Bare Bones Biology 189 – OK, Then, Here’s a Formula

When I was trying to grow my career, I foolishly assumed that the good biological knowledge of the 50s and 60s had been successfully incorporated into the working goals of the future for which we were all working together.  When I retired and looked around at the reality of our biological problem. I felt horrified, betrayed and helpless.


KarinaMayCroppedWe humans on earth today have three distinct and different levels of challenge.

1)   Our individual survival problems.

2)   Our human social problems, i.e., war, politics,etc.

3)   The biological problem that in our age is the root cause of the major social problems; specifically we are overgrazing the resources of Earth.


Nearly everyone has experienced the tragedy of this situation. When I realized what is happening, I didn’t know what to do.


So, when I saw Noam Chomsky on TV telling us that we should all be doing something, I blew my stack. I sent him an email: “GIVE US SOMETHING TO DO THAT SOMEONE WILL LISTEN TO:  That is your job.”


He answered. He didn’t say anything unique: “Each of us has to find our own answers.  There aren’t any formulas.” but he answered me personally. That was the big thing.  And so I set out to find something I could do, and here is a formula that works.


1. Describe in writing your best assets and skills.  Something you enjoy doing; your best talent.


2. Describe in writing your greatest tragedy.  For many older people. our greatest tragedy is the realization that our worldview was wrong; that the corposystem lied to us.  For many in the military our tragedy is the realization that war has nothing to do with the ideals by which we were raised.   For others, the tragedy is loss of their community of origin, or their family ideals.  Whatever you feel, you can use the wisdom you gained through that tragic experience to prevent or ease similar suffering for others.


3. Considering your best asset and your worst tragedy, devise a plan with a goal. The goal is not to win anything, including recognition or money, or to be as good as someone else.  An ideal goal is to benefit levels two and three (yes, both levels) without causing harm to others.


4. Before you begin a defined effort — just as you would before starting a business, or a war, or a construction project — do your research.   First, imagine in what way your work might cause future harm.  Every activity in life has potential for harm or for good.  Do not ignore the unintended harm that you could cause.  Then DISCUSS your plan with diverse, knowledgeable others.


Tar Sands Aerial copy 25. You do not want to compound your own tragedy by unknowingly creating more suffering than you are trying to prevent.  Therefore, do not assume that you already understand the biology of the Biosystem, and do not consult the corposystem for advice about what to do. That is really why we are confused in the first place – we still believe in the failed worldview of the corposystem culture. Study facts before opinions. Look for people with expertise, rather than people who are financially successful in our existing culture.  Clearly, our goal must be to change the culture, not to reinforce it.


6. Decide an amount of time and a schedule that you will devote to “Our Problem.” Using your own best skills, give half of your allotted time to a level two human social problem of your choice, and the other half of the allotted time to benefit the Biosystem.  Because we can’t solve our human problem unless we also have a healthy Biosystem, do not short-change the Biosystem.  Write letters of support, especially to people who have more experience in your field of expertise.  Your time, whether it’s half an hour or two hours a day, is not for level one personal activities such as meditation or spiritual pursuits or sports. This is a regular formal commitment of time that you give to benefit the higher levels of life. I assume that you are already making life changes in level one activities such as recycling, energy usage and family planning.


7. Continue to study but do not doubt.  Do not worry if it’s enough.  Do not stop.


Below my blog today is just one example of a person who is using his own life plan to benefit the higher levels of Life.


Joel Sartore is a photographer and a contributor to National Geographic Magazine.  I say this as an introduction, not because I think you need to be a photographer or a speaker, or a highly successful anything, to contribute from your own expertise to the welfare of our society and to the welfare of the Biosystem.  You can do what you can do, and what you can do is enough, so long as you educate yourself well enough that you do not do more harm than good.  Watch Mr. Sartore’s pitch here:


This is Bare Bones Biology, a production of FactFictionFancy and KEOS radio, 89.1 FM, Bryan, TX.   Download the podcast of this blog here: