Instruction manual for human bodies – networks

All subdivisions of the system called human body are arbitrary to a certain extend, most ‘components’ prove essential to the survival and well being of the organism. Beneath your skin lies a complex, interactive system requiring smooth interactions of every cell involved. This manual uses other systems that have been engineered as comparison to illustrate functions of the human body.

The cells of a human body differ slightly from a single cell organism, as they specialise to become part of other subsystems (eg flesh, bones, blood, organs, etc). The environment of a human body cell determines which function it will fulfil, yet it still has the same life cycle as the whole organism.

Unless you’re very young, none of your body cells from your birth is still around. It takes about seven years to replace all of your currently existing cells with new ones. Most of the cells you move through the world aren’t even yours, as you carry more micro-organisms on your skin and in your guts than those with your own DNA.

Your digestive system needs a microbiome to function – without bacteria living in your stomach and intestines you couldn’t process food.  The human body compares well to a symbiotically living large community of autonomous entities, not so well to an army of obedient cells following the order of general brain.

Just after conception, unspecialised identical cells divide until there are enough to build a hollow sphere, the blastula. In the next stage of development, three different layers diversify the cells of an embryo into endo-, meso- and ectoderm.

The innermost layer, the endoderm will develop into most internal organs, the middle layer (mesoderm) gives rises to muscles, bones, connective tissue, heart, kidneys, gonads and the ectoderm ends up as skin, tooth enamel and the entire nervous system.

These three layers mix up thoroughly in the torso, while limbs and head only contain cells descending from the meso- and ectoderm. Several fractal interconnected networks within the whole body emerge: the nervous system, the fascia system and the circulatory system (blood vessels and lymphatic system).

The concept of morphogenetic fields offers the most plausible explanation to the magic of cells with identical DNA in the same environment suddenly diversifying and specialising. Don’t worry too much if you couldn’t follow the quite technical description so far. I will point out the essential parts for the how-to section of the manual.

Here’s what you need to know from this section. Several interconnected systems work within the human body: An electrical system, a plumbing system and a structural support system.


Second hand reality

The ability to transmit information over time with the help of symbol systems like images, mathematics and written language helps speeding up learning, as well as it helps to manipulate people. Each culture develops its own stories to explain the role of their specific group in the greater scheme of things.

Purely oral story telling limits the amount of information accessible to a culture. Contemporary global society, with libraries, museums, TV and the internet offers an excessive amount of stories people can access. While stories might help to understand experiences in new ways, they can also prevent people from making experiences.

Humans cannot detect the veracity of information delivered as story, even though some people pride themselves in having this ability. Generally, humans tend to believe everything which has been repeated often enough, no matter how reasonable bits of information might be.

This process helps creating authority through inanimate objects – people tend to obey messages written on signs, or pieces of paper, without anyone watching. It goes even so far that some remind others to stay obedient, although it’s not their job. The believe in the power and authority of signs and written down words works precisely like a magic spell, influencing the behaviour of others remotely.

It doesn’t take one’s own experience to anticipate the consequences of ‘breaking the rules’, the stories humans program themselves with show exactly what supposedly happens. In first hand reality of experience, most of times exactly nothing happens, unless one gets caught by somebody else watching.

People get trained, conditioned and encouraged to believe in second hand reality, to seek an external confirmation for which behaviour counts as ‘good’ or ‘bad’. In larger societies, cultural norms get transmitted via the stories providing this second hand reality, independent thinking often gets punished.

Yet it is part of human nature to trust inner guidance to find out what’s good or bad, unless one’s capacity for empathy is impaired. Most activities, however, belong to the category ‘entirely harmless’, and thus would make for pretty boring stories.

Human beings need to learn a lot before they can function relatively independent. The nervous system can be programmed to acquire any kind of motor skill, language or cultural rule set. Most things get learned by imitation, often in a laborious process of trial and error. Yet the procedural memory doesn’t get the attention it deserves, modern ‘civilisation’ focuses largely on intellectual learning.

The ability to deduct rules and patterns from observation provides the most interesting  information transferred over time. The understanding of natural processes build the foundation for technology, albeit self-organised technology utilised by other species than humans still excels in elegance and efficiency.

Technology supports the domestication of humans in many ways. It creates tangible artefacts of the unique ability of humans to manifest ‘new’ things, like houses, boats, machines and mobile phones. Humanity’s superiority in the universe can easier be sold once humans grow up in virtual environments.

Technology also helps to dominate individuals resisting the domestication attempts. It acts as multiplier for the meme of wilful submission, latent supplier of fear and violence. Buckminster Fuller envisaged a world without hunger and poverty, based on the ability of technology to adapt sustainably to the environment.

The aliens here know for sure that a cooperation with the rest of life on a planet allows any self-aware species to thrive, without the need to endanger the basis for their own survival. They patiently hope to break the spell of dispossession and domination humanity suffers from.