The Invisible Hand
Sonic hedgehog, no not the character from the video game, but a signaling protein named for its spikey makeup is responsible for tissue and limb growth. All of us should give gratitude to this protein as it allowed our simian bodies through evolution to make symmetrical legs, arms, and hands. The protein continues to regulate the proliferation of adult stem cells when the body stops growing. Unfortunately, when it doesn’t manage cell division properly, rampant uncontrolled cells can turn malignant sickening, and possibly killing their host body. Cells that don’t die or get replenished and grow unabated are called cancer cells. The English economist John Stuart Mill said many years ago, “The Earth will lose its pleasantness from unlimited growth and extirpate it.” Throughout its herstory, humans have innovated using their soft tissue brains and boney hands to make today’s comfortable and connected world, but it can’t absorb further the unregulated protection of power that divides making things on Earth more and more unpleasant.
Environmentalist or not, seen or unseen, human detritus is everywhere, including space. Even the most remote parts of the earth can’t escape Homo sapiens’ footprint. Most of our species today are fortunate to have all the conveniences and connectivity of a contemporaneous life when compared to our ancestors, but to keep it sustainable, balance and its counterpart symmetry are essential. Avarice and the protection of power are making our species lopsided. The overleveraging of life’s inherent requirement for balance and symmetry, writ large, is our greatest threat. Protectionism controls what should be free-flowing markets and is creating excessive social and environmental stress by keeping people in silos and limiting opportunity. Regulations intended to keep unbridled laissez-faire capitalism and monopolies get overlooked limiting freedoms and accessibility for all. Like a toddler learning to walk for mobility, our species seems to be slowly getting its social and environmental feet under itself, but will it get past the “mine” phase?
A dolmen has more stability on a surface than a single freestanding pole unless affixed deeply. It’s not surprising humans evolved a bi-pedal gate similar to a moving dolmen or like the Imperial Walkers from the movie The Empire Strikes Back. Nature has provided bodies with symmetry for balance, including arms and hands. All spheres of humanity require this simple edict for sustainability and simply less suffering. In the realm of technological advancements, data in authoritarian regimes keep track of their citizens and rate allegiance for level of opportunity knowingly. Democracy is associated with free markets, but with the use of biased algorithms manifested from man’s discriminatory history, those inequitable transgressions are now entrenched in the code and done mostly unconsciously. Ego exists on the surface and humanity has to go deeper depths to see it and for fixing problems. There’s still too much of it wobbling the sphere of humanity off balance. Spirit is our essential self that’s always connected to the mysterynet of the unknown and not the egonet of daily life. Spirit is rooted deeper and provides the balance and stability necessary for social and environmental sustainability. Like a toddler in the most natural way understanding deeper how to operate in the world, so must humanity.
If our species wants a safe, just, and enjoyable world, human capital is the greatest commodity and resource available. The neoclassical economist Alfred Marshall said, “The most value of all capital is that invested in human beings.” We need to stop categorizing people and limiting opportunity. Adam Smith, considered the father of modern economics referenced an invisible hand that guides transactional self-interest in a capitalistic economy. Free monitored markets are the best system for prosperity as self-interest is a natural tendency similar to traveling on an airplane and instructed to place a mask on your person first before others. But for it to work, genuine equanimity and opportunity are a must. Overt protectionism is of the ego and it keeps social and environmental solutions from surfacing. Ego has had its day in the sun in our evolution, but now it’s time to let spirit have its chance and make a step for humanity’s stability. Weighing the status of things with symmetrical arms outstretched, it’s easy to see some hands are more invisible than others. Balanced choices for yourself, others, and the planet is something a toddler can learn. An understanding for the rest of us because suffering isn’t a game.