Bare Bones Biology 317 – Willful Ignorance

Not very many things make me steaming mad, but one thing always does, and that is willful ignorance. That is – when a person or an institution chooses to to remain ignorant of the harm it is doing to others in order to avoid the responsibility that goes with knowledge and wisdom. Such a person has sold his “soul” for personal gain.


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In the case of the snake oil salesman who claims his product is “green,” “environmentally friendly,” and a gift of black gold from Jesus, that would be selling his soul to the corposystem, our international corporate controlled social system that specializes in dominance (by trick or treat or force if necessary) to make a profit.

But the corposystem is (or at least was) not all bad, or it wouldn’t exist, and it’s not the only naturally evolved system of which we each are a part. The universe probably, and all of Life certainly, is made up of nested systems. Evolved, complex, adaptive, interacting systems.

Every naturally evolved or created person is a system that is composed of other systems and is a component of bigger systems. The result is a sustainable balance of living systems of which we are a part. Selling our soul to any part of these systems, without making any effort to learn the up side and more importantly the down side of our actions, and doing it for personal gain at the expense of the welfare of others, is an evasion of our human and humane responsibility to all the communities of which we are a part.


Of course it’s not easy to understand all this complexity, and that is another excuse that such people use – it’s too complicated for us to think about, and it is, but we can consider a metaphoric model of the system using information from personal experience, facts, mathematics and our own humanity. That’s what humans have always done, and choosing instead to rejoice over our ability to hornswoggle people out of their own profits has never been high on the list of admirable human behaviors.


Anyone can make a valid model – that is anyone who chooses to examine rather than avoid confrontation with factual reality. For example, I will simplify my own system-set, that is the systems of which I am a part, down to a four-system metaphor. (1) Myself, an individual naturally evolved human system (composed of physiological systems that keep me alive and healthy); (2) my naturally evolved community of family and friends who have the skills that I need to survive; (3) the corposystem that gives me a job so I can pay IT for food water and air and a place to live; (4) the naturally evolved Biosystem that generates the food, water and air that I need to stay alive and healthy.


If we actually believe in any one of the systems, to the exclusion of the others – in this example, if we sell our souls to the corposystem mantra that domination (by chicanery or force or co-dependant behavior, or for any other method) – is more important than our responsibility to (1) our own self-respect and physiological welfare; (2) our family and friends; or (4) the sustainability of the Biosystem upon which all living things depend for their livelihood — then in this example, if we actually believe in corposystem ethic of competition for profit, to the exclusion of other human values that are more important for the welfare of the whole, then we have “sold our soul to the corposystem.”


BBB-316-ASC_5661If we sell our soul to ANY systemic world view, including human rights, “love,” “happiness,” or “the will of God,” without considering what HARM our behaviors may cause to OTHER ESSENTIAL SYSTEMS, the result will cause more harm than good to the whole.


The possible exception to this generalization might be “wise compassion.” If we are truly wise enough to work for the welfare of the whole, and think about what we do before we do it while studying all affected systems, the up side and the down side now and in the future, rather than concentrating all our energy on some diddly little part of it. Then we might be able to claim that Jesus approves of our behaviors, or at least of our good intentions.


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