Bare Bones Biology 349 – In the Beginning

In the beginning was the big bang, and immediately was our universe born.

“In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God and the Word was God.” The Holy Bible, John I:1

 

Our primeval system in its most primitive state of random uniformity, lacking structure, composed of matter, energy, and formless entropy was nascent information.

 

161218r-christmas-_dsc0741sIn the next instant came random variations in the distribution of the formlessness. A bit more density here, a bit less there, and the forces of gravity and self-assembly grew the first cold aggregations of matter, and the force of natural selection favored one growing system more than another, and the formlessness of entropy began to take on the forms of information, that is, structures, behaviors, interactions, processes, integration.

 

And as the pressure of its own mass increased, and bore down upon its central core, the first star burst into flame.

 

“And God said: ‘Let there be light.’ And there was light.”   The Holy Bible, Genesis.

 

And many more stars burst into flame until there were galaxies and solar systems, and the earth swung around the sun, and the moon around the earth, and when the conditions became right, it rained upon the earth for 10,000 years, until there was water upon the land.

 

“And God said: ‘Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together in one place, and let the dry land appear.’ And it was so.” (Genesis)

 

And the earth gave birth to its own new cycles as the energy and information/entropy interacted among themselves according to the exponentially increasing numbers of possibilities inherent in the factual information generated by its increasing numbers of integrated complex adaptive systems during its incredible history, based on the multitude of ways in which its subsystems could (or could not) interact among themselves in every possible manner – natural selection, symbioysis, emergent properties, even catastrophe — to generate higher and broader levels of complexity that then acted again upon each other to select/maintain those subsystems that contributed to their common evolution and further refinement the available information upon which evolution is based.

 

161224r-christmas-_dsc0743sAnd about four billion years ago the Lord said: Let there be Life.

 

“We have seen how, when complex adaptive systems establish themselves, they operate through the cycle of variable schemata, accidental circumstances, phenotypic consequences, and feedback of selection pressures to the competition among schemata. They tend to explore a huge space of possibilities, with openings to higher levels of complexity and to the generation of new types of complex adaptive system. Over long periods of time, they distill out of their experience remarkable amounts of information, characterized by both complexity and depth.” (Gell-Mann)

 

And a cell was born, and the Earth gave birth to Life.

 

“And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.” (Genesis)

 

“The information stored in such a system at any one time includes contributions from its entire history. That is true of biological evolution, which has been going on for four billion years or so, and also of the cultural evolution of Homo sapiens sapiens, for which the time span is more like a hundred thousand years.” (Gell-Mann)

 

And the information that has survived this entire history is embedded in the functions of our physiology, the processes of our modern corposystem, and the world views of our incredible brains that we could be using to survive our current malaise if we would only get it into our heads that the behaviors (including human behaviors) that ARE CAPABLE OF SURVIVAL are not those that dominate the works of God, but those that contribute to the ongoing welfare of the miracle of Life within which we are embedded and integrated, and these behaviors are very well described and explained in the very heart and soul of all our major religions that tell us how to survive the millennia by partnering with the rest of the creation, rather than trying to dominate it.

 

This is Bare Bones Biology, a production of FactFictionFancy.Wordpress.com.

For a copy of the podcast go to:  http://traffic.libsyn.com/fff/Bare_Bones_Biology_349F2.mp3

 

© 2017, M. Lynn Lamoreux PhD

Photos by Lynn

MLLamoreux@Hotmail.com

 

References:

 

The Old Testament and the New Testament, Revised Standard Version. I could take similar supporting evidence from any of the major religions, but the Holy Bible happens to be more readily available in this community. And indeed – elegant.

 

Gell-Mann, Murray. (Winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics). 1994. The Quark and the Jaguar. W. H. Freeman & Co.

 

With great appreciation for discussion with and contribution by several people from Santa Fe Institute, this is my interpretation – not theirs.

Bare Bones Biology 348 – Hope for the New Year

In the beginning of another year, I am frustrated. Frustrated, and also angry with the mostly American culture that persists in irrational, knee-jerk denial of the reality of our biological crisis, as though denial or personal opinions, or somehow our level of dedication to anything, will somehow change the fact that nothing can grow forever witho161225-christmas_dsc0874_1rlssut causing terrible harm to something (or everything) else — and the benign but impenetrable wall of tolerance that our corposystem culture uses to eliminate the wisdom of factual, biological reality (my lifetime study) from its own contrary and implausible wishes, wants, beliefs and hopes. The infinite capacity of human denial is as awesome as it is devastating to those who can see its inevitable biological consequences to human kind.

 

I quote Corrie Ten Boom, the Christian WWII heroine and resident of a Nazi concentration camp: “It is wrong to give people hope when there is no hope.” Corrie Ten Boom, The Hiding Place. She should know.

 

I am frustrated with the ongoing necessity of tolerating this kind of abuse from my own culture, which persists in brushing aside the wisdom of a lifetime of study as though it were an ignorant, emotional response to the normal vicissitudes of Life; or, now that I am old, the culture’s “compassionate” tolerance of my hard-earned knowledge about factual reality, as though it were the babbling of an addled old lady.

 

That is not hope, faith or compassion. It’s classic MCP. A pretense that human values trump the Laws of God and Nature. A denial without consideration of our current biological crisis, even as we are “going down for the third time,” smack-dab in the middle of the crisis denied.

That’s not hope; in my opinion, it’s stupid.

 

“Everyone has a right to his own opinions, but not to his own facts.”                                            Daniel Patrick Moynihan (March 16, 1927 – March 26, 2003) was a four-term U.S. Senator, ambassador, administration official, and academic.

 

So, today’s podcast/blog will consist mostly of quotations from other adult, highly educated well-respected human thinkers who also recognize that facts are universal, by definition; it’s what the word means; and that most opinions are not factual.  It’s why we have two different words for the two different sorts of reality. Quotes from others who understand the enormous danger that humans face today because we are using false human hopes and wishes to avoid facing facts. Listen to Dr. Lynn Margulis, professor of evolutionary bioliology.

 

“Life is an incredibly complex, interdependence of matter and energy among millions of species beyond (and within) our own skin. These Earth aliens (the other species) are our relatives, our ancesters, and part of us. They cycle our matter and bring us water and food. Without ‘The Other’ (species) we do not survive.”

 

“Our toughness is a delusion. Have we the intelligence and discipline to resist our tendency to grow without limit? This planet will not permit our populations to continue to expand. Runaway populations of bacteria, locusts, roaches, mice, and grass always collapse https://youtu.be/NZtJ2ZGyvBI?list=PL811CD932F936221B.  Their own wastes disgust – as crowding and severe shortages ensue. Diseases as opportunistically expanding populations of the “other,” follow. They take their cue from destructive behavior and social disintegration. Even herbivores, if desperate, become vicious predators and cannibals. Cows will hunt rabbits or eat their calves. Many hungry young mammals will vie to eat the meat of their runted littermates. Population overgrowth leads to stress, and stress depresses population overgrowth – an example of a Gaian regulated cycle.

 

“We people are just like our planet mates. We cannot put an end to nature, we can only pose a threat to ourselves.”   Dr. Lynn Margulis, Symbiotic Planet. 1998. Sciencewriters, Amherst, MA.

“The benign indifference of the Universe provides not human rights or human values, but the ultimate justice of in exorable cause and effect, or karma, that we ignore at our peril.” Camus, The Plague

 

This is Bare Bones Biology, a production of FactFictionFancy.Wordpress.com

A copy of the podcast can be downloaded at:http://traffic.libsyn.com/fff/Bare_Bones_Biology_348F_-_Hope.mp3

© 2017, Dr. M Lynn Lamoreux

MLLamoreux@Hotmail.com

Photos by Lynn

 

The Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which low-ability individuals suffer from illusory superiority, mistakenly assessing their ability as much higher than it really is. Dunning and Kruger attributed this bias to a metacognitive incapacity, on the part of those with low ability, to recognize their ineptitude and evaluate their competence accurately. Their research also suggests corollaries: high-ability individuals may underestimate their relative competence and may erroneously assume that tasks which are easy for them are also easy for others.[1]

Dunning and Kruger have postulated that the effect is the result of internal illusion in those of low ability, and external misperception in those of high ability: “The miscalibration of the incompetent stems from an error about the self, whereas the miscalibration of the highly competent stems from an error about others.”[1]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning%E2%80%93Kruger_effect

 

Bare Bones Biology 346 – Guest Podcast, Shodo Spring

shodo-podcast-title-pages

 

The Envronment is the other half of ourselves, both literally and metaphorically.

To listen to this podcast go to the diect download link at:  http://traffic.libsyn.com/fff/Shodo-0228b-TheWholeWorldisNothingButtheTrueHumanBodymp3.mp3

:This is Bare Bones Biology, a Production of FactFictionFancy.Wordpress.com

© 2016, Dr. M. Lynn Lamoreux

This photograph was taken by Shodo Spring at Standing Rock.

Bare Bones Biology 344 – Gold Stars and Good Jobs

Veterans’ day dance was special, at our village senior center, and then a few days later, special in a different way, was the open house at a native American tribal women’s center. There was a good deal of quiet pride, tinged with sadness, at both of these events. Not the shallow pride of ego, but pride of responsibilities fulfilled. Responsibilities to our children and to our children’s roots. https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2016/11/25/bare-bones-biology-340-happiness/

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I remember the “everyone is a winner” phase in the classrooms of our lower grades. Our children are not so gullible; they know that nobody deserves a gold star every day.

And out on the field it was all about football, or baseball, or whatever was in season. Our kids are not so dumb as to believe that “everyone is a winner.”  All that did was make them dismiss “education” as of little value. Nobody can take pride or happiness in fake winners, fake success, fake happiness, nor from fake anything. Education has the potential to take us beyond that.

The affirmation of value arises from value affirmed – not value belittled. And value belittled cannot support the human longing that tells us, over and again, that we must be good for something. Something to do with our community. Something important that has to do with our children and our roots.

The Ayaa (grandmother) asked me about that. “What are your roots?” I said I have none. I have not even grandchildren.

My mother did not have her grand-mother; I did not have my grand-mother; today’s “successful” children were grand-mothered by the television.

But the Ayaa let me to understand that I am a grandmother nevertheless, and she invited me to come to the Ayaa-in, the circle of the grandmothers. And that’s what I saw in her, as in the veterans. Pride in their ongoing fulfillment of responsibility to the future of humankind.

My father was right, and Archie Goodwin, when he said that nothing makes him feel better than “doing a good job.” Doing a good job is its own reward if we make it so. A deep pride in a life well lived, even though it is accompanied by an infinite sadness in the knowledge that one person’s life cannot be enough, when the time comes, to help the beautiful system of Life, or even our local communities, when our population of billions comes to the point when the food is gone and the soil contaminated and none of the children or the veterans will care anymore about gold stars, and even the television will recognize that pretending we have a glass “half full” will not make us happy.

161117-tewa-asc_8444rls-copy-2Rather than dancing around inside the corposystem pretending to be “happy,” or trying to be “successful” (defined around profit) while the whole of humanity is ignoring a crisis beyond the limits of what we are willing to comprehend, beyond Hollywood, and even beyond Standing Rock, which is not Hollywood but real and important, if we were to open our eyes, we would see that we all have a job to do that is important and of essential value to all of human kind. And instead of doing it, as our ancestors have done, we are trying to create happiness out of tinsel and gold stars.

Maybe the answer lies in a deeper consideration of community. Not my community or your community, but community itself, as it relates to human individuals. Community over competition.  (https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2015/11/12/) (https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2012/10/24/)

Maybe what we all seek can only be found wrapped in the wisdom of our communal Ayaa-in. Maybe if that is not available, if we no longer have human community, but only the corposystem God of domination, then maybe we should stop trying to reach for what is not available and isn’t even much fun.

Happiness by any definition is not an appropriate goal in a time of deep peril. It’s just corposystem propaganda designed to make us forget about doing our personal good job for the future of humanity.

