Bare Bones Biology 161 – Activism as War

Our deepest human obligation to the future of humans at this time is to understand the physical danger that threatens our human home on this the living earth. We have raised up a corposystem that is based on the use of power to dominate. In various parts of the corposystem we use the power of money, the power of fun, the power of sex, the power of bulldozers and atom bombs, the power of winning, the power of men over women and of people over everything that people don’t like.

At the same time, we know that human spiritual energy is not enough to save the starving. Compassion is not enough to save our place in the biosystem. Competition merely widens the destruction, and dominion over the laws of God and nature is not possible.

130728-canyon-ASC_4963RLSPsWe started by defeating ancient sources of human wisdom. We tossed them out because we didn’t understand them. And our power grew. We proceeded to generate measurable facts about the biosystem, and again our power grew.

And so now what we have is a huge pile of powerful facts that we don’t know how to use wisely – playthings of the gods we believe ourselves to be. And what’s worse we have come to believe that we can overcome our biological problems by piling up more facts and more power. More spiritual power, more compassion power, more domination power.

Maybe, instead of all our competition over various kinds of power – maybe we should try to remember that we already have (or had) the wisdom that we need to use all that power – to use it in a way that will cause more benefit than harm to our living home on earth.

Bare Bones Biology is a production of and KEOS FM radio, 89.1, Bryan, Texas. The podcast of this episode is much better than the blog version because it has actual background music provided by Kooper, the Navaho rap artist whose work can be found at Download the podcast here:

Bare Bones Biology 160 – Words Evolve

Words evolve, especially English words, until one person can be talking about facts, or energy, or evolution, while she is thinking something entirely different from the person who is listening to exactly the same words that mean something different in her mind. So, if you want to talk about facts or energy or evolution, and you don’t like my definitions, you should tell me yours and perhaps we can both talk about the same things. That is the first step in any discussion, and discussion is the first step to deciding if we care enough about each other to face the facts of our survival on this living earth.

130721-sunrise-ASC_4801sFACTS. Facts are realities that are true whether or not there were humans and whether or not we believe them. Facts are things like gravity, weight, thermodynamics, measurable energy, and death. The whole of human history and human power grew in the questioning human mind that wanted to understand the facts of Life IN ORDER TO SURVIVE into a comfortable future. That is, until the last few generations. Now, it seems, we no longer believe that our survival depends upon the facts of Life. Instead, we have come to believe that we can change the facts to suit ourselves. We even write books about it that I will not reference, but we actually believe them.

But the unfortunate thing about facts is that it doesn’t matter what we believe, the facts keep on going just the way they always have done, because a fact is not something humans decided to believe in. A fact is something that would be here even if there were no humans, and the bottom line fact is this — humans cannot survive without the living earth that gives us life – it is the forever facts that created the living earth Biosystem — and competing with that which gives us life does not make us big and wonderful and powerful; it makes us dead.

But of course we would be dead anyway, sooner or later, so the more important reason to understand the facts of Life is to avoid causing misery and suffering by fighting wars against realities that we cannot change, and to know the difference between what we humans can control and what we cannot control.

130721-deer-ASC_4812SsENERGY. In order to understand the basic facts of Life, we must understand that physical energy and human energy are not the same thing and we DO NOT KNOW what human energy is or how it relates to physical energy. Therefore we do not know how to control it.

Most of us can agree that there is such a thing as what I am referring to as human energy. I know that physical energy is a measurable fact; I know that I have experienced human energy in various ways; and I know that human energy is not the same kind of thermodynamic, measurable fact that is described by the Laws of Thermodynamics. But that is about all we do understand about human energy, and we know a lot about thermodynamic energy. The most important thing we know about it is that many people think human energy is more important than thermodynamic energy, and therefore humans can ignore the thermodynamic facts of Life described by the science of Physics.
The fact is, there would be no Life and no living earth without the flow of energy through the biological system that is the whole living earth, and this flow of energy must “obey” the measurable energy Laws of Thermodynamics.

Or to put it another way, the entire universe is how it is because (in part) of the Laws of Thermodynamics. If there were no humans, this would still be true. Whatever we can do with human energy, we cannot change the Law of Gravity, the Law of Evolution, or the Laws of Thermodynamics because these facts that we call laws were used in the Creation of Life. Without them, we would not exist, and there would be no human energy. So, if you know a lot about human energy, good for you. We need to know more; but that is not an excuse to ignore the facts about thermodynamic energy.

This is Bare Bones Biology, a production of KEOS radio, 89.1 FM, in Bryan, Texas, and FactFictionFancy. A podcast of this program can be downloaded at Bare Bones Biology as soon as we can sort out the problem that was caused when someone not myself tried to access my credit card information. In the meantime, if you want a podcast, please send your email address to and I will send you the mp3 version. It might take a couple of days as I find my way to a place where the trackless wilderness intersects an email access point. Most likely at the Mystery Store in downtown Chama, where good email access and good books are available.

Problems solved, here you can download the podcast:

Bare Bones Biology 159 – Facts versus Fancies – Money

Our modern American corposystem is built around something that isn’t even real. Money. Some people have gained a whole career and a lot of well deserved admiration using the power of money in a positive way, and written books about it, but I’m not referencing the books, because they are based on the idea that money is a real thing, rather than a short-term corposystem fix.

On the contrary, fame and money are figments of an unsustainable human dream of power in the same way that winning, or success, are merely human opinions that we have decided to believe. Even with the best of intentions, these corposystem fantasies are likely to cause more harm than good to the Biosystem, and to a good life for us. When it comes to planning our lives, I think it’s better to go with what is real.

Even though everything does keep changing, some things are real. A car is a real thing. Life is real. Food is real. An ear of corn. When you eat it, you become a living link in the living Biosystem. Money is not a real thing; it is a human agreement. Or rather it can be a real thing. It is really a piece of paper with a pretty picture on it. But as money it only exists in the shared promises among people.

130716-Spencer-ASC_4638RLSs copyYet, we have built an entire system that is based in our common delusion that money is a real thing. Our corposystem defines itself by convincing us that money is power; most of its propaganda is meant to teach us that money is a real resource, like sunshine, or roses or meat; but really. money is only a human promise to pay. You can use it to buy stuff; that’s the promise; and so long as the promise is honored – yes, money is a good thing to have.

Most often you get your money by spending your time wisely. You can use your time to make the things you need – or you can trade your time for money. Let’s pick food for an example, because it’s a real thing you cannot live without. You could spend your time (which is also a real thing) growing food, or you could trade your time to someone else, let’s say McDonalds, and in exchange they will give you money, which is not a real thing, but you can use it. You could use the money you earned working for McDonalds to buy food. Or you could buy something you do not need, but if you do that, you have wasted your time AND your money, and you will have no other way to get what you do need unless you can get someone else to give you some of their time/money.

Your challenge as a living human today is to balance your time and money to get the real things that you need for your good life. Your obligation to the future of humankind is to do this in a way that does not cause harm to the Biosystem. If you do a good job, the money can come and go without causing permanent harm.

The corposystem, however, does not support either of these challenges, because the ethic of the corposystem is to grow more money. Instead of helping us to grow the good life by focusing on real things that we need, the corposystem tells us to spend our time and money buying more things that we don’t need. To throw away our things and spend our money buying more things. We end up spinning away our time and our money, and the irreplaceable Biosystem resources – wasting them to make money for the corposystem.

And then the corposystem will crash, because nothing can grow forever if it consumes resources, and when it crashes our money will be worthless.

Life is not about money, nor is it about supporting a system that becomes more and more unbalanced with every turn of the wheel. Life is about sustaining Life by balancing the Biosystem. We know how to do this, but we won’t, because we believe so deeply in the unbalanced growth required by the corposystem that we think it would be unethical to take any steps toward controlling human overgrowth of the Biosystem.

This is Bare Bones Biology, a production of KEOS radio, 89.1 FM, in Bryan, Texas, and FactFictionFancy. A podcast of this program can be downloaded at Bare Bones Biology later this week or next week.

Photograph of Spencer and Remington in Chama, New Mexico.

Water Heater



Ahhhhhh, mmmmmm, when did I leave? Better yet, when did I get here? I think I’ve written at least three Bare Bones Biologies, but maybe I replayed a couple in there also. The only reason I’m getting my stuff caught up is that I got washed out of the canyon by the “monsoon” and am sitting in a little cabin that has electricity.

130712-stuck-ASC_4629RLSsIt wasn’t as bad as I thought it was at the time, only my truck was mashed against a rock so that it couldn’t go forward or backward, and I had to call someone to come get me out, and my phone doesn’t work very well at all down here in the canyon, and also I didn’t know who to call.

But that was after the wild turkeys, trotting jerkily up the creekbed like roadrunners on stilts, followed by a rickety little brood, probably about three weeks old if they mature anything like chickens. I got all excited by that, and then two days later and about an 8th of a mile farther up, they all trotted right across my yard, and Bitsy got all excited.

But before that was the week of the massive problem of getting all the parts of my solar generator on my own premises, because it turns out I can’t do my work without electricity and the solar computer charger they sent me doesn’t work to charge laptops. It only charges “computer devices.” Quite a few people helped with the generator, given that it weights almost 100 pounds. The biggest part of the problem was that UPS couldn’t find the Re-Max to whom it was addressed, and I think the biggest part of that was my fault, but I haven’t so far admitted it, and nobody else has brought it up either.

