Bare Bones Biology 277* – Dear Friend

Your letter just arrived, and I appreciate your response more than I can say. Your time and your work are valuable, so I will try for a short response.


1 – I appreciate your primary statement that: “A true act of nonviolent love which seeks to end the suffering of others – never creates more suffering.”   I believe this awareness is why you qualify nonviolence with the word active, and The Dalai Lama qualifies compassion with wise. Active, nonviolent, wise compassion.


2 – My base of belief is that God meant The Creation to function as it does function, and we therefore can “know him by his works” of Creation, as well as by His words.


3 – We agree that the “problem” in our society is war, injustice, etc., and of course our common goal is to solve that problem.


4 – I am not saying that your work is bad or wrong in any way; in fact I believe it is indeed on the level of Jesus and Gandhi. What I am saying is that you can’t succeed at your great work unless we all – but especially the great ones – also work to eliminate the ROOT CAUSE of the problem, which is not human, but is inherent in how God made the Biosystem to function.


Wise compassion, according to The Dalai Lama identifies the root cause of the problem and addresses that cause. A major breakthrough in science in the last century clarified the same truth. To cure a disease, for example, it is necessary to address the root cause, in addition to treating symptoms.   If for any reason we ignore the root cause of any biological problem that we seek to solve, the problem will continue to regenerate itself. That is because Life is a system – cyclic, self regulating, not linear, and that is also why it is difficult for us to envision a good thing giving rise to suffering.


You and I both live in a culture that puts humans at the center, almost to the exclusion of the other parts of the system, and in fact does not imagine a systemic reality. Human accomplishments are thought of as linear, radiating out into the future or rebounding like a sort of pendulum that can exist in one configuration or be pushed back to another. Back and forth, and our job is to push it the right way.


150928-moonnight-ASC_9670RSs copyThis false view of how the system functions may have arisen from Western applied science, but we do also have the good basic science that is necessary to identify the root cause of our common problem, and good basic science tells us we cannot resolve human problems by push/pull linear responses. God is not so simple. God created, instead of a linear universe, a universe of interacting systems that regulate themselves using (among other things) positive and negative feedback loops.


My question is not a koan because it’s not about humans as central, and because the functional answer is explained by systems, and specifically the Biosystem. The reality of a system that is regulated by positive and negative feedback loops illustrates the truth that more of a good thing, any good thing, even compassion, can cause suffering within the system – depending on many circumstances – because it unbalances the natural feedback loops. That was why I asked the question(s).


God created humans with the capacity for pure compassion, and I am sure you know more about that than almost anyone, certainly more than I do. But my experience is that some of our own suffering (yours and mine) is because compassion in action, like science in action, is not pure. As soon as either is put to a specific action, it becomes applied compassion or applied science, and humans are not omniscient. Therefore, the minute we apply our compassion, or our science, we then become responsible to the results of our behaviors within a system – therefore responsible to study all possible outcomes of our behaviors, as they are known or expected to function in God’s Creation – not only our envisioned goals.


I am not saying that your work is wrong nor trying to create any doubts about it – of course not – I am saying that we must do more if we are to succeed – we must also address the root cause of the problem, which is primarily not human, but systemic. I am not one of those web people who create arguments for the fun of it; I am a very serious scientist. That is why I wrote to you rather than the war-mongers or the corporate divas. The root cause of our problem, and much of the suffering of all sentient beings in this age, is the damage we are doing to unbalance the overall system of Life. Both the cause and the cure are straightforward (but difficult) and I hoped you could embrace the whole of the system within your compassionate viewpoint and help to resolve the root cause.


Otherwise, our work will fail and I will be left “crying in the wilderness,” watching as I am now the greatest tragedy of historic time proceed, step by predictable step, and powerless to help, because our culture does not permit discussion of this kind of issue.


I am looking for people with whom this pivotal issue can be discussed/addressed.


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


A copy of the podcast can be downloaded at:


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