This is Bare Bones Biology, a production of https://FactFictionFancy.Wordpress.com

A copy of the podcast can be downloaded at:  http://traffic.libsyn.com/fff/Bare_Bones_Biology_344_-_Gold_Stars.mp3

https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2016/11/25/bare-bones-biology-340-happiness/

(https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2015/11/12/)

(https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2012/10/24/)

Bare Bones Biology 343 – Black Friday

As our world population grows beyond the ability of the corposystem to give us what it teaches us to want, the young and the old are valued, more and more, primarily as sources of profit — victims of the never-ending corposystem growth machine that helps us to die; requires we give birth whether or not we want to; and then trains up the children to believe in the corposystem ethic of growth by domination for gain.

 

All to grow the economy. To feed the infinite maw of the corposystem, our modern socio-economic/political environment.

 

161115-standingrock-asc_8167rls-copy-2rlssIncreasingly, the dreams of our young adults, also, are sacrificed to the growth machine — their ideals converted to activism or cannon fodder, self-destruction, and abusive behaviors – the good guys and the bad guys, running after happiness, as the television and their indoctrinated peer groups educate them to do.

 

The corposystem teaches us to be victims of someone/something other than ourselves that controls our happiness, and then to blame ourselves or our roots, or our community and family and neighbors if we aren’t happy.

 

Does that sound like a new religion to you? It does to me. But religion, throughout our human evolution has functioned to subdue our shadow behaviors so that the whole of humanity can survive. This new mantra, to the contrary, teaches us to use the best parts of ourselves – our positive instincts including happiness, love, compassion — to destroy ourselves, individually and as a species.

Of course everyone knows the corposystem has an up-side. Everything has both an up side and a down side. We have lots of good stuff; that’s what is supposed to make us happy. But even if it does, in our current environment, the downside is in violation of natural law and therefore in control, and the down side to the corposystem is growth. To grow forever would require infinite resources, and the earth does not have infinite resources to share with humans. We have used up what the earth has to spare, beyond feeding itself.   Now the corposystem increasingly is preying upon us, its own micro-system, using our instincts and our own creative political constitution against our best interests. Increasingly, we humans are the resource the corposystem uses to maintain its profit imperative; to save itself.

 

An emergent macro-system such as the corposystem cannot long survive by consuming its own micro-system.

 

Our corposystem teaches us to be victims both of itself and of each other, and then finds fault with us because we behave like victims, as we run after happiness down that threefold asphalt highway toward domination (winning) — buying stuff or doing stuff that the corposystem requires to feed its growth machine. And then blaming each other and competing with each other to decide who is “right” and who is “wrong” at a time when no opinions are required.

 

We already know the factual cause of the resource problem. Too much growth.

 

Good guys and bad guys, the corposystem is farming us as we farm cattle. Our bodies and our behaviors feed the growth machine, no matter what we do. It has trained us to believe that winning (or “success”) generates “happiness.” Actually, winning and success within the corposystem primarily generate domination, but domination does not generate happiness.

 

Should that make us angry? Absolutely! But then, instead of using our anger to restore the rule of law that was created to prevent exactly this, to defeat this emergent runaway feedback growth system/religion — instead of doing that, we displace our righteous anger onto other people who are also part of our communal microsystem. Wives, children, neighbors, immigrants, presidents, political parties. People who are all in the same corposystem boat that we are, and are similarly striking out at us. Blaming each other. Growth by domination.

 

For just one example, it is not possible to defeat a powerful growth machine by domination; if you want to read up on that aspect of the problem, I recommend A Persistent Peace, by Father John Dear.* He has spent his life studying and practicing active non-violence, and is one of our most knowledgeable experts.

 

What he may not understand is that it is similarly impossible to defeat a domination machine by growth of anything – even nonviolence. Because the machine is a system, not a human, and because it has grown beyond human control, it doesn’t care who or what generates the growth that it requires. By channeling the best of our humanity, our compassion and our creativeness, into growth, the corposystem is able to expand itself, generating the violence and domination that it requires for the existence of its own phenotype — growth by domination for profit.

 

The way to defeat a growth machine is to withhold the resources required for its growth. We could be doing that because now we are the resources. But we would rather blame each other than starve the beast by reducing our populations. It will happen, because we cannot change how nature functions to maintain itself, and the beast is already starving; we cannot stop the process; but we could take charge of the process and immeasurably reduce the amount of suffering for humans and all other sentient beings of Earth.

