Common Unity – A Viable World View

You speak of getting down to the root causes, Lynn, but I think you are only looking at proximate causes—at least in the matter of the corporosystem. You identify the profit-through-domination clause of the articles of incorporation as the Achilles heel of the corporosystem, and thus of our own viability as a species, because of entanglement with this system.

Of course we are both right, but that is not the question. The question is: “How do we get out of the fix that we humans are in.” Or not. Because we cannot make time go backward, the answer to that must be to deal with what to you are proximate causes.

A root cause of anything relates to its cause-and-effect functional relationships rather than to any particular time frame; root cause implies function within the existing system.

I think we are not disagreeing. Just leaving out a step of analysis, which is to describe our premises.

Mine are:


  1. All of our universe is composed of naturally evolved systems. I am a system, part of the human species that is also a system. The corposystem has evolved within the human species and is now our primary western world view (system). The corposystem and the human species and I are all part of the Biosystem, which is also a much more ancient and powerful naturally evolved system but is not human.
  2. Humans cannot change facts. This is by definition; it’s why we call them facts. Basically there are two kinds of facts: Historical facts (human and evolutionary) and functional facts that are now mostly studied by physicists (Laws of Thermodynamics, gravity, Law of Life includes evolution, complexity and how systems evolve). To the extent that we understand these facts, we can use them but we cannot change how they function to maintain the integrity of theuniverse (thus of Life). Evolution, for example, cannot go backward, but can only go forward as described by the laws of physics and the facts of Life.
  3. No human is to blame (because no human can control) the facts of Life that naturally evolve more complex systems from less complexity, and have been doing so as far as we know from the origin of our universe. Humans are more likely or less likely to survive, however, depending on their behavior, and their behavior does arise out of their world view.
  4. Science is the study of measurable facts using the scientific method. Technology is not science; technology is tool-making. Science is not technology.
  5. We humans have a problem.   Therefore we look for causes. Problems of this magnitude cannot be solved by workarounds or by denial. They require that we address the fact of the physical cause of the problem. Precisely as the problem-solving involved when we try to cure a parasitic disease by cutting its life cycle.
  6. Denial or mourning or other normal reactions are normal but they cannot change our problem. Our problem is that we happen to be living in the final stages of a classic biological overpopulation event affecting humankind, and the reality of that overpopulation event prevents us from resolving most of our current other human problems that we could otherwise resolve — because we cannot FIX the other problems (war, economics, human rights, the social-system problems, as opposed to the Biosystem problem) until and unless we can provide for the survival needs of people without threatening the survival needs of the Biosystem. This is a fact that can be supported, but not in a 600 word blog or on the space available on Facebook. Hence the think-tank conference that we plan at end of July. If you want to be invited please contact me via email. I can’t accept inquiries via Facebook.


  1. Either we address this or we don’t. However, we should understand, as we make this choice, that we are choosing to NOT address the root functional cause of most of our current human problems, and rather to concentrate on its symptoms (again using the parasite thought-example). Our survival does not directly depend upon our world view, but it does directly depend upon whether and how we deal with the overpopulation event.

Personal Goal/opinions

  1. My goal as an individual system and part of a species (system) is to identify the worldview (is that another word for metaphysics?) that has caused our present problems, so that I can evaluate my own behaviors relative to the needs of the Biosystem and share that information with others. My reason for doiong this is that all overpopulation events end in crashes, and we humans do have some control over how much suffering, of all sentient beings, results from our population crash, which seems already to have begun, if we are willing to defy the corposystem ban on productive discussion of substantive issues, whether or not we can change the biological blowback that is and will result from ourprevious behaviors. We could be moderating the suffering while at the same time gifting our children and grandchildren with a new human worldview (metaphysic/religion/?) that is more compassionate (defined as the Dalai Lama might – “wise compassion”) and sustainable than the one we now have.


I perceive that your goal is to change or modify or understand a metaphysic (worldview/paradigm?), and will comment through the rest of this from that perspective:

Without the Big Lie that the human is separate from, and superior to, Mother Earth and the Community of Life—carried in our culture for thousands of years and passed on to each succeeding generation—the corporosystem could never have gotten a foothold.   That is well said. I think about 2500 years, the Axial age, was the major turning point. I do not disagree with this but do not see any way to use it to address “The Problem.”

I think you are also too quick to offhandedly dismiss metaphysics as irrelevant,   I don’t think I did dismiss metaphysics as irrelevant. My perception of communication – transfer of information – among (between) systems is that information is not transferred directly. What this means relative to metaphysics (or any human opinion/belief) I cannot explain without background (as in writing the book, and I already tried that). The best example is genetics, which operates from genotype to phenotype with intermediaries. Or a cell membrane, acting as intermediate between the cellular contents and its environment. Or the emergent liquidness of water that makes Life possible, but is not a characteristic of the subunits of itself as a simple system. It is not the genotype, or the insides of the cell, or the gases that mae up water, that interface with their systemic environment. It is the phenotype (or the molecules that float in the cell membrane, or the charged liquidness itself) that directly communicate with the environment. Similarly, our worldviews and our opinions and our metaphysics do not directly affect (for example the Biosystem). Rather, our worldviews (a mental system) generate our BEHAVIORS and it is our behaviors, in the case of the corposystem our communal emergent behaviors, that communicate information to our neighboring environmental systems such as the Biosystem. In other words the Biosystem does not respond to our worldviews, but to our behaviors, and we as a corposystem are behaving suicidally. Because our behaviors now are the proximal danger to our survival, therefore I tend to concentrate on them.

As a practitioner of science for most of your adult life, you were likely working within the materialistic, reductionist, mechanistic, nihilistic paradigm—a paradigm based upon a particular set of metaphysical assumptions about the nature of the Universe and of Life on Earth.

I do understand paradigm. Maybe we should use that term. For the rest, I think you must be inferring my metaphysic by my writing style – not by what I say or do. I am not and never have been a technologist, and you are describing technology. Science is not technology, it is inquiry, using the scientific method. But what I think is really interesting is that your description of your image of me almost exactly coincides with my own personal criticisms of the corposystem. This leads again to the subject of cause and effect. If you are blaming science for what you don’t like about our current human social direction, then I think that your critique would be accurate if you were to apply it to technology and “growth by domination for gain,” but you are blaming the wrong entity (system) if you blame science for this — and that confuses the cause-and-effect relationships as well as the power relationships. It’s not me, it’s not science. We don’t even do science anymore. It’s the corposystem ethic that is characterized by those qualities you disapprove. This argument with the wrong entity also continues the old, unfortunate, unnecessary, and not very useful argument between “religion and science.” Metaphysic as originally defined was anything other than Physics (which was called science at the time when the two split). Both products of inquiry into the same reality. If they fight with each other, then they both – to quote myself above – are blaming the wrong entity for our problems. Fighting windmills.   If they are both studying the same reality, then we must assume they are both correct in their observations, barring human error.

METAPHYSICS – I have reread your description of metaphysics (of modern science) and now believe even more strongly (if that were possible) that we must find ways to attribute our observations to the relevent entities.   In my opinion you have perfectly described the EMERGENT PROPERTIES of the corposystem within which we now live. Naturally evolved systems communicate with each other primarily via their emergent properties.   The emergent properties of a system do NOT reflect the individual characterists of the entities of which they are composed (by definition, emergent properties differ from the components of the system). As I said, it takes background in our new world view to understand that statement, but the point is we cannot get out of the mess we are in unless we can attribute the mess to a cause. That attitude is in fact foundational to the new world view that we need to grow. Find out what caused the problem and then deal with the cause (which is an emergent property of some naturally evolved system).

I evaluate my own worldview and my motivations by my choices (behaviors).

I doubt if we disagree about anything significant, except perhaps the denial phase of our overpopulation bubble. My belief is that we need to behave first in a way that will result in human survival with a minimum of suffering of all sentient beings — and then (and at the same time) develop a metaphysic (if that means worldview or paradigm) that informs/directs/nurtures human behaviors that are biologically sustainable.

I wonder if you are familiar with the work of Elisabet Sahtouris. A decade or so ago I read her book, I remember E. Sahtouris, but did not read the book. I will read it. I don’t have the bandwidth for video-watching. There is another biologist author who wrote a lovely little book, and I already referred to “Thank God for Evolution” written under the influence (by students of) Lynn Margulis, and there are a couple of others, but as an elder I can’t remember the names right now, and am not home with my references, so will send later. All of these people are trying to do the same thing that you and I are trying to do, using different words, and that is to grow a sustainable, reasonably comfortable human social system within a healthy Biosystem.

conclusion: namely, that the first and fundamental principle of the Universe is not matter, but consciousness. As far as I know we (humans) do not understand consciousness. If we equate consciousness with process, I agree. My definition of a system is a group of nodes that function to connect processes (and I usually don’t say the nodes are things (matter) that are important only in their ability to organize the processes).   This is a rather Buddhist idea. But we don’t know how it works, except that consciousness is one possible emergent result of naturally evolving complexity — one possible emergent result or perhaps the whole, depending upon how we define consciousness – in the latter case it is certainly nonhuman or superhuman, and in either case it’s a human definition of a natural set of processes or laws of operation of the universe and therefore inherently incomplete. If we describe consciousness as process or the result of process we are exactly in line with each other. If we need a God, consciousness will do very well, and we could say that it is my God. However, in order to use a system to solve a problem, we need to know how the system functions and what went wrong with its normal functioning to cause the problem. We don’t know what consciousness is, except that it is clearly a result of systemic complexity. We do understand the processes involved with overpopulation that is our current problem, and we also have the tools to restore ourselves to a balance consistent with the needs of the Biosystem – and to do so without changing the Biosystem into a living entity within which we cannot survive.
It seems that you and I might have quite a bit to talk about, since we are both highly inquisitive people, who, well into maturity, burn with a passion to understand the world. But if we can’t agree a little on metaphysics that would seem to limit how far such a conversation could go. Please let me know your thoughts on this.

