There’s a man scrambling to climb back onto the ice where he’s fallen in. A friend extends a hand, and helps the sopping fisherman back onto the ice. The fisherman takes a moment to come to his senses, water running out of his sleeves and his vest pockets frosting stiff. The fisherman looks at his buddy and in a moment strips to his briefs.
The man is nearly six miles from camp and has nowhere to go. The two fishermen look at each other and wonder what’s best to do in this situation, and the clothed man reels his line in and sets off back to camp for help.
So the man while he waits hugs his shoulders and clatters his knees to stay warm in a whole-body shiver, shaking himself blue. Soon, his body begins to sacrifice pieces of itself, pulling blood from its extremities to its vital organs, intentional oxygen/nutrient/lifeforce deprivation to the limbs, starting with his fingertips and toes warming into a deep pain until the flesh dies black and necrosis spreads down the veins.
After an hour the man collapses and is unconscious on the ice, his body attempting to conserve what resources it has left, in order to survive, his limbs white with spreading frost.
By miracle, a helicopter hovers a basket, and a rescuer pulls the fisherman in, and at the hospital they amputate his limbs, and he survives, and gets robotic prosthetics, and lives a pretty regular life down in Sarasota with a wife and a few kids.
Life is designed to sacrifice entire chunks of itself in order to survive. Life generally keeps its guts together for safe-keeping (or maybe it’s more efficient) and that chunk of machinery must interact with the world around it, master a portion of it, gain control so it can eat, mold its environs to provide and prosper and grow — bigger wings, arms, branches.
Those extensions aren’t necessary, and life knows this, and kills its appendages first.
If you’re heavy enough, there’s a good chance you can’t walk: you’ve too much matter for your own muscle. When a company scales its business, the biggest risk is over-extension: having too many disparate parts without the resources. Much the same goes for empire: muscle like influence begins to fail the farther it’s reached from the seat of the empire, the heart much like the homeland.