Bare Bones Biology 280 – Community is a System Shared

Of course we all have friends and we help each other, but most of us do not get to experience the deeper meanings of community, because most of us live in a culture of competition where community cannot thrive. As a result, many people feel a hole in their sense of meaning, and a lot of people are simply not part of the equation.


I do not want to be tossed out the window like an old plastic bag. However, as overpopulation approaches and exceeds un-survivable levels, many of us will not survive in community with others of our kind. Some very good activist initiatives have recognized this problem (for example, Resilience.Org;           ) and are working for community, but the actual fact of life is that we cannot have community and overpopulation at the same time, so they will fail. Unless of course they work against overpopulation at the same time as they work for community.


So, it is what it is, and I have been thinking not so much about how to avoid being pitched out, as how we are put upon by others of our kind who, in the name of kindness, compete.


I know one thing. Human communities are our normal, biological heritage; human community was not meant to operate in this fashion. And we cannot have community without sharing a commonality of facts, morés, myths and rituals. That’s what gifting is about. That’s what education is about.


But in our culture, gifting is too busy one-upping and education is too busy competing, so meantime we must try to look after our selves and beware the person who says: “I will explain it to you.” Especially youngsters who have no history, do not care about yours, and only want to tell you what you should do or how the system works. Shades of women’s liberation. Out the window like an old plastic bag. Certainly not a fulfilled and fulfilling human community in which the gifts and wisdom of one can be shared with the other in a way that benefits the whole.


151101-ASC_9777RLSsSo what do we do to save our selves? Some of us cling to our things. Because this culture adores things, and my things prove there is (or at least was) a me that is worthy of adoration.


But wait. That’s only half the picture. The other half is – what can I do with my things, in a throwaway culture, that would make me feel good about us? Toss them out the window and buy all new stuff, as the corposystem has trained us to do? Sort them out and throw into the trash anything I don’t personally need, the hell with heritage and community?


I sold a house. Now that was nice; I helped to make a home for a family within their community. Not mine, but nice, because it wasn’t a throw-away just for the money.


I honored my commitment to pets and livestock; I didn’t want to, but I know they otherwise would have suffered for no important reason.


I can’t throw away data because one just doesn’t DO that, but the only time anyone actually wanted it, I couldn’t find it. I just found it again, buried at the very bottom of my stuff, too late to be useful. Now what? One does not – well, I guess one does, now, if it’s not technologically competitive. But you know the next minute after I toss it someone will want it. I certainly do NOT want it; it was meant for the community of my peers.


I can’t throw out the beautiful things. And I don’t want to. I could give them to someone who knows the difference between beautiful and expensive, or someone who knows the difference between plastic and fine china, but certainly not to someone who doesn’t even know they are beautiful.


I can’t throw out the ugly things, like financial records, because I am afraid of the corposystem (and you will come to see that I am right about that).


I can’t throw out all my diaries. I was so thrilled to find them alongside the data at the bottom of that pile of stuff. I filled up the back of my new-old dude pickup with an amazing collection of diaries that I planned to look at, “some day,” because right now I’m too busy sorting out stuff. But then one box got wet, so last night I spread out the books and riffled the pages to dry them, and of course got caught reading a bit from 1967 and a bit from 1983. And an interesting vision I once had in church that I forgot I had written down.


151105-First Snow-ASC_9813TSsBut then I started to feel now like I felt then, and realized my life was not all that great, and I chunked my way through it once — I don’t want to spend the rest of my life reliving the things I did in the first of my life when I was young and stupid or thinking about how much better I would have done if I hadn’t been so young and stupid. Been there; done that. It’s not clear that any of it was worthwhile. I’ll put them in the storage shed, but this time labeled, because I really, really can NOT voluntarily throw out my own record of my self.


And anyhow nobody else wants it. They are too busy competing to make a stuff-pile with which to define their own selfs.


