There’s a debate among scholars as to the natural history of meat. How exactly does meat organize? What constitutes a complete organism? We observe, for example, disassociated fragments that travel very far from their core and function at a high level. This suggests that all meat must be connected — perhaps by subtle communication channels we lack the sensitivity to detect. The organization of fragments is the key to this puzzle. It is important to realize that, outside of a mass of fragments, there is literally nothing else. There is no central mill or engine, merely a swarm of fragments with limited agency but ferocious energy, a self-healing network of considerable ingenuity.
Fragments are uniform with small variations. These reproduce by fission, seemingly at random, and new fragments are helpless for a quarter of their functional life span, cared for by their builder. The capabilities of an individual fragment are as uniform as their physical form, which is invariably one of bilateral symmetry, with a pair of weak manipulators and a sensor stalk about two meters above the ground. They can move quite rapidly and are adept at fitting into small, unlikely places. When injured they rapidly deteriorate and die. A single blow to the stalk will kill a meat fragment.
Universalists believe that meat is a single, enormous, massively distributed organism. Within this model, the assumption is that individual fragments are like cards in a mill, amplifying processing capability as well as performing necessary labor. Universalism’s principal flaw is the simple fact that meat wars upon meat, a phenomena that is not easy to explain within this theoretical framework.
Instantianists believe that there are countless individual examples of meat, each self-directed and completely autonomous. While scholars differ on the size of each instance, the general consensus among Instantianists is that the walled village of fragments represents a discrete organism. This philosophy is widely accepted and seems to resolve most of the theoretical concerns related to meat behavior.
Mechanists believe that each fragment is a sentient being, a sort of mirror image to our own society. This is a fringe view and highly problematic for numerous reasons. Where, for example, are the biological equivalents to mills? Without some gestalt, how are individual fragments capable of sorting and processing with such speed and precision? Mechanism is widely discredited.