Bare Bones Biology 256 – Yesterdays are our Tomorrows

Tierra Wools Festival is held every year on the last Saturday in April. This year, I was able to attend, and it sent my mind back to all the best memories of my longest friend, Margie, who was always one step ahead in her interests and ethics. And my mother, who grew up with horse and buggy, and excelled in women’s skills and arts, and later when someone got around to inventing a portable camera, she excelled as a master photographer.

 

1504026-Wools-ASC_6581RLSRSs* copy 2La How they would have enjoyed Tierra Wools, and the sharing of it. Admiring the natural wools and dyes; feeling them. The rooms full of looms and rugs. The modern version of spinning wheel and pot-belly stove. All in a town the size of a postage stamp that has two major features: a classic New Mexico church, and air so clear you want to open wide your lungs to it, and then keep it inside forever.

 

https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2015/04/30/bare-bones-bio…-our-tomorrows/For you who are listening to the podcast, I recommend you go to the blog for the rest of the story. It’s in the pictures. Lot’s of pictures this week.

 

1504026-Wools-ASC_6567RLS**s copyMeantime, Tierra Wools is woven into the history of New Mexico. Listen to part of the story from Heather Taylor-Chavez:

 

“This is The Tierra Wools Spring Harvest Festival. This is our 23rd year. The business has been here for 32 years, it will be here in July. ”

 

LL – What was here 32 years ago?

 

“As far as I know, not much. There was the church, this building but this building was closed down. It was a mercantile.”

 

LL   Sheep.

 

1504026-Wools-ASC_6537RLSs copy“There were sheep, yes. There were a lot of sheep. The community needed something to do with all the fibers they had, all the wools and things, so a collective of about 45 people got together and tracked down a renowned weaver in Taos, and she came to teach them everything that we do now. Then it was a coop; now it’s on a consignment basis.   It’s an LLC, no longer a coop, but some time in the future we hope to be.“

Churro. How do you say Churro?

 

1504026-Wools-ASC_6521RLSs copy1504026-Wools-ASC_6608RLSs“Churro. It’s a specialty breed of sheep. It was almost extinct at one time. The Churro originally came from Spain. The Spaniards brought it over in their ships when they first started to voyage to the Americas because it was a hardy breed, so it could last the journey across the ocean, and they had fresh meat for their travel. When they got here, the Spaniards were done with them, so they just kind of let them go and let them roam. And they roamed up to the desert area where the Navajos were, and the Navajos kind of adopted them. That’s why they are also called the Navajo Churro.

“The reason why the Navajo loved them so much is because they don’t have as much grease in their wool as other sheep, so you can shear them, comb it, spin it an weave with it, and then wash it later.   That was very important to the Navajo because of their lack of water, living in the desert.

 

“After the civil war was over, the soldiers went on to the great West to round up the Indians and put them on reservations, the soldiers were done with mutton, because all throughout the civil war they had a lot of mutton, because that was what was on hand.   And when they got here, and they rounded up the Navajo to put them on the reservation, they didn’t want the sheep. They said, we can’t use their wool because it’s a coarse inferior wool, and inferior breed, so just kill them off, and they almost did. And they almost did. The Churro were almost in extinction for close to – at least a hundred years.”

LL – I remember when they were starting to bring them back. At that time I thought they were a fine wool sheep.

 

“They’re very coarse. It’s very coarse wool, but for our use it’s very wonderful because of the long staple and the coarseness also contributes to the strength of the wool, so for weaving a rug, it’s probably the best fiber you can use, because of the traffic on the rug. It’s very warm, but it’s very itchy. If you are allergic to it, it’s not good.”

 

For you who are reading this blog, I recommend that you listen to Heather tell the story. It’s better than reading. Go to: http://traffic.libsyn.com/fff/Bare_Bones_Biology_256_-Yesterdays_are_our_tomorrows.mp3

 

 

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

­

© 2015, Photos by Lynn

 

 

 

Bare Bones Biology 255 – Whimper or Bang?

Last evening, my friendly local bank wanted a hard copy of a bank statement from my Texas bank. Unfortunately, I left all that filing in the canyon three days ago, and the bank wanted it in a hurry. It was either drive all the way back down into the deep dark canyon and get the papers, and I don’t drive at night because I can’t see a thing and there are no street lights in the canyon, and there are bears and mountain lions and various other sentient beings, all with needs of their own that I might not share. So instead of going after the documents, we called the other bank and they sent a secure email. (Secure email? What’s that? At my age I should not be required to learn about an entire new culture.)

I figured out how to open it, and by that time I was exhausted and the bank was
closed anyhow, so I went to bed thinking – I will print these out, take them to the bank in the morning, and then go down to the canyon to fetch all the filing in case somebody wants something more.

In the morning, I fired up my printer, attached it to the computer, and left it working while I loaded up my white pickup for the trip down canyon.

The printer choked twice, claimed to be jammed but wasn’t, so I transferred the documents to thumb drive and drove over to the bank to arrive first thing, forgetting my coat in the rush.

The bank can’t use thumb drives, nor can they plug my computer into their printer. So they gave me some paper that is a little shinier, and I went back home, threw the coat into the pickup, and managed to print out the 21 pages by using the different paper, a different computer, a different operating system, and sitting next the printer doing one page at a time.

Red Pickup-ASC_6485I don’t know why they need this, by the way, not to DO anything with. It’s already done. Maybe to remember me by.

I went back to the bank and gave them the documents. Then proceeded in the white pickup for the canyon.

I was 3/4 of the way to the canyon when the white pickup stopped running for no apparent reason. Right at the only place on the highway system that proves Verizon WRONG. Cell phones do NOT work here. Never have; probably never will. Everyone knows this.

So I waited about half an hour and tried to start it up again. No luck. And I put on my WARM COAT, and set out to hike about four miles to the canyon, leaving Bitsy in the white truck because it’s hard enough walking four or five miles on the highway, much less doing it with an unruly dog on lead.

About 1/4 mile down the road the snow started. Not the kind of snow you are thinking about. It was like little hard BBs blowing straight into my face. And FYI, It is REALLY dumb even to HAVE a vehicle in this kind of country without it has a warmcoat and a sleeping bag in it at all times. I already KNEW that.

I figured there was no hope that any of these jazzy tourists and hardworking truckers would stop for me, at least not without me waving a thumb, and I decided against thumbing because it’s a curvy road, hard to stop from speed, and I thought probably a wrinkled old timer and his Apache wife, driving a pickup even older than mine, would eventually come by and stop, even without being asked.

Sure enough, they did, and drove me all the rest of the way to my canyon pickup which is an equally old red Ram four wheel drive that I got the first year, after Joey’s wrecker had to come a few times and drag the white truck out of the canyon. It lives at the head of the canyon and always starts right up.

And of course I drove back to get Bitsy because the sun was coming out by that time, and loaded all that stuff into the red pickup, leaving the old white by the side of the road, gave up any idea of going down into the canyon for documents or even for my new tooth, and drove back where I came from to Joey’s Wrecker, to give him the keys to the white pickup and ask him to bring it home.

About that time I remembered that the red pickup has had its license revoked because — well, this is another long story about documents, but the red pickup is registered in New Mexico, the white pickup in Texas, and the auto insurance came due while I was in Texas, so I walked in and paid it, but failed to use the appropriate document to prove to New Mexico that it is still insured. So they revoked my license and sent the notice to the wrong address. That’s the short version.

So my question is — where do I live? I thought I was an American. It says so on my passport, and oh yes, I forgot to give them the change of address. But really, people keep asking me where I am a resident of? I never had that happen in my real lifetime. In those days, I jumped in the car and drove someplace, or even jumped in a plane, so long as I had a passport, and went someplace. That was it. Now people keep asking me where am I a resident of, and I do not know the answer, or at least I do not have the right documents that they will believe to prove it with.

No wonder these later generations seem to be afraid of everything. You don’t think so?  Just mention the word “overpopulation” and see what happens.  But in a way I don’t blame them.  It seems like we can’t do anything “right.” Or there is nothing “right” available to do.

This document was written in “Pages.” I shall now try to save it .docx so I can work with it on another computer that has all the benefits of WORD, but doesn’t recognize docx. Or should I instead try to save it as a pdf, and can I then open it in .doc, which I can use on my other computer? No such luck. It’s an Adobe product and they have all gone up in smoke – pardon me, clouds.

Maybe that’s why your friendly local bank, that has now been bought by your efficient international insurance company, that may or may not be owned by the Koch brothers. Maybe that’s why they require paperwork – reams and reams of paperwork, even when it doesn’t make sense.

They know.

All of this is make-believe answers to make-believe problems, and it will
all go poof when the internet crashes.

For the podcast version of this commentary, go to: http://traffic.libsyn.com/fff/Bare_Bones_Biology_255_-_Whimper_or_Bang.mp3

 

For the unedited version of this commentary, go to:https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2015/04/25/bare-bones-bio…himper-or-bang/

 

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

Knowledge and Wisdom

BUILDING A WISE SOCIAL PARADIGM

© 2015, Dr. M. Lynn Lamoreux
A Work in Progress: If you have a question or comment, or if you find something that needs to be referenced or defined or linked, and is not so indicated, please let me know.

I hope the colors come through onto the FFF page. (oh, yuck, they didn’t, ask me for a pdf if you want to see it as envisioned. If you wait until tomorrow it will have pictures.
Words in green, to be defined. In red, provide reference, In blue, provide link
_____________

150516-BrazosWaterfall-asc_6407RLSs copyFingers and toes stiff with cold, I sit in a cabin in a canyon, trying to squeeze enough energy out of my little solar system to operate a computer. Outside, cedar and pine softly sigh as the canyon breathes gently in the energy of the sunrise that finally bestows its welcome heat and light upon my desk. I watch as bubble after bubble forms at the bottom of a glass of cold water that is sitting in the sunlight.

The sun shines everywhere . . . (even) to the ravines and valleys of the mountains and streams.*

I step outside to warm myself.
____________________

Any person who believes that she has the right answers, doesn’t.
No person is God, and whatever it is that gives me these insights first thing in the morning when I wake up – that also is not God. Neither is any human knowledge or insight, because the human brain is not physically big enough to encompass the whole reality of God. Unless possibly God is using this vehicle of the Biosystem to implement Its vision/mission.

Because of our ignorance relative to the mind of God, it is critically important for humans to acknowledge the wisdom of age. Wise elders know they are not Gods (consider the Dalai Lama). Wise elders understand human limitations among the powers that generate our environments. And some wise elders can teach us to ask wise questions. Actually, everyone can contribute to the human process of generating wisdom, both individual and communal wisdom, because dumb questions are almost always as helpful in this process as are wise ones. That’s a good thing, because extremely few human young are wise.

In India, I understand, the custom is or was (Joseph Campbell) for sages to answer or ask questions for discussion and consideration. In the North American Onandaga (Oren Lyons) it is or was the custom for the wise women to select the chiefs (who could be removed for cause) and the chiefs to discuss tribal concerns in terms of what is best for the whole community unto the seventh generation. (I have heard that the Dalai Lama considers 700 generations as part of our communal obligations.)

In the corposystem, whoever is more powerful decides all the answers, usually before the questions have been raised. The corposystem will cite “Evolution,” which it defines as “survival of the fittest,” as its authority to behave in this fashion. However, the corposystem fails to define “fitness” in its claim to authority, and in any case, survival of the fittest is NOT how the “Law of Life” functions to maintain the Biosystem, though the corposystem has unfortunately trained us (both the “good guys” and the “bad guys” – that means you, whoever you are in our western culture) to believe that survival of the “fittest” is how the world works.

It’s not. It may be how the corposystem functions; it is not how the world works, or even the universe for you who prefer to study physics rather than the more complex and, therefore more confusing and interesting,world of Biology.

Unfortunately, in our culture, because we do understand the corposystem quite well, we believe in survival of the fittest as re-interpreted by the corposystem, and we use that meme to define evolution, which is not the same thing. At least not unless we can define fitness, and that would require us to study the Law of Life.

But we don’t study the real Law of Life because we believe we already know.

