Godspeed, populists!

Leaving Babylon

The time has come, the walrus said, to reopen this blog. I promised a tribal post, but that will have to wait for final touches. Meanwhile, to go along with the current political frenzy (and yes, I am voting this time, in case you wondered), I offer you a timely post that emerged this afternoon from a discussion on the Small Farm Future blog, which itself was provoked by that blog’s response to JM Greer’s recent musings on liberalism.

First, I hastened to refresh my understanding of classical liberalism. I compiled this vignette from quickly perused sources.

Classical liberalism is a political philosophy and ideology in which primary emphasis is placed on securing the freedom of the individual by limiting the power of the government.

Main features: freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, and markets; rule of law and equality before the law; government by consent (constitution, checks…

View original post 1,028 more words

Bare Bones Biology 337 – The Song

161011-creation-asc_7028rss“And the spirit of God was brooding over the face of the waters.”(a)


Genesis contains one early telling of our age-old metaphor; and of course there are many others.(b) Each time we re-tell any of them from our current knowledge-base, our understanding of the metaphor falls more closely into line with the reality of the actual process of the Creation of the universe, because the new metaphor incorporates our greater knowledge about the reality of the universe. And with every new telling, the universe seems to grow, because it really is humongous. And the natural laws that generate, sustain and maintain the universe seem more awe-inspiring. Though the natural laws don’t change, we do. We never will know everything there is to know about the creation because we are the created, and not the creator.


So we have metaphors of several kinds; the good thing about scientific and mathematical metaphors is that there are ways to test them before we decide what to believe. And the good reason to do this is because we humans today have more power than we have knowledge or wisdom.


A new(h) version of our creation myth incorporates our new knowledge of the quantum level, and is explained for us by Dr. Seth Lloyd(c)(g)and previously by Nobel Prizewinner Dr. Murray Gell-Mann(f). It is in line with current cutting edge physics and biology, and is not out of line from previous metaphorical explanations of The Creation.


Each creation story, old and new, can be thought of as a “Song Flung up to Heaven,”(d) that we can use to help us know how to survive with poise, rather than bash our heads against a humanly indestructible universe.


The function and purpose of a human creation story is to generate human behaviors that are aligned with human survival within the reality that is what it is — because that simply is what it is (was). And that “was” makes it a historical fact that we cannot change and can only dimly perceive. Yet, through the ages and the people and their stories, we try always to better understand. Not to make ourselves rich and powerful – not if we are wise — but for our very survival as part of the whole of Life, for indeed we are dealing with an enemy to our survival.

The enemy is us. The Creation (including the Biosystem) is not our enemy – it is our current dominant ego-permeated world view that drives us to destroy, rather than nourish, our relationships with our biological environment.


We can’t win a war against the Biosystem because it is a war against ourselves; the Biosystem feeds us; it is the whole living earth, and it will do what it will do according to how it was created to function. So the more accurate our information about how it functions, the better our chances of survival, so long as we stop trying to fight against nature and natural law and use the power of our knowledge to align ourselves with it.


And life is ever-so-much easier in our chaotic culture, if we take the trouble to learn the rules, the laws of nature, as we are deciding what human metaphor to believe. Our proper place in the whole of Life is not bigger, more powerful, “richest” or “fittest” as that word us usually envisioned. Our best place would be wisely integrated.


We need an origin story that puts us in our proper human place relative to the Life of Earth.

We already learned these lessons. For just one beautiful example from Thich Nhat Hanh,(c) the so-called “emptiness” inherent in the “dependent arising of all sentient beings” represents reality in our world that is made of interconnected, interdependent, complex adaptive systems that evolved together – co-evolved — as a result of natural law.(b)(f)(g)

Drs. Murray Gell-Mann and Seth Lloyd (among other scientists whom they reference) have given us a creation hypothesis that does align with current scientific understanding of how the universe functions. I will try to paraphrase it for you next week. The required elements are natural law (I include natural selection) operating at the quantum level and above, on free energy, entropy and information.


