Bare Bones Biology 049-The Simplest Solution

We all agree that we have serious human problems on this earth, and we can not resolve those problems in a positive way unless the ecosystem is healthy, because everything we need is provided by the ecosystem. What the ecosystem requires to be healthy is a viable balance among all its parts. We can’t, by our own little selves, make this happen. It would be like one of our cells in our finger trying to tell us how to balance our cardiovascular system. The best we can do is to let it happen. The ecosystem is designed to balance itself. But right now, we are at war with the ecosystem. Very foolish. Declaring war against a far superior power that we humans need for our sustainable well being. It won’t work.

So, we ask, what is the simplest way to resolve our serious human problems, and the simplest way would be to allow the ecosystem to regain its health so we can go back to working on our own human values. That’s what we are trying to do with solar energy and recycling and the like, and those are good, but they can not possibly rebalance the earth ecosystem at a time when our growth is exponential and we’re competing with the ecosystem itself for food.

We stay alive because of food made by the ecosystem, but we sometimes forget that the ecosystem also stays alive because plants and other green organisms make all the food for everything in the ecosystem to eat. The ecosystem must feed millions of different kinds of organisms that all have their own jobs to perform, as part of keeping it healthy. Every species of organism plays a part in maintaining the health of the ecosystem, so the more we lose, the harder it is for the ecosystem to keep functioning properly. Now the ecosystem is running out of food, and we are competing with all of those organisms and with the ecosystem for the food. Essentially, we are killing our own future. The simplest way to stop doing this would require compassion, which is why I am so interested in the compassion disciplines. But I believe it will require a kind of compassion we don’t think about very much.

First I want to establish that we need to have a common goal, or we will never get there. For this talk I’m assuming that our common goal is to permit the ecosystem to regain its God-given balance.

Next, we need to find a way to use our technologies to accomplish compassionate goals. We already have the technologies we need – what we don’t have is the will and the skill to understand their compassionate use.

Choices we make may be the difference between great human suffering on this earth or massive human suffering on this earth. Absence of suffering is not an option. If we try to create a world with no suffering – sometimes I think that is what we have been doing, but it turned out to cause more suffering. But that was then, and right now we have three choices. One is to opt out and not try to do anything, the second is what I call heart compassion, that I will define as warmheartedness and good behavior toward everyone and everything, and this can cause enormous suffering, because we can not save everyone and survive. The third choice that we have is what I call wisdom compassion, that I will define as the least suffering of living things.

We need both kinds of compassion, but when we have to make compassionate choices, we tend to turn off our wisdom compassion and only think about heart compassion. Heart compassion is rewarding; wisdom compassion is not fun, and it’s often demonized. But we do need both if we are to balance ourselves and our place in the ecosystem toward a healthy and functioning unity of life.

Heart compassion is to understand our common human values; wisdom compassion is to understand the factual, physical needs of others, and of course right now I’m talking about the ecosystem, others with whom we do not share values, and give them what they need, for our own sake and that of our children’s children.

Bare Bones Biology 049
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