For Discussion

Michael Dowd has stated my belief system perfectly. That is not a reason to not discuss; more it is a reason to discuss, challenge, research and wonder if maybe he is right and all this human argumentation that’s been going on is pointless and harmful to the future of all of Life.

I am going to save this one and watch it from time to time because it is what I have been trying to say all along.

Economics of Happiness

I love this picture that I took at the Economics of Happiness conference. I don’t really know why. I don’t know her. But I think somehow she reflects how I felt about this very positive conference that was based in knowledge and commitment to the future, rather than empty corposystem hype.

Bare Bones Biology 079-The Vision

Photo © Photos by Lynn From the upcoming book Ouside the Circle.

Many people agree that our human cultures have gone off track in a number of ways, and that we need a new vision of the future if we are to grow a better future for our grandchildren. And beyond. Many people disagree about the new vision. No need to argue, I’ve been studying this for about a decade and I’ll tell you. Then, if your ideas are better, please get in touch and we can try together to make a vision. For now, as we step out in our new direction, this is my belief.

The minimum requirement for a viable human social structure is that its citizens must be educated in the skills of practical compassion applied to problem solving, the nature and needs of a healthy ecosystem, and a rule of law that recognizes the conflicting human rights at the individual level and the level of the whole. That’s a big order, and the next question is how? How can we do this? But first let’s talk about why we should make the effort. Listen to a statement made by His Holiness the Dalai Lama in he film Dalai Lama Rennaisance:

“As a result, nobody is taking care of the long term, I think for strategy or interest, and in the meantime many problems we are facing today are not just from superficial causes, but there are deeper causes. I think the crisis in the late 20th century, that we are facing, is due to negligence of the previous century. Of our previous generations.”

So our crisis is not due to superficial causes that we are addressing as symptoms, but is primarily due to negligence of the previous generations. I agree completely, and we were both here to see it happening. Well, we were both here for part of that, on opposite sides of the globe, and we both agree that doing more of what caused our problems in the first place will not cure our problems. So let’s forget about going backward, trying to grow a better culture, because what we did, it didn’t work. In fact, it caused our current challenges, and it’s easy to predict that if we continue as we are in this moment, the results will be even worse for our grandchildren than they have been for us. And for the fifth generation. Or the seventh generation.

“We are now. We are now. Now is us. We’re the seventh generation. I’m sitting here as the seventh generation because seven generations ago those people were looking out for me. Seven generations from now someone will be here, I know, and so each generation makes sure that seventh generation is coming all the time. And that’s accountability. We’re accountable, and they’re going to call us. They’re going to say Why did you do this? Or Why did you not do this?”

That was Oren Lyons, Chief of the Native American Onondaga and Seneca Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy, talking with Bill Moyers But you don’t need to be on the other side of the world. And you don’t need to sit in the council of a tribal chief. Just look at your own children, and their children, and you know we have an obligation to the future.

So then, the next question is How? How do we accomplish this enormous task. The answer must be for each of us to carry our own load of responsibility, regardless of whatever other people are doing. We can’t wait till we win something or convince someone. We have one moment in time to grow a better future, and that moment is now. We can’t change anything that happened yesterday, and we can’t do anything tomorrow because by the time we get to tomorrow it will be now, and we will have lost a whole day when we could have been living our ideals. And that’s our responsibility, to live what we believe, beginning with the Golden Rule, and I’ll talk more about that next time.

Bare Bones Biology 079 – The Vision
KEOS Radio 89.1 FM
Audio download available later this week at

Bare Bones Biology 078 – New Direction

Hatred is never healed by hatred. That is a universal law. I just quoted an important Buddhist maxim. Many or most of the major religions will tell you the same. That’s why non-violence works—well of course nothing is perfect. If you’re the guy at the very top who doesn’t have to do any of the fighting, I guess violence is useful to you. But in terms of growing a sustainable, reasonably comfortable social structure for the future, violence will not get us there, and I think it’s our job to get us there. So, I think it’s time for a change.

“Just as it was once possible and important for people to imagine a world without slavery, a world beyond slavery; just as it was important for me personally to learn how, as a child, to imagine a world without racial segregation, and then later to imagine a world in which women were not assumed to be inferior to men; . . . it’s really important to work with your imagination. To use your imagination. To think beyond the moment. But, it’s not enough simply to imagine a different future. We can walk around with these ideal words in our heads, while everything crumbles around us.”

These words of Angela Davis (link) were edited from a speech she gave at the University of California, and are similar to comments she made when she was here at Texas A&M University. I’m sure you can find it on YouTube. She’s probably right. It’s probably impossible for people to do what they can’t imagine.

So, here’s the new plan. And believe me it won’t be easy – five minutes a week – to imagine a viable, sustainable, reasonably comfortable society for our country and our world. But let’s stick with our country and give it a try. You can help with your ideas. I made my statement in Bare Bones Biology 044, entitled Proposal, that you can find on my blog (link). And if you look around the web, and the bookshelves, quite a number of people are trying to do the same.

Perhaps we can evaluate all these visions against a base of what I believe to be the minimum requirements for a healthy, sustainable human social structure. That is, its citizens must be educated in the skills of practical compassion applied to problem solving; of the nature and needs of a healthy ecosystem; and a rule of law that recognizes the conflicting human rights at the level of the individual and at the level of the whole. Certainly we do not want to perpetuate the kind of educational system that is described by New York State Teacher of the Year, John Gatto (read by Jack Kornfield).

“Think of the things that are killing us as a nation: drugs, brainless competition, recreational sex, the pornography of violence, gambling, alcohol, and the worst pornography of all, lives devoted to buying and getting things, accumulation, as if it would give meaning to life. All are simply addictions of dependent or fearful personalities, and that is what our brand of schooling is now inevitably producing. The children I teach become indifferent to the adult world . . . The children I teach have lost most of their curiosity and cannot concentrate long. They have a poor sense of the future. The children I teach are dependent, passive, 18000 hours of watching television. The children I teach are materialistic, following the lead of the schoolteachers who materialistically grade everything, and the advertisements that offer everything in the world for sale. The children I teach are uneasy with intimacy or candor. They lack compassion for misfortune. They laugh at weakness. What are we to do?”

Bare Bones Biology 078 – New Direction
KEOS Radio, 89.1 FM
Audio will be downloadable later this week at or