Bare Bones Biology 260 – Two Conundrums

Last week blog featured Steven’s editorial, so you already know, he is seriously concerned about food, about our growing population, and about human welfare. And he is especially concerned about the balance among those three parameters. The relationships among food, population and human welfare are puzzling, confusing and mysterious, which is exactly the definition of a conundrum. Here are two conundrums for you to find the answers.

 

Here is the Steven’s question: “Most people can see that more food equals more people, like it does with all of nature.   Most people can also see the most obvious and most undeniable fact that no food equals no people. That one is a slam dunk. Is there anyone who would argue with the statement, “No food equals no people. Period. End of story. If so, let’s hear it. No.

“Now that leaves us with a remaining statement. “Less food equals less people.” Almost everyone I know says that claim cannot be admitted BECAUSE people will begin starving. Even those who see how less food equals less people dare not acknowledge such a thing because they believe to a certainty that people will starve. The question for me and for all of us is this. IF less food equal less people, will limiting INCREASE ONLY in ( NOT stopping) total food production CAUSE people to starve? Yea or Nay? THAT IS THE QUESTION. Comments from one and all are welcome.”

 

ASC_1642sThat’s the end of Steve’s conundrum. Now here is mine:

 

Consider the cow. She is a beautiful creature: peaceful, humane, friendly and she has an admirable social system. For just one example, cows usually have one baby every year. Cows in a herd will organize themselves every morning in such a way that one female stays behind in a safe place with all the babies, each belonging to a different mother, while all the mothers and fathers go out to eat. You can see this yourself in nearly any pasture as you drive through Texas. The next morning, someone else stays with all the babies. The eating cows watch for danger and will rush back to help if necessary. (I should tell you, in Texas, the word cows may refer only to females, or to males and females). The babies nurse their own mothers in the mornings and evenings and in the meantime they sleep or practice eating grass.

 

Now consider what will happen if we put a few cows of both sexes on one thousand acres of lush pastureland, fence them in, make sure there is plenty of water, kill off the predators, and go away for a few years. When we come back, there will be a lot more cows, right? Well, it depends how many years we are gone.

 

The normal cycle of overpopulation in all species including all mammals, which includes us – in rapid growth of population until the food is gone, then rapid die-off to below the carrying capacity of the environment. After which the population may or may not recover. (ref – overshoot)

 

First there are many babies, next there are very many cows and the fighting begins because crowding and competition upsets their social systems. When the population doubles that one last time, and all the grass is completely gone before the next following year, then most or all of the cows, bulls and calves die. Not only have they all starved this year, but also they have nearly destroyed the pastureland and the soil in their voracious need. It will be very slow coming back, if ever it can.

 

Now the question is: What is to blame for all this suffering?

This is Bare Bones Biology a production of FactFictionFancy.Wordpress.com and KEOS FM, 89.1, in Bryan, Texas.

A copy of the podcast can be downloaded at:

 

“If you wnt to get rid of painful effects, you need to get rid of their causes.”

His Holiness The Dalai Lama

 

References:

Bare Bones Biology 259 – Food and Population Growth

Guest editorial contributed by Steven Salmoney, Chapel Hill, NC.  Sentences in green have been edited out of the audio to fit the audio time frame. Thank you, Steven.

 

Recent scientific evidence (Hopfenberg R and Pimentel D. 2001. Human Population Numbers as a Function of Food Supply. EnvironDevSustain, 3, pp. 1-15) suggests that the governing dynamics of absolute global human population numbers is a remarkably straightforward and simple natural phenomenon. Despite all the misleading, intellectually dishonest and deceptively contrived ‘scientific research’ to the contrary, Homo sapiens can be seen as a species that is a part of and definitely not separate from the natural world we inhabit.

 

Experts in politics, economics and demography have willfully fostered and continue obdurately to countenance a perilous disconnect between ecological science and political economy. Their dogmatic adherence to misconceptions are broadcast everywhere and range from politically correct, so-called experts, to unscientific theories regarding fallacious ideas such as the automatic population stabilization around the midpoint of Century XXI and a benign demographic transition to a good life for the human community at large. These false assurances can no longer be accepted by responsible professionals in science. They are  directly contradicted by the best available evidence.

 

Texas060722_DSC0797F.sPerhaps politics, economics and demography are themselves disciplines that are fundamentally disconnected from science. They appear to have more in common with ideology than with science. To suggest, as many too many politicians, economists and demographers have been doing, that understanding the dynamics of human population numbers does not matter — or that the human population problem is not about numbers — or that human population dynamics has so dizzying an array of variables as not to be suitable for scientific investigation — is wrongheaded and dangerous. The skyrocketing growth of absolute global human population is recognizable and the cause of it  is knowable.

