Bare Bones Biology 209 – The New Ethic

“When I see real discussion, I see the new ethic. Inquiry and discussion. Because with inquiry and discussion eventually comes understanding, agreements and win/win solutions. “It’s human nature and it’s as simple as that. Anyone can do it.” That’s what I said last week (

Hah! You know as well as I do that inquiry and discussion are not simple. Far from it. But I only have about 600 words here, and my point was that I hear roars and echoes of complaints from people who could instead, in their very same social interactions, be discussing and solving problems. What good is all this complaining and blame-placing and “aint-it-awfulling?” (Games Eric Berne, People Play; Bare Bones Biology 072-More corposystem games,

Of course, these games fulfill our human need for community. In fact, I will claim it is how the corposystem models our behavior in its program to “divide and conquer” we-the-people. This is bad and that is bad and someone should do something about it. It’s also time wasted – whole lives wasted complaining. Our human need for community could be very much better fulfilled by discussion and problem-solving, and in the end we would have something to be proud of. So that’s the point, isn’t it. There is nobody to blame. “We have found the enemy and it is us.” Or rather – just do it. It’s the least you can do, and probably it’s also the most you can do.

As humans, we are not responsible for behaviors we cannot do, but we are responsible to try to model our own behaviors to do more good than harm on this living Earth. If we remain stuck within the “old ethic,” (the corposystem ethic, which is old only to people under about 30 years of age), we can’t see how to achieve our goal because the corposystem ethic blinds us to the self-evident — that is the purpose of the corposystem ethic – to dominate, divide and conquer we-the-people.

The corposystem ethic of obfuscation, manipulation, growth, dominance and profit is not, in fact, the human ethic. Humans are not so simple-minded, nor so unprincipled. The human ethic has not changed very much since the axial age, but that is another story you might want to research and discuss (Karen Armstrong, The Case for God). The “new ethic,” the human ethic, has been alive and well on earth for several millenia. I mean discussion around the campfire or the dinner table for fun, companionship and problem resolution, a behavior that humans, as social creatures, instinctually crave. I do not mean sitting around the campfire, dinner table or local beer joint complaining about problems that we are not trying to resolve, and blaming other people that we can’t, which is the divide-and-conquer behavior that the corposystem models.

All we need to do is study and evaluate how the same-old, well considered ethic can be applied to modern circumstances, and we begin by ignoring propaganda and proceeding directly to problem solving by inquiry and discussion rather than by domination, obfuscation and manipulation. (Bare Bones Biology 150,

The New Ethic, rule number one, inquiry and discussion (Bare Bones Biology 208 – The New Ethic, Rule number two is not to curl up in a little ball and wisp away when your opinions are challenged. That’s not discussion. If the first step in the discussion does not seem to fit the question or the need, or the two of you disagree, then comes the most important step in the discussion. You both need more information. Find a library, or a university, or another person who has a different perspective. That’s inquiry, and it’s not really that complicated. It’s not about your background or your existing expertise. You simply learn how to ask the right questions, and if you ask the wrong question – try again. And LISTEN to the answers.

Expand the discussion from where you are right now when the questions arise. You can even do that all on your own if you are able to check your facts and visualize various world views. But it’s better to begin with three people because no problem has fewer than three possible solutions. If you can think of at least three possible solutions, you are on your way to become a problem-solving genius.

In the next two weeks I’ll have examples from viewer feedback, and then I’ll give you rules number 4 and 5 of the “New Ethic.”

This is Bare Bones Biology, a production of FactFictionFancy and KEOS radio, 89.1 FM, in Bryan, Texas.

The podcast of this program can be downloaded at:

The “New” Ethic Rules:

1. The “New Ethic” is our individual human responsibility to the welfare of the whole community of Life. At the root of the “New Ethic” is Inquiry and Discussion of issues that are important to the welfare of the human community. Anyone can do this because it is an inborn human capability, but it takes practice to do more good than harm in discussion. The sooner you begin the more practice you will have.

2. If the discussion falters, ask questions and listen to the answers. That is the inquiry part of the equation.

3. No person is responsible to do more than she can. The enormity of problems is neither an excuse to do nothing, nor a reason to do short-term fixes that cause more harm than good. If you can’t be the hero, you still have the obligation to do what you can do. If you are causing more harm than good, you are doing less than nothing and working harder for it. This is an important reason why plans of action should be thoroughly discussed among people with various expertise.

Karen Armstrong. The Case for God. Alfred A. Knopf, 2009.
Eric Berne, Games People Play


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