From the Prisons of Techo-Industrial Civilization

Michael Rynn
9 min readOct 23, 2023

We, have evolved as a self-conscious, language and tool wielding mammal species. The ecologists call us a K-selected species. Our few young require prolonged, extensive parental care. Our huge overshoot of the biosphere carrying capacity, is a rare evolutionary mistake that is soon going to be rectified. By this I mean that short lived, fast breeding R-species can often overshoot carrying capacity, and pay for it with rapid drops of numbers, from which they can recover quickly. This gives us, the self-appointed masters of the earth, expanding with growth to consume everything, a false impression of the overall resilience of all this biosphere’s ecosystems together. R-species are seen as food or pests, instead of being the real maintainers of the entire biosphere. Now even the insect species numbers are collapsing under our impacts.

Most K-strategist species tend to grow to a more stable numbers relationship with the carrying capacity for them. Humans as K- strategists have severely broken this rule with our massive overshoot, exponential over many long human generations, and must end up paying the penalty with a massive fall in numbers, as our prey has become the entire biosphere, now in collapse. Recovery if any, could be slow, due to susceptibility of our extreme K-reproduction strategy.

Our human overshoot is way up above the top of graph on the left, and our age-survival curve is now taking a hit.

As small band tribal hunter gatherers, we became successful and global. Then we became agricultural, exploiting the soils of ecosystems. This lead to cities and wars between them. Cities combined into nations, with wars between them. Now as our population frictions and stresses have grown more, we have civil wars within cities.

Now we can consider ourselves as the most important species ever to live on this planet, at least in terms of causing extinctions, global heating and attempting genocides of our own kind.

It is pity that tagging of articles on medium with the term “Ecological Overshoot” rates only a few hundred. Global awareness of this is extremely dim, while global heating is merely just one of the many results of our overshoot.

Now armed with advanced fossil-fueled Techo-industrial Culture, TIC, we call ourselves a civilization because we mostly live (and infest the earth) in cities (prisons). This is a chronic but unacknowledged species stress. They may seem like “rat paradise” at first, but this only due to the now falling global fossil fuel bonanza. Now the expenses of city living are inflating, and the survival stress is tending towards rot and collapse.

Some wealthy individuals among us, seek to find some peace by owning property in less crowded residual patches of natural ecosystems. We aspire to take short package holidays to delusional faraway places as “getting away from it all”, as imagined by glossy brochures. Getting there generally requires being transported by complex machine systems, to hotels expensively serviced by machine powered delivery systems.

We call ourselves a sapient species, but our overshoot in population numbers now means that we are all living in states of high mental distress. One cannot get away really from anything, for long, to anything better at all.

One cannot easily look away from the collapsing meltdowns of TIC. News and internet feeds us our abstractions of words, images and video. To stay sane and stable it is necessary to have a built automatic emotional down “volume” adjustment and try not feel the daily barrage of inputs.

To speed up moving towards the end, of this barrage of words, a personal anecdote. A week ago, I was playing a music part in a brass band, ostensibly outdoors near a stream of morning shoppers walking past. An ambulance pulled up at the curb, and its officers ducked into the nearby shopping center entrance. Then a police car pulled up behind. Police went in.

Palestine Protest Emergency: A muslim woman on the left has a palestine fist symbol on her chest, films and gives a few words of support to the protesting man sitting on the kerb, who is surrounded by police and the ambulance that he is going to be taken away in.

Police came out of the shopping area, man-handling a loud protestor, shouting such things as “Free Palestine!” and “They are bombing children”, Somehow the police understood this disturbance of business as usual as a mental stress issue. Upset in the minds of the male protestor, and in the minds of the shoppers. Many of the shoppers are local muslim immigrants to Australia. Eventually the man was taken away in the ambulance, possibly sedated chemically or emotionally exhausted from his outburst. Our band then resumed its music program. Business as usual carried on.

There have been several organized meetings and protests, because in Australia their are many people with strong connections to both sides of this deadly Israeli Gaza Prison outbreak and more death punishments. People around the world are watching. The apes are rattling there city cages.

Just listening to the radio news can sparks hormones of sympathetic stress. This still has impacts on the unconscious levels. In order to have the emotional response turned down to safe levels, some modules of our selective input processing do still need to “see” and understand, in order to know what our higher centers are going to filter out and not going to respond to.

Chemical stress hormone responses still always happen, even if ever so tiny, because evolved ever so smart creatures have such automatic stress detection, so as not to bodies to ignore their environment altogether. This surely allows us longer to reproduce. In case of population overcrowding, it also allows chronic stresses to kill us faster, and populations to crash down, back below ecological limits. Evolution is much smarter than we are.

This morning, my local radio news reader implies, but dare not say directly, that Israel is choosing to exterminate the entire population of Gaza. Large numbers of victims (real people) are turning up at the besieged hospitals in Gaza with extensive areas of skin burns. Bandages and protective ointments are a standard treatment for burns. They are a substitute skin. They also need changing every day. Those without treatment are more likely die sooner of direct blood infections, and fluid leakage, through their exposed unprotected tissues. Extensive burns are a life threatening, and often life taking condition. Burns scars and disability in case of survival are life altering, even with best treatment, which no Palestinian in Gaza has a chance of getting.

