01 April 2012

Life of Birds, random thoughts.

Gyokei Mochizuki

Birds fly.
Who has not dreamed this or wondered? What is shared in us that marvels at this potentiality we divested ourselves of so many millions of years ago. There were birds and there were mammals, and we have mostly gone our separate ways. We on the mundane ground, rational and plodding. They, in the heavens, climbing, soaring, diving, gliding.
The birds have an entire other force of nature to deal with, one that affects us only mundanely or in extremes. The cost to them is high. The must have hollow bones and feathers, must always maintain the flight systems - pruning, and most importantly must somehow strike balance between the energy needed to lose the earth and the weigh limits of doing so.
They do pay that cost and they are successful.

We live on a razor's edge of cost and benefit. I have always considered that 'the dismal science' was a suitable epithet for economics. Economists were pecuniary men struggling to understand and measure the ghost in the machine of our own making. Then there are economic philosophers reducing our experience to supply and demand, labor and production. Perhaps their limitation, or more likely my limitation, is assuming economics is a human driven affair.

There is much science lately on the connections between low caloric intake and longevity. Low calorie diet seems to blocks the enzymes that enhance cell death during metabolic stress. Cells, like engines, acquire energy by oxidizing fuels. It follows, somewhat, that a higher rate of consumption, through a complex system over time, will wear more quickly than a lower rate.

There is much debate over clean fuels and green energy. The reality is, if we wish to move fast and far, to fly and drive around, to lay wires and roads, then we will consume - burn and exhaust, like any engine. No amount of efficiency will eliminate that truth.

I am not saying we should not seek life and health, nor should we run rampant over the earth with our magnificent machines. I am only saying that we should know that everything, every movement, comes with cost. Then we will be able to measure the costs. We can be rapacious adventuring economists, we can be technologically wise economists. We can be glorious flying economists, we can be gentle restrained economists.

We will pass
birds will fly
the sun will burn

Anther opinion: I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.

Jack London

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