"I think we can, so long as we stop thinking of ourselves as the person, and start thinking of ourselves as the parasite within the person. If I'm a tapeworm, I need my host to be relatively healthy for my own good; but I'm not going to flush myself out my host's rectum to increase it's level of health. I'm conscious, I love being conscious, I want to continue being conscious even if my host would be better off if I wasn't there. My fear, explicated in Blindsight, is that we're gonna run into a bunch of hosts who are better off."
Think about it: not everyone even has a conscience, and the people that do are invariably exploited by the ones that don't. Conscience isirrational, when you get right down to it.
Sociopathy doesn't make you a killer. It just means you aren't restrained from being one if the situation calls for it.
"Maybe everyone's just so used to being kicked around, they'll help out anyone they think has a big enough boot."
There'd been a time when you could fight off plagues and parasites yourself, just using your own body systems, without having to buy a fix from some pharm who'd probably tweaked the disease in the first place so you had to buy their crummy genes. According to Vive's pater, there'd even been a time when the police themselves had been under control.
But only part of him was listening. Another part, even if it hadn't read Chomsky or Jung or Sheldrake — who had time for dead guys anyway? — at least had a basic understanding of what those guys had gone on about. Quantum nonlocality, quantum consciousness — Desjardins had seen too many cases of mass coincidence to dismiss the idea that nine billion human minds could be imperceptibly interconnected somehow. He'd never really thought about it much, but on some level hed believed in the Collective Unconscious for years.
He just hadnt realized that the fucking thing had a death wish.
The more complicated a system gets, the more fragile it is. All that ecobabble about diversity promotes stability, that's pure bullshit. You take your coral reef or your tropical rainforest, those things were starved for energy. You've got so many species, so many energy pathways using up resources that there's hardly a spare erg left over. Drive through a rainforest with a bulldozer or two and tell me how stable that system ends up being.
Sometimes Maelstrom's wildlife would just grab onto popular threads to get around — steal keywords to blend in, sneak through filters by posing as part of the herd. Classic bandwagon effect, blind and stupid as evolution itself. That was why such strategies always fizzled after a while.
It's the pattern that matters, you see. Not the choice of building materials. Life is information, shaped by natural selection. Carbon's just fashion, nucleic acids mere optional accessories. Electrons can do all that stuff, if they're coded the right way.
It's all just Pattern.