So far I’ve had a cup of coffee (one hour of charging the generator) and have plugged in a computer, which seems to charge almost at the same rate as the generator, but I’m not sure the generator can do both at the same time. Probably it will work. The computer has a battery after all. And I was on my way out there to settle in to work when Ithe monsoon struck, so we blew another weekend re-aligning all our plans around that problem. It was Saturday and I didn’t know whom to call and my phone mostly doesn’t work, so I wore out a lot of phone energy on non-answers until I finally called the Chama Fire Department.

130715-Dulce-ASC_4634sI said: “I am stuck at the end of county road *** and I know it’s not your problem, but I don’t know who to call – – – – “ and the phone cut out. But – pretty soon – along came Gutierrez Wrecker, and while he was untangling my truck from his on this one-lane road I carried some things up from the house (which is at the end of the road and was just down the bear trail from where we were stuck) and eventually went back for one more load. When I was inside getting it, Bitsy pushed out the gate and disappeared, which is her best thing, disappearing. All she has to do is not move. This time she moved fast.

So I was remarkably upset, worrying that she had headed for the hills when I was trying to head out of the hills, and I checked a couple of her favorite places and then trudging over the top of the hill, back toward the truck, thinking about how to resolve THIS one, and the first thing I saw was Bitsy, sitting in the driver’s seat, laughing at me. The rescue man said she had run straight up to him, begged to be let in the cab, and then turned around and growled at him when she got in, so he just shut the door and we all drove back to town.

For those of you who have never seen real unadulterated air, here is an example, over Dulce today. Between the clouds.

Oh yes, I have finally a reason to replace my truck with a more appropriate vehicle. I will be looking for a pickup that can do long-distance highway driving with better mileage than mine, has more towing power, and four-wheel-drive. Second-hand, in excellent condition.



Dulce is the headquarters city of the Jicarillo Apache Nation

Bare Bones Biology 158 – Fracking the Reservation

It’s doubly ironic, what I’ve been told is happening on the Jicarilla Apache reservation that is my neighbor. This situation is a small example of the decisions we all face, in fulfilling our responsibility to the future. We have the option to use our knowledge to respond to the challenge of supporting the health of the Biosystem — or not. The Biosystem does not care about our reasons. If we do not act, it will make the choices for us. The bottom line choice is between accepting the jobs that are now offered by the corposystem — or facing the fact that many of these jobs now are gained by destroying the ability of our Biosystem to provide Life (earth, air, energy, water) for our future generations.

Here is the story. images

The Apache Nations had a sustainable culture nourished by their knowledge of the Biosystem. The Biosystem is all of Life on earth that is able to sustain life by maintaining the balance among all its parts – the soil, water, food energy and air – everything we organisms need to stay alive.

The cultural wisdom of the Apache Nations was gained by centuries of experience and observation. Early people lived sustainably within the Biosystem without destroying the resources that gave them life. Chief Garfield

The Apaches (and the other First Nations) were defeated in war by the new arrivals. The newcomers stripped them, as much as possible, of the power of their traditional wisdom and gave them a part of this Biosystem that was thought to be of no value. The newcomers do not have a traditional wisdom. They are growing a new system that is based on the power of technology to make money.

It’s hard to remember, because things have changed so fast, that all this happened not so very long ago. After that time, the newcomers learned more and more to use the power of technology and corporations to make money. In fact, they have grown a new little bubble of a Corposystem within the Biosystem of Life. This subsystem of Life cannot maintain itself without the soil, air, water and energy from plants that are made by the living Biosystem.

Time passed, and the people of the Apache Nation admired the power of the newcomers and began to exchange their own sustainable wisdom for the newcomers’ unsustainable financial greed. They began to believe that the Corposystem is more powerful than the Ecosystem. They learned how to “make” money and began to buy back the land that had been taken from them. So the Apache Nation started to become richer, and started using the money to buy land. Land is good. If properly nurtured, land gives us what we need for life. Earth, air, fire (food energy) and water. Only the Biosystem can make these things, and only if the biosystem remains balanced among all its parts, including us. Buy the land and nurture it; a fine plan.

But now the Apache Nation is (comparatively) rich, what is their plan for their lands? Apparently (I haven’t asked them directly) they want to use the land to become more rich – to be like the newcomers. They want to frack the land for money rather than nurture the land to support their own future. It sounds to me like they have been doubled-conned by the newcomers – first to lose their home on the lands and then as they gain it back, to lose it again by fracking away its good water, air and soil for an energy source that is only good for making money.

130627-Shodo-ASC_3952sThere are other options than either of these two. Life is not a choice between Biosystem and Corposystem. Life is our responsibility to nurture the future of Life. There is nothing to stop us from choosing the best of both systems, rather than the worst. Except perhaps an ego based in greed, rather than an ego based in wisdom.

And if we do decide to choose the welfare of the future Biosystem — over our perks of today – it is then our obligation to discover what the Biosystem really does need to be healthy — not what is our personal opinion of what it should need. The Biosystem does not care about our opinions – but we need to learn how the cycle really functions to maintain the soil, energy from photosynthesis, breathable air and drinkable water – and we need to stop destroying the balance of the Biosystem it on the basis of personal opinions or corposystem propaganda.

This is Bare Bones Biology, a production of KEOS 89.1 FM Bryan, TX, and A podcast can be downloaded at:

(image of Chief Garfield)

Bare Bones Biology 008B – Balance

I just spent nearly a whole year writing a book that explains that the earth ecosystem is alive and what it requires to stay alive (just like every other living thing) is balance. Balance between hot and cold and balance between birth and death, but that’s our human simplification. Balance among all of the cycles of life.

130702-MillerCanyon-asc_4565RSsAnd now someone has redefined the word balance. So let’s be clear. What I mean is sustainable balance. Balance is when things stay where they are – because all the cycles keep on interacting with each other as they evolved to do — without anybody pushing.

If someone pushes, what you get is an unbalance, and the amazing thing about life forms is that they then usually can rebalance themselves – if it’s not too hard of a push. But after they rebalance – they are different. The best example right now is climate change.

Balance through time. Like the teeter-totter that sits gently on the midpoint, or if you don’t know teeter-totter, think of the scales of liberty. That woman is holding the scales away from her body and they are completely free to move, one side down or the other side down. They don’t move, of course, because she’s only a statue — or a picture — but if those scales were real and they stayed even, through all of time, that is balance. Or maybe I will refine my definition, since the business folk have undefined it, by saying sustainable balance. Balance means balance — sustainably. Two ounces of gold at sea level at a certain temperature is perfectly balanced by two ounces of gold at sea level at a certain temperature, or by anything else that has exactlt the same weight. Or we could do as Rob Hopkins has done and change the words. He likes to talk about resilience, which is a very important and related concept, but not quite the same thing as balance, and balance is what I mean, so I’ll stick with it. Sustainable balance.

A primary function of the ecosystem is to sustain a balance among all the things that are part of the ecosystem, including:
Carbon dioxide
Carbon compounds
Palm trees
Slugs, and
Fire ants,

And a million million other things that are made inside the ecosystem and all are a part of how she stays alive.

How she does this is too complicated for humans to understand. I’m sure if we could make life, we could make our own ecosystem and the moon would be blooming with life. But in spite of what you may have heard, humans cannot make life. We can change it but we can’t make it, because the ecosystem is so much bigger and more complicated than we are that we can’t even think of all those parameters, even with computers, and basically there is no life outside of the ecosystem. At least none that we know about. So, how can we humans claim to understand something that is more complicated than the number of nerve endings in our brains? And if that is true, how come I claim to understand it?

earth.jpg-sizedI do not claim to understand all of it. However, the living earth ecosystem runs by natural laws that do not change; these include the law of gravity and the laws of thermodynamics. Humans did not make these laws; humans just gave them names. The problem for anyone who wants to understand the ecosystem is to clear away the clutter of all the details, to see what is consistent, as we did very successfully before there was science — or better use all the details in a repeatable, measurable way to understand the basic laws of nature as they apply to life. That would be what we do in the science of biology – which is the scientific study of life. Or better yet, use both approaches to understand the ecosystem, and doing that we know all that we need to know to begin giving the ecosystem what she needs to survive in balance. Sustainable balance, not some idiot corporation’s idea of sustainable growth, which is often Ponzi economics, and which always crashes.

There is no such thing as sustainable growth. You know that as well as I do. Everyone does. You can’t raise ten horses on one acre of land unless your neighbor raises hay. You can’t grow sustainably without resources, and sooner or later you run out of resources.

Look out there. Post up that lovely picture taken from the moon of the beautiful living earth. There aren’t any neighbors raising hay, and no human technology can change that fact, no more than airplanes modify gravity or no more than our prayers can change the way God made the universe to function. So, if we want to do something that really will help human kind to survive into the generations with some kind of reasonable quality of life we will have to stop pretending that we can tell God how the world should be, and start changing our behaviors to conform with how the world really is.

This is Bare Bones Biology, a production of KEOS radio, 89.1, Bryan, Texas, and To download a copy of this program go to: