The food pill again

A current satirical article "Food pills: A sci-fi staple" interestingly parallels some thoughts that have been getting my attention lately. The thoughts came from a wide variety of subjects, and came to no conclusion, but that is what this jedcstuff blog post is about.

The new item in my thinking is this: for each pound of dinner I eat, a day or so later, I then output exactly the same weight of excrement. The part I utilized was a miniscule part of that pound of food and drink.

Maybe that miniscule part was all that I really needed to consume, in other words.

Now, the ancient miracle is that one can eat and drink the huge amount of material, and somehow extract that miniscule part out of the vast majority of it, discharging the rest of the material back into the world environment.

We living creatures have been doing that for eons. It works. And fairly well matches organism's needs with what is produced by the environment. By the food chain, nature doing most of the work with no effort by us.

And our digestive system making up the rest of the task's work to provide the miniscule but essential nutritional substances that get into our bloodstream and travel around to nutrify all our busy little teeming trillions of cells.

Yes it works. Yet when our human biomass becomes too large a percentage of the world biomass, nature struggles mightily to get the top fraction made for all of us. And indeed from the change from hunter-gatherer to agriculture food supply, we have bent nature's resources increasingly to slave just to our nutritional needs.

Could the next step in the progression from hunter-gatherer to agriculture to something else better matched to human needs, to directly use solar energy to convert our excrement into just the nutrition particles that we need on which to thrive?

And thus back to the ridiculed food pill.

Or maybe bulk materials designed to mimic the delicious meals we so enjoy, but actually be of cellulose fiber and contain a few squirts of that which our bodies will actually accept into our bloodstream to power our lives.

Problem is, what about our silent partners in life, that inhabit our digestive tract? The ones that now actually utilize the vast majority of the substance of our meals, converting it into bacterial biomass that forms our excrement? Nearly all of what we enjoy eating, actually goes to feed this trillions-population tiny critter zoo we carry around in our digestion tract. They also make some of the essential nutrients we need to live, as part of it all.

Maybe we can figure out ways to make this whole system a lot more efficient.

No more inhumane cattle feedlots, pigs living life in a little cage, chickens in tiny individual cages until slaughtered. Why not have far fewer of them and keep them in living conditions pleasant to each of them, while we get our nutrition through more direct means?

We human beings consider ourselves fairly smart. Even at times wise and compassionate, too.

Yet much of science is raw trial & error, ever selecting that which provides less error. (Yet hopefully not losing out on the lateral paths too.)

For example, a couple decades ago I recall buying bottles of what was labeled liquid amino acids, a major part of the stuff we actually use in food. Liquid protein, take it by the spoonful. Yet eventually there was the thought that since the stuff would not spoil, bacteria could not live on it; so most likely we humans could not utilize it either. Eventually it vanished from the store shelves, in the consumer process that efficiently evaluates such things. (Assuming, of course that we are not too bamboozled by the enormous ad machine.)

Population grows, fortunately. More hands to the task of creating better civilization. We took on the task of agriculture and made it work. It took a long struggle to refine agriculture and is still a work in progress.

Lab-grown meat is making progress nowadays, long a sci fi dream too. Just take a few cell samples from cattle, pigs, chickens, fish; and then let those archetype animals get back into their natural-world lives, while we grow food from those cell's designs, to provide our need for meat.

But in the design and contrivance of the nutritional bath in which that lab-grown meat thrives, why not just be more efficient and let it directly nutrify our own cells?

And even fruit and nuts, grain of all types, even vegetables, could their substance be more efficiently be converted into our nutrition as powered by sunlight? As well as provide the above-mentioned nutritional bath for growing meat cells, either in lab-grown meat or directly in ourselves.

Well, I cringe at the thought of enduring three nutrition injections a day, instead of nice hot tasty meals. I much prefer the above-mentioned idea of flavored and textured cellulose meals containing a few squirts of the nutritional components that we actually utilize.

I think it is time for us to go the next step beyond agriculture, and give nature back what she needs to again thrive in diversity. Can we be that smart, wise, compassionate, responsible?

Looking at most of the ongoing news, it does not look very likely.

Human thought and effort seems to mostly instead be bent to the task of destroying or effectively enslaving other humans, largely in the fantasy that specific male lineages each have superiority over the others as supposedly favoritely ordained by the Creator Himself. Reminds me too much of the battles in nature of whales and deer and wolves of one male striving to impregnate the whole next generation with his Creator's supposedly favored genes. Well, anyway, "proven" by which males survive the attacks on each other, of course.

Mankind was supposed to be lots more wise and smarter and responsible in the management of the world's nature than all that.

And, sometimes, we are.

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