A Tormented Soul

That soul is mine. As I sit here trying to gather my thoughts for this essay, I find that my focus is blurry because of the emotions I have from thinking the unthinkable. As I sit here pondering how and what I wish to say, I know that I will not come right out and say what is on my mind. I don't want you to close your mind to thinking the unthinkable.

If I am anticipating most people correctly, then two questions in your mind right now should be, "Why would he want me to think the unthinkable?" and "What is the unthinkable?" They are both good and valid questions.

If you do not have either of these questions in your mind, stop reading right now, you're too stupid to comprehend what I am going to write about. I make no apologies for the harshness of my tone. The unthinkable is just too important to be mired down by the ignorant.

"Why would he want me to think the unthinkable?"
Because the first step to fixing a problem, any problem, is to acknowledge that the problem exists. This must happen before one can even begin to understand the problem, which is the usually stated first step.

"What is the unthinkable?"
The unthinkable is something I intend to educate you on, as much as possible, before you actually know what the unthinkable is. Thinking the unthinkable is quite possibly something that the human mind is not easily able to do. There are logical survival benefits to delusional thought processes and that subject is not within the boundaries of this essay. I am therefore attempting to give knowledge from an oblique angle.

Before I come 'round to that oblique angle, I wish to present head on, the concept of what FINITE means.


My trusty Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language states:

Finite:  adj.  1. having bounds or limits...  2. Math.  a. (of a set of elements) capable of being completely counted.  b. not infinite or infinitesimal.  3. subject to limitations or conditions, as of space, time, circumstances, or the laws of nature...
-n.  4. that which is finite.

Infinite: adj. 1. immeasurably great...  2. indefinitely of exceedingly great...   3. unbounded or unlimited...   4. endless or innumerable; inexhaustible.

If an item is finite,
and that item is consumed for a long enough time,
that item will deplete.

There is no way to get around this. When it's gone, it's gone.

Finite, by definition; has limits; can be completely counted; is not infinite; is subject to limitation.

An apple a day

An apple a day consumption

In this chart, we have the apple reserve for an apple tree. The tree has one hundred apples on it. The green line shows how the apple reserve will decrease if one person eats an apple a day.

The owner of the tree is a nice and friendly fellow. He ate an apple a day for one week. He likes to share the good things in life with his friends so he invites his neighbor to be healthy by eating an apple a day. During the second week, two people are eating an apple a day. At the beginning of the third week, a third person is invited to have an apple a day. Each week one more person is invited to enjoy an apple a day.

The red line on the chart shows that the apples are depleted on the 34th day. By adding one person per week, the group enjoying an apple a day only increased to five people before the apples were depleted.

Reserve to Production Ratio

On any given day, we can divide the number of apples left on the tree, by the number of apples picked per day, and have as a result, the number of days the apples can be picked at that rate before the depletion of the apples. The number of apples on the tree is the apple reserve. The number of apples picked per day is the production. The R/P ratio is the reserve divided by the production. This is a method of forecasting when something is going to be depleted.

If there is a uniform consumption of the apples as in the case above, where only one apple per day is being produced, the R/P ratio will always forecast the remaining days until depletion of the apples as being 100 days from the start of consumption.

If 20 apples are produced in 20 days, then 80 apples remain. 80 apples divided by 1 per day equals 80 days. 80 days R/P plus the 20 days of past production means depletion will happen on the 100th day.

Apple reserve to production ratio

The red line in this chart is exactly the same as the one in the last page’s chart.

The green line looks exactly the same, but it is calculated by dividing the day's apple reserve by a consumption of one apple per day. The numbers were derived differently.

The green line in the last section shows the R/P for any given day, simply because the amount of apples in the reserve equals the number of days until depletion.

The blue, yellow, and (what M$ calls) pink lines are the projected reserves recalculated each time the production increases. R/P3 means the reserve is divided by 3 apples per day, R/P4 by 4, etc.

What is important to note about this chart is how the time of depletion jumps closer in time for each increase in the amount of apples produced.

I now offer the parable of the Land of Utope.

The Land of Utope

The land of Utope is mythical . The weather is always mild, the rain always a light sprinkle in the afternoon when one can stand under the branches of the big leafy trees for shelter from the wet. The grass is always soft and dry where all sleep comfortably under the stars at night.

Utope is a wonderful place to live, But the land only grows a certain amount of food. There is only enough food to support about a thousand people.
One day, while out for a wonderful walk in the woods, a resident of Utope came upon a cave in a clearing. The sky was a most beautiful shade of blue that day. The sunlight warmed the skin just enough to offset the cool of the gentle breeze. The air smelled crisp and clean.

The Utopian citizen knew of no wild, harmful or threatening creatures, so felt perfectly safe in exploring the cave without the benefit of light in the darker recesses of that cave. In the back of the cave the citizen felt many smooth round rocks. They felt so smooth, it was almost as if they were polished. No matter where the citizen felt around in the back of the cave, the he could always feel the smoothness of the stones within an outstretched arm's length. Whenever the citizen tried to pull a stone from the wall, it just popped into the his hand, almost as if by magic.

The citizen of Utope took a handful of these stones out of the cave into the wonderful day that was outside. The citizen inspected the find in the light of the warm sun. The gemstones were brilliant to look at. They were shiny with a glow that hints at an internal source of illumination. The citizen put these beautiful gems in a pocket. They were going to be given to the citizen's friends, for something this wonderful to look at just had to be shared.

On the his trip back, the citizen noted, that even though it was past time for a lunch meal, he just was not hungry. When it came time for dinner, the citizen again noted that he was not hungry. In fact, not only was he not hungry, he felt better than he had in years.

Upon awakening, and again noting that he didn't feel hungry, the citizen took the gems he found to all of his friends and gave them the gift of beauty he had found the day before.

A week later, the citizen had yet to become hungry. His friends had reported the same strange thing. Through observation it was found that these magic gemstones increased the health and prolonged the life of the gemstone holders. The gemstone holders never suffered hunger, such was the great power of these magic stones.

It was noted that the gemstones get used up as their possession increases the well-being of the gemstone holder. As these gemstones get used up, the glow fades and the color darkens. It has been found that there is no uniformity to the darkness or dullness when the gemstones completely fail to be usable in prolonging their holder's well-being. It was observed that the gemstones lasted about a year.

Fortunately the numbers of people living in this mythical land were small and the cache of gemstones was large. With the population of this mythical land only numbering 1000 and the numbers of available gemstones numbering too large to even bother counting, the citizens all carried a gemstone and were concerned not, because the supply hidden in the back of the cave appeared to be inexhaustible.

The Utope citizens adjusted to their new found bounty. With hunger no longer a consideration, the Utopes started to increase the size of their society. With the mild nature of Utope and the increased health of the citizens, the population increased every year at a mere 2.05%.  The population only increased by 20.5 citizens for each 1000 that existed the year before.

In the next five years after the introduction of the new found bounty of the magic gemstones, the population increased to 1020, 1040, 1061, 1082, and 1104 respectively. In the next five intervals of 10 years, the population increased to 1220, 1490, 1820, 2224, and 2719 respectively.

Life really was good. The Utopes had a culture and a civilization that just continued to grow. As a citizens' gemstone lost its magic after a year of use, they just produced another one from the cave. As each new citizen was born, another gemstone was produced from the cave.
341 years of growth at 2.05% per year The gemstones allowed the Utopes' civilization to grow much, much larger than the small thousand that the land could support without the gemstones.

For 341 years, the population of the Utopes increased a mere 2.05% per year. At the end of 341 years, the population of the Utopes was 989,172.

Gemstones consumed supporting Utope

We know that the total number of gemstones found and removed from the cave numbered 50,000,000.

Annual Gemstone & Population Census

The black dotted shows one half of the original gemstones.

Where the red line crosses the dotted line is the 309th year after the introduction of the gemstones to the land of Utope. This is the point in time when 1/2 of the gemstones have been produced and consumed.

Where the red line ends at zero is the 342nd year after the introduction of the gemstones to the land of Utope. This is the point in time when all of the gemstones have been produced and consumed.

One half of the gemstones were consumed in 309 years, The other half were consumed in 33 years.

This chart shows the relationship between the minor growth of a population that consumes a finite item, and the actual numbers of that finite item as it is consumed. A minor growth of consumption has a very large effect on the amount of an item consumed over time.

Reserve to Production Ratio

We know that the total number of gemstones found and removed from the cave numbered 50,000,000. Just as the R/P was calculated for a given amount of apples earlier, the R/P of magic gemstones can be calculated in this section. Since each gemstone lasted, on average, one year, then 50 million divided by 1000 citizens equals 50 thousand years worth of gemstones. This was a longer time than the average Utope citizen would live. If the citizens of Utope knew that there were only 50 million gemstones in the cave, they still would not have cared. Fifty-thousand years is forever when your  lifespan is less than 100 years.

Gemstone Reserve to Production Ratio

The reality hidden in the back of the cave was that the gemstones were finite. They were limited in number.

By the time the citizens of Utope realized that the gemstones were not unlimited, they had consumed half of the original source of gemstones. They started noticing gaps in the cave where there were no gemstones to be harvested. In their concern, the Utope citizens involved in harvesting and mining the gemstones decided to get all the gemstones out of the cave so they could be counted.

In the year 310 the projected depletion was in the year 356. There were some Utope citizens that were concerned about the population. The argued for reducing the population. They were branded doomsayers and ignored. In 315 the projected depletion was in the year 351. In 320 it was 348. In 325 it was 346. As the red line shows, all these projections were wrong. The depletion was in the year 342.

If they had done this inventory back in the year 275 when only a quarter of the gemstones had been used up, the projected depletion would have been in the year 419. They would have missed the projection by 75 years.

The Rude Awakening

The citizens of Utope had a very rude awakening when the gemstones ran out. The land can only support a thousand, but the gemstones allowed the population to exceed that.

With a population of a million after the gemstones are depleted and a support capability of only one-thousand, 999,000 died of starvation after the depletion of the magic gemstones.

Die off

Such is the cold, hard truth of consuming an item that is finite.  

What type of Gemstone supports your civilization?

The sad End.