This unexamined assumption seems to be so engrained in the world view of both the “good guys” and the “bad guys” that I believe it to be the fatal flaw of our corposystem culture. For more information, I recommend “Powers of the Weak” relative to human power, and I recommend my chapter on the Law of Life, relative to Biosystem power.

1 – In short, if we decide to sustain ourselves within the only home that we have, we require a different paradigm, and the new paradigm must conform our human power to the Law of Life. Or, if we can’t do that, then we must define fitness in a way that conforms to the welfare of the Biosystem and to the human wisdom that is available.

# # #

Wisdom fact-checks everything it knows – even its own insights. In my generation we tried to embed that bit of wisdom into the rule of law of the corposystem (Precautionary Principle) but the corposystem refused to ask the right questions because the answers to these questions would interfere with profits, and the defined primary purpose of every corporation and even the UN is to behave in ways that generate the power of money.

2- The second task of our new paradigm, therefore, must be to define our new human paradigm around a more sustainable human quality than money. Perhaps wisdom?

# # #

Wisdom seems to be a creation of the human mind, and the human mind is just another system (all of LIFE is built around nested systems) that functions as do all systems by generating links, in this case among bits of biochemically encoded information, including knowledge, inborn (inherited) instincts and the world view that is given to us by our environment.

The human mind grows, during our lifetimes, more wise (if conditions permit it) using different ideas, understandings and facts that are in the conscious mind, and in our instincts and memories as well, making a web of cross-connections, as is true in any naturally evolved system (Law of Life: Levels of Organization, Systems). When questions are asked or the when some problem is confronted, the ideas, understandings and facts make cross-connections that generate a whole Worldview that is greater than and different from all the inputs added together. All world views are rational within the environment many world views are not wise, perhaps if the environment changes or our education is flawed relative to the current environment. Because no two environmental experiences are the same, therefore no two world views are identical, and, as Joseph Campbell has said, (get accurate quote, the mind can run on to flights of fancy)

I believe this self-sustaining mental system is the probable source of mysticism, religion, and the answers to questions asked, and the insights that I get in the morning after a night of dreaming. In other words, I believe these various kinds of “aha” experiences are very likely emergent properties of our brain system. Therefore our wisdom or lack of wisdom, especially in humans, is dependent on our education, and is very firmly attached to our rational world view, because without a rational world view we cannot sustain our “self.”

However, we are human, not the Biosystem, and we cannot impose our human emergent insights upon the system of LIFE, because LIFE is bigger, stronger and has a lot more systemic interactions than we have, and it doesn’t care what we think (as other humans actually do, regardless of what they may say). The Biosystem ignores our desires and opinions; it only follows its own Rule of LIFE.

In other words, whenever we believe ourselves to be omniscient or omnipotent, we are not being wise or realistic. Wisdom is not big-headed, it is not power unless it is put to use within an appropriate environment. Wisdom is well- informed, and does relate itself to our (changing) environment, but it is not useful to the community unless we-the-community agree TOGETHER to use it.

Individual wisdom is an emergent quality or characteristic of one individual, but communal wisdom can emerge at a higher level if the individuals involved remain connected by useful discussion or questions or education. Communal wisdom links the qualities that are available within the whole community by the asking and answering of questions (and their discussion) until the entire community becomes wise at a higher level (or not), and perhaps that is the definition of “fitness” – an emergent property of the community as a whole that is necessary for our survival within the Biosystem.

The corposystem, to the contrary, imagines itself to be fit because it was temporarily strong within the environment in which resources were plentiful. When the environment changes, if our wisdom is not up to the task, then we become no longer fit. This is now happening.

3- Thus the third characteristic that must be considered in building our new paradigm is a broad one – education in all its forms – and it must be guided by both the Law of Life, which IS our higher power, and those human instincts upon which we want to base our new human social paradigm, to replace the unsustainable themes of the corposystem, power, growth and money.

# # #

We-the-system only can work with what’s already in our system or available in the environment, so it’s very important that our wisdom must be fact-checked and/or tested by experience, preferably the experiences of many individuals over long periods of time (history), and/or by the scientific method (which is basically the same thing, codified). And it is also true that human wisdom cannot be omniscient because, for the most simple reason, we don’t have enough neural connections, even as communities, to understand all the connections of all the universe. Much less described the links. And certainly not to know the future, except in terms of the past and present.

How does this relate to the Law of Life (that is, to the natural processes that generate time and change)?
My first answer would be to recognize how those processes work as it has been shown by our fact-base, which is provided by science and history. That is, to apply factual/experiential questions to the basic root processes of nature that we cannot change, that created humans in the first place. To do that, I must have in my head an understanding of those processes. Then at that point I ask the questions, I ask them via science and history and of LIFE and whatever else is knowable and relevant.

4- Our fourth task must be to develop a reliable fact base list-for-discussion of things we cannot do even though we can imagine them. Our fact base will change a bit as the environment changes, but at this time the number one criterion must be to avoid further overpopulation of humans because overpopulation is likely destroy any chance we have of building a sustainable new paradigm.

# # #

What happens during overpopulation events? Because there is no doubt we are experiencing an overpopulation event, and no rational person who understands simple math can deny that is a fact. I answer this question as it has been observed and recorded by science and history. Very briefly, among other things, the social network/system/interactions break down. This is happening to us now.

For many decades I have asked the question: why are we knowingly colluding in our own destruction, in the face of all the scientific knowledge and the history and wisdom that all proclaim clearly that we are using our technologieal power to destroy ourselves, at a time when we have already available the technological power to save ourselves?

I can answer in many ways, but it’s important to say that our overpopulation would not have happened in a stable society that had maintained respect for science and for its own wisdom, and of course that answer brings us to question education. But education, also part of the social system, also breaks down in overpopulation events.

And then I think about human youth. Especially human youth in overpopulation events. They lack both wisdom and history (especially in our culture that is intentionally erasing these things). They believe themselves to be right (or wrong) by the criteria of their own immature world view, without accessing other wisdoms, and so they set about to “fix” things all over again in the same ways that didn’t work the last time we tried. This is probably an evolved advantage to the species, because wisdom can be very set-in-stone and relate to a historic environmental reality. When the environment moves toward change, then new ideas are imported into the system by the young. But, as in all things natural, sustainability lies in maintaining the balance, and as a culture in this paradigm we are not even trying to do that. The young are simply doing more and harder what is required by the old corposystem paradigm that is based in power and money obtained through growth. That paradigm is what caused our current difficulties, so I say (over and over and over —) — it won’t work. But there are so many young that the elders cannot be heard above the fray.

With overpopulation comes a vast breakdown in (among other things) the balance (without balance within the Law of Life, remember there is no hope for sustainability) between wisdom and the “right/wrong” worldviews of youth. Another thing that happens with overpopulation is a breakdown in the balance of power to make things happen, because in spite of the corposystem denial, true power lies more in numbers and in behaviors than in money (or wisdom).

Therefore, rather than the elder explaining why this way doesn’t work, and how we have tried it this way so many times through the millennia and eons, and what we can determine of the expected results using computers and good data and science and the precautionary principle – in spite of all this, the cycle merely repeats and repeats, because the youth can’t hear. They are determined to learn by their own experience, and human experiences include a component of instinct that is biochemically encoded in the body and therefore does not change in response to elder wisdom.

Even progress (if any) is not either/or, good/bad. It’s a cycle in time, which is to say, spiral, and it depends NOT upon what we do to change anything now, but primarily on how our behaviors change the environment in which the next generation grows its own world view.

And that is how overpopulation leads to cultural breakdown. NO MATTER WHAT YOU TRY SO HARD TO DO TO STOP IT. The balance is lost (in the human situation) between wisdom and the forces of of change.

# # #

1504021-Bitsy_-ASC_6481RSsWhile I was writing the above, Bitsy worked out the main part of the trail the packrats use to get into the cabin. Bitsy and I sent them packing last year, and the wise adults remembered that experience. But, as always, this year’s youth are taking the risks, exploring new territories and increasing the population in the cabin, even in the face of the inevitable outcome. Bitsy is now outside following the trail the other way. Pack rats are not as smart as humans, but they are very fast, so she may not get them.