I am sorry this came up while I am on a “business” trip.   I could have perhaps done a better job of responding. Nevertheless, I expect how far we can go with this conversation depends on your interest in it.

I was not planning to mention the think-tank conference on Facebook, but please do let me know if you want to be invited.






One Response

  1. Here are two things we clearly agree upon: We are living in an Old Story that is destroying the world, leaving us with an urgent need for a New Story, and; we are deep into population overshoot, and, since we are a biological species, Nature is going to deal with us just like she does with any other species that (temporarily) exceeds the Earth’s sustainable carrying capacity. I am sure we have other points of agreement, but from the way you present your belief system, I am uncertain where these are.

    I must confess, Lynn, that I am made uncomfortable by the way you throw around the concept of emergence. I do not deny that emergence can be a factor in the way the world orders itself. I think of a coral reef as an excellent example of an emergent structure which serves a number of important ecological functions, but as far as we know, there is no coral director directing each individual coral to contribute its share to the architectural marvel that is a coral reef. But I see this word, emergence, used by scientists and others as a way of explaining something that we just don’t understand, but leaving the impression that there is no mystery here; emergence explains it all.

    I don’t believe you can get something out of nothing. I don’t believe life can come from non-life; that intelligence can come from non-intelligence; that consciousness can come from non-consciousness. Materialists, who claim that the Universe consists of nothing more than inert matter operating according to nothing more than random chance and linear mechanics, try to “explain” life, consciousness, and intelligence using the magic wand of emergence–But I don’t buy it. What makes more sense to me is that the Universe itself is conscious, intelligent, and therefore alive, and must always have been so. To me, this is not an abstruse philosophical point, but vital to our very survival.

    Maybe you can grant me the point that the people of our culture are living in wrong relationship to the natural world. I trace this back thousands of years, beyond the axial age, to the beginnings of agriculture and private property, to what I call the Big Lie. If you believe that you and your people are separate from, and superior to, Mother Earth and the Community of Life, the psychological way is paved to treat the Earth as a dead storehouse of resources for human use as well as a garbage dump for all the toxic junk that remains after those resources have been exploited. If, on the other hand, you believe that the human is an integral part of the Community of Life, and that the Earth and all Life are sacred, you are likely to live in better relationship to the natural world you recognize as part of yourself—because everything is connected to everything else.

    A corollary of the Big Lie is the narcissistic anthropocentrism that characterizes the people of our culture. We see ourselves as exceptional beings who can make our rules, while ignoring the laws of Life, including the law of reciprocity. We have given ourselves permission to take and take and never give anything back. This, too, is part of our pathological culture. And this is the root we need to dig down to.

    I have a lifelong interest in science, but my academic training has been as a generalist—with a major in English, but with an abiding interest in history, philosophy, anthropology, and a bunch of other disciplines, too. I find all academic departments to be far too narrow in scope to get anywhere close to the realities of life—which does not divide itself into discreet departments. I see the world in holistic terms, and favor the Big Picture and the long lens of history, believing that you best understand something if you perceive it in context.

    I took a fair amount of science classes as an undergraduate, including genetics and evolution, but I was intuitively resistant to the usual dogmas that always seem to go along with the standard scientific education–and that few science majors ever get around to questioning. As I have said, I find many of these taken-for-granted doctrines to be a poor explanation of the world we live in, and this worldview is frequently used to further our wrong relationship with the natural world. In my would-be book I go into quite a bit of detail about this, linking scientific materialism with the Old Story that is bringing the world down around us. Nor am I confusing science with technology in this regard. Both science and technology have their own particular subcultures, and both partake of our larger deep culture, including our endemic anthropocentrism (humans above all) and our investment in the Big Lie of separation. As for what used to be called “pure science,” capitalism has made sure that almost no one can afford to study life and the world just for the joy of seeing it whole and clear.

    Thank you for the invitation to join your think tank. I’d very much like to participate, but I am afraid that my finances do not allow for the luxury of travel. I’ve always lived my life hand to mouth and a day at a time. I don’t regret this, and wouldn’t change it if I could, but this approach to life has not left me with the kind of discretionary funds it would be nice to have when opportunities like this arise. Sorry to miss out..

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