Fungible Functional Units
Functional units exist throughout the natural world. Atoms and molecules are functional units in the realm of chemistry, where they’re traded in themes called functional groups. The brain (a complex physiological organ) trades and builds in the functional units of neurons (nerve cells), in much the same way that stem cells “resolve” onto a development path of differentiated mature cells. Throughout, we note that function alone is not adequate to produce these emergent, seemingly “conscious” feats of stem cells “deciding” on which developmental trip to take next. Among the 171 billion cells in the brain, or 240 billion cells in the liver, fungibility is key — that is, a critical threshold of standardization across all functional unit-systems. Perfect standardization, however, leaves no room for evolutionary adaptation and innovation, which is where humanity might have veered off a functional path — and onto a slippery slope of metastasizing financialization that has riddled the world over with cannibalistic economic tumors.