Bare Bones Biology 175 – The End is in Sight

So here we are sitting inside of a human body, a system that sits inside the corposystem that sits inside the Biosystem, and we said last time that the function of a system is to perpetuate itself.   And of course the more systems we must perpetuate (and there are more, for example our digestive system – etc.) — the more complicated it becomes.  The function of a system is to perpetuate itself (…he-real-answer/).

The corposystem is a failed system, or at least it is unless it changes its bottom line goal, which is growth.  Growth has hit the wall because we are using up, every year, more resources than can be produced, at least of the important ones, like food, healthy air and water and soil.

131030-snow-ASC_6978RLSsThe more we struggle to perpetuate the corposystem as it is, the longer it continues to use gimmicks and technologies to extract the last little bit of life from the Biosystem to further its own toxic growth, the bigger will be he crash of the corposystem in its ending and the more human suffering will result.  So people rush around crying “What can we do?”  or “Buy my solution ,” when the answer is totally obvious to everyone.  STOP GROWING.  If we do that, we will (eventually) have enough resources.  But the function of the corposystem is to perpetuate itself, and itself is based on growth.  So, what to do about that?

Of course, we must recognize how the corposystem is controlling us – teaching us, frightening us, conning us, bribing us, and lying to us — to perpetuate itself — and we must simply stop doing those things that tend to prevent us from straight-out discussion of the subject of saving ourselves by saving the Biosystem that gives us food and healthy air, water and soil.  I have referred to teaching, frightening, conning, bribing and lying as corposystem games (for example Bare Bones Biology 072 – More Corposystem Games  All these games, and more that you can think of, control us by encouraging our normal human denial games that are more fun than facing facts.  Examples abound:

a) We prefer to believe there are no facts and therefore all decisions revolve around our own human  opinions rather than hard-to-face facts.

b) We would rather be important than effective.  The biggest reason that ANY so-called solutions don’t work is that the leaders’ world view will not let them accept their ignorance, so they go for short-term easy, flashy fixes that make things worse in the long run, rather than study the system relative to the goal.

c) The commonest excuse is,  “there is nothing we can do.”  Second, “the glass is half full;”

d) We are committed to being a winner, rather than resolving the problems (this is basically the same as b), except it includes a great many people who simply want to win a war — to conquer the Biosystem, cancer, drugs, whatever — some of whom are willing to say so, and it s usually a corporate top-down “mission;”

e) We don’t care about the future as long as we can get what we want now;

f) We have so much hatred in our lives that we can’t think about anything else ;

g) We are into “blame-placing” past events rather than trying to figure out what is more likely to work in the future based on current behaviors;

h) Irrelevant speculation is more fun than facing facts.  The last one I heard was: “what population would we need to get down to restore what we had?”  Irrelevant because we can’t make anyone “get down to a population” AND it is impossible to get back what we had.  Time does not go backward.  Better to set a possible goal;

i)  It’s more fun to get mad at me and blame me for something, rather than try to understand my perspective.  Blame-placing is the current most promoted corposystem-trained behavior to avoid facing problems.  Time does not go backward – blame-placing changes nothing.  It should be used to perpetuate the rule of law, but we aren’t doing that;

j) Actually probably the most common denial behavior is to concentration on details without regard to overall results.  That’s the “scientific” reductionist approach and is now taken almost universally as valid, so causes a great deal of trouble.  All systems have emergent properties (see…he-real-answer, quite a ways down, that was a really long one, under definition of emergent properties.) If that fact is not considered, then it’s not possible to anticipate the results of reductionist tinkering with any system..

This is Bare Bones Biology, a production of and KEOS FM, 89.1 in Bryan, Texas.  A podcast of this program is available at:

Tar Sands Aerial

Tom Dispatch

To my correspondents- I am sending this because of the introduction more than the article that follows.  This is what I mean by two things that I say now and then:

1) the corposystem has us off playing our games while it is literally taking over the world.  Our games include everything that is on facebook and all the arguments over climate change and population.  It just pokes us once in a while with a lie that will charge up the phony debate.  I’m not saying we should quit.  Just saying what is. It doesn’t even know I exist. And so — I don’t.  We have a whole young generation that I described in my email to ????? who believe that the internet belief system is real, that compassion is the only instinct, and go blank if you try to talk to them about facts.  And we are taking over YOUR ivory tower (which is why I came back to work here when I wanted to stay in Japan).

2) TomDispatch is mostly politics and I never did try to fight the monster in political form except for the occasional vote and trying to speak to voters.  I hope I did a wee bit to influence Tom to include at least the Monsanto issue and other biology comments in his blogs.  HOWEVER, Tom is one of the three people I do follow, still, if mostly to scan.  The other two are Father John Dear (now that Sister Chittister is no longer writing, for reasons I haven’t found out) and Joe Bish.  I think that is fairly well balanced, and I believe none of those people are in the employ (knowingly at least) of the corposystem gaming system.  Tom is very well informed, and I believe strongly that he is not part of the disinformation campaign.  You might be interested also in following him.  As for Scahill, that kind of hero is pretty far out of my reach.  Along with Ann Jones and a few others. On the other hand, here I am headed to Santa Fe and he says the event is sold out.  Damn.  See.  I don’t exist.  Didn’t even know about the event.


And in the meantime, the real world is so lovely and quiet and clean. Byebuy my dear.

Bare Bones Biology 174 – The Real Answer

Of course it requires hard work to grow a satisfying belief system, and that hard work may well be the purpose of life for humans, because, in growing a valid sustainable belief system and passing it on to the future, we are contributing to the welfare of all humankind. That is what my own blog is about and that is why I will not change the honesty of my “style” or of the facts that I report, just because the corposystem (definition below) wants me to do “what works.” Or “what sells.” Well, I’ll modify that statement. I will and do change both the style and the factual reporting whenever I can learn to conform more closely to the reality of the Biosystem (definition below).

131023-Chama-ASC_6792RLSsTherefore I agree completely with Alejandra’s critique (in the blog referenced below) that “helping” people for financial gain may not be a kind or ethical practice. I think that was her point, and I think she was talking about the welfare of individuals who are suffering for the want of a clear life ethic. I think the world-view problem is a bonanza for the corposystem. First it can muddle the questions and then it can give (pardon, sell) its own (fake) “answers” or “solutions” to the people. The corposystem can control the human herd with fear and confusion and at the same time harvest the product (money) that results from the peoples’ fear and confusion.

Of course there are no key words for happiness, and happiness isn’t even the goal that will lead us toward contentment. Nor is ordinary emotional compassion. The accomplishment of a satisfying life goal requires hard work, not rote answers or solutions. In my opinion, that hard work is the life spent learning to understand and correlate the realities of (1) the human experience with (2) the facts of Life on earth.

131022-Chama-ASC_6788RLSs1 – We compare human experiences in our different cultures, and the better we understand the realities that are common to all or most human cultures, then the closer we approach the core of what it means to be human. Joseph Campbell’s publications have been helpful to many people in this regard, as well as the work of Ruth Benedict, Margaret Mead, Tony Hillerman (ex.The Shape Shifter unabridged), and others. The more we understand our common humanity, the more we can align ourselves with it.

Ethics, religion and all that are very helpful in guiding our path toward a satisfying life, but we must do the work. On the contrary, a frantic search for “happiness” or even “compassion,” “right versus wrong,” or “superiority,” is not helpful, because then we are only thinking of making ourselves feel good. Making ourselves feel good is a beginning to understanding our place in the whole of Life, but when we come to believe that our own human culture is the whole of Life (that is the great corposystem lie) then making ourselves feel good no longer aligns us with the realities of Life, but with the defects of the corposystem.

2 – Humans are not the center of the universe, nor did humans create Life. Humans cannot stuff into our pockets the Creation and all the Laws studied by physics and the biological sciences and make them give us (that is, sell us) what we want. If we truly want to grow our contentment within the reality of things we cannot change, then we must check our common human experiences very carefully against the larger facts (facts are things we can’t change, defined below).

Human contentment arises out of aligning our own personal reality with the greater Facts of Life so that we can grow a communal ethic (belief system) that will benefit the future of all Life on Earth.

The keys to a satisfying life are a) to align ourselves with the reality of our culture; and b) to recognize that no human culture is perfectly aligned with the biological and physical Facts of Life that we cannot change; and c) to figure out what realities we cannot change (and stop trying to change them) and what we can change (ourselves), and use that information to grow a belief system that can sustainably benefit: 1) ourselves; and 2) the future welfare of the whole system (all sentient beings, unto the seventh generation).

This is Bare Bones Biology, a production of and KEOS FM, 89.1 in Bryan, Texas. A podcast of this program is available at:

I very seldom post comments on blogs, but today I did. (

The Real Answer

In this day and age, the corposystem has taken control over the education system and is teaching us basically the reverse of what I said yesterday (Bare Bones Biology 174).  It is teaching us that happiness is the goal of human life – rather than the contentment of a job well done – and it is teaching us that we humans can control the Laws of Nature (therefore there is no point to studying the needs of any other part of the Life system.)  It is teaching us that we do not need to know the basic laws of Life on Earth; that all we humans need is humanism.

If that were the case, then our happiness would be easy, but in fact humanism is not enough, because humanism today believes in the dominance of humankind over everything else, and that is not really true, so you begin and end with a lie that benefits the welfare only of deep pockets (the corposystem, defined below) and causes irreparable harm to the balance of Life (the Biosystem/Ecosystem defined below).

The ideals that are taught by the corposystem are a lie, and we can’t align ourselves with a lie because the reality is that we simply don’t fit in, and we always know that we do not fit.  Knowing that we do not fit is not happiness and provides us no way to do a job well done.

131022-Chama-ASC_6784RLS2Thus humans generally don’t have the information they need to align themselves with factual reality, and therefore human-kind is always looking to buy something to make us happy.  Or, if one aspires to the upper classes, finding something to sell.  The current generation seems very hung up on trying to prove they each are better than the other – another impossible goal – or yet more incredibly trying to prove that we know more about what the Biosystem needs than even the Biosystem “knows.”

And so the Corposystem is in a constant impossible war for dominance against the Biosystem, and humans are constantly engaged in impossible wars for dominance over each other.  Confusion creates war creates money, and the function of the corposystem is to make always more money, without regard to the welfare of the people, or rather using the fake image of welfare to activate and reactivate that imitation welfare-money-imitation welfare-money cycle.

Entirely to the contrary, the function of the Biosystem is to maintain Life.  And that is what my blog is all about.

If you followed Bare Bones Biology from the beginning, I have progressed over the 3+ years, beginning more or less with facts about the whole of the Biosystem, and then working more toward study of facts, realities and truths at the level of biological and social communities, and lately I’ve been talking more about individual human realities.

During that period of time, the corposystem has co-opted some words that I need and changed their meanings to support the corposystem modus operandi – which is to generate confusion.  Also I have received more inquiries about the definition of corposystem.  Therefore, over the next three or four blogs I plan to define the terms I use, and then proceed again to answer the question “what can we do?” but the short answer is that we will never understand what/why we need to do until we as individuals learn how to align our own opinions with the Facts of Life, and then use that knowledge to the benefit of the 7th generation to com.


I provide these definitions, not to start another corposystem war over whose definition is better (who cares, we need words to talk with and we need to talk if we are to avoid more wars).  My hope is, if you will understand my definitions (or yours) then we can both talk about the same things – worthwhile things — and not just argue over unimportant things while the balance of Life around is us is being destroyed by us.

Biology.  The study of Life (all of Life, and the laws of nature that make Life possible on earth) using the scientific method.  The scientific method requires study of measurable facts.  If you aren’t using the scientific method to study measurable facts, then you technically are not a biologist, even if you know more about something than someone else who is defined as a biologist.

Scientific Method.
  The scientific method is the study of measurable facts followed by a formal review system that makes sure the discovered knowledge is available for discussion by the human community.  Contrary to common usage, the study of Life without using the scientific method is not science.  By definition, science and scientists use the scientific method to study measurable facts.  It is entirely possible to study reality without using the scientific method, but then your results may or may not be measurable facts.  There is nothing wrong with things that are not measurable facts.  They aren’t science, but some of them are a lot nicer than science.  The reason to keep these defined categories is the same as the reason for definitions.  They are a great help to us in our efforts to align ourselves with realities of life, and so grow a satisfying world view, as discussed in Bare Bones Biology 175.

Basic Biology.
  This definition is the same as the above, but specifically refers to the learning to understand the natural laws that make Life possible, not to how we use these laws after we understand them.

Applied Biology. is the same as biological technology.  The technological use of our scientifric (biological) understandings to make or do something that we want to make or do.  Usually, in the modern corposystem, to make money.  This includes technologists such as physicians, wildlife management professionals, etc.  Any technological application of biology is applied biology.  Most biologists in today’s world do not realize that applied biology is not basic biology.  Applied biology can cause great harm to the Biosystem if its basic applications are not fully considered.  Overpopulation is a perfect example of this fact of Life.  Too many of one life form can unbalance the Biosystem in which it lives — so that species eats up all of its food and crashes that system.  This is natural, but if we don’t want to crash our own system we should be considering the relationship between “saving lives” and the future welfare of the system of which we are a part.

we cannot make conclusions about “good” and “bad” behaviors without considering the long-term expected results of these behaviors or we are likely to accidentally cause great harm.  Applied sciences that do not consider the basic science usually make this kind of mistake.  For this reason, technology is very dangerous without consideration of basic biology, and debates over what is right and what is wrong do not solve problems that are caused by ignoring the basic facts of Life.

Earth Systems Final2 copy 2Facts.  Facts are things that we cannot change.  There are at least two kinds of facts.  First are historical facts; things like your date of birth; we can lie about them but we cannot change the reality, and anyhow, I’m not talking about history; I am talking about the laws of nature. The Laws of Nature are facts like gravity, weight, thermodynamics, measurable energy, evolution and death. The whole of human history and human power have grown in the 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.

For these authors, 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.

Community.  The biological definition of community is very different from the social sciences definition. Biologically, a group of any one species (such as a group of people), the biological word for that is not community – it is population.  The population of humans in College Station.  The population of goatweeds on my ranch.  The population of a certain kind of mosquito in the Brazos Valley.

The biological definition of community is: The system that is composed of all the plants and other organisms that live in the same area and interact with one another.

131020-dng-CanyonASC_6779RLSsSo biologically, a community is ALL the organisms. Because they all do interact with each other, either directly or indirectly.  All the populations in the Brazos Valley. The population of goatweeds and of mosquitoes and of humans – all those populations of organisms together form the community of the Brazos Valley, along with all the millions more populations of organisms. When I say millions, we must consider the good rich soil of the bottom-land and all the other places where there are – yes – millions of different kinds of micro-organisms contributing to Life, if we haven’t killed them off, and all the plants and all the insects, the spiders that used to live here and everything else that is alive. That is the biological definition of community.

So it seems that everyone who is using the word community is not talking about the same thing – but we all are right. Whenever everyone is right, and they are all using the same words to mean different things, that is a perfect setup for arguments. But why argue? We do want the same thing; we only need to know what it is.

I believe a human community is a group of people who interact with each other in an emotional and social system that is very much like the physical system of a biological community. The function of biological communities is to promote the welfare of Life Itself, or one could say to maintain Life in environments that change.  The biological community does this using the sustainable physical system of biological interactions.

