Bare Bones Biology 352 – Do Not Grieve Overlong

This morning I opened up my email to a stiff little corposystem meme that I have heard a number of times before “Anger is another form of Fear.”

That made me angry.

It denies the reality of the American nightmare – the corposystem — the international political/economic/corporate/social domination system that has polluted our American Dream. And it demeans my work and, more importantly, the work of nearly all the deeply committed activists I have met who genuinely speak truth to the power and growth of this corposystem, rather than profiting from the victims of its growth.

The fact is that the author of this convenient meme does not know what anger is. Nobody knows exactly what it is. It’s just a word – just one more human meme invented by and parroted from someone else who also cannot know the deeper secrets of our inherited human instincts. Because nobody knows these things.

Perhaps he imagines the hot anger of the sword of domination, but he probably has never felt the implacable, infinite, cold, compassionate anger of reality desecrated; of Life itself denied and destroyed. The forever anger of the betrayed. I see it all around me, growing stronger with every new betrayal of our American promise to ourselves and to the world.


I have met and photographed a number of genuine activists, and the best of them are angry. They are not working for themselves — for what they want and how important they wish they were; nor for fear of failure or their desire for fame and fortune. The best of them are motivated by an abiding anger.

I will not name them here, because I have not asked their permission, but I will express a common theme among them using a few comments I have heard them make.

The child who scurried through the night to pour sugar into the gas tanks of the Gestapo. Yes, I have heard this from her mouth.

The anger of a wife betrayed: “You Lied to Me!” And the bonds broken forever into never the same again.

The mother whose child, suffering for years, was eventually cured simply by healthy food that was not available to her ghetto in this wealthy nation. “I swore I would never let this happen to another mother’s child if there was anything I could do to prevent it.” These stories are not my fantasy. I have a CD that records her story.

The mother whose son died in combat — for nothing more important than corposystem propaganda. She has a name, and is not alone.

The white daughter of apartheid, weeping alone under the South African sky, as she understood for the first time what has been done to the people she loves by the people she loves.

I have photographed their fire, witnessed their compassion, and listened to their words.

The best of activism arises out of the infinite anger of sacrificial love.

“You lied to me!” And because I trusted you – the American Dream – I too felt the cold rage when I recognized the lie. The young men sent to war to fight for something that never was; the generations that cannot support and sustain a positive community because they believe in something that no longer exists; the starvation that we have brought upon the whole of the earth and all its creatures because of a dream and all its defining words that were stolen and redefined by the corposystem to win elections; to conform to the demands of money and fame.

Anger at it’s very best is not about fear; not at all. It is about the unnecessary suffering or death of a child; the unnecessary destruction of community; the arbitrary destruction of human dreams, just for money: the slow and unnecessary death of our home on earth for the benefit of a few ugly Americans.

Anger is cold, calculating, scheming, studying the factual realities in order to understand the lies, cooperating, economizing, integrating, loving other mothers’ children. It is exemplified in the deaths of many saints; it is all around us in all our communities, the very places where love should find its home, and it is way beyond fear.

Fear comes before the loss. Fear is naïve. On the contrary, anger is a well-documented, completely normal stage of mourning the loss after the loss. Loss of the child, the destruction of the home; the unnecessary suffering of millions as our Life on earth is slowly destroyed by the greed and hubris of the few. Anger is an expression of compassionate love for the welfare of the community of humankind as it mourns the loss of its American Dream to the propaganda of its leaders.

It is righteous and it is dangerous.

It is as hot as the edge of a father’s sword, and it is as cold and infinite as a mother’s grief. Our anger is an infinite gift of love re-directed to the future of other mothers’ children. It no more describes fear than does the corposystem concept of “happiness” describe what we all crave.

That corposystem propaganda attempts to control what we care about, using: political and commercial questionnaires and gag rules that define what we are permitted to recognize as problems; creating fake or misleading “wisdom” memes; changing the definitions of other people’s words; and denying our documentable, evolved human and environmental reality.  That kind of propaganda won’t work, not for long, because reality is what it is, and our anger is our love — given and betrayed.

We have scattered the very best of our American Dream through the oceans and across the continents. I have met it, alive and well in Africa, in Japan, in Indonesia, in Latin America, and in Europe and Scandinavia. But every golden dream has a shadow nightmare, and we now are gathering the worst of our nightmare into our center.  That is why I tried to come back home.

Not for fear of anything, but in spite of whatever fears I may have had and because it is my obligation – because I see what is happening and how — to raise the flag of our betrayal in the face of the betrayer, and to fight for a future for human kind, for reality, for truth, and against the impossible nightmare of human conquest over man and nature that can never be accomplished because it can’t happen.  Our nature will die before it can be conquered; and conquest is purely stupid when cooperation is possible. It solves nothing; it only creates enmities.

The angry activists are angry precisely because they understand the reality of what is happening to their dream and our dream, and in their anger is the growth of a new commonality, a new view of wisdom as compassion, and a new community – reality emerging from the core of diversity, bonded in outrage. And the cold anger of the best, genuinely dedicated, activists knows what to do with this new community. We will study weakness – first our own, and then the weaknesses inherent in the corposystem lie.

And then we will begin to see real change.

So we grieve for a time, in sorrow and anger and sometimes even in denial. We must grieve, because grief is a part of the process of re-aligning our own world views and beliefs and dying dreams, with the reality of what is and what could be, and what never can be, within the Natural Laws of God and the physical universe. Without the grief we cannot make the changes that must be made if we want to survive.

And let us pray that we can use our grief to mold and sharpen our anger into a tool that will do more good than harm. To make a real change in the direction of humanity, rather than recycling, one more time, our 8,000-year-old failed human theme of domination uber alles.

This is Bare Bones Biology, a production of

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Mary Oliver. 1992. New and Selected Poems, volume one, page 135. Beacon Press

            “In the films of Dachau and Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen

            the dead rise up from the earth,

            and are piled in front of us, the starved

            stare across forty years,

            and lush green, musical Germany

            shows again its iron claw, which won’t

            ever be forgotten, which won’t

            ever be understood, but which did,

            slowly, for years, scrape across Europe.

            While the rest of the world did nothing.”





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