Bare Bones Biology 264 – Fairy Tales

First the system of science tried to teach me to write. In the system of science, one should write a first paragraph that summarizes the points you will make in the paper. This was a good exercise for me because I tend to naturally think the most important points should go at the end, after the evidence. But it seemed somehow that what was logical to me was not logical to them.

I kept wanting to talk about the incredible beauty of the mammalian pigmentary system – that is, the beauty of the system, not only the beauty of pigmentation, though truly pigmentation is beautiful, both in itself and in its relationship to the needs of living creatures. But the system, the intellectual beauty of the physical system and how it works to produce what is needed for Life. The elegance of the emergent reality that we can then look at the factual evidence and see how beautifully logical it is, though we would not have thought of it. I kept wanting to talk about that, and that’s not what one talks about in scientific papers. Scientific papers are mostly about figuring out what the facts are.

150611-Canyon-ASC_7325RLSsBut that was my problem as an active scientist. I’m a holistic thinker. The big picture – the emergent reality – is much more beautiful to me than reductionist facts. It was hard for me to remember that science is all about figuring out what those facts are. And, without the factual reality of the bits and pieces of our lives, we wouldn’t have our big, beautiful system of LIFE.

The corposystem also tried to teach me how to write, but they have a different method. In the corposystem (if one is to be successful), the writer is supposed to put a cutesy story in the first paragraph. I guess the idea is to “hook” the reader. Then, after you have caught your fish, you must be careful to avoid polysyllabic words or thoughts that might scare him off the hook.

You check your vocabulary against, I forget what grade level, 8th maybe, use words of two or fewer syllables, and use sound bites, or I guess they now call them memes?, so that the reader is inevitably drawn into believing that everyone who uses the same word – for example, evolution is a good word – is thinking about the same thing. Which is not true of course.   I am NOT thinking about survival of the fittest when I say “evolution” but you ARE thinking about it when you hear the word. This is only one little example of how the corposystem functions to maintain it’s own world view by preventing the introduction of new ideas.

And so, for the most part, writing for the corposystem is ALSO not about the system of Life, the intellectual beauty of the physical system and how it works to produce what is needed for Life itself to survive. Not about the elegant beauty of how nature really functions, but more about what the corposystem wants, which is mostly money and success regardless the cost.

150619-Cabin-ASC_7429RLSsThe result is fairy tales. Fairy tales are not necessarily bad, but they are the long way round. Trying to solve real world problems by using our human emotions only — without regard to the uniquely elegant power of the human intellect. Or trying to solve the problems using the human intellect only – without regard to the beautiful interactions of human emotions. These are the longest possible routes to a real solution. They also diss (disregard, disdain, disrespect ) the very emergent properties that made us fit to survive during the last couple of million years, more or less, from among all the other species out there that didn’t.

If we can’t handle all that – if we can’t cope with the complexity of our gifts – well, that is just one of those tragedies that arise in the evolution of systems of LIFE. But if we won’t even try because we are having too much fun pretending we are king of the hill – then, I think that’s a crime.

 

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

 

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