Once upon a time there was an athlete who was a fierce competitor in things physical. He loved to dominate in the ways of the world. Although he was quite successful by most measures of athletes, he was not satisfied with his success and he wanted more. He looked around and he noticed what he had been taught and accepted without question. He noticed that competition was rampant in all nature, and in human group, organizational and social behavior. He noticed that only the fittest survived and thrived and that they did so by means of winning at ruthless competition.
Suddenly a brilliant thought flashed into his rational mind. He thought that if he could only free his brain from its automatic processes that controlled his body’s organs, he could set the elements of his own body in competition with each other. Then each organ system would compete so as to amplify all his physical capacities. Thus his latent prowess could all become amplified. By this means, he thought, he could enter at the highest levels of competition and easily prevail over all challengers. Headlines, the triumph of surpassed records, and public glory danced in his mind.
But alas, his brain was connected to all of his bodily organs disciplining them as a carefully regulated set of systems each of which was limited to carry out its assigned tasks in a coordinated manner. He grew to resent and despise this regulation. There was no way he could think of to free his brain so these organs could compete with each other. He yearned for each to excel as individual achievers and thus promote the goal of ever more wins for his total bodily system, and thus acquire an ultimate glory for his ego.
He ruefully mused on the unlikelihood of such capability ever becoming his. Then a sorcerer happened to come along.
“What seems to be troubling you my good man?” said the sorcerer, who already knew the athlete’s mind. After all, that is the business of Sorcerers.
“Alas!” said the athlete,” I was just thinking how much greater feats I could perform if I could use the natural laws of competition within my own body. By freeing each part from the oppressive regulatory dominance of my brain, I could inspire all of my organs and limbs to perform to their maximum capacity. Then I can set them in competition against each other. By this means each will be challenged by each other. Each will be driven to perform for the literal survival of the fittest. Then I will benefit by performing with greater success than imaginable because of the amplified combination of their individual efforts.”
“It happens that I have in my power the ability to grant you a single wish. Whatever you ask shall be yours.” said the sorcerer.
“Yes?!” exclaimed the athlete in hopeful disbelief, “You mean you can grant me that wish? Do so at once!”
“First I must ask you–are you conscious of all of the adverse consequences and possibilities that this new condition might involve? I must tell you that once granted, I cannot take back your wish nor offer you another.”
The athlete paused, but the fantastic thoughts of achievement, honor, glory and conquest were all that flooded his mind.
“Yes! Yes! I am certain. Please! Free my body from the oppressive regulation imposed by my brain . Let my body’s organs compete with each other. I thrive on competition for success and achievement.”
“Very well.” said the sorcerer. Instantly, all of the athlete’s bodily organs and physical systems were at once disconnected from each other and free to compete with each other for the resources of the body. The sorcerer likewise instantly disappeared, and the athlete was left confused and dazed for he did not notice anything different immediately. But now his brain could individually command each organ and body system at the direction of the athlete’s ego intellect. It was no longer required to give coordinated commands to each of his organ systems as there was now no way to have them integrate their efforts with any other system in his body.
Suddenly he noticed strange and overpowering urges for each bodily system was now free to act on its own abilities. As a test, he commanded his muscles to run and to his amazement and joy he surely did run faster. He commanded his lungs to increase their cycles of breathing, his heart to pump furiously as it rushed his healthy, energy full blood to the his powerful athletic arms and legs. But all of the other organs, having been disconnected from the brain, and therefore from each other, were likewise working furiously to compete for the body’s limited energy supply. Because these activities were so complex, his conscious intellect was no longer able to coordinate their efforts effectively. For a few days he amazed his supporters, ran like the wind, lifted unbelievable weights, and easily leaped higher than his own height.