And what other choice do they have? There can be no community, so long as everyone must compete for best: best hero; best victim; best villain; best at telling other people what they should do. A community is not a competitive exchange of well-meant put-downs. A community is a system shared, and we cannot have community without a at least trying to undersand how the system functions so that we can grow a viable, reality-based commonality of facts, morés, myths and rituals.


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


A copy of this podcast can be downloaded at:


Bare Bones Biology 281B – Movin’ On

So here’s the thing. Suppose at one time in your life you had to spend your silver dollar collection to buy cat food, even though you knew that each silver dollar was worth quite a lot more than a dollar.

I hope that guy really enjoyed cashing them in.

And suppose you then began putting your pocket change into jars and stashing the jars here and there with the idea that you would some day sit down and sort out some valuable coins, or at least you would have money when needed to buy cat food, and you ended up with a lot of change jars tucked away in various places. And now here they are collected on the floor in front of you.

What are you going to do about that? Will you get a book about coins and spend the rest of your life sorting them all out and end up with several hundred dollars? Maybe recoup the value of those silver dollars? Or should you value your time more than the imagined profits and go to the bank, where now you can pour your coins into a machine and end up with some kind of paper, and open a savings account? After all, the older you get the more valuable is your time. Or will you forget about several hundred pounds of coins and spend MovinOn-ASC_6250RLsyour time doing one of the things you always wanted to do?

Oh! Wait. Sorting those coins IS one of the things you always wanted to do.

The problem for us rich Americans is that we have totally distorted the American Dream that was supposed to provide equal opportunity. I remember when we really believed in equal opportunity, or at least I know I did, it’s what I thought I was working for throughout my life, and look what I got! The corposystem. And the corposystem has claimed the dream and converted it to a belief that anyone can do everything if they are willing and able to pay for it. There is a big difference between being permitted to work for whatever is our personal dream – or being able to buy everything we want to do.

It takes a long time to figure out the difference; many people never do, which is not a crime, but the result is that in our culture many people end up with only their broken 23-year-old dreams to show for all that work.

So here’s what I recommend for people who end up with a lot of things they paid for but somehow never made it to what they dreamed of.

Gather together all your things and sort them out, so you put all the things that were part of one dream in this corner of your house and all the things that were part of a different dream in another corner of your house, and keep doing this until all your things are in various corners of your house. Except the books and the beautiful things. Those you will keep unless you run across someone who can use them better than you can.

Now, use the corners of your house to build one new dream. Build it slowly, as you sort through your things and think about what each thing means to you. Here in this corner is photography; here in the other corner is writing; in the third corner your coin collection, and in the fourth corner your livestock projects. Your favorite charity in another. Out of all those things, what do you most want to grow into the final fruits of your own life experience? Sort slowly, appreciate everything, and try to think of how each thing relates to you, your history and whatever future is waiting for you.

MovinOn-ASC_5736RLSsMost people who end up keeping everything are mourning a past they cannot have, but you — when you bring into the room your favorite saddle — will sit down and “meditate on” or spend some time imagining yourself as the horseman you had planned to be when you were 23 years old. Does that dream still fit into your future? Yes? Then you are younger and richer than I am. Keep the saddle and spend 1/3 of your time making that one dream come true, leaving behind the others. You won’t have time for them. No? That saddle does not represent your number one dream? Then give the precious saddle to a precious 23-year-old friend who can make the dream come true for you both. Of put it in storage and never think about it again.

Do not let any inexperienced young person who still believes a Disneyesque corposystem world view tell you that you “should” find some way to toss out your past as though you and your broken dreams were worthless.

Sort your stuff slowly, each piece into its corner, and while you are sorting and thinking, focus more and more on the corners of your life that contain the one or two dreams worth growing into your own unique future. Keep the things that are making that future; and keep on sorting and giving away things that do not fit into your now plans. After a while the exercise will begin to become automatic. Every future is different, and it is the process that counts. Not the things.

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


A copy of this podcast can be downloaded at: