food and took slaves, thus further increasing the power of their capable entities. Later, in wars of conquest between states, the bone of contention was land, i.e. more territory and natural resources. The underlying lure of all such pillaging is the prospect of acquiring additional organs, especially money and valuables with which such organs can be easily obtained. Hypercell organisms also had to protect their goods from thievery by those within the group, the settlement, the tribe. How could these goods be protected?
Weapons and other valuables can be hidden or buried. Such hiding places, however, are more often than not discovered and plundered. Additional organs can also be locked in buildings or secured in rooms or containers. Even these barriers do not necessarily thwart the thief. I merely wish to show here that specially made additional organs ushered in a new era in evolution and boosted our power, enormously accelerating progress; at the same time, however, they were heavily burdened by the need to be effectively protected. Their advantages could be fully exploited only when anti-theft measures to safeguard these physically unattached objects were in place. I argue that only one option was available here. Just once, only a single road led to Rome. Only organized groups were in a position to provide the necessary protection – by forming extensive communal organs to counter theft.
Obviously, governments fulfill a wide range of other tasks as well, and we will deal with these at a later stage. Here, I merely contend that a direct and obligatory relationship exists between the additional organs formed by man and the government agencies designed to protect these organs. The development of hypercell organisms could never have taken place without such agencies. One could not have been realized without the other: no state protection, no higher evolution based on additional organs.
It is admittedly a daunting task to causally link a process (formation of additional organs by man) that took place at the dawn of human history with the realities of modern states. However, I continue to maintain that each piece of equipment that serves man and his organizations has costs that go beyond those incurred in its production. Specifically, each contributes to the costs that society must pay for the communal organs that protect these items. Without these security measures, such items could neither be produced nor utilized.
The key elements in the communal strategy to ward off predatory interests are well known and need only be roughly outlined here. Protection against outside enemies (countries) requires a complete national defense system (fortifications, armed forces, fighter planes, warships, rockets). Protection from the enemy within calls for a legal framework coupled with a police force, judicial system and jails. The latter, basic government functions are subsumed under the terms legislative, executive and judiciary branches. The forces that protect us from outside threats, as well as those that maintain internal security and protect life and property (i.e. the natural and additional organs of hypercell organisms (citizens) and their organizations) must be financed in one form or another by members of the union, usually by some means of taxation. This calls for yet another organization and entails considerable additional effort. Finally, this gigantic security organ, like any other organ, requires a control mechanism.
Herein lies the Achilles’ heel of the entire system. If the organ is to be successful, especially when external security is involved, then quick decisions and corresponding authority are crucial. History is full of cases in which the top military leadership used its competence to press the entire communal organ into service for its own personal capable entity. The military usually swears allegiance to the state. Under suitable circumstances, the entire state structure (constitution) can be fully transformed within days or even hours. The result may be an absolute monarchy or a tenacious dictatorship. The internal organization need not necessarily undergo major restructuring. Opponents of the process must be neutralized and strategic changes made to certain laws. Nonetheless – and this is the essential point – the need for external and internal security, along with the necessary funding, remains unchanged. The new strongman can distribute key posts to friends, family members and experts who are willing to provide their services for good pay. The police force is beefed up by additional units charged with protecting the new ruler and enforcing his edicts. This ruler can confiscate whatever he sees fit and enjoys a wealth of other advantages. If the strongman doesn’t overstep the mark and rules skillfully, the populace (the hypercell organisms in their entirety, along with their organizations) may even grow to accept the new regime after the initial stir has died down.
Our concern here is the theoretical, evolutionary aspect. A gigantic communal organ changes ownership due to a weak point that is difficult to avoid. A major shift – in the sense of a sudden boost in the capability of one particular individual – takes place. A society with an enormous communal security organ suddenly mutates into a major business enterprise in which, in the extreme case, the "shares" are all in one hand.
A form of state that essentially consists of a single society of hypercell organisms, a clearly defined territory (national borders) and a large communal security organ is said to be extremely liberal (the French astronomer Pierre-Simon de LaPlace termed it a "night watchman" state). Whether such a state actually ever existed in pure form is not the issue here. From our perspective, however, it defines the minimal size of the communal organ necessary to protect all the hypercell organisms in the state, i.e. all human beings and their additional organs, against predatory activity.
In practice, this minimalist state automatically takes on further tasks that the community deems necessary or desirable. Examples include bridge construction and road building, laying of water lines and sewerage systems, public transportation, a postal system, utilities, the formulation of civil law, the opening of schools, the establishment of a national bank charged with printing money and maintaining stable exchange rates, and the erection of public libraries. Embassies in foreign countries become essential. The burgeoning costs require a larger Ministry of Finances. Depending on the priorities of the society, additional social institutions are soon founded: hospitals, homes for senior citizens and nursing homes, unemployment and pension funds, state-owned industries, promotion for trade and commerce, natural catastrophe funds, etc. This leads to a state with a network of public servants and government employees. Democratically run states tend to increasingly resemble a higher-level organism striving to achieve economic growth, progress, justice, peace, and a balanced budget for the common good. The result is a large, independent, living body that Georg Jellinek – from the perspective of political science –described as the "complete state" (1914) and Herbert Krüger as the "modern state" (1964). The hypercell theory maintains that this form of state cannot do without a communal security organ to manage external and internal affairs. While it is difficult to specify the actual cost to the overall budget, the fact remains that the evolution of hypercell organisms and their organizations, particularly businesses, would never have been possible without such security agencies.
We need not go into further detail here. Virtually every conceivable form of state has been attempted in the course of history, and the respective advantages and disadvantages of all have come to light; none has proven to be universally optimal. In times of political, economic and social turmoil, more rigidly led systems are successful, while in peaceful times less authoritative regimes prevail. From an economic standpoint, government organizations are monopolies with all their inherent shortcomings. When competition is missing and government employees have life-time job security, then initiative tends to become stifled, except for those who seek top posts. The inevitable result is a bureaucracy whose members tend to fulfil their tasks with the minimum of effort, to feign problems, and to studiously avoid any risk that could endanger their largely preordained and secure careers. A further problem is the fact that the government – as a gigantic organ (or gigantic enterprise) – is often the main contractor for many branches of industry, and awarding major contracts is automatically associated with bribery. If the state is run by political parties that battle each other for dominance, then these tend to act like commercial enterprises and place more emphasis on their coffers than on state interests, even if they never tire of claiming otherwise. The brief legislation periods between elections further detract from implementing necessary long-term, unpopular measures. When upper classes rule the state, as was the case during feudal times, then the enduring communal organ becomes, as correctly expressed by Karl Marx, a "tool to protect privileges". As clearly demonstrated by John Kenneth Galbraith, in modern times large states tend to allow certain state agencies, particularly those charged with defense and space exploration, to enter into a symbiosis with major industries. As mentioned above, any form of state can quickly flip into virtually any other, whether this be triggered by revolution, coup, legal accession to power, or military conflicts with other countries.
From antiquity, philosophers and thinkers from various schools of thought and scientific disciplines have dealt with the phenomenon of states. Many have compared states to an organism. Plato referred to the state as "a human being enlarged", while Aristotles spoke of "an organism with a soul". The English philosopher Thomas Hobbes saw the origin of human states in fear and termed the state "an all-devouring monster". Johann Gottlieb Fichte considered it to the "organic manifestation of God". Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph von Shelling wrote that the state is not the means to a particular end, but rather the "construction of the absolute organism". In his "Grundlinien einer Philosophie der Technik" (1877), Ernst Knapp characterized the state as an "organism fashioned after the human body". After 1890, the eminent zoologist Oskar Hertwig closely examined the state as a phenomenon and termed it "a higher form of organism, higher than man". In 1924, the Swedish historicist and state theorist Rudolf Kjellén went so far as to place plants, animals and man alongside the state as a form of life. He circumscribed the state as "a true personality with a life of its own", as "an organism in the biological sense".
From the viewpoint of the hypercell theory, some forms
of state are, in fact, directly comparable to organisms; after all, in
the case of dictatorships and absolute monarchies, states are the extremely
extended capable entities of individual hypercell organisms, whereas pirate
states and theocratically or ideologically governed states with centralistic
economies tend to resemble large corporations. The essential feature common
to all, however, is that their core structure is a consequence of the additional
organs formed by humans. This core structure is the large communal security
organ, without which the third and fourth eras of evolution would never
have taken place. This organ also represents a considerable source of energy
that hypercell organisms and businesses exploit in numerous ways. Engels’
statement that "the state will not be abolished, it will die off" is highly
unlikely from the evolutionary perspective. Without powerful communal security
organs, the technical boost of capability that accompanied the advent of
man would not have been possible. Should a world government be established
at some point in the future – a development that is entirely conceivable
considering the environmental issues we face – then external security needs
would dwindle, whereas internal security would gain even greater significance.
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Continue to chapter 6 - "Efficiency and its quantification"