 

According to emerging scientific research, the size of the human population on Earth is a function of food availability. More food for human consumption equals more people; less food for human existence equals less people; and no food, no people. This is to say, the population dynamics of the human species is essentially common to, not different from, the population dynamics of all living things.

 

Global population growth of the human species is a rapidly cycling positive feedback loop in which food availability drives population growth and the recent, skyrocketing growth in absolute global human numbers gives rise to the ruinous misperception or mistaken impression that food production needs to be increased even more.

 

Data indicate that the world’s human population grows by approximately 2% per year. All segments of it grow by about two percent. Every year there are more people with brown eyes and more people with blue ones; more people who are tall as well as more short people. It also means that there are more people growing up well fed and more people growing up hungry. The hungry segment of the global population goes up just like the well-fed segment of the population. We may or may not be reducing hunger by increasing food production; however, we are most certainly producing more and more hungry people.

 

Please examine the probability that humans are producing too much, not too little food; it is the super-abundance of stupendous agribusiness harvests that are driving population numbers of the human species to overshoot, or explode beyond, the natural limitations imposed by a relatively small, evidently finite, noticeably frangible planet with the size, composition and ecology of Earth.

 

The spectacularly successful efforts of humankind to increase food production annually in order to feed a growing population, has resulted and continues to result in even greater human population numbers worldwide. If people are starving at a given moment of time, increasing food production and then distributing it cannot help them. Are these starving people supposed to be waiting for sowing, growing and reaping to be completed? Are they supposed to wait for surpluses to reach them? Without food they would die. In such circumstances, increasing food production for people who are starving is like tossing parachutes to people who have already fallen out of the airplane. The produced food arrives too late.

 
The idea that food production must be increased to meet the needs of growing human population is a prime example upside down thinking.

I think, this is Lynn, that it would be far more humane, and also less expensive, to make birth control available to all who want it so that we can prevent the massive starvation that we are creating and begin the process of helping the Earth to rebalance that she gave us — a system that provides our basic needs — earth, air, fire and water — to all its inhabitants.

Steve Salmony
Chapel Hill, NC

This is Bare Bones Biology, a production of FactFictionFancy and KEOS radio, 89.1 in Bryan, Texas.

A copy of the podcast may be downloaded at:

 

 

physics.ucsd.edu/do-the-math/2012/04/economist-meets-physicist/

Bare Bones Biology 258 – Oroboros

© 2015, M. Lynn Lamoreux, PhD

To quote Dr. Sean Carroll: “Really, the reason why we devote our lives and our money to . . (basic scientific research) . . is because we want to know the answer. . . We want to discover the way the world works. . . We want to know what this nature is that we live in, what are the rules, what are the ingredients.”

He is not talking about the kind of technology that is used by our failed corporate-political-system, to generate human growth for profit.

And growth-for-profit is not the only choice that we could have made – could still make. We have all the facts/answers that we need to save ourselves from our own failed corposystem world view. We have everything necessary to grow a new social paradigm that could result in a sustainable, reasonably comfortable human presence on this earth. It is still a possible choice. It is in fact what we want and what most of us believe we are working for, but, in fact, we are not. We are not, because, while we are working very hard to help/save/support each other, we still believe in the corposystem world view, growth for profit, and we cannot change the corposystem by living it. The reason that we cannot change the corposystem from inside is because of the nature of systems (Capra and Luisi, 2014).

Evolved systems, including social systems, function to perpetuate themselves. Each system is uniquely evolved around some strategy that is successful in the world of its time. Our corposystem paradigm was successful so long as there was room to grow without harming the environment. But the environment was harmed and has changed (Butler, 2015)

Therefore, the corposystem must either stop growing or crash, and the trouble is – it’s a system and systems function to perpetuate themselves. You yourself are contributing to the maintenance of the corposystem. The only way out is to use our one unique trait among all the animals, our enormous human brain, to overcome both our instincts and our growth-for-profit corposystem.

The reality is that nothing can grow forever, and our time has come to reckon with the results of our parents’ recklessness. Growth for power or any other purpose is not sustainable on Earth and cannot150506-Witting-ASC_6732RLSs copy be perpetuated, and yet the paradigm – the toxic world view within which we have been raised and to which we are faithful – the corposystem paradigm lives on in our hearts and minds. Because it is a system, and systems have fail-safes, feedback loops, all sorts of big and small ways to maintain themselves. Otherwise they would not exist.

The corposystem exists because we support it by our behaviors. We cannot stop ourselves because we – together – or rather our behaviors, integrated, result in the emergent properties of the social entity that IS the corposystem and perpetuates the corposystem.

To grow a sustainable, reasonably comfortable human social paradigm on the living Earth, we must abandon the failed paradigm, or it will swallow us whole, like the dragon that eats itself, beginning with the tail and ending with the smile.

Above all, our new human social paradigm must conform to the requirements of nature. Why else our curiosity, our research, but to make a better life for ourselves, and how can we make a better life without understanding how LIFE functions to stay alive? All the basic sciences: physics and physiology, biochemistry and biology; all of that knowledge and indeed knowledge IS power. That power could be used (and that was my dream as a scientist) to grow a sustainable, reasonably comfortable home for human kind on a nourished and fruitful Earth.

But that is not what we are doing now. What we are doing now is using our power to try to change how LIFE functions. We can’t change how LIFE functions. LIFE is essentially an interacting web/net/being consisting of interconnected systems. Rather as you and I are composed of interconnecting systems, only more, immense and complex beyond anything that we can comprehend. And instead of trying to understand the mechanisms of the system, “the way the world works” so that we can fit ourselves suitably and sustainably into the miracle of God’s Creation – we are trying to “fix” it. We are “intervenors.”

An Intervenor, according to Jacke & Toensmeier, 2005, page 20, is a person who “stands outside an existing system and does not respect or understand how the system works. The intervenor therefore interferes in the system’s healthy functioning, sometimes unknowingly or for fun or profit, but often in an attempt to ‘fix’ perceived problems.”

Well, we can’t fix it, because it ain’t broke.” And because humans cannot change the basic laws of physics, chemistry, biology and LIFE itself.

The solution is NOT to “take charge.” The only viable solution, the only possible sustainable world view, is to find our place within the miracle of the Creation — and keep it.

We must learn to understand how the system of LIFE functions, and abandon the technological fairy tales that were taught to us by the failed human corposystem. If we want to survive within the LIFE of earth, we must grow a new communal world view based in the skills, aspirations, our inborn instincts, and the human values that are necessary to survival – not the unsustainable world view the corposystem teaches.

This is Bare Bones Biology, a production of FactFictionFancy.Wordpress.com and KEOS radio 89.1 FM in Bryan, Texas.

Sections in green have been edited out of the audio podcast because of time constraints.
A copy of the podcast is available at:

 

References

Dave Jacke and Eric Toensmeier. 2005. Edible Forest Gardens,Volume I: Ecological Vision and Theory for Temperate Climate Permaculture. http://WWW.Chelseagreen.com

Fritjof Capra and Luigi Luisi. 2014. The Systems View of Life. Cambridge University Press.

Tom Butler (ed) 2015. Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot. Goff Books

Sean Carroll. 2015. The Higgs Boson and Beyond, The Great Courses

Bare Bones Biology 257 – Getting From Here to There

Getting from Here to There is a new book by Robert Costanza and Ida Kubiszewski. I haven’t read it, but I like very much the first part of a review of this book by Gord Stewart in Solutions Journal, April 20, 2015.

“Business-as-usual is sure to deliver us a future that is both unsustainable and undesirable, with climate change arguably our most pressing problem. Had we begun to tackle it when first identified, incremental changes and modest actions along the way might have done it. With all the procrastinating, transformative change is now necessary.

“The same goes for other issues, from biodiversity loss and species extinction to air pollution and declining water quality. With the range and magnitude of environmental challenges we face, it’s easy to become discouraged.

“That’s why we need a focus and a plan. The focus is a clear vision of the kind of future we want. The plan is how to get there from here. This book offers both.”

150506-Witting-ASC_6705RLs copyAmen to that part.

But it’s nowhere near as complicated as he makes it sound, given that all – 100 percent all – of these problems could be solved if there were not too many people on earth to feed. And they cannot be solved so long as there are too many people for the earth to feed using the amount of food that the earth can produce.

Actually, that’s what the green revolution was about, giving us time to solve the population problem. You may have been told differently, but I was there and I remember. So long as we cannot feed the people – then – of course – hungry people want food and if they are hungry enough they are not concerning themselves about maintaining the health of our mother earth that produces all of our food.

If we could feed every mouth – then we could resolve the other problems. We can NOT feed every mouth by making more people than there is food. Food does NOT come from supermarkets. It comes from the earth. So whether or not that is our focus, we can’t do any of those other good things until we deal with the problem of overpopulation.

You must be able to see that we cannot possibly accomplish this when there are more people than there is food to feed them. And there is no place else to get food.

So what remains according to Mr. Stewart’s review? We need a plan. Yes indeed we need a plan. We need a plan that will reduce the overpopulation of humans on this earth, and because we waited way too long, we must plan at the same time to promote a healthy environment for the children; a plan to promote relevant education that will teach us how to not get into this fix again; we need a plan to end wars; we need a plan to promote compassion and to understand that unwise compassion can cause more harm than no compassion; we need a plan to revise our economics from the bottom up so that we can stop the growth for profit plan that simply makes things worse. And we need a few other things. We cannot have any of them unless we first reduce the population. That is simply a fact of life.

OK, I agree that I cannot do all those things, and neither can you, but I CAN tell you what will NOT work, and it will not work because all those problems are connected to each other at their root and stem. It will NOT work for me to try to prevent overpopulation while you work on all those other things. Because the tree of life has its roots in the soil of the earth, and overpopulation is the root and stem of the problem, and all those other aspirations are the branches. If the root dies, we will have NONE OF THEM. We ALL MUST contribute to reducing the population problem, fulfilling our obligation to the earth, BEFORE and at the same time that we work at whatever we love best. Nothing less will get us to where we must go if we are to rebuild a healthy human society.

No matter what happy fairy tales the corposystem feeds us.

This is Bare Bones Biology, a production of FactFictionFancy and KEOS radio, 89.1 FM, in Bryan, Texas. A copy of the podcast can be downloaded at:

Bare Bones Biology 256 – Yesterdays are our Tomorrows

Tierra Wools Festival is held every year on the last Saturday in April. This year, I was able to attend, and it sent my mind back to all the best memories of my longest friend, Margie, who was always one step ahead in her interests and ethics. And my mother, who grew up with horse and buggy, and excelled in women’s skills and arts, and later when someone got around to inventing a portable camera, she excelled as a master photographer.

 

1504026-Wools-ASC_6581RLSRSs* copy 2La How they would have enjoyed Tierra Wools, and the sharing of it. Admiring the natural wools and dyes; feeling them. The rooms full of looms and rugs. The modern version of spinning wheel and pot-belly stove. All in a town the size of a postage stamp that has two major features: a classic New Mexico church, and air so clear you want to open wide your lungs to it, and then keep it inside forever.

 

https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2015/04/30/bare-bones-bio…-our-tomorrows/For you who are listening to the podcast, I recommend you go to the blog for the rest of the story. It’s in the pictures. Lot’s of pictures this week.

 

1504026-Wools-ASC_6567RLS**s copyMeantime, Tierra Wools is woven into the history of New Mexico. Listen to part of the story from Heather Taylor-Chavez:

 

“This is The Tierra Wools Spring Harvest Festival. This is our 23rd year. The business has been here for 32 years, it will be here in July. ”

 

LL – What was here 32 years ago?

 

“As far as I know, not much. There was the church, this building but this building was closed down. It was a mercantile.”

 

LL   Sheep.

 

1504026-Wools-ASC_6537RLSs copy“There were sheep, yes. There were a lot of sheep. The community needed something to do with all the fibers they had, all the wools and things, so a collective of about 45 people got together and tracked down a renowned weaver in Taos, and she came to teach them everything that we do now. Then it was a coop; now it’s on a consignment basis.   It’s an LLC, no longer a coop, but some time in the future we hope to be.“

Churro. How do you say Churro?

 

1504026-Wools-ASC_6521RLSs copy1504026-Wools-ASC_6608RLSs“Churro. It’s a specialty breed of sheep. It was almost extinct at one time. The Churro originally came from Spain. The Spaniards brought it over in their ships when they first started to voyage to the Americas because it was a hardy breed, so it could last the journey across the ocean, and they had fresh meat for their travel. When they got here, the Spaniards were done with them, so they just kind of let them go and let them roam. And they roamed up to the desert area where the Navajos were, and the Navajos kind of adopted them. That’s why they are also called the Navajo Churro.

“The reason why the Navajo loved them so much is because they don’t have as much grease in their wool as other sheep, so you can shear them, comb it, spin it an weave with it, and then wash it later.   That was very important to the Navajo because of their lack of water, living in the desert.

 

“After the civil war was over, the soldiers went on to the great West to round up the Indians and put them on reservations, the soldiers were done with mutton, because all throughout the civil war they had a lot of mutton, because that was what was on hand.   And when they got here, and they rounded up the Navajo to put them on the reservation, they didn’t want the sheep. They said, we can’t use their wool because it’s a coarse inferior wool, and inferior breed, so just kill them off, and they almost did. And they almost did. The Churro were almost in extinction for close to – at least a hundred years.”

LL – I remember when they were starting to bring them back. At that time I thought they were a fine wool sheep.

 

“They’re very coarse. It’s very coarse wool, but for our use it’s very wonderful because of the long staple and the coarseness also contributes to the strength of the wool, so for weaving a rug, it’s probably the best fiber you can use, because of the traffic on the rug. It’s very warm, but it’s very itchy. If you are allergic to it, it’s not good.”

 

For you who are reading this blog, I recommend that you listen to Heather tell the story. It’s better than reading. Go to: http://traffic.libsyn.com/fff/Bare_Bones_Biology_256_-Yesterdays_are_our_tomorrows.mp3

 

 

This is Bare Bones Biology, a production of FactFictionFancy and KEOS radio, 89.1 FM in Bryan, TX.

­

© 2015, Photos by Lynn

 

 

 

Bare Bones Biology 255 – Whimper or Bang?

Last evening, my friendly local bank wanted a hard copy of a bank statement from my Texas bank. Unfortunately, I left all that filing in the canyon three days ago, and the bank wanted it in a hurry. It was either drive all the way back down into the deep dark canyon and get the papers, and I don’t drive at night because I can’t see a thing and there are no street lights in the canyon, and there are bears and mountain lions and various other sentient beings, all with needs of their own that I might not share. So instead of going after the documents, we called the other bank and they sent a secure email. (Secure email? What’s that? At my age I should not be required to learn about an entire new culture.)

I figured out how to open it, and by that time I was exhausted and the bank was
closed anyhow, so I went to bed thinking – I will print these out, take them to the bank in the morning, and then go down to the canyon to fetch all the filing in case somebody wants something more.

In the morning, I fired up my printer, attached it to the computer, and left it working while I loaded up my white pickup for the trip down canyon.

The printer choked twice, claimed to be jammed but wasn’t, so I transferred the documents to thumb drive and drove over to the bank to arrive first thing, forgetting my coat in the rush.

The bank can’t use thumb drives, nor can they plug my computer into their printer. So they gave me some paper that is a little shinier, and I went back home, threw the coat into the pickup, and managed to print out the 21 pages by using the different paper, a different computer, a different operating system, and sitting next the printer doing one page at a time.

Red Pickup-ASC_6485I don’t know why they need this, by the way, not to DO anything with. It’s already done. Maybe to remember me by.

I went back to the bank and gave them the documents. Then proceeded in the white pickup for the canyon.

I was 3/4 of the way to the canyon when the white pickup stopped running for no apparent reason. Right at the only place on the highway system that proves Verizon WRONG. Cell phones do NOT work here. Never have; probably never will. Everyone knows this.

So I waited about half an hour and tried to start it up again. No luck. And I put on my WARM COAT, and set out to hike about four miles to the canyon, leaving Bitsy in the white truck because it’s hard enough walking four or five miles on the highway, much less doing it with an unruly dog on lead.

About 1/4 mile down the road the snow started. Not the kind of snow you are thinking about. It was like little hard BBs blowing straight into my face. And FYI, It is REALLY dumb even to HAVE a vehicle in this kind of country without it has a warmcoat and a sleeping bag in it at all times. I already KNEW that.

I figured there was no hope that any of these jazzy tourists and hardworking truckers would stop for me, at least not without me waving a thumb, and I decided against thumbing because it’s a curvy road, hard to stop from speed, and I thought probably a wrinkled old timer and his Apache wife, driving a pickup even older than mine, would eventually come by and stop, even without being asked.

Sure enough, they did, and drove me all the rest of the way to my canyon pickup which is an equally old red Ram four wheel drive that I got the first year, after Joey’s wrecker had to come a few times and drag the white truck out of the canyon. It lives at the head of the canyon and always starts right up.

And of course I drove back to get Bitsy because the sun was coming out by that time, and loaded all that stuff into the red pickup, leaving the old white by the side of the road, gave up any idea of going down into the canyon for documents or even for my new tooth, and drove back where I came from to Joey’s Wrecker, to give him the keys to the white pickup and ask him to bring it home.

About that time I remembered that the red pickup has had its license revoked because — well, this is another long story about documents, but the red pickup is registered in New Mexico, the white pickup in Texas, and the auto insurance came due while I was in Texas, so I walked in and paid it, but failed to use the appropriate document to prove to New Mexico that it is still insured. So they revoked my license and sent the notice to the wrong address. That’s the short version.

So my question is — where do I live? I thought I was an American. It says so on my passport, and oh yes, I forgot to give them the change of address. But really, people keep asking me where I am a resident of? I never had that happen in my real lifetime. In those days, I jumped in the car and drove someplace, or even jumped in a plane, so long as I had a passport, and went someplace. That was it. Now people keep asking me where am I a resident of, and I do not know the answer, or at least I do not have the right documents that they will believe to prove it with.

No wonder these later generations seem to be afraid of everything. You don’t think so?  Just mention the word “overpopulation” and see what happens.  But in a way I don’t blame them.  It seems like we can’t do anything “right.” Or there is nothing “right” available to do.

This document was written in “Pages.” I shall now try to save it .docx so I can work with it on another computer that has all the benefits of WORD, but doesn’t recognize docx. Or should I instead try to save it as a pdf, and can I then open it in .doc, which I can use on my other computer? No such luck. It’s an Adobe product and they have all gone up in smoke – pardon me, clouds.

Maybe that’s why your friendly local bank, that has now been bought by your efficient international insurance company, that may or may not be owned by the Koch brothers. Maybe that’s why they require paperwork – reams and reams of paperwork, even when it doesn’t make sense.

They know.

All of this is make-believe answers to make-believe problems, and it will
all go poof when the internet crashes.

For the podcast version of this commentary, go to: http://traffic.libsyn.com/fff/Bare_Bones_Biology_255_-_Whimper_or_Bang.mp3

 

For the unedited version of this commentary, go to:https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2015/04/25/bare-bones-bio…himper-or-bang/

 

This is Bare Bones Biology, a production of FactFictionFancy and KEOS FM, 89.1 in Bryan Texas

Knowledge and Wisdom

BUILDING A WISE SOCIAL PARADIGM

© 2015, Dr. M. Lynn Lamoreux
A Work in Progress: If you have a question or comment, or if you find something that needs to be referenced or defined or linked, and is not so indicated, please let me know.

I hope the colors come through onto the FFF page. (oh, yuck, they didn’t, ask me for a pdf if you want to see it as envisioned. If you wait until tomorrow it will have pictures.
Words in green, to be defined. In red, provide reference, In blue, provide link
_____________

150516-BrazosWaterfall-asc_6407RLSs copyFingers and toes stiff with cold, I sit in a cabin in a canyon, trying to squeeze enough energy out of my little solar system to operate a computer. Outside, cedar and pine softly sigh as the canyon breathes gently in the energy of the sunrise that finally bestows its welcome heat and light upon my desk. I watch as bubble after bubble forms at the bottom of a glass of cold water that is sitting in the sunlight.

The sun shines everywhere . . . (even) to the ravines and valleys of the mountains and streams.*

I step outside to warm myself.
____________________

Any person who believes that she has the right answers, doesn’t.
No person is God, and whatever it is that gives me these insights first thing in the morning when I wake up – that also is not God. Neither is any human knowledge or insight, because the human brain is not physically big enough to encompass the whole reality of God. Unless possibly God is using this vehicle of the Biosystem to implement Its vision/mission.

Because of our ignorance relative to the mind of God, it is critically important for humans to acknowledge the wisdom of age. Wise elders know they are not Gods (consider the Dalai Lama). Wise elders understand human limitations among the powers that generate our environments. And some wise elders can teach us to ask wise questions. Actually, everyone can contribute to the human process of generating wisdom, both individual and communal wisdom, because dumb questions are almost always as helpful in this process as are wise ones. That’s a good thing, because extremely few human young are wise.

In India, I understand, the custom is or was (Joseph Campbell) for sages to answer or ask questions for discussion and consideration. In the North American Onandaga (Oren Lyons) it is or was the custom for the wise women to select the chiefs (who could be removed for cause) and the chiefs to discuss tribal concerns in terms of what is best for the whole community unto the seventh generation. (I have heard that the Dalai Lama considers 700 generations as part of our communal obligations.)

In the corposystem, whoever is more powerful decides all the answers, usually before the questions have been raised. The corposystem will cite “Evolution,” which it defines as “survival of the fittest,” as its authority to behave in this fashion. However, the corposystem fails to define “fitness” in its claim to authority, and in any case, survival of the fittest is NOT how the “Law of Life” functions to maintain the Biosystem, though the corposystem has unfortunately trained us (both the “good guys” and the “bad guys” – that means you, whoever you are in our western culture) to believe that survival of the “fittest” is how the world works.

It’s not. It may be how the corposystem functions; it is not how the world works, or even the universe for you who prefer to study physics rather than the more complex and, therefore more confusing and interesting,world of Biology.

Unfortunately, in our culture, because we do understand the corposystem quite well, we believe in survival of the fittest as re-interpreted by the corposystem, and we use that meme to define evolution, which is not the same thing. At least not unless we can define fitness, and that would require us to study the Law of Life.

But we don’t study the real Law of Life because we believe we already know.

This unexamined assumption seems to be so engrained in the world view of both the “good guys” and the “bad guys” that I believe it to be the fatal flaw of our corposystem culture. For more information, I recommend “Powers of the Weak” relative to human power, and I recommend my chapter on the Law of Life, relative to Biosystem power.

1 – In short, if we decide to sustain ourselves within the only home that we have, we require a different paradigm, and the new paradigm must conform our human power to the Law of Life. Or, if we can’t do that, then we must define fitness in a way that conforms to the welfare of the Biosystem and to the human wisdom that is available.

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Wisdom fact-checks everything it knows – even its own insights. In my generation we tried to embed that bit of wisdom into the rule of law of the corposystem (Precautionary Principle) but the corposystem refused to ask the right questions because the answers to these questions would interfere with profits, and the defined primary purpose of every corporation and even the UN is to behave in ways that generate the power of money.

2- The second task of our new paradigm, therefore, must be to define our new human paradigm around a more sustainable human quality than money. Perhaps wisdom?

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Wisdom seems to be a creation of the human mind, and the human mind is just another system (all of LIFE is built around nested systems) that functions as do all systems by generating links, in this case among bits of biochemically encoded information, including knowledge, inborn (inherited) instincts and the world view that is given to us by our environment.

The human mind grows, during our lifetimes, more wise (if conditions permit it) using different ideas, understandings and facts that are in the conscious mind, and in our instincts and memories as well, making a web of cross-connections, as is true in any naturally evolved system (Law of Life: Levels of Organization, Systems). When questions are asked or the when some problem is confronted, the ideas, understandings and facts make cross-connections that generate a whole Worldview that is greater than and different from all the inputs added together. All world views are rational within the environment many world views are not wise, perhaps if the environment changes or our education is flawed relative to the current environment. Because no two environmental experiences are the same, therefore no two world views are identical, and, as Joseph Campbell has said, (get accurate quote, the mind can run on to flights of fancy)

I believe this self-sustaining mental system is the probable source of mysticism, religion, and the answers to questions asked, and the insights that I get in the morning after a night of dreaming. In other words, I believe these various kinds of “aha” experiences are very likely emergent properties of our brain system. Therefore our wisdom or lack of wisdom, especially in humans, is dependent on our education, and is very firmly attached to our rational world view, because without a rational world view we cannot sustain our “self.”

However, we are human, not the Biosystem, and we cannot impose our human emergent insights upon the system of LIFE, because LIFE is bigger, stronger and has a lot more systemic interactions than we have, and it doesn’t care what we think (as other humans actually do, regardless of what they may say). The Biosystem ignores our desires and opinions; it only follows its own Rule of LIFE.

In other words, whenever we believe ourselves to be omniscient or omnipotent, we are not being wise or realistic. Wisdom is not big-headed, it is not power unless it is put to use within an appropriate environment. Wisdom is well- informed, and does relate itself to our (changing) environment, but it is not useful to the community unless we-the-community agree TOGETHER to use it.

Individual wisdom is an emergent quality or characteristic of one individual, but communal wisdom can emerge at a higher level if the individuals involved remain connected by useful discussion or questions or education. Communal wisdom links the qualities that are available within the whole community by the asking and answering of questions (and their discussion) until the entire community becomes wise at a higher level (or not), and perhaps that is the definition of “fitness” – an emergent property of the community as a whole that is necessary for our survival within the Biosystem.

The corposystem, to the contrary, imagines itself to be fit because it was temporarily strong within the environment in which resources were plentiful. When the environment changes, if our wisdom is not up to the task, then we become no longer fit. This is now happening.

3- Thus the third characteristic that must be considered in building our new paradigm is a broad one – education in all its forms – and it must be guided by both the Law of Life, which IS our higher power, and those human instincts upon which we want to base our new human social paradigm, to replace the unsustainable themes of the corposystem, power, growth and money.

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We-the-system only can work with what’s already in our system or available in the environment, so it’s very important that our wisdom must be fact-checked and/or tested by experience, preferably the experiences of many individuals over long periods of time (history), and/or by the scientific method (which is basically the same thing, codified). And it is also true that human wisdom cannot be omniscient because, for the most simple reason, we don’t have enough neural connections, even as communities, to understand all the connections of all the universe. Much less described the links. And certainly not to know the future, except in terms of the past and present.

How does this relate to the Law of Life (that is, to the natural processes that generate time and change)?
My first answer would be to recognize how those processes work as it has been shown by our fact-base, which is provided by science and history. That is, to apply factual/experiential questions to the basic root processes of nature that we cannot change, that created humans in the first place. To do that, I must have in my head an understanding of those processes. Then at that point I ask the questions, I ask them via science and history and of LIFE and whatever else is knowable and relevant.

4- Our fourth task must be to develop a reliable fact base list-for-discussion of things we cannot do even though we can imagine them. Our fact base will change a bit as the environment changes, but at this time the number one criterion must be to avoid further overpopulation of humans because overpopulation is likely destroy any chance we have of building a sustainable new paradigm.

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What happens during overpopulation events? Because there is no doubt we are experiencing an overpopulation event, and no rational person who understands simple math can deny that is a fact. I answer this question as it has been observed and recorded by science and history. Very briefly, among other things, the social network/system/interactions break down. This is happening to us now.

For many decades I have asked the question: why are we knowingly colluding in our own destruction, in the face of all the scientific knowledge and the history and wisdom that all proclaim clearly that we are using our technologieal power to destroy ourselves, at a time when we have already available the technological power to save ourselves?

I can answer in many ways, but it’s important to say that our overpopulation would not have happened in a stable society that had maintained respect for science and for its own wisdom, and of course that answer brings us to question education. But education, also part of the social system, also breaks down in overpopulation events.

And then I think about human youth. Especially human youth in overpopulation events. They lack both wisdom and history (especially in our culture that is intentionally erasing these things). They believe themselves to be right (or wrong) by the criteria of their own immature world view, without accessing other wisdoms, and so they set about to “fix” things all over again in the same ways that didn’t work the last time we tried. This is probably an evolved advantage to the species, because wisdom can be very set-in-stone and relate to a historic environmental reality. When the environment moves toward change, then new ideas are imported into the system by the young. But, as in all things natural, sustainability lies in maintaining the balance, and as a culture in this paradigm we are not even trying to do that. The young are simply doing more and harder what is required by the old corposystem paradigm that is based in power and money obtained through growth. That paradigm is what caused our current difficulties, so I say (over and over and over —) — it won’t work. But there are so many young that the elders cannot be heard above the fray.

With overpopulation comes a vast breakdown in (among other things) the balance (without balance within the Law of Life, remember there is no hope for sustainability) between wisdom and the “right/wrong” worldviews of youth. Another thing that happens with overpopulation is a breakdown in the balance of power to make things happen, because in spite of the corposystem denial, true power lies more in numbers and in behaviors than in money (or wisdom).

Therefore, rather than the elder explaining why this way doesn’t work, and how we have tried it this way so many times through the millennia and eons, and what we can determine of the expected results using computers and good data and science and the precautionary principle – in spite of all this, the cycle merely repeats and repeats, because the youth can’t hear. They are determined to learn by their own experience, and human experiences include a component of instinct that is biochemically encoded in the body and therefore does not change in response to elder wisdom.

Even progress (if any) is not either/or, good/bad. It’s a cycle in time, which is to say, spiral, and it depends NOT upon what we do to change anything now, but primarily on how our behaviors change the environment in which the next generation grows its own world view.

And that is how overpopulation leads to cultural breakdown. NO MATTER WHAT YOU TRY SO HARD TO DO TO STOP IT. The balance is lost (in the human situation) between wisdom and the forces of of change.

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1504021-Bitsy_-ASC_6481RSsWhile I was writing the above, Bitsy worked out the main part of the trail the packrats use to get into the cabin. Bitsy and I sent them packing last year, and the wise adults remembered that experience. But, as always, this year’s youth are taking the risks, exploring new territories and increasing the population in the cabin, even in the face of the inevitable outcome. Bitsy is now outside following the trail the other way. Pack rats are not as smart as humans, but they are very fast, so she may not get them.

Humans can think about the trap we have fallen into, and think about the difference between a planned, co-existence within the Biosystem, and our accelerating corposystem battle against the Biosystem, that results in massive suffering, if only we are wise enough to make that choice. If we do choose, that will be evolutionary history; but it cannot be done by working within the corposystem paradigm. Quite a few groups are trying, but it’s too late. It won’t work fast enough to prevent incredible overpopulation and massive acceleration of the violence required to maintain the corposystem growth paradigm. We humans have run out of eons in which to make up our minds whether we would rather have a struggle for fame, fortune and human power, or a reasonably comfortable and peaceful new social paradigm that is sustainable unto the seventh generation. Or the seven hundredth.

If we want to IMPLEMENT a new paradigm, the necessary first step is to reduce our population to a level that is sustainable, and proceed now to do this in a compassionate way before the war arm of the corposystem ratchets up to a level of conflict that we cannot survive. Because saving all human cells is impossible in any case, and if it were possible it would ONLY INCREASE OUR COMMUNAL LEVEL OF SUFFERING.

If we continue to refuse the option of reducing our numbers, then the Law of Life will do it for us – already is. We will find the BIOSYSTEM solution a good deal more painful than asking well defined questions, based in science and history and the wisdom traditions, discussing the answers, and working together as only humans can to transform our intelligence into action. These are our strengths – right now we are riding our weaknesses into oblivion. But all the wisdom and intelligence and technology in the world is only play-time in the absence of behaviors that impact the Law of Life. As far as the Law is concerned, not deciding is the same as deciding to not.

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1504021-Bitsy_-ASC_6470RLSsAnd while we were having fun thinking, the migrating hummingbirds have come back to the canyon today, and some kind of flycatcher bird is building its nest in the gable of our cabin. The sunpower charged up both my laptops, and now the sun is setting, the cold air flowing up the other side of the canyon, and I pull on a couple of layers of sweaters. And Bitsy ALMOST caught her prey — right before my eyes!!! Not a packrat. It’s a squirrel, living under the house, a ground squirrel, probably the same one I saved from drowning in the water tank last year. And it reminded me pack rats can carry Chagas disease; Peromyscus mice, Hanta virus; ground squirrels, the black plague.

Instinct is not an option, knowledge is useful; wisdom is a choice.

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(*Paraphrase from Lotus Sutra. I think there is something like this in the New Testament and the original Bible. And the Lotus Sutra sounds to this basic biologist a lot like the concept of emergent properties.)

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