(a) The Christian and Jewish Bible, Genesis 1:2

(b) Campbell, Joseph. 1976. The Masks of God. Viking Penguin

(c) Lloyd, Seth. 2006. Programming the Universe. Vintage Books.

(d) Angelou, Maya. 2002. A Song Flung up to Heaven.

(e) The concept of emptiness, wholely in line with modern thinking, but stated differently, can be found in: Thich Nhat Hahn IN: The Buddha and his Teachings, Chapter 25. 1993. Ed: Samuel Berchold and Sherab Chodzin Kohn. Barnes & Noble Books.

(f) Gell-Mann, Murray. 1994. The Quark and the Jaguar. W. H. Freeman & Co.

(g) Lloyd, Seth. 2016. Two recent video lectures at Santa Fe Institute.




This is Bare Bones Biology, a production of FactFictionFancy.Wordpress.com


A copy of the podcast can be downloaded at: http://traffic.libsyn.com/fff/Bare_Bones_Biology_337_-_The_Song.mp3


Bare Bones Biology 336 – Running Canaries

Bitsy and I are returning to the life of runners this winter. I just learned that a “runner” is the name for a canary who can’t stop moving, traveling, looking for a place where she can live without being made sick just from breathing the air, drinking the water and eating the food that have been polluted for profit by our dominant social system. We are lucky still to have a place to move to. (I think there is.) We are the “canaries in the coal mine” who suffer from MCS, multiple chemical sensitivities.



Now wait, suffering from a syndrome is how the corposystem likes to think of us – something wrong with us — a syndrome of abnormalities of which we should be ashamed. For the most part this is not true. Ours are mostly not abnormal responses to poisonous substances. They are, for the most part NORMAL reactions.


That’s what our bodies are for. To protect us from harmful aspects of our environment. Our bodies are SUPPOSED to react negatively to poisonous substances, just as they are supposed to hurt if we cut ourselves — so we won’t. And our bodies are doing a very good job of what living flesh was meant to do; that is, getting the poisons out of our systems, and telling us we should run away from them.


The problem is that our bodies are overworked, and the result is inflammations and reactions of various kinds that make us sick. Yes, we are more sensitive than you are, because the threshold of tolerance varies. Probably if anyone were to study it, chemical sensitivity is expressed in the population as a normal curve; that means it’s a multifactoral genetic response. But it’s very unlikely anyone funded by the corposystem will study it. They don’t want to know. Though there are some actions happening in Europe.


161013-color-asc_7211rssI can hear it now, some people out there thinking: “Survival of the Fittest, let them die, we have too many people anyhow.” (I remember that was also Hitler’s rationale, more or less, and look where it got him). But yes we do have too many people, and that is one cause of the pollution — but now we also have biological and psychological tools to reduce the population without killing people off if we ever really want to deal with our major problems.


And anyhow, evolution doesn’t work that way. Changing our genetic makeup takes many, many generations, and by that time it will be too late for you and your children.


MCS is rather like those thermometers people post during fund drives, with the red part indicating what percentage of a money-making goal has been reached. Regarding MCS, early on, just 5% of the most sensitive or heavily exposed people were affected, but as we add more and more toxins into the air, water and our food and homes, then more and more people are pushed over their personal thresholds. Think of a goldfish in a bowl to which we add every day just a wee bit more of, lets say, a modern detergent, or perfume, or gasoline? And we can’t clean it out. Where is there left to run to?


I have watched this happen during my lifetime, and my guess now is that at least 40% of people in the USA are affected. Most of them don’t know it, and boy will they be angry when they figure out it’s not just us canaries.


And then, as we continue to pour toxic substances into the environment that is already overloaded, eventually 100% of everyone will be suffering one form or another of MCS. They will think it’s “normal” to be sick; they already do think it’s normal. Well, I just said, in these circumstances, it is normal. But I don’t like being sick. So I run. It works. For now.


But why don’t we get ourselves fixed, you say?


Fix what? How? How can you “fix” normal? We do not have an incurable disease. That’s one of the definitions of MCS. Our suffering is cured when/if we can get away from the poisons.


Why don’t you stop making us sick?


If my system is normal and your system is normal, and your system is just a tad more efficient than mine – then my problem is your problem.


You just don’t know it yet.


This is Bare Bones Biology, a production of FactFictionFancy.Wordpress.com





The podcast can be downloaded at:  http://traffic.libsyn.com/fff/Bare_Bones_Biology_336_-_Running_Canaries.mp3_markers.xml




Healthy Living

Bare Bones Biology 334 – Religion as Metaphor

161002-fallcolor-asc_6646rs-copyJoseph Campbell*, our great student of comparative religion, said — it was probably before your time, but humans have changed very little in human time — he said: “The real horror today is what you see in Beirut, where you have the three great Western religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, and because the three of them have three different names for the same Biblical God, they can’t get on together. They’re stuck with their metaphor and don’t realize its reference.”


Seth Lloyd**, a cutting-edge research physicist recently said: “Mathematics is a metaphor” that can be tested. Being able to test the result is good. More useful than poetry or visual imagery. (http://www.santafe.edu/news/item/ulam-lectures-lloyd-announce/)


A couple of weeks ago I mentioned my physics math lesson that describes speed (distance moved/time it takes), velocity (displacement/time) and acceleration (velocity/time). This is the mathematical metaphor — all very logical and testable until we get to acceleration, which requires us to divide velocity (displacement/time) by time (t), and the result unfortunately is a formula containing time (real linear time, like on a clock), squared. Clearly t2 is a metaphor for something, but what? Einstein’s formula at least makes sense, though its implications are far out. I have never gotten past t2.

Just memorize it you say? But why bother if it carries no information?



I want to talk about The Creation, and none of the above metaphors gives me a spark of clear understanding. I want my metaphor to push the right button of reality — to conform itself, and me along with it, to the true nature of reality; not to make technologies, but to a profound reverence for the miracle of Creation, as it is. Not as I wish it were.


But of course, no human can ever know exactly what it is. “Otherwise, what would be the value of faith?” Or reverence?


We can make scientific descriptions. We know the Creation of a human Life must begin with the necessary materials, and because these are supplied by Life


recycling itself, or by the sun, we don’t have to worry about it – energy to drive the work; an egg with food for the embryo; a spe

rm to complete the genetic code with instructions of how to grow; a mother to grow in; clean food, water and air for the mother and later the for the child; and a set of four-billion-year-old inherited instincts for both mother and child to be, grow, and do. The miracle of Life itself

All of this comes to the child from its historical environment (evolution) and from the now environment that generates and regenerates the air, water, and organic molecules it requires for its survival and for the materials of which it is constructed. And for the information that instructs it. Science? Or a miracle ?


Because of the environment, the human child is born with a specific environmental history, a brain that is ready and eager to eat up all possible information from the now environment so as to incorporate its own unique environmental experience with its own unique evolutionary history and its own unique quest — to fulfill its potential within the Life of Earth. A miracle indeed!


“The goal of the quest for yourself is to find that becoming point within yourself, which is fearless, and desire-less . . . This is the image of a plant growing; that’s the life force.”


“You don’t have to go out and die for anything, because it’s all right there.”

“When before a sunset or a mountain you pause and say ahh, that is a participation in divinity.”


This is Bare Bones Biology, a production of FactFictionFancy.Wordpress.com


The podcast can be downloaded at:http://traffic.libsyn.com/fff/Bare_Bones_Biology_335_-_Religion_as_Metaphor.mp3





*Quotations from – Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyers. 1997. The Power of Myth. DVD, Public Affairs Television, Inc., available from Amazon. The wisdom becomes more precious with time.


**A wonderful overview of the science in Chapter Three, Programming the Universe, by Seth Lloyd. 2006. Vintage Books. Everyone should read this chapter (at least); it’s so hard to find authoritative summary mental images in our world that specializes in specialized reporting of the details – without their significant context.