Bare Bones Biology 311 — Tweet, Tweet

Three things cannot remain hidden for long, the sun, the moon and the truth”

The Buddha

 

This is part two in our new series on chemical and electromagnetic sensitivity. In Part One we referenced Sound As A Crystal, a much more detailed source of excellent information. Right now, I am just dealing with, from the bottom of the canyon where I am safe, watching the sun peak over the high ridge to the East that makes our sunrises so tardy, and so warm and wonderful to watch in the event, as they trace their way down the Western slope to the creek bed where they spread out in all directions and the canyon breaths in.

It’s awakening. I am watching to the West, where the energy has already arrived. I catch a whiff of — something – behind me and suddenly turn, just as a streak of light invades the cedar grove partway up the East slope, and a cloud passes over, nearly close enough to touch — rippling up a little breeze in its passing. Just as the sun hits, our little wren flutters to the peak of the cabin and begins to sing. A magpie comes to the water dish. The clouds are wispfully growing in a deep blue sky.

160506-CanyonSunriseR-asc_4093Rs copyWhat is that? Smoke blowing out of that cedar grove? Is someone camped up there on Mark’s forty acres? But no. It happens again, right behind my garden space. It is the trees, breathing out — waking up, purifying the air that we all must breathe to stay alive. Breathing in. Breathing out. It is Life itself for me, and I am it. And I am the ONLY PERSON IN THE WORLD who can have this experience, because very nearly all of the rest of the world, beginning a radius of about 40 acres from this exact center, is so polluted by chemicals and electromagnetic irradiation, that I cannot live there without feeling more or less sick, and probably neither can you, but you don’t even know it

 
160506-CanyonSunriseR-asc_4106RLSs copyThis is not a bad place, but it gets pretