Bare Bones Biology 218 – Systems Evolution

Dear Friend —

Can you believe it? Here is a quote from a Taos (New Mexico) photographer, referring to the northern section of the Rio Grande river: “Watching visitors experience this sight is always entertaining. They seem to lose all sense of reality in the face of its grandeur.” Taos summer visitors guide 2014. This photographer, lives right in the middle of the grandeur, and he believes it to be – what? A movie prop?

But never mind our brainwashed young, today I absolutely planned to talk about my interaction with —let us call her Amanda—, but the following is what came out of my fingers when I sat down to type and three ideas came together in my inbox:

First – Your comment that most people cannot imagine a world without the energy of oil (see ref A below). This is true. And there are many other important things that most people can’t imagine. You can. That is why I picked your project to support, in my small way, out of the hundreds I have looked over in the past 15 years. —Amanda— can also imagine, though not yet as deeply, because she is much younger. So she is the other I support. I mean enough to stop what I’m doing and think about what y’all are doing. Of course, I have seen a number of other people with this kind of imagination, but without projects to which I could contribute usefully. Not unless they would ask the questions.

Second – I think the creation of a central dogma of imagination is one of the ways (maybe the major way) that our corposystem prevents discussion of critically important dissenting ideas (or any dissenting ideas, but now is critically important to our survival). It’s pretty much what “1984,” the book (B), is about. David, for example, used an elegant corposystem-imposed method very effectively to disempower discussion of biological reality.

I am not saying that David, or someone up there in the corposystem, is telling us not to talk or think about (something). Of course, they are to some extent, but more importantly I believe lock-step thinking is part of the biology of what maintains human systems, while outside-the-box thinking provides the variability necessary if change is to happen.

The Law of Life, generating novel systems by recombination, is how evolution brings about change, but once you get a viable combination of traits together in one system, and that system fills a niche it can feed upon, then that combination of traits is maintained essentially changeless until the system dies. To survive, the system must protect this unique combination of traits, so it does not change; rather, it becomes more and more of what it is. Whether the system be the longer and longer neck of a giraffe, or the growth fixation of the corposystem, the primary function of a system is to maintain itself.

I believe behaviors such as co-dependence are at root biological imperatives that serve similar social functions. Easier–to-recognize examples, such as the glass-half-full-syndrome

http://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2009/05/21/the-glass-half-full/

‎https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=725&action=edit – post_name, http://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2013/11/07/
bare-bones-bio…a-quarter-full/,

and the nice-speak syndrome (http://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2013/06/25/bare-bones-bio…156-nice-speak/) (again, see “1984”), similarly protect human systems from outside ideas. Even ideas that would prevent massive human suffering but also would, inevitably, change the system. The corposystem is not only a business plan – it is an evolved biological system that operates just as evidently out of the Law of Evolution as do physical systems.

Third – I also believe there are physical reasons for our human disinclination to imagine or talk outside the model required by the system. Outside the box causes intrinsic biological pain to humans. http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20140514-how-extreme-isolation-warps-minds

In sum, the function of a system is to maintain itself, and that is also the simplest way to describe the Law of Evolution. I see it everywhere within our corposystem, equally as I see it in the tree of Life and the development of the whole universe. I think it is a natural law more basic than any other we have described so far.

So what do we do about this in a culture that defends itself by finding ways to not discuss the issues?

My answer is to speak as truthfully as possible (http://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2013/08/20/ factfictionfancy-130820/), trying to balance the long-term and short-term benefits to the individual, who is usually me; the culture, which is the corposystem; and the needs of the Biosystem, which we all require for our survival. At the same time I have usually tried to avoid being lynched (or crucified) for challenging the system at it’s weak links. The goal is to shake up the corposystem world view by challenging demonstrably false statements/world view (http://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2013/05/01/bare-bones-bio…3b-world-views/), so as to make it possible for people to think about the content rather than the package in which it is wrapped – to loosen a chink in our world views — while at the same time avoiding unnecessary unkindness and/or revolutionary violence, which is what will happen if the goal fails.

There is the very remote chance that humans can pull through this biological crisis because we have two unique advantages that no other species has ever had. 1) We can think, when we choose to do so. And (2) the information is available to us, whenever we decide to use it for the benefit of all sentient beings.

This is Bare Bones Biology, a production of FactFictionFancy.Wordpress.com and KEOS radio 89.1 in Bryan, Texas. The audio copy of this blog is available at:

I have nothing much to lose. So – that’s what I do. I have tried it both ways. To conform to the system merely empowers the system — without fundamentally changing it – because systems are flexible and can co-opt challenges, as ours has done with the charitable activities, to use the challenges to empower the system itself. Very clever. But I don’t want to empower our toxic system. As I have said from the beginning, my search is to find behaviors that will not make matters worse. And I believe that can be done only by not participating in it. That’s not possible, so one participates as little as is possible.

The greater good is compassionate honesty, with the goal in mind of reducing suffering of all sentient beings — not only us. And I think at least Tibetan Buddhism, at least the Dalai Lama, has made some fairly strong statements about wise compassion, and about education toward reality, that conform with this view. (Not the view about evolution, of course, I think he is unfortunately not well informed in this area, but about wise compassion. And he is clear that wise compassion requires education. And effort.) (D)

REFERENCES ‘
A) Kelly J. Ponte, PhD. “Retaining soil moisture in the American Southwest. Sunstone Press, Santa Fe NM. (p19) “Humans do not need oil to live. Oil makes our lives more convenient. Water makes our lives possible.” Let’s all try to imagine a world without water available to humans and how it is coming to be. The information is available and you can think.
B) George Orwell, “1984”
C) Links

http://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2013/08/20/factfictionfancy-130820/

http://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2009/05/21/the-glass-half-full/

https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=725&action=edit – post_name

http://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2013/11/07/

bare-bones-bio…a-quarter-full/
and the nice-speak syndrome http://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2013/06/25/
D) – Bikkhu Bodhi, translator, “In the Buddha’s Words,” Wisdom Publications, Boston

Writing this blog has also moved a chink in my world view. I have been thinking in the back of my mind (corpo-think) that we could “move” the corposystem toward intelligent imagination by educating the masses to understand the implications of the Law of Life. Now I’m reading of the Buddha’s wisdom as translated by a Theravaden Buddhist, with a forward by The Tibetan Buddhist. Apparently, that was one of The Buddha’s insights – that we cannot educate the masses away from their world view (because of the many ways in which a social system protects itself from change, mentioned above but he didn’t know the Law of Life). He finally concluded that every person must address this responsibility for herself, and that seems to be most of what he talked about to householders. Well, looking at the imaginations of our recent generations of well educated young householders – and the fact that more children are born every year than we can possibly influence, and immediately indoctrinated into the corposystem world view – what do you think? That’s the problem with a system. It is more powerful than an individual, even if she is right.

Predators

Predator insect eats grasshopper
Predator reptile tries to decide if I am too big for him.

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Down in the riverbottom where I was walking along until I sensed something that smelled very much like a predator mammal, or perhaps that angry elk, My various senses have been much improved in this lovely fine clear air, including my sense of smell. I realized this morning when I couldn’t find Bitsy in the house, that she must be near. At the moment she smells of skunk. And then this predator elk downin the riverbed that never has water but does make a nice path right next to my house. I went in the house.

Healhy Living – 140816

Look how our healthy garden is growing. It’s a race between fruits and frost.

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Diary – 140815

Pain. Terror. Suffering.

But I did manage to finish my income tax. I didn’t finish before leaving Texas because I sat down with all my preparations and the software for which I had paid a fairly large amount of money (tax deductible in part, in theory) and downloaded it onto my oldest laptop, and tried to open it only to receive a message that it wouldn’t work on that operating system.

140814-cabin-ASC_0848SssSo, OK, I am not going to change that operating system, because it contains some of my favorite other software – in fact most of it, it is my working computer – and that software cannot be updated. The company (Adobe) no longer makes available software that I want to use. In fact they don’t make it available at all – you have to rent it by the month and give them full access to your computer. Corposystem then has complete control over everything I want to do on line and can withdraw it at any time. Well, the bigger point is that I do not WANT to and it is frequently impossible for me to be on line all the time. Especially without electricity to run it all, and until about a week or so ago I did not have the electricity. So I am not getting rid of that computer, though it is the first good computer I ever had and is old.

Rather, some years ago, I bought another, identical second-hand laptop. Identical except it has a newer operating system. This is good, except that I noticed last year that once again the OS began to not work on much of what is required. Such as the software that I downloaded to do my income tax. (As they have access to the insides of my computer you would think they would check to see if it would work). So before I left Texas I bought a Mac Mini, mostly to get the new software, but still I can’t throw away the old software because I don’t want what Adobe is selling now, and I have bought a large amount of their older/better software. The mini cost a lot less than replacing all that software I need. However, the mini is not a laptop and therefore requires a source of electricity or it won’t run.

And, to make a long story short, I could only run one bit of equipment at a time, and only for a short time when the sun was shining. I assumed the Mini could handle the downloaded tax software, but I couldn’t use the mini.

140814-cabin-ASC_0850RSssFortunately, last week or so I GOT MORE SOLAR.(YAAAY, I can now work when I want to and how I want to. I can now run the mini with its up-to-date OS, a monitor, the internet access and a printer all at the same time. And if I need to work all day and all night, I can add an electric light.) Now I can do my income tax, so yesterday I turned them all on and sat down to do it. I downloaded the tax software onto the Mini. I spent some time learning how to use the new OS. I already had a printout of all the figures I need from 2013. I started to fill in all the stuff the software requires and got about four hours into the project when I realized there was no way I would be able to figure out what the h— they are talking about and the IRS instructions are a lot more useful and easier to understand. Although it doesn’t correct your mistakes before you hand it in, they definitely let you know after.

So, what ho, I can now leave the internet access on all day long and into the night if I want to, so I went to IRS to download the necessary instructions. IRS was down. Well, no surprise on the day before the deadline, so I worked on organizing my info until dinner time and went back and tried to download everything I would need. It turns out, the IRS no longer makes this information downloadable. Not all of it. And even with three computers I cannot a) keep them all on line at the same time, or b) read them on line. Everything jumps around when you try to read documents on line. I need a hard copy to check and double check and try to understand what the h— they are talking about. So I did a work-around on that. The site went down again after dinner, when I needed another form, but I finally got it all. Used up half a ream of paper, which is too bad, but I imagine the IRS is saving more paper than everyone together used in olden days.

140814-cabin-ASC_0849SssOK, that’s enough about that, except for one other problem that I will not describe, and that is FINDING, in my files and/or on my computer(s) and/or backup disks, the information I need. All my files have changed location since I packed them up and moved. In fact, my files are in a continual flux of change and have been since about 7 years ago, and I can never find anything easily. So I looked through EVERYTHING before I was finished, spread stuff all over the cabin, had an anxiety attack that I controlled, and before I was finished, I even lost all my pens in the giant mess.

All the things I put away when I arrived are now scattered throughout, and believe me in the middle part of this exercise I was in PAIN, TERROR, and SUFFERING between wondering what the h— they are talking about and whether or not I would be able to find whatever it was/is. Much worse than a bear climbing into the back of the truck. Or even exposure to dread diseases, as long as one doesn’t actually catch the diseases.

140814-cabin-ASC_0853RLSssIt happens every year. And yes, I DID prepare for this when the deadline passed and I filed from Texas for automatic extension. I just didn’t remember what I had prepared.
It didn’t bother me at all that it rained much of the day yesterday. What a gloomy mess. Late, late in the night I crashed under the bednet in the cabin.

And woke up realizing that today is the absolute deadline and I need to get out of here to a post office. Probably I can. The sun has arrived at the cabin this morning. We now go out for our morning meditation, and if it doesn’t rain before about noon the mud will probably be dried off enough for the 4WD, the solar now gives me a cup of coffee in the morning, Bitsy and I will put our backs to the sun and breath clean air for a while. I don’t know why our snake stopped coming to bask with us. I miss her. But otherwise, by this afternoon, the worst day of the year will be behind us.

And the snake is back, and a beautiful thing she is; so ends our time of trial.

Except now I have to clean up the cabin.

And the computer files.

Bare Bones Biology 217 – Bureau of Land Management

Today I want to share with you the protest letter I wrote to the New Mexico State Office of the United States Bureau of Land Management.

FAX to BLM 140812 (FAX receipt filed)
Jesse Juen Deadline is 140815 (August 15, Friday)
U.S. Bureau of Land Management
New Mexico State Office
PO Box 27115
Santa Fe, New Mexico 87502

Fax: 505-954-2010

• I am protesting parcels NM-2014-001, 004 through 015, which are in the Rio Chama Watershed and East of the Continental Divide.

I am an 80-year-old retired career basic scientist who planned to spend the rest of my life in the Brazos Valley of Texas and was forced to move because of the destruction of the quality of the air that was threatening my health. I am not alone. Large segments of the American people are becoming homeless or mobile. It is excellent business for the travel trailer parks, but not for building healthy productive communities.

I lived in this location in Texas for 35 years, and invested much of my life savings in four pieces of property in Texas. When I arrived in Texas the air was always as crystalline as that in northern New Mexico on a good day like today. When I left, the air was consistently, daily, gray with a dank smog that damaged my lungs and other organs.

This fug is still there on most days, over the entire region of the hill country and eastward, and up to about 200 feet elevation, and of course it continues to get worse as all those wells leak, many spill (I was threatened when I photographed effluent being poured into the local creek). This change took (for the worst of it) about 5 years and was very clearly, the most of it, the result of intensive fracking north of us.

In addition, of course, I know many other people who owned land and homes in the Brazos Valley of Texas who have had personal health problems, have been forced out of their rural homes, have lost their jobs to people brought in from outside to work the oil and gas jobs, and even have observed flights of birds drop from the air, killed or disabled by the fumes from those local processing stations the gas companies try to hide back in the boonies. I can document these things.

Some of the negative effects of fracking are very well known and well documented.. This destruction does not sit there on top of the BLM lands. Among these problems documented in regions of fracking, worldwide. Destruction of air, water and the almost completely unstudied underground biosystem are among them. Earthquakes that indicate unknown kinds of damage to underground bio- and geo- systems.

Our air water and soil are the commons. They belong to the people – not to the gas or oil companies, and not to the BLM. Money is not more important than the common welfare, and a little more money now will not solve the human problem of depleting resources. In fact, it will make the problem worse for children who are born today, because we did not try to solve the real human problem, but only tried to do more of what caused the problem in the first place.

I am a basic career biologist – not a technician or a technologist. Regardless of the opinions of technicians and technologists, I and other basic scientists know that what we do to the earth today we can never undo. Before we do anything we should deeply consider what will be the effect on the future of humans in New Mexico and beyond, because the effects of this toxic technology are not only local, but expand far across the land air and water, and into the future.

I sincerely hope I will not need to sell out and move away from New Mexico as fracking continues, but I hesitate to invest further – to buy a property where I can live in winter – until I find out to what extent New Mexico is willing to protect her citizens and the natural wealth of her Biosystems from fly-by-night developers who bring temporary jobs, use up the infrastructure of the communities, and then sell off a portion of gas and oil overseas and go away to feed off of the next community. It is the function of government to protect its citizens from these snake-oil salesmen who promise temporary riches rather than help to grow sustainable communities for the welfare of all the people.

I have purchased land here. Again, I hope this is a place where I can live healthy to the end of my days.

Dr. M. Lynn Lamoreux Copy to: Rio Arriba Concerned Citizens
350, CR 352 Post Office Bos 934
Lumberton, NM 87528 Abiquiu, NM 87510

Copy of the radio spot available here:http://traffic.libsyn.com/fff/Bare_Bones_Biology_217-BLM.mp3


What can we do?
I recommend contacting the
Rio Arriba Concerned Citizens, and
http://www.celdf.org/, Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund and ask them to provide legal and educational support for you community rights.

Two of my previous blogs regarding fracking:

http://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2013/07/10/

(fracking-the-reservation/)
http://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2011/06/26/ bare-bones-biology-061-%E2%80%93-fracking-ii/

http://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2014/08/13/bare-bones-bio…and-management/

Chama Days Parade

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Home from the City

140803-Abiquiu-asc_0664RLSs copyAnd so I made my weary way back from Sackcloth and Ashes, bringing with me a little package of ashes to sprinkle in my yard, and ran into one of those situations where everything goes wrong at the same time, just little things, and so I finally gave up and decided to get home before dark. That didn’t work out either. I’m getting much too old for these things, and my body knows it if my brain does not. So about at Abiquiu my eyes were not cooperating and I just zipped into the Abiquiu Inn. Yes, I know there is no such spelling; it is pronounced Abi-Q.

140803-Abiquiu-asc_0659RLSs copyThis is the first Inn I’ve stayed, that I can recommend, in a long time. Clean but not toxic, friendly, plenty of fresh air, hot shower, clean room and nice little roads you can walk around under the giant old cottonwood trees, and some others I don’t know what they are — probably walk down to the Chama River, we didn’t go that far. And in the autumn (not yet but soon) it is pure gold in the Valley. I always stop to photograph. Of course I locked my keys in the pickup, but the manager, Ben Wallace got me on the road again in the morning, after an excellent breakfast that made me think of Larry. Oatmeal with lots of additives. If I knew they had a coffee shop I would have been stopping often, as this is about halfway from home to Santa Fe. http://www.abiquiuinn.com

140803-Abiquiu-asc_0666RLSs copyI was sorry to miss the workshop that was held at the Rising Moon, http://www.risingmoongalleryandartcenter.com/, just up the hill from the Inn and near the post office. Unfortunately at the same time as the Sackcloth and Ashes, they had Jimmy Santiago Baca http://www.jimmysantiagobaca.com/ for the weekend. I did read one of his books, and you should too. The story of a life well lived.

140803-Abiquiu-asc_0667RLSs copy “Brown and old as earth,
Listen how the bells toll
At the new night’s birth
As twilight rubs on adobe walls
Her holy ashes.”

Now this morning, which I think is Tuesday, is already getting nippy, and I’m almost ready for summer, and now I am home again.

What an amazing Life is here.

140805-Bitsy-asc_0677RSs copyI just got a much more adequate solar system and have been rejoicing on the internet, but I have to be careful not to overdo as with more than one cup of coffee before the solar oven kicks in. Bitsy had a quarrel with a skunk yesterday and got ejected from the bedroom last night, so she went up to the loft, where I assume it is warmer, and did a bit of lonely whining. Then she came down (there really isn’t a bedroom, but I have put a net over my bed to exclude the Assasin bugs that may or may not carry chagas disease) and she sneaked up on the foot of the bed, on top of the net, looking guilty. I came up negative for chagas BTW, after numerous bites and a lot of exposure to the packrat nests that may or may not contain the parasite. It reminded me it is not always the OTHER GUY who bites he bullet. (Thanks to the local clinic and Dr. Palestine, I feel better about it). So that’s good. I don’t know about Bitsy. The vet didn’t want to test her. A&M has a study on Chagas disease in dogs in Texas. Not so rare.

The next challenge is the Peromyscus mice that moved in when the rats left, and potentially carry Hanta virus. But — I am courting at least two garter snakes that come out in the morning to bask, and I think they are having an impact on the mice population. It used to be rattlesnakes coming to bask, but we only killed two, younger, rattlesnakes this year and the garter snakes moved in, so I hope to have changed that balance. Look close and you will see her looking back. Measured by the fence, she is about 26 inches long. I also concreted one of the major rat/snake pathways.
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When the sun popped over the cliff this morning, the day clear for the first time in a while, our first visitor was a black headed grosbeak. This time it was either mother or young, and instead of just taking a few swallows of water, it hung around for about half an hour picking at this and that in the yard. And all this in between times I was moving the solar panels and putting stuff into the solar oven. When I went back in the cabin and sat down to read (In The Buddha’s Words by Bhikku Bodhi and Down the Long Hills by Louis L’Amour) I almost missed the wild turkey male followed by his little flock, as they paraded RIGHT BY as though we were not even here.

140729-plants-asc_0539 as Smart Object-1RLSs copy 2The season is short here, and one can see it change almost overnight. Leaves are beginning to turn, thistle seeds are dancing in the sun. But it’s not only in the plants and flowers and animals each doing their thing, but the entire biological body of Life turns to the sun, responds to the weather, and moves on toward the next season as unit.

Remember those movies where they shrunk down a submarine and toured around inside a human body? I stand here on the (figuratively speaking) endothelium of Life itself, not only observing out the window of a submarine

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