But the athlete quickly became exhausted after each exertion. He even fell down in a near faint. Further, he began to experience enormous hunger and thirst. His kidneys drained copious amounts of liquid from his body, he sweat profusely and his bladder filled quickly demanding more frequent relief. He went quickly to obtain additional food and liquid as nourishment. For a few weeks, the athlete rejoiced in his improved athletic prowess. He dismissed as a mere annoyance his ravening hunger and thirst, and the additional nuisance of profuse sweating and frequent stops at the toilet. But soon the athlete began to feel unusually sick in spite of his instant awesome success at successfully achieving feats well beyond Olympic level difficulty. His friends and supporters had watched in amazement, not comprehending what had happened.
Unknown to him at first, the bodily organs were not only performing at their peak in consuming the limited energy resources of the body which served the muscles. But they were also acting as required in the “survival of the fittest” mode. This mode is dictated by the laws of unregulated competition. The rule is “grow or perish.” Accordingly without the coordinating presence of his brain acting through his autonomic nervous system, each body system was now taking in ever increasing amounts of energy, but using it to expand their own organic system.
In the absence of any connection to a larger regulating ecology as had been the role of his brain and nervous system, their own little mini-brains told them that in order to survive the fierce competition they had detected, they each had to grow larger and stronger themselves. Only then did they feel that the could sustain the competition and survive. The man’s heart was now expanding to take more of his limited chest cavity, as it tried to expand the lungs were already competing to dominate and acquire the same space. The liver, kidneys, pancreas, and digestive systems were likewise trying to grow themselves to become more competitive and thus acquire more of the body’s energy.
Soon the athlete was mostly feeling exhausted and reduced to eating and drinking simply to fuel the growth of the ravening organs of his body. He quickly gained weight as the each of the organ systems grew larger. Although he was used to physical discomfort as a competitive athlete, the man’s initial feelings of discomfort were quickly growing to became unendurable pain. In a few weeks he was bedridden, though still requiring and able to consume food and liquid in enormous quantities.
His friends and supporters who had believed in him and who had supported him in his quest for athletic greatness became confused because they did not know what had happened. While at first they were amazed at his unexplainable successes, now they wondered why they were reduced to bringing him ever increasing quantities of liquid and nourishment. Now they watched in horror as he steadily became grotesquely deformed and obviously in great pain, for while his organs were growing profusely, his slower growing skeletal structure was still limited to nearly its original dimensions.
Each organ was oblivious to the needs of each other. Each one ever more ruthlessly conspired to expand. Each demanded more and more of the body’s nourishment, all of which was now applied to growth and expansion. Some organs, no longer being limited by their own natural boundaries began to cross boundaries to consume the adjacent organ system. Soon one critical organ after the other could no longer sustain themselves as there was insufficient nourishment, and they began to fail. Crushed together in the corpulent and now immobile body, the athlete was a picture of ruin. Barely able to breath, grotesquely swollen with tumors pushing out all over his body, he lay writhing in agony during his final hours of life. Finally a critical system failed entirely and the athlete died, not even having survived to enter the next competition, never having run one real race or competed in a single athletic event.
The sorcerer had watched, and smirked.
“Too bad, but it happens every time. How stupid they all are. They constantly watch each other die from one kind of cancer after another, whether physical, organizational, or national. They do not know that as a nation, they are all suffering the early stages of the same malady that has killed this athlete. They are oblivious to the larger reality in which all that appears good as a result of competition is only a limited and temporary effect. They cannot understand that what is happening everywhere in the Cosmos is the working out of a vast conspiracy of collaboration and cooperation among all the living systems of the Universe, and therefore earth, and therefor humanity.
“Each of the living systems of the earth must by THE LAW collaborate to adjust, to harmoniously serve each other to fulfill the HOLY PLAN for ecological balance and harmony. Growth must be constrained and balanced within the limits prescribed by THE LAW. Cancer eventually kills every living system it infects should they, like this ignorant athlete, betray the integrity of themselves as mutual participants in those coherent living systems called Gaia and the Cosmos. How clear it ought to be that the price of unchained greed and ambition is death. But, here comes yet another customer!”