Bare Bones Biology 131 – Community V

The thing I like about meditation is that it gives me insights.  Usually the insights relate to something I’m trying to understand in the day to day, but something new sometimes pops out that gives a little boost to what I refer to as my “personal power.”  I love to figure out why things don’t work, because that knowledge is the most direct path to figuring out what does work.  So, when I find something that doesn’t fit, I try to figure out WHY it doesn’t fit, before I proceed down that old path of life, especially if I’m at a fork in the path. That just seems like good common precautionary sense to me.

What I am trying now to understand is community. During this last week of writing and thinking about the relationships between human communities and biological communities, I learned so much that I wanted to share with a real community. I tried. But first the insight story.

I woke up feeling down. But I learned a technique from mindfulness meditation. So this time, instead of running screaming from the stage, or throwing myself into some communal activity that everyone else thinks is fun, I sat down for a few minutes and asked myself: “Self, what’s going on here? Unless it’s physical, like maybe diesel fumes in the air, you have no reason to feel like this. What’s your problem?” And my self said to me: “What’s YOUR problem. We are spitting nails angry and all you can think to do about it is pretend that we are depressed. That’s one way to deal – we won’t get in trouble with anyone else being depressed — but – how dumb is that? We aren’t going to find our community by being depressed because of a couple of kiss-offs.”

We humans have devised kiss-off behaviors to avoid hurting feelings. That’s not a bad thing, but if you are claiming to grow compassionate community you should try to not be unkind and dishonest. Dishonesty and distrust do not grow community, nor do they avoid hurt feelings.

What I suggest instead, if anyone out there really wants community, is honest discussion. Honest discussion does not include effusive well-wishing — when you don’t. And it doesn’t include: “I don’t understand.” When you don’t want to hear about it. Neither does it include the two biggest community killers I know: 1) The deeply imprinted American need to be better than others in order to feel good about ourselves; and 2) the equally American cultural dogma: “Everyone has a right to his own opinion.” Everyone does not have a right to his own opinion if it is harmful. And if you really do NOT want to grow community – don’t say that you do. It only adds to the confusion, and community building is difficult enough without added confusion.

Honest discussion of important issues is a responsibility of community, and the discussion must consider the cause and effect (karma) relationships among all the levels of life that impact our common welfare. That must include: individual welfare, community welfare, and the welfare of the whole of unitary Life, for its own sake. For our sake.

This blog is an expanded version of Bare Bones Biology radio program that is playing
this week on KEOS Radio, 98.1 FM, Bryan, Texas. The podcast can be downloaded at

Lynn Lamoreux

Recommended References:

Bare Bones Biology Ecology Energy Handbook.
Go to the right side of the page under Chapters and download your free no strings PDF.

Bare Bones Biology 127 – Community
Bare Bones Biology 128 – Community II
Bare Bones Biology 129 – Community III
Bare Bones Biology 130 – Community IV

Life is indeed confusing.

Your personal power is a learned skill.  Once you have it, nobody can take it away, no matter their good or bad intentions (unless you give it away). Personal power is your ability to make useful decisions that support your own needs while causing the minimum of harm to anyone/thing else.  You learn by doing.

Both of my computers changed the time last Friday; my cell phone and my car did not. Now, since no mechanic nor even the book that came with the car know how to change the time in the car, it will be one hour fast for half a year unless I go out some night and unplug the battery and then plug it back at precisely 12:01 midnight +, the time of course determined by my cell phone which I think will change itself. Maybe I will do that. It’s nice to have everything lined up, but with my luck the car battery would go belly up two weeks later and the time again will be random.

Everything we do, even everything we think, has a positive outcome and a negative outcome. Physicists study that sort of thing: energy is the ability to do work; work is basically anything that moves or grows or does anything or takes any action; and for every action there is a reaction. Those are some laws of physics. Actually, that sounds like some human made up the law and put it into place. Humans do not decide these things. Those are some of the kinds of universal, God-given laws that are studied by physicists. They apply to everything, even including us. From a universal perspective, reactions are probably nothing more than simple realities.

From a human perspective, every action has both a positive and a negative reaction. That’s what the lovely yin/yang symbol is telling us, and the story of the Chinese farmer whose horse ran away. The three physical laws described above, add the physical reality of time, whatever that is, and they add up to the universal law of cause and effect, which, from a human point of view, is elegantly analyzed by the Buddhist concept of karma.

For nearly everything I have ever done, there are files. To me the filing is a negative side to whatever fun I had doing something, and I didn’t have time, so I piled them up in the storage locker. I will “enjoy dealing with them when I am settled down here on my ranch in my old age.” And then when later arrives these still have meaning, if anything they have more meaning, but there is this huge chain of causes and effects that we must spin into some kind of order if we want organize our lives before they end.

For example, I recently mentioned some musings on the underside of a washing machine. The washing machine is still sitting there because I need to activate a trailer to move it. The dryer, however, being very light of weight, was moved to the clubhouse some weeks ago. Great excitement. For some reason this particular dryer does an unusually good job of removing wrinkles; the other dryer seems to press them in. So the next day, I cleaned the corner that will be inhabited by the dryer and put the dryer in it. Then I realized there is no way to exhaust the hot air, so I had to find a pipe to go through the floor and rig up – well, you know, duct tape. Then I went to plug it in and it wouldn’t plug, all this over several days because it’s not the only chain of cause and effect that I have going. In fact I’m juggling half a lifetime of them, trying to bring order to my life in a time of great disorder that I had not anticipated.

So then I learned a lot about plugs, and I was still cogitating where to find the right one, I was wandering through Wal-Mart on a task from a different karmic chain of requirements, and there on a shelf was a pile of “dryer” plugs that appeared to have the appropriate arrangement of prongs, so I bought one. It was attached to a long heavy cord. No wiring required; just look on the back of the dryer for instructions. So this morning, with the dryer functioning beautifully, I can truly say that I have a sense of accomplishment. But it takes time to do things properly, and most of that time is spent either cleaning up afterward or checking how to avoid setting fire to one’s home.

Now I’m sure you are wondering what happened to the washer in the meantime since I loaded it down the back steps. I finally removed the camper top from the pickup bed, cleaned the pickup bed, found various necessary tools, activated the trailer, and just the moment that I had the truck in position to attach the trailer. It died. I’m happy I only had to walk a mile. So tomorrow I am to be at the gate to let the A-1 wrecking company carry the truck to the mechanic who will find out what’s wrong with it.

This will have both positive and negative results, from a human point of view. The positive is – whatever’s wrong with it did not happen on top of a mountain in New Mexico and probably won’t happen on top of a mountain because the mechanic will fix it. The negative is that it will cost me a bundle. The unforeseen negative – I haven’t yet found out.

The person who is truly in control of her life, to the extent that is possible, is not the optimist who makes up fairy-tale reasons why everything is always lovely, and nor is she the pessimist. The person who truly has more power over her own circumstances is she who thinks about all of the inevitable and possible results of whatever she is doing: the positive results; the negative results; and the long-term results.

If you don’t think about what you are doing, and the result is that your house burns down, you can call it karma, and you would be right. But karma works both ways, and it’s awfully hard to think of reasons why you are happy that your house is gone. It might even turn you from an optimist into a pessimist, when in reality life is neither/nor. It just is what it is.

Thinking about the below post overnight, I came up with a diagram that is so basically uncomplicated it’s almost too simple to be useful. So I just wrote it out. Later I’ll make a computer diagram following this map, so if you catch any mistakes or incomprehensibilities, please let me know. I probably won’t get up the nerve to face a half day or so fighting with Illustrator.

Bare Bones Biology 130 – Community IV

I believe a human community is a group of people who interact with each other in emotional and social ways very much like the organisms of a biological community interact among themselves in biological ways. The function of biological communities is to promote the welfare of Life Itself – the whole living ecosystem that is the earth. The valid function of human communities is also to serve Life — so that Life may provide for us the earth, air, energy and water that we require to maintain our human communities. The question is: How do we build a human community that nourishes the biological community. It’s a hard question.

Life sustains itself by maintaining the balance of the cycles of life. Plants and other green organisms collect energy that can be distributed, throughout the whole body of the living earth, in the form of food. By digesting the food, all organisms use the food energy to do the work of staying alive, and at the same time breaking apart the food so that the materials recycle to continually revitalize our air, water and soil. These processes are necessary to life, and Life is sustainable only when these processes remain in balance with each other.

To remain balanced, as I just said, the system requires energy. Energy cannot be recycled. The system also requires materials that can be recycled. Molecules and atoms are constantly recycled in all living things. Because energy cannot be recycled, the whole system requires a constant input of energy (ref. Bare Bones Ecology Energy Handbook). We must keep eating to stay alive, therefore the plants must keep on making food all the time, and they do if there is enough light reaching the plants.

The second major requirement for Life is to recycle the materials of life in the form of atoms and molecules that make up our air, water and earth. The millions of different jobs that are necessary for this recycling are done by millions of different species of organisms, all interacting within the entire system so that the tissues are broken down into molecules and the molecules into smaller molecules and atoms that are released and then recycled.

It is green organisms that make food energy for the entire system. Different species of green organisms live in different niches of the environment. For example, cactus plants only can live in certain kinds of desert niches. The more different kinds of plants there are, the more niches they can fill, and the more food the earth can produce. This is also true of the other kinds of organisms that do other jobs in the cycle of life. The more different kinds of organisms there are, doing all the processes that are required to stay alive, the more likely it is that Life on earth can sustain itself — the climate, the soil, the food.

In the world today, and especially in America, our community structures are not organized to serve Life, so much as to serve the corposystem. The corposystem is the complex of interacting corporate and political organizations that harvests the materials from the ecosystem and sells them to us. The corposystem uses us to do this work, and so it feeds us and trains us to grow the corposystem; and so we design our communities to serve the corposystem, rather than the ecosystem.

The explicit goal of the corposystem is to make money, not to nurture Life — and the way to make money is to grow the system so it can sell more things. The corposystem grows by taking away and selling to us the food and materials that are required by the millions of species that do nourish Life.

So by now the corposystem has destroyed a huge number of species, thus changing the balance of air, water, soil and food, energy and materials – thereby causing climate change. So many things we do not understand, but we do know that we cannot build sustainable communities by nourishing the corposystem to the detriment of the ecosystem.

This blog is an expanded version of Bare Bones Biology radio program that is playing
this week on KEOS Radio, 98.1 FM, Bryan, Texas. The podcast can be downloaded at

Recommended References:
On right side of page look under “chapter” and download the pdf…-127-community/…28-¬-community/

Categories: Bare Bones Biology Transcripts, Community