 

This is Bare Bones Biology, a production of  https://FactFictionFancy.Wordpress.com

 

A copy of this podcast can be downloaded at:  http://traffic.libsyn.com/fff/Bare_Bones_Biology_343_-_Black_Friday.mp3

*­­Dear, John. 2008. A Persistent Peace. Loyola Press.
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Bare Bones Biology 342 – Fear

I have said (not very loudly) that America has become a nation of cowards. Red-faced bullies, pushing other people around, and shrinking do-gooders rationalizing that everything is OK if we “care” deeply.

And this at a time when we are faced with collapse of our Biosystem and the ongoing destruction of our constitution, that are basically caused by behaviors of our modern corporate/political/economic system – the corposystem.

 

1611239-brazoscliffs-asc_8507rlss-copyCorposystem behaviors (like human behaviors) are encoded in what could be termed “world views,” with the difference that the corposystem is not human in the same way that you and I are human, and the corposystem doesn’t care about things that humans care about, such as compassion, happiness, fear and hatred. The corposystem is a system – a different kind of system from a person; it has no central nervous system. That is, it has no brain.   And also no nerves and sensory receptors. It does have channels of information flow, but it has no feelings and no soul, no compassion, no way to process the information wisely.

 

The corposystem doesn’t “care,” because it is not a person. It is a money-making system that survives and only can survive by growth and more growth, without regard to the harm that this growth is doing to the people it uses to make the money.

 

The corposystem world view (its emergent properties), those that lie behind its destructive behaviors, can be summarized as growth by domination for corposystem gain.   What that means in this generation is growth of the population and the economy in order to make a profit, at the expense of the other systems that make up the Life system of Earth. The other systems are you and me and all other living species.   The corposystem is running out of resources from the environment – it leaves you and me and all the people to fight over the scraps. That’s how it makes its money.

 

Growth by domination over all of Life.

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And even though we, all of us are victims of the corposystem — instead of challenging the corposystem ethic, “growth by domination for profit,” most of us – apparently more than half – are resorting to a thousand rationalizations or blaming someone/something else.

 

We work assiduously to prove that our way of life is not coming to its painful end, trying harder and harder to maintain and validate our insane belief in the possibility of infinite growth, rather than working together to get rid of the cause of our problems.

 

His Holiness The Dalai Lama has said:

“If you want to get rid of painful effects, you must get rid of their causes.”

And Wisdom is: “analyzing the facts and discerning the actual situation.”

 

Denial, rationalization, blame-placing and ignorance never solved anything – certainly cannot change the Facts of Life. The way to deal with a factual problem is to respond to it in ways that relate to the root cause of the problem. The root cause of the problem is the Fact of Life that nothing can grow forever. The problem is that we (or at least the corposystem) are not willing to cut back.

 

161115-standingrock-asc_8184rlss-copyThe truth is that we humans have understood and predicted the primary root cause of our major current human problems for a couple of hundred years at least. And now we have hit the wall.

 

The root cause is excess growth. The rest of it – including climate change and economic failure to thrive and political chaos – are the symptoms that arise out of the excess growth. That ONE CAUSE generates MANY SYMPTOMS – that’s the way nature works — and we will not succeed in dealing with the symptoms unless and until we also find the courage to address the cause.

 

Balance is sustainable, growth is not.

 

That is a fact of biology, physics, chemistry, Life; in fact it’s a basic fact of our universe, because our universe consists of naturally evolved systems that can only survive if they maintain their balanced relationships with the other systems that together make up the whole. Growth for any reason is not long sustainable. Growth by domination for gain is not sustainable, like it or not, believe it or not.

For example, this growth cycle cannot go on forever:

growth-cycle

 

If we look at the facts, we can see this cycle and similar interdependently linked cycles that describe the way the domination ethic creates more domination, and the craving for profit creates more craving for profit, and none of the people can have all these things, until the balance among them is lost and the whole shebang crashes into chaos. And of course all the cycles are linked together in the phenomenon of LIFE. All are related to hundreds of other systems that make up the whole of our corposystem.

 

I choose to talk more about growth, domination, gain because they are the downside of the corposystem world view that will lead to our destruction if we continue to be controlled by it. Of course we know the three-fold path of the corposystem, growth-domination-gain also has an up side No system is all bad or all good, and the three-fold path has benefits along the way to its certain ending.

 

The up side includes other linked cycles such as those of compassion and communication, that also characterize our corposystem. Otherwise we would have gotten rid of it long ago. However, the three-fold path is not sustainable. It is a Ponzi scheme and it will crash (because it is not in balance) if we do not take charge of it and force it to change — and soon.

 

The corposystem is a Ponzi system, and no Ponzi system can grow forever. You can research this for yourself. For two big reasons and many little ones. The first big reason is that the system of humans cannot survive if it eats up all the resources that it needs to stay alive. Our human resources do NOT come from the supermarkets and banks. Our resources grow in the Biosystem and the corposystem harvests them and sells them to us as part of its profit-making ethic.

 

The second big reason is that systems grow by levels of organization – not by more and better. Levels of complexity. Every new level is more complicated than the one before, and then if the system continues to grow it becomes again more complicated and the old way doesn’t work anymore. You can see this happening to the corposystem. We can see this in our biological history. Our own bodies are a complex system that is made of smaller systems that work together to maintain our own Life. This is the Law of Life of the whole universe. If we took one cell, and the cell is a wondrous thing, and blew it up to the size of a person – it would not work, because people are several levels of organization more complicated than a cell is.

 

If we continue to “fix” all the old processes (our constitution, our banks, our communications, our World View) to avoid backing off on physical and economic growth, then everything you are fighting for will collapse around us. And there is no way for humans to fight for anything if there are no humans left on earth. That’s the way it works.

 

The corposystem has brought a wondrous outpouring of human creativity and compassion that would not otherwise have occurred. But these CANNOT SAVE US and CANNOT BE SUSTAINED unless and until we are willing to make a genuine effort to establish a balanced corposystem – to control the growth, and the domination ethic and restructure the human gains that the system generates — not one or the other, but all three – but the restructure can wait, if we survive, and we will not survive the overgrowth of our resources, so the primary root cause that must be addressed now and forever is overgrowth by overpopulation.

stnding-rock

Even the wondrous up-side of our unprecedented compassion and creativity will have a devastating downside, if we continue to use these good qualities in a way that is nearly certain to generate the final great extinction of all higher organisms. Including us.

 

Some people find it exciting and compassionate to save the victims that our corposystem worldview creates, and of course it is. A compassionate upside that is exciting and personally rewarding; also a short-term necessity. I think you will agree, however, that the long-term challenge is far more responsible — to prevent the suffering of victims by not creating victims in the first place — even though we never will be called heroes for making sure a tragedy doesn’t happen. Again, balance is required between short-term benefits and long-term survival.

 

Those of us on the home front have a great responsibility to the future of human kind – and to the young people (it is primarily the young, who fight these battles on the front lines). Probably the greatest responsibility of human history. Our responsibility is to restore and maintain a viable balance within and among the up-sides and the down-sides of the systems over which we have control, and the only way we can do that is to study the unsustainable imbalance – to analyze the facts and discern the actual situation. You won’t get this information from the corposystem — a dying system that is trying to perpetuate itself in the only way it knows how, by growing.   But certainly the facts are amply available from other sources.

 

Our responsibility is to study and learn to understand, and then discuss rationally the Facts of Life and how they function to maintain the balance of Life and so also our survival. That’s a job that every one of us can do in one way or another. And then to bring our wisdom to the issues the young are trying to protect us from — the collapse of both our viable social system and our sustainable environmental system.

 

Some are – increasingly, a few of us are making life-changing and even life-sacrificing choices in their efforts to prevent the destruction of our constitution and the final great extinction that will come with ongoing climate change.

 

This is Bare Bones Biology, a production of FactFictionFancy.Wordpress.com.

A copy of the podcast can be found at:  http://traffic.libsyn.com/fff/Bare_Bones_Biology_342.mp3

 

Bare Bones Biology 340 – “Happiness”

            “I love to do a good job more than anything else I can think of.”

161109-seniordance-asc_7959rlsbss(Archie Goodwin in The League of Frightened Men, by Rex Stout).

 

Me too.

 

And yet our modern corposystem tells us that the way to be happy is to have what you want; that “everyone wants to be happy;” and that we can buy our “happiness” from the corposystem, our modern American socio/political environment.

 

I once had a mini-debate about this with a Tibetan Lama I was tutoring. When he said the word “happy,” I could tell that he was NOT thinking about what that word means in modern American English. So I did some research.*

 

Happiness is a 20th century British mis-translation of a Tibetan word referring to that for which all sentient beings strive.

 

Of course it is true that sentient beings strive to survive. It is one of the four foundational facts of creation and is instinctual, or physiologically automatic, in all species of living organisms. Life strives to stay alive; that’s why it does stay alive.  But that is not at all the same concept as the American “happiness” myth that teaches us to suck at the teat of the corposystem (buy more stuff, grow the economy) in hopes of our eventual reward. And if you aren’t happy, it’s your own fault – suck harder

 

Like Archie Goodwin, I was taught that: “A good honest job is its own reward.” And the reward is NOT happiness, but a sort of pride in doing a good job of being alive – a certain miracle of Life.

 

But pride is not the right word either.

 

It may be that we no longer have a word, in American English, for the pride that we take in our own well-lived lives. The job done, and done well, to benefit the community of our roots rather than the “happiness” of our selves – regardless of the environmental accidents and realities of our birth. Not a fulfillment of self, but a fulfillment of responsibility to the future of the whole of Life.

A good job of living life.

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Buddhism – that is, American Buddhism, tells us that we want to be happy. Buddhism provides us with an eightfold path which could could lead to a sustainable human future, within a sustainable Biosystem environment.   But of course the word happy is then defined by the corposystem and applied to its

own toxic propaganda.   Growth by domination for profit. Which is very non-Buddhistic. And to survive in this corposystem culture, Buddhism must be profitable. Or we never hear about it.

 

What my Lama seemed to mean, when he used the word happiness, was much closer to eudamonia, a term favored by one of my contacts on the web — an obviously well-educated Brit. I looked it up:

“In more general terms, Eudaimonism can be thought of as any theory that puts personal happiness and the complete life of the individual at the center of ethical concern.”

 

No, no, no. That is just another variation of the corposystem con.

I remember my first trip to Japan, sitting in front of a television that I could not understand the words that were clearly explaining to me different ways that Japanese people take pride in the nature of their lives and work, and the excellent job they do of it (or did, in the 90’s). I was fascinated, and from time to time I still am, as I rerun lifestyle stories that I taped. Japan was telling me something very important that I already knew in my bones, but could not find in my own failed corposystem culture that glorifies growth by domination for profit, a three-fold path that can only lead toward collapse and increased suffering, because it eats up the source of its own life.

Life is based upon and depends upon the perpetual balanced recycling of all the basic materials of Life – clean air, clean water, clean fertile earth, using energy from the sun. Growth cannot continue forever, and no technology can change that law of Life.

 

Unless we are willing to take pride in our job well done FOR THE FUTURE, there won’t be a future for humans on this earth.

 

This is Bare Bones Biology, production of https://FactFictionFancy.Wordpress.com.

 

A copy of the podcast can be downloaded at: http://traffic.libsyn.com/fff/Bare_Bones_Biology_340_-_Happiness.mp3

 

*References

Archie Goodwin in The League of Frightened Men, by Rex Stout

Eudamonia http://www.philosophybasics.com/branch_eudaimonism.html

“According to Aristotle, eudaimonia is constituted, not by honour, wealth or power, but by rational activity in accordance with virtue over a complete life, what might be described today as productive self-actualization. This rational activity, Aristotle judged, should manifest as honesty, pride, friendliness, wittiness, rationality in judgment; mutually beneficial friendships and scientific knowledge.

Immanuel Kant was an important opponent of Eudaimonism. He rejected the view that happiness is the highest good, and insisted that happiness can be an ingredient of the highest good, but only if it is deserved.”