Tag Archives: hunger

Human photosynthesis

Scientists are working on all of the wrong things. Well, maybe not everything they’re doing is wrong. Like trying to cure cancer, that’s definitely something that I hope they figure out sooner rather than later. But scientists, come on, there is so much more that you could be doing, I’m talking big picture, beneficial to humanity type stuff.


Like, what about photosynthesis? Why can’t you make photosynthesis happen for human beings? If plants can do it, I really don’t see what the problem is in making it happen for us. Just figure out how they do it, and then come up with some sort of a gene therapy or a medication or something that makes it work for us.

I’m not suggesting that we change our method of processing energy entirely, it would just be nice to have a photosynthesis option, as a supplement. Like a hybrid car, we could be hybrid people. Obviously, I don’t want to give up eating. Given the choice between eating and photosynthesis, I’m always going to go for a snack.

But what about when there aren’t any snacks readily available? Like what if I’m on a really long car trip and there’s not another Arby’s rest stop for like a hundred and twenty miles? What then? The obvious solution should be, nothing. Just sit back and let human photosynthesis take care of the rest.

And that’s just my own very limited ideas about how photosynthesis would benefit me, personally. Imagine photosynthesis on a global scale. You wouldn’t have to worry about anybody starving. “Just go outside!” we could have aid workers tell all of the poor people around the world, “Your bodies are now capable of turning sunlight directly into food!”

Problem solved. And then we wouldn’t have to feel so guilty about all of the food we waste over here. So many times I feel like I’m just shoveling food in my face because it’s better that I clean my plate than to let anything go to waste. But once the scientists finally get their priorities together and make this photosynthesis thing happen for real, I’ll eat, or I won’t eat, whatever I want.

“Give me the biggest plate of food you have,” I’ll tell the waiter when I go out to eat. And he might be like, “Sir, the biggest plate we have is a family style tasting menu. It feeds six adults.”

“Bring it,” and I’ll eat a bite, whatever, I’ll eat a little more. “You want me to wrap everything up for you?” They’ll ask me as they clear the mostly full plates from the table. And I’ll say, “No, just throw it all away, dump it straight in the trash.”

No longer will I feel like I’m being guilted into wrapping up my leftovers, making a big show of taking them home with me, looking for a trashcan a few blocks down, waiting for an opportune time where nobody’s watching me, judging me for throwing out the remnants of a perfectly good meal. “Just toss it,” I’ll repeat.

And scientists, while you’re at it, can’t you figure out some way to give human beings the ability to dig themselves into the ground and start drawing additional nutrients right from the soil? Again, I’m not saying that I’d prefer to literally start making roots into the earth, but big picture, think about all of the homeless people out there.

It costs money to house them in shelters, and most of the time, they’re out back on the streets in no time. Why not just plant them in the ground? We could use this technology at prisons also. “Just dig yourselves in, fellas,” the warden would announce as they all filed in for prison orientation. It would cut down on violence. And taxpayer money. We wouldn’t have to spend a dime, we could just make sure they get some water every now and then, direct access to sunlight.

Let’s do it. We’re at a point in human history where these types of technologies should be commonplace. If I had tons of money to spend of research, that’s what I’d be doing with it. But I don’t have any money. So all I can do is continue to urge the scientific community, let’s make it happen. Come on.

What would I do if society collapsed?

I’ve somehow managed to carve out an existence for myself. I’m alive. I’m living in a major American city. I have cash in my pocket. That’s fine. Everything’s fine. Two years ago I was waiting tables at a restaurant. One day I got bored and walked into another restaurant and now I’m waiting tables over there. Terrific. I’m in pretty good shape. I try to eat right, you know, in between binging at McDonald’s or White Castle. I run a lot. Fantastic.

But what if society were to collapse tomorrow? Let’s say zombie apocalypse. Or let’s not, because that’s kind of overdone. But imagine the same post-zombie apocalypse, just minus the zombies. Imagine no cities, no big populations of people, no societal rules, no infrastructure, no Internet. Just roving bands of human beings scavenging from site to site, occasionally coming upon another group of human beings, struggling for scarce resources, fighting for power.

All I want to do right now is to have as much of a life of leisure as possible. What would my role be in this new world? I think about this because if you look back at history, compared to the majority of homo sapiens that have walked this surface of this planet, I’m living a life of incredible luxury. Not only that, but I’m not really doing anything for it. I was born into this reality of highways and refined petroleum and microprocessors. My government sent people to the moon like twenty years before I was even born.

Here I am traipsing around, serving hamburgers to businessmen for lunch, riding my bicycle home and writing a bunch of nonsense on the Internet. If I’m hungry I go into my fridge. If I’m too lazy to put something together, I can walk down the block and buy a hot meal from like eighty-five different restaurants. If I’m even lazier I can call up any one of those eighty-five restaurants and pay somebody there to get on his bicycle and ride that food over to my place.

Boom. Nuclear war. Giant asteroid. Some sort of weird global pandemic that kills everybody shorter than six foot three. All of the sudden I’m back to my roots, back to my caveman roots. I’ll only be able to stand around in the burnt out shell of my apartment, mourning my losses, sifting through endless piles of rubble for so long before I start to get hungry. And then I’ll get really hungry. And I’ll walk through the streets and maybe I’ll run into some other people. And we’re all really hungry. And thirsty. And where do I go to the bathroom? And what do I use to clean myself off? And now I’d like to brush my teeth.

I’m not trying to make any point, except to remind myself that this humdrum life I’m living is a very pampered one. Three hundred years ago I might have been … what? What would I have been? At twenty-eight years old, I’d probably have grandkids by now. Would we all be toiling away in the fields? Constantly preparing for drought, for famine, any way to stave off the all but inevitable hunger?

Or would I even be alive? When I was a kid I had strep throat like three times. I had the chicken pox. Pink eye. In the eighth grade I had meningitis. Jesus. What about my cavities? Maybe I wouldn’t be alive. Maybe I’m not cut out for real nature, like raw pre-industrial society pre-Purell nature.

Whenever I start thinking about this, I always wind up going back even further, way back. There was definitely a time before human beings. Now there are human beings. What was the first generation of humans like? How far removed were they from the rest of the animal kingdom? What must it have been like to live as a human, as a group of human, before speech, before language was invented, before anybody had the chance to sit around and think about what’s right and what’s wrong.

No, nobody had time for reflection, because all anybody was thinking about was food, about not being hungry, about satisfying primitive needs. Was there any pleasure at all in life? What gets me crazy is that our ancestors actually had to live through that. That those experiences are all part of us, somewhere, deep down. And that if catastrophe were to strike, were somehow to erase everything that we’ve built up since then, we’d be back to some sort of a square one, a shared experience revolving around a base means of trying to stay alive.

And then I snap out of my daydream and I’m sitting here at this computer, frustrated because I can’t think of anything to write about, can’t get comfortable because the heat is too strong because it’s too cold outside. And I’m too full because I ate too big of a lunch.