Bare Bones Biology 137 – Human Hubris

Yin Yang copy Everything we do, from recycling to feeding the hungry – everything we do, without exception – has both positive and negative consequences in the whole earth ecosystem. The living earth requires for its survival both light and dark; both life and death, the yin and the yang, in balance. That’s how the earth was created to function, and that’s how it stays alive. Probably God sees the whole as one perfect creation.EarthPhotoYinYang

Humans, however, tend to personalize the ever-changing shadows as negatives, relative to our personal desires that we view as positives. We work very hard to be positive, and that is basically how we throw a monkey wrench into the elegant “clockworks” of nature. With our actions, we disrupt the balance of the intricate web of biological interactions that we do not and cannot understand.

There is a so-called “negative” side to community — both biological communities
and human communities.

Boo18-05-EarthFlowerLFlat
The biological community requires death so that there may be life. No doubt this is because life must change and adjust to its environment in order to survive. This change IS evolution, and it requires the deaths of the temporary living, that would be us, so that the whole of Life may adapt and survive. Death is also the route by which food energy is distributed throughout the ecosystem from the plants to the animals to the organisms that mop up the wastes and return them to their original states to cycle again through the whole system.

The balance between life and death sustains life through time. If the balance on earth changes, the earth changes (for example Climate Change) as it attempts to meet the challenge of the new conditions. Just so do human communities change in order to meet the challenge of new conditions. It’s a definition of life — its ability to change.

The works of Joseph Campbell elegantly describe the many ways that our social and cultural and religious heritages conform us to the behaviors that are appropriate to our survival in our different environments. He said: “The myths and rites were a means to put the mind into accord with the body and the way of life in accord with the way that nature dictates.“

JosephCampbellFoundation In other words, your culture tells you what you should not do if you want to survive.

Just as the process of evolution adapts the biological communities of the Living Earth to changing environmental conditions – so do our human cultures adapt our human social behaviors to the requirements of survival. Because all behaviors have both “positive” and “negative” results, the function of a sustainable human community is to guide us toward a viable balance between the two.

In this age, our human communities have shattered like a star shower, falling into millions of bits – and we are dragging the biological communities down with us. Bits and pieces cannot survive without a whole, solid communal base. We cannot resolve the problem of cultural fragmentation by fighting over the fragments.

We need to grow a new human balance point that is based less in human hubris and more in biological reality, and grow our new human communities around that balance point allowing the whole living earth to re-balance itself.

Earth Systems Final2 copy 2

In my opinion the most basic requirements for a sustainable human community are: 1) a factual insight into our human nature; 2) a factual insight into our biological reality at all the levels of organization; 3) a rule of law that reflects the need to maintain a balance between those realities and responds to that factual need rather than human hubris; 4) an educational system that gives every member of the communities an opportunity to understand these basic facts of life from all media sources.

All of our endeavors and behaviors have a light/”right” side and a dark/”wrong” side, and the sides keep changing depending on the circumstances. If we continue to respond to these changes with simplistic yes/no, dark/light, evil/good debates – we will fail to balance the whole of life, as it must be in order to survive, a yin and yang of ongoing, flexible responses to what is.

This is a big job, but we can do it if we understand what we are trying to do; the only question is – are you up for it? Next week we begin a series of brief studies of people who are making various efforts to grow human community.

Lynn Lamoreux

This blog is an expanded version of Bare Bones Biology radio program that will play
next week on KEOS Radio, 98.1 FM, Bryan, Texas. Bare Bones Biology is a completely
nonprofit project. The podcast can be downloaded at


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.
Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth, with Bill Moyers. http://www.jcf.org

Question for Discussion:
Which of the statements above are based in fact and which are primarily personal opinion?

What to Do?
Think about it. Is it true that the Christmas and Hannuka Seasons and the New Year Celebrations are based on, and/or nurtured, the wisdom of realized teachers who were trying to grow viable human community?

Definitions:
Biological Community – all the species of organisms in a given area, and the environment they have created there.
Human Community – all the people in a given area
Life. Life is characterized by the ability to change in response to its environment.

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