The valid function of human communities is also to serve Life — so that Life may provide for us the earth, air, fire and water that we require to maintain our human communities.  However, in practice, human communities in our culture primarily serve their own vision of human welfare, and they do this using emotional and intellectual interactions among humans, in addition to physical interactions.   Our current culture unfortunately is not based in a sustainable system, which is why I keep on writing this blog.

Sustainable.  This is a very interesting word.  It does not mean that everything stays the same.  It can mean that the essence survives indefinitely.  The essence of Life is – Life.  Life is sustainable on earth (so far) even though individuals cannot live forever.  Well, really, BECAUSE individuals die (and for a lot of other reasons) and because life forms (species) that cause harm also become extinct, therefore Life on earth is sustainable.  To understand sustainability one must begin with the core essence of a thing.  The core essence of our culture is profit gained from growth.  That is not sustainable on earth. Human social systems have been successful so long as the earth could provide enough resources of food, air, water and soil to support the human communities, but they are not sustainable (Diamond, Collapse).  However, our economic system could be made sustainable if we were to rewrite all the corporate documents to require biological and economic sustainability as the prime directive, and enforce that directive with a sustainable rule of law.

What is a System?  According to the dictionary, a system is “a set of connected things or parts forming a complex whole, in particular, a set of things working together as parts of a mechanism or an interconnecting network.”  I was once advised, by a university professor with whom I was discussing some improvement that should be made in the educational system:  “The function of an organization is to perpetuate itself.”  I have remembered this comment because I believe that it is very true – if it cannot maintain itself, it’s not a viable or sustainable system.

I believe a system perhaps originates as a singularity – a rare and fortunate coming-together of a set of processes that function well to maintain an emergent (new and useful) process that contributes positively to the whole. The creation of the corporation might be an example – or the creation of Life on earth.  The emergent function of the Biosystem is to maintain Life; the emergent function of the corposystem is to grow wealth.

In my own definition, a well-established system has at least two additional characteristics that  make it more likely than not to perpetuate itself.  The first is the ability to respond to modest changes in its environment.  Climate change is a fact-based reality — an example of the Earth Biosystem/Ecosystem responding to change in the human populations.  The second quality that systems develop to perpetuate themselves is protection from outside influences that might tend to cause disruption or require change.  An example of this sort of thing might be human belief systems that protect social systems from disruptive ideas – for example, the climate-change deniers’ belief system permits him to continue believing in his life-style without change.

So my definition of a system is a group of processes that function together as parts of a complex interconnected whole that generates a specialized useful emergent property or function and is organized to perpetuate itself by balancing processes that ensure stability with processes that ensure variability.

The unique emergent property of the Biosystem is Life.

The unique emergent property of the Corposystem is its growth-related profit mechanism.

Emergent Property.  An emergent property is a characteristic of a system that results when all the parts of the system function together, and is different from any of the parts separately.  For example, the emergent property of Life results from a particular combination of things (molecules) that are not alive.  An emergent property of water is that it is a liquid at room temperature.  Water is made of oxygen and hydrogen that are gases at room temperature.  There are many liquids, but water is a unique liquid.  So the emergent property of water is the unique and very specific characteristics of water.

The whole earth ecosystem is an evolved system that uses the energy from the sun to maintain and increase complexity of life in a universe that is flowing toward entropy in accordance with what humans refer to as the First and Second Laws of Thermodynamics.  To accomplish a balanced, sustainable stability of Life, the billions of earth systems must be able to respond to change, within and without itself, and that capability is achieved through the Law of Evolution, or the ability to balance its billions of interacting processes in response to changes within and without itself.  This is accomplished by the exquisite balance of the interacting web of limiting factors.  In times of little environmental change, the limiting factors discourage variability by selecting processes or organisms that function to maintain stability.  In times of environmental disruption, the limiting factors permit and select for biological variants (mutants).  Whenever variability is increased, the system has more options to select forms that are able to function more effectively in the new or changed environmental conditions, so the whole system becomes more capable of change.

Potentially, limiting factors are each of the interacting factors that are required for Life to survive.  For example, Life requires food; if there is not enough food, then food is a limiting factor.

The Biosystem is the Life of Earth.  Life of earth is stable when all the interacting factors of its environment are stable.  Life is sustainable because it can change when the interacting factors of its environment change.  Life changes mostly by the process of evolution.  Usually that involves responding to environmental change (change in limiting factors) using positive and negative selection by means of limiting factors.  Useful species survive; harmful species become extinct.

131022-Chama-ASC_6790RLSsThe corposystem is a system that uses energy resources provided by the earth ecosystem to generate continual growth, and the function of the growth is to make profits that are used to make more growth.  The corposystem operates by Ponzi economics, and therefore is neither stable (because the continual growth generates constant unbalancing and reorganization of the limiting factors) nor is it sustainable (because nothing can grow forever unless it has unlimited resources).  At the current time the corposystem operates as though the Law of Evolution (which humans cannot change) is based in competition and power.  It is not, see the above; evolution functions by balancing the limiting factors; the corposystem operates by growth, which unbalances the limiting factors.  The modern human corposystem is defined by human laws and by-laws that require growth of both money and population, and we are now at the point where the earth provisions are not sufficient to accommodate this requirement.  Therefore, the earth ecosystem is coming unbalanced, throwing up a myriad of different sorts of variables (climatic, genetic, social, economic, species extinctions) that wlll VERY soon, maybe 20 to 50 years, make our Bio130902-Monero-ASC_5831RLSs copysystem unfit for human habitation.

We could make the corposystem both stable and sustainable if we would change the corposystem imperative (growth), and there are quite a few economics books available on this subject that are written by trained economists.  I have not read them, but I do know it is biologically possible to grow a stable and sustainable human presence within Life of Earth if we were to balance the limiting factors of the corposystem and align them with the needs of the Biosystem.  I also know if we choose not to do this for ourselves, then the limiting factors of the Biosystem will do it for us and we will become extinct, and Life will start over as it has done several times over the millions of years of its evolution.

Bare Bones Biology 173 – I Hate Most Pills

I hate pills; always have; and for some good reasons. But I haven’t talked about these kinds of problems in Bare Bones Biology because: a) The corposystem pill culture (including the full range from illegal through “natural” to technologically advanced) often does a good job on symptoms for people who need that relief. That’s a good thing; and, b) Like all good things, when carried too far, there is a bad side — a very serious threat to the Biosystem, and so symptom relief for individuals can be a danger to us all.

130911-Simple Life-ASC_5911RLSs copyI have not talked about these relationships because the biosystem keeps telling me I must not upset anyone in my 600 words a week, or the people I upset will not listen to what I am trying to say. Instead, they will spin off: a) into a debate, rather than a discussion of what to do about the danger to the life systems of earth; b) into trying to prove that I am wrong because they are right; c) into the immediate assumption that I am attacking (whatever they are good at), rather than trying to discuss community welfare.

Because in our culture we are taught to debate rather than discuss, and if we only deal in two-sided arguments, we will change the subject from a) what can we do that is best for the community, a discussion that has many sides; to b) an irrelevant dichotomous debate about individual competence. Try to talk about community welfare and you end up in a battlefield of individual ego trips.

So, probably I will upset someone, because the fact is that individual people’s symptoms may not be as important to us all as the welfare of the Biosystem. In that case a large group of people will be asking me about their “human right” to receive whatever “pills” they want. And another large group of especially younger people will be upset because – well, let’s put it this way, we somehow have come to believe that every question is a challenge that is meant to belittle other individuals rather than to solve problems.

But I do hate “pills.” Pills and sprays and pesticides and fortified cleaning solutions – I classify them all in a lump. Things the corposystem wants us to buy and apply because they claim health benefits. The first reason is that most pills are now a clear and present danger to the Biosystem. And the second is that most pills make me sick, because I am chemically sensitive. You know that. It’s why I moved out here to the boonies: cold, dark, lonely, but not sick. I am chemically sensitive – pills are chemicals.

131010-canyon-ASC_6585RLSsSo for example you once could go into a motel and get a nice clean room. Soap and water and maybe a little Clorox or vinegar; clean as a whistle, but no pets allowed. “Health care” progressed, and then you could go to a motel that was slathered in pesticides and bring the pet into the room, but then I would get sick from the pesticides. The next “improvement” in community motel health was to add a layer of perfume over the pesticides and cleaning products, and I got sicker. Today – another “advance,” on top of the perfume and the toxic cleaning products and the pesticides — the motel can and often does spray something that damages our nose so we can’t smell the poisonous pesticides or the toxic highly perfumed cleaning products, and the whole place is smell-free. And now they are advertising this stuff on TV for use in your home. They claim that is clean and healthy. And lately there have been times after I rented a motel room that I had to go out and sleep in the car. Cold, dark, lonely — sick. Bitsy was nauseous too.

Treating symptoms does not cure causes, and there is no point relieving symptoms by any method, whether it’s pills or alternative medicine or cleaning compounds, if the “pill” causes more harm than good. These issues require discussion; debate and argument do not lead to solutions.

This is Bare Bones Biology, a production of FactFictionFancy and KEOS radio 89.1, Bryan, Texas. A podcast of this program can be downloaded at:

Recommended Reading: Al Gore, Our Choice

Bare Bones Biology 172 – Causes and Symptoms

Bitsy is sleeping in the morning sun while I try to type with fingerless gloves. Our morning hit of glorious canyon air has been complicated by some coughing spells. Symptom of something my body doesn’t like — but what? Is it the last two days spent in civilization? Is it the wood stove that Ben expertly activated yesterday? Is it cold air that becomes harder and harder to avoid?

131008-QualityMotel-ASC_6516RSIf we don’t know what causes a thing, we can never do better than treat the symptoms. That was the great advance of science – learning to understand causes. Treating the symptoms is good, but it does not solve problems past the moment and cannot prevent the harm that is caused by the cure. For harmless cures, we need to understand the causes, and of course that’s why I’m out here in the boonies trying to start from the genuine basics to figure out what I need to be healthy in today’s world.

So far, I have learned that I need light to see the bears and other hazards on the path. And I want internet access and electricity to run the computer.

And I need heat. I have some well-earned hang-ups about being cold; my body is not adapted to winters, and it tells me so by generating distress symptoms when the canyon goes below freezing. So Ben has hooked up my wood stove properly, and I’m trying to sort out the symptoms so that I can understand their root causes and find a cure that does not make my future worse than the coughing fit itself.

We know that addictive chemicals are a cause for something quite a lot worse than a temporary coughing fit, so we will avoid them. We could try prescription cough medicines or over the counter remedies or health-store remedies but those are all treatments of the symptom – not cures of the cause. And they are all expensive. Why spend money on a temporary fix if we can find the cause. Then we can work a permanent cure.

Is this morning cough caused by the toxic combustion products from the wood stove? Then I need a better way to heat the cabin. Or is it caused by the morning air that is now well below the freezing point? Then I should wear a nontoxic mask over my mouth and nose until the sun begins to heat up the day. Or perhaps my morning cough is a way for my body to relieve itself of the toxins that we absorbed in the past two days spent breathing the air of the heavily polluted commons. The commons is the parts of nature that are shared by all the people – air, water and soil. My generation worked hard to establish a sensible rule of law, using the precautionary principle, to prevent the toxic pollution of the commons.

131008-Canyon-ASC_6523LSsUnfortunately, nearly all that work of my lifetime has come crashing down as we-the-people chose profit over health, and individual gimmes over the communal rule of law.

And then the corposystem figured out that unhealthy people are far more profitable than healthy ones, and so the corposystem has grown its sickness economy where the profits come from increasing the pollution that causes the symptoms — and then selling treatments for the symptoms. Making money off symptoms that are caused by making money.

And then they tell me the corposystem is “the real world.” But I remember the real world. The corposystem is a fly-by-night aberration of the human ego. The real world is the Biosystem where my body was created and where it can feel healthy; if I could have just get a bit more heat for the cold nights.

How do we rebalance a system? By redefining its goals. If the goal of the corposystem were to promote the health of the Biosystem, then the corpsystem would be sustainable.
So long as the goal is to make money, it is a dead end.

This is Bare Bones Biology, a production of FactFictionFancy and KEOS radio 89.1 FM, Bryan, Texas. A copy of the podcast can be downloaded at:

This is Bare Bones Biology, a production of FactFictionFancy and KEOS radio 89.1 FM, Bryan, Texas. A copy of the podcast can be downloaded at:

Our Choice, Al Gore

Bare Bones Biology 171 – Chemical Sensitivity

Suffering is a gift of life. Suffering informs our choices, and our own personal responses to that suffering grow us into what we become. The simplest, once-celled forms of life move away from harmful molecules in their environment, very much like we move away from whatever causes suffering. And even the entire Biosystem has evolved mechanisms to maintain a viable balance of species inside itself. All of these mechanisms involve suffering. Living things by definition and by design are sensitive to their environments; that means we can and do suffer.

In humans, the nervous (sensory) system warns us of things that might cause us to suffer, for example hot, cold, and big bad bear. Allergies are problems of the immune system that protects us from un-natural proteins. We are protected from toxic chemicals in many ways. First, our skin and other body surfaces can erupt with pain and inflammation, or, if we eat or breathe toxic compounds, we have enzymes in our liver and in other places that function to break apart harmful substances into harmless substances that are then excreted or secreted from our bodies. If the body cannot get rid of toxic chemicals, then we suffer from chemical sensitivities.

As far as I know there is not a very good definition of chemical sensitivity, nor a treatment. This is because there are so many causes. Every cell in our bodies is sensitive to chemicals, and they respond in different ways. There is no way for our cells to avoid the harm caused by many of the new chemicals that we humans add to the environment by the hundreds of thousands. If the inborn, inherited defenses don’t work, then we suffer. Almost everyone suffers at least a little; most people don’t know it; some people suffer a lot, and there is very little that we can do about it except remove the chemical or remove ourselves to where the chemical is not.

130928-sunrise-ASC_6399RSsBecause harmful chemicals now invade every part of our environment (spreading in the air even to Antarctica, which would seem to be about as far as they can go, and also in the soil – so into our food — and in the rivers and streams) we can’t completely avoid them. However, if you or your family members suffer from asthma, mood disorders, food cravings, or any other unexplained aggravation, you should avoid human chemicals and effluent of kinds.

My sensitivities are bad enough that I’ve known about them since before the medics would believe me, and before there was a word for the problem, so I already know what makes me feel ill. That is step one in your own self defense. Listen to your body. What kind of physical environment makes you feel depressed, draggy and, as I described in the previous blog, takes away your joy of living? Take a vacation to someplace where the air is (relatively) clean and pure. Or just begin eliminating all man-made chemicals, one after the other: all perfumes; laundry and cleaning products; motel rooms; paints, solvents, exhaust fumes, oil wells, all combustion products, fracking wells, most plastics, peel them away from your life and your community, as much as is possible .

This is what I have done all my life until these man-made pollutants became so ubiquitous that I couldn’t any longer avoid them, and for me, the worst kind of suffering is the dreadful draggies, day in and day out. So this year, I’m trying the reverse method. Start clean and add one thing at a time that I really need, but only if it’s really important.

130928-Bitsy-ASC_6409RLSsFirst thing I noticed: it’s dark out here, and anything that burns to make light makes me sick to my stomach. So I got a good flashlight. And now – how cold is cold? 27 degrees F is cold, and burning anything to make heat also makes me sick to my stomach.

I think that’s also the big problem for the Biosystem. Too much burning is making it sick inside.

This is Bare Bones Biology, a production of FactFictionFancy and KEOS 89.1 FM, Bryan, Texas. A copy of this podcast can be obtained at:

Our Choice, Al Gore