Bare Bones Biology 043 – What Won’t Work

There is no point waiting around for a simple answer. There aren’t any. Our cultures are emergent properties (BareBonesBiology 017), arising out of their complexity, and our goal must be to rearrange the components until we find a combination that is life affirming rather than life destroying. I have tried to imagine the most simple and straightforward scenario that could result in a life-affirming culture to grow from the one we have. Next time I’ll talk about that. This time, I’ll mention just a few of the approaches that clearly will not take us where we want to go.

First, complaining about the past, present or future will not make the future better. Whatever action we’re doing right now, in this immediate moment of time, is the action that we are passing on to the future. What you are thinking and doing right exactly now is this moment of your legacy.

Second, winning anything, working heroically, suffering, or striving will not make the future better if what you do unbalances the balance of life (BareBonesBiology 008).

Making more babies than the earth can support and then sending them off to be killed in the effort to win anything will not rebalance the earth. Mostly it only makes some rich persons richer and helps some politicians win something that is not relevant to making a better future. In the short term certain communities benefit in the production and sale of weapons, and in the rescuing and saving of victims, and in the medical treatment of the unfortunate. This may appear to be sustainable, if we can continue to produce enough victims and soldiers, but only to the person who believes that life is a bottomless cornucopia of victims, soldiers, saviors and other consumers.

Life is not a bottomless cornucopia of resources. Neither victims nor villains nor other kinds of resources. Life is a balanced system or it does not stay alive. It is an incredibly arrogant human mistake to believe that humans can control life according to our limited perceptions. Especially human economists who have no knowledge of biology or the ecosystem, but only some inaccurate daydream about survival of the fittest. Life is not about survival of the fittest. Life is all about sustainable balance. Ask any cancer patient.

Saving every person who is threatened by natural or manmade disasters is neither heroic nor useful, even to the persons who are saved, unless we can ALSO provide some plan, some hope for them and for us all together, for a sustainable, viable future with a reasonable lifestyle that does not include starving babies and dodging bombs.

These above are only examples of what I have referred to as reductionist problem solving (BareBonesBiology 040). That’s when different groups of people battle against different individual symptoms of a syndrome, but nobody is interested in curing the root ailment that produces all these victims for us so gallantly to save. That’s why I don’t get all excited about individual problem solving UNLESS its advocates are ALSO willing to talk knowledgeably about how their effort will contribute, everything considered, positively rather than negatively to the balance of life. We need solutions to many, many individual problems. I am not suggesting we should drop everything and hide. We must, however, ALL also understand the probable long-term effects of whatever we are doing, so that we can direct our work toward helping to rebalance the ecosystem.

The root ailment that causes all these symptoms, and more, is overpopulation. For a discussion of this see the January 2011 National Geographic. I am NOT saying we would have no problems if the population were within the range that photosynthesis can support. I AM saying you cannot succeed with whatever positive goal you are trying to accomplish if we continue to unbalance the ecosystem. The many individual efforts to address the symptoms are necessary, but they all will fail unless we all, or most of us, also address the bottom line.

Bare Bones Biology 043
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