We’ve reached that odd point in the day where my brain is getting fuzzy but I haven’t yet decided what to talk about. I’ve got an inkling of a topic, nothing substantial, but it’ll just have to do. Basically everything on Earth is solar powered. It’s really peculiar just how vital the sun is for what we now consider life. Sure you’ve got thermal vents and animals that live in the deep darkness without even an inkling of what the sun is, but for the most part it’s a big sun fest.
Even if you didn’t consider those thermal vent organisms to be exceptions you’d likely be right. Since their bodies are built with components that could only exist from stars. Fiery orbs that burst millions and billions of years ago. Scattering more complex elements across the cosmos. That’s not where I’m going with this though. Basically anyone or anything that isn’t a plant is a vampire. Even some plants fall into this category, Venus Flytraps, Bells, and the like. Parasitic plants are certainly vampires. Again, though, not talking about them. Plants in general generate energy from the sun. General generate is a pretty great sequence of words, I’ll need to find a use for that more often.
Our first line of the vampyric train starts just after this point. The sun is expelling this energy willingly, not that the sun has a will, but it does so without any coercion of outside forces. Then comes along herbivores. The first vampires. They consume the plants and absorb all of that stored sun energy for themselves. Deeper still you’ve got carnivores that consume the herbivores and convert the stored sun energy that that first line of vampires stole. And likely more carnivores eat the other carnivore. Eventually they’ll die and the energy stores remaining in their being will be devoured by life too small to see, and some that is very very visible. Bacteria, fungi, and scavengers.
Humans too are vampires. We absorb the energy of anything that happens to look at us sideways. To some degree even the machinery we build does the same. A bunch of mechanical vampires feeding off the little (well lot) of the sun’s energy that escaped the cycle of consumption. Buried deep within the Earth, long forgotten until we showed up.
Parasites take this metaphor to the ultimate degree. They drain the sun energy from their prey while, generally, never killing them. The prey simply becomes a vessel to produce energy for the parasite to consume. There is something especially disturbing about this system of vampirism. It feels wrong, unseemly. I suppose we also sort of do this with various producer animals. Draining them of their fluids until they can’t physically keep up, then, generally, offing them to consume the remaining sun energy from their bodies.
I wonder what an alien would think? Perhaps one that doesn’t actually follow this cycle. For various reasons, which I’ve talked about before, I suspect this won’t be the case. But for fun we can imagine it was. These aliens see a planet of vampires consuming one another in an unending vicious cycle of survival. These animals who are much like plants glance at our little sphere in awe. How could anything so violent survive so long? A war world in the middle of the great darkness.
They move on, for fear that descending onto our surface would be like diving deep into a river full of starving piranha.