Humans can think about the trap we have fallen into, and think about the difference between a planned, co-existence within the Biosystem, and our accelerating corposystem battle against the Biosystem, that results in massive suffering, if only we are wise enough to make that choice. If we do choose, that will be evolutionary history; but it cannot be done by working within the corposystem paradigm. Quite a few groups are trying, but it’s too late. It won’t work fast enough to prevent incredible overpopulation and massive acceleration of the violence required to maintain the corposystem growth paradigm. We humans have run out of eons in which to make up our minds whether we would rather have a struggle for fame, fortune and human power, or a reasonably comfortable and peaceful new social paradigm that is sustainable unto the seventh generation. Or the seven hundredth.

If we want to IMPLEMENT a new paradigm, the necessary first step is to reduce our population to a level that is sustainable, and proceed now to do this in a compassionate way before the war arm of the corposystem ratchets up to a level of conflict that we cannot survive. Because saving all human cells is impossible in any case, and if it were possible it would ONLY INCREASE OUR COMMUNAL LEVEL OF SUFFERING.

If we continue to refuse the option of reducing our numbers, then the Law of Life will do it for us – already is. We will find the BIOSYSTEM solution a good deal more painful than asking well defined questions, based in science and history and the wisdom traditions, discussing the answers, and working together as only humans can to transform our intelligence into action. These are our strengths – right now we are riding our weaknesses into oblivion. But all the wisdom and intelligence and technology in the world is only play-time in the absence of behaviors that impact the Law of Life. As far as the Law is concerned, not deciding is the same as deciding to not.

# # #

1504021-Bitsy_-ASC_6470RLSsAnd while we were having fun thinking, the migrating hummingbirds have come back to the canyon today, and some kind of flycatcher bird is building its nest in the gable of our cabin. The sunpower charged up both my laptops, and now the sun is setting, the cold air flowing up the other side of the canyon, and I pull on a couple of layers of sweaters. And Bitsy ALMOST caught her prey — right before my eyes!!! Not a packrat. It’s a squirrel, living under the house, a ground squirrel, probably the same one I saved from drowning in the water tank last year. And it reminded me pack rats can carry Chagas disease; Peromyscus mice, Hanta virus; ground squirrels, the black plague.

Instinct is not an option, knowledge is useful; wisdom is a choice.

__________________
(*Paraphrase from Lotus Sutra. I think there is something like this in the New Testament and the original Bible. And the Lotus Sutra sounds to this basic biologist a lot like the concept of emergent properties.)

Bare Bones Biology 254 – But my Friends Won’t Like Me

The most common question people ask me as an activist is: “what should we do?” So, of course, I’ve been thinking about that question for about 15 years, and I have an answer, and I tell them. So what happens? Nothing. If they don’t like my answer they just ask again next time. Perhaps that means they’re asking the wrong question. Maybe it was not a question in the first place, just a way to manipulate someone who is genuinely seeking answers. But I answered the question anyhow. The answer is:

Ask good questions and answer the questions other people ask you. What would happen then? A discussion. Until we can find a way to begin a factual discussion of the dilemma we humans are now facing on earth – until we can discuss the reality – there will be no viable answers.

It’s not me preventing the discussion, and we all are doing a lot of jawing, but mostly I hear bad excuses for not discussing the factual reality. One of which is asking me how to solve all the problems and then not listening to the answer. I do not hear good questions, or very rarely, and almost never do I hear anyone answering good questions. What happens is – well you know what happens. It’s all over facebook and every conversation.

We have a vast number of ways to avoid the useful discussion. Why? Probably because we are afraid that our friends and colleagues won’t like us. Not really a good excuse to avoid doing the one thing that is most likely to bring about good solutions. To evaluate information rather than evaluating people to get what we want personally.

And the way to do that is just forget about our preferences about how questions should be asked – within the bounds of human decency — and ignore the little angst that seems in our culture to come in response to every question – and consider the question itself.
If we can’t do that, then we either: 1) are allowing ourselves to be manipulated by questions ; or 2) are afraid of questions.

140920-ClimateMarc-ASC_1731RLRLSsThe next question is — why are we afraid of questions? That fear in our culture is a knee-jerk reaction that is very deep, and I think it is what prevents us from solving our problems with discussion, even though we all know if we don’t at least try the discussion method of solving our problems, then the next step is abuse, hatred, war and discrimination on the basis of whatever is handy, all those dark deeds we blame on someone else.

My personal opinion is that our fear of questions may be the “down side” of “nonviolence” upbringing. We are taught that violence, hatred, war and the like are wrong, but telling people they are wrong does not make our feelings go away. Claiming the glass is half full does not make it any less empty. Refusing to talk about what is and what isn’t doesn’t change what is and what isn’t. The people don’t get less violent, they just hide it better by becoming more manipulative, and then we have to try to figure out what they mean by everything they say (which I personally cannot do). And there you are — one upped and one down. So we become afraid of questions.

Or in abusive families children may be shouted at: “Why did you do that?” which is not a question, but we nevertheless become afraid of questions. I also think this is why the deniers and the controllers are so successful that we will probably crash ourselves into oblivion. All because we are afraid to ask and answer good questions.

In fact, really good questions are almost always clumsy because we don’t quite know what we are trying to understand, and we really want to figure it out. In a professional situation clumsy questions can cause harm (have caused me harm), which I suppose is another reason we are afraid of questions. In this culture, asking good questions will almost always be misunderstood.

So then the question is: Which is more important? Always being right? Or always being understood? Or always understanding everything perfectly? Or finding good solutions to important problems?

This is Bare Bones Biology, a production of FactFictionFancy.Wordpress.com and KEOS radio, 89.1 in Bryan, TX.

A copy of the podcast can be downloaded here:

Bare Bones Biology 253 – Answer the Question

We have come to an age in my country, where almost everyone we talk to is afraid of questions. It astonishes me when someone responds to my questions by bursting into tears, becoming stiff and defensive or, worse, angry over I know not what.

150310-Bitsy-ASC_5542RLSsBut wait. Come to think of it, people also ask ME questions, and yes there are times I get just a wee bit huffy about it. It does depend what kind of mood I’m in, and how I feel about the other person, and also how many times they have asked me the same question. And most of all it depends on whether I think it’s a real question or just something meant to fill the empty space between us.

Sometimes I ask dumb questions for smart reasons or sometimes smart questions for dumb reasons, and most often I ask questions that nobody knows the answers to, but different people have different answers, and if we got them all together some really exciting answers might come out of it.

I am a naturally curious person, and perhaps entering my second childhood, and I like questions because I like to understand more and more about how the world works. So I ask my questions, and what do I get?

Too often, shunned, attacked, shocked responses – too often answers that are not useful, and more importantly the person on the other end of this exchange also gets nothing useful. Or maybe it is that people will only answer the right questions, or questions that are asked correctly or appropriately.

Then you may say, as most people do say about corposystem rituals: “You are doing it the wrong way.” They don’t say the ritual is negative and causes harm to both the asker and the answerer; they say it would all turn out OK if I would do the ritual correctly – that the ritual is the ultimate right and I am wrong. And then they offer to kindly teach me how to do it right — without asking whether or not I had considered and discarded their method before they were even born.

Teeny-boppers!!!!

My answer is: “So what do I care about the corposystem rituals? The corposystem loves to tell us that we are not OK unless we can become perfect at one thing or another. It’s a great technique because nobody can do it, and at the same time these rituals keep we the people occupied and focus our attention away from serious problems we are not supposed to talk about, such as overpopulation, for example, or the corposystem take-over of our political and educational systems.

Imagine raising children and they can’t ask questions. None of us ever stop learning, and in this age of incredibly rapid change, we need answers. If we can’t ask or answer questions – well then – we are stuck in our own history, and doomed to recycle that history. And that’s a really big problem that will not be solved by anyone being perfect or not perfect.

150409-Bitsy-ASC_6264RLSsSo, as for the questions, my goal is to find answers – not to practice someone else’s proscribed format until my performance is “perfect.” And in the long run, I will end up knowing more, and knowing more is both fun and useful.

We all are stuck with each other, so maybe it would be a good time to make do, swallow our fear or pride or that little tickle in the stomach that says: “I’m not good enough; I can’t handle this,” and just answer the questions. Or tell them it’s something you don’t want to talk about. Or ask a good, relevant question back. Because in any normal social situation, questions are not really a threat to anyone. And they can be incredibly useful to us all.

And anyhow, why this need to prove that you are better than everyone else? Questions are nothing more than children learning how the world really does work, and learning the answers is not an onerous task – it’s FUN! Not only fun, but good information increases your personal power in the world.

So why the angst?

Just answer the question.

This is bare bones biology, a production of FactFictionFancy.Wordpress.com and KEOS radio, 89.1 FM in Bryan, Texas. A copy of the podcast can be downloaded here:

Much better than starting wars or excluding others from important information. Or wasting our time on line trying to prove the un-provable — when we could be contributing information and attitudes that can benefit the future welfare of our communities.

Bare Bones Biology 252 – Ask the Right Question

It is important to keep track of WHY we want this or that result from our activism. Do we simply want someone to fight with? To be better than? Do we want to be famous or well respected? Or rich? Or possibly do we really care to improve the future health of our communities and our country and the Biosystem in which we live?

War may create wealth, but not health. The health of our communities cannot be improved when we all function in the state of war that we call politics. On the other hand, we do need to protect ourselves from the politicians and their wars, and we would rather do it without generating a real revolution.

At the same time, our political war is not responding to we the people, except in clever ways to divert our attention away from the real problems. Thus we do not feel listened to (because we are not listened to). We are being manipulated with what are called “displacement activities.” The politicians are giving us something to fight about – the wrong questions – so we won’t bother them with the right questions.

Why are these the wrong questions? Because the answers to their questions cannot improve the future health of our communities and our country and the Biosystem in which we live? Rather than working to improve the health of our communities, we spend our time frantically responding to questions that make the future more unhealthy rather than more healthy.

But what can we do? We are in self-defense mode! Self defense against our own corposystem! We can’t just let the politics do whatever it will do, because we know what it will do. The corposystem exists to make money from growth, and so that is what it will do. Meantime, politicos need to prevent us from recognizing their game, and a major way they do this is to ask the wrong questions.

When the corposystem wants to prevent us from thinking about improving the future health of our communities and our country and the Biosystem in which we live, what does it do? It gives us two wrong questions to argue about. For example. should the fracking wells be 50 feet or 500 feet away from the nearest residence? It’s clearly the wrong question, because the answer has little or nothing to do with the long-term over-all health of our communities. We are required to vote on two wrong questions. The right question is: Why do we need more fracking wells?

Clearly, we are being victimized by our own system. So what can we do? For example, how do we protect ourselves from the fracking scam. By voting, right? Not voting won’t help.

I suggest we make it clear that we understand what’s going on by ASKING THE RIGHT QUESTION, or answer the right question, instead of (or in addition to) choosing between two wrong questions. When they ask us whether the fracking should be 50 feet away from residences or 500 feet away from residences, we pour into their meeting places and ask (don’t tell, ask) WHY/ REALLY WHY do we need more fracking? And publish the answers. Or the non-answers. The real answer will become apparent if you watch what they DO. For example, burning off a large portion of the gas because it’s cheaper for them than not burning. They make more profit at the expense of a healthy system. What they really want is money. For themselves.

So before you write to your congresspersons, talk among yourselves and figure out what really is the RIGHT question, and then, when you do write, answer whatever wrong question they have made up and then ALSO ask the right question. They probably never thought of it, and wouldn’t it be fun to educate the congresspersons about how to be good at their jobs. And if they are not good at their jobs, make that fact embarrassingly obvious without starting just one more useless fight.

A copy of this podcast episode can be downloaded at: http://traffic.libsyn.com/fff/Bare_Bones_Biology_252_-_Ask_the_Right_Question.mp3

As I was writing the above, this below appeared on the web:
“According to this Texas Tribune article, a revised version of HB40 is now before the full House. The updated version does not seem to be on the legislature’s web site. The article says that the bill is better, but it is still a threat to citizens’ ability to protect their environment.”

They aren’t even trying to be subtle anymore. It’s become the status quo. Two wrong questions. Every time. Pick one, either one. We lose, they win.