[C]hemical serf-preservation and collective growth is at the bottom of everything else that charactarises the behaviour of living things. Every living thing is a sort of imperialism, seeking to transform as much as possible of its environment into itself and its seed. [...] We may regard the whole of evolution as flowing from this ’chemical imperialism’ of living matter. Of this, Man is only the last example (so far). He transfors the surface of the globe by irrigation, cultivation, mining, quarrying, making canals and railways, breeding certain animals, and destroying others; and when we ask ourselves, from the standpoint of an outside observer, what is the end achieved by all these acivities, we find that it can be summed upp in one very simple formula: to transform as much as possible of the matter on the earth’s surface into human bodies. Domestication of animals, agriculture, commerce, industrialism have been stages in this process. When we compare the human population of the globe with that of other large animals and also with that of former times, we see that ‘chemical imperialism’ has been, in fact, the main end to witch human intelligence has been devoted.
Bertrand Russel, “An Outline of Philosophy”, s. 22
Pessimistiskt, insiktsfullt eller ett krasst faktum? Kan vi komma från "as much as possible" till "as much as needed", och då uppstår naturligtvis frågan: hur mycket är "needed"?