Of course the remaining hospitals now have none of these things left, and cannot possible be getting enough from the trickle of “humanitarian” supplies that are being allowed through the blockade.

The hospitals in Gaza are front line targets, and are being sent “warnings” because they are in the direct path of a preparing Israeli “ground offensive”. It is too much stressful — offensive.

Low level reports attacks and threats from mad vindictive Israel military and fear-haters continue, and “warnings” request evacuations of remaining hospitals.

At the same time, “assessments” of devastating explosion of the Al-Ahli Hospital continue to spin around, initially according to whatever preset mental filters and loyalties various media organizations have in place. Later forensic investigation may sort this out, but final attribution or blame is highly irrelevant to those now dead and wounded. Many of the dead and wounded are carted off to the next already overloaded hospital.

Bodies of Palestinians killed in the explosion at al-Ahli Arab Hospital are gathered in the front yard of al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, which has run out of space and resources.

The war information and assessments coming through information channels become more unbelievable. The higher up people are on the TIC pole of authority, the stronger are set those protective and reality distortion mental filters, set to pacify the rest of us.

Things that are going boom.

The Australian ambassador to the USA, Mr Kevin Rudd, vocalizes that that all is being done to evacuate Australians from Israel. His broadcasted voice record also says Hamas is doing these cruel things to Palestinians, so keeping close to the USA-Israel party line here.

But we can’t all be so much filtered as to sound rational. As if Israeli or any of us from far away can actually tell the difference between Hamas, not-Hamas and Palestinian citizens (prison inmates). We all die just the same. Falling bombs, missiles, and wayward defense interceptor missiles, flying across every which way, can never distinguish the ages and castes of human beings they blow up.

We all live as captives of the complex machines of our Techno-Industrial Culture that we call cities. We are animals no longer living in balance within ecosystems on equal terms.

Cities are the machine reproductive queens of our social organism. Cities are unecological, unsustainable breeding factories for work-caste humans. Cities require the machines that run on fossil fuels. Our tools now manage us as workers in what we call “jobs”. To feed us, as prisoner slaves of our evolved tool-machines, our jobs require extreme predation of remaining ecosystems, our chemical soaked mono-crops now mining the soils of the world to exhaustion.

Under high body-mind stress levels, the existence of pecking order, hierarchy, ensures that we slaves of machines like to have other slaves much further down the pecking order. Human beings become disposable machines in the eyes of employers. Entire identifiable groups become targets of subjugation, for use as slaves in dangerous or dirty jobs. Their treatment has often become our means of relieving our own stress, in order to feel better, that we are not so badly treated by the city-machine systems.

Human beings seem to become in general better at filtering the existential stress, as they live higher up on the wealth production, machine serviced and machine control peeking order, in their particular social caste system. Of course with personal — family and social connections, and health problems of our unhealthy systems, its impossible to avoid stress and disease and faster aging.

Fully evolved social organisms like bees, termites, ants, that have well differentiated castes to the point of having specialist individuals for social reproduction. Insects are known as an R-selected species. They produce lots of eggs, relative to a small body size. Were it not for high mortality rates for the young, in becoming food for other species, each R-type species could blanket the earth within a few generations. R-type species worker cast members are sterile, are genetically evolved to serve the reproductive caste, usually a single queen. Their life cycle time is usually seasonal.

We humans are a successful K-strategist, because we have ransacked our whole finite world to support our growing numbers of resource hungry, and machine-trained, city servicing offspring.

We have become, in our states of ecosystems overshoot, biologically symbiotic with all of our power machines. We have also created those social machines called corporations, that licenses the mining and pollution of all life for profit takings.

Our machines, and social systems, have magnified the impacts of our gratifications of animal tribal social and anti-social instincts. These haven’t evolved at all, and can only cope with challenges by shutting down emotional response.

The ultimate withdrawal is hate all national governments, and all corporations, the entire complex edifice of fossil fueled overshoot civilization. Let us not hate anyone in particular. We are totally out of our depth, deep in subjugation to the systems that feed us.

The only other way out is, as other people are saying, is a planned reduction in human fertility, significantly below replacement. Stresses of city apartment living, and global chemical and plastics pollution, already interfere significantly with human reproduction biology. Healthy male sperm counts are falling yearly, at an accelerating rate. Already the only way back to a healthy fertile human population, a mentally sane species, kept in balance with normal ecological systems health is a rapid human species die-off.

It is just as well that our brief energy pulse of this fossil fuel — machine age is definitively moving fast in the direction of collapse towards its most hideous end. Collapse with distance to fall down, applies in extreme to the top developed nations dominating global consumption and exploitation, who are locked into their machines symbiosis and currently indulging in their capacity for murderous war. The bigger they are, the harder they are going to fall, because of machine dependency.



Michael Rynn

Once was educated and worked in Medical Practice, then did software engineering. Now retired. Still doing music, reading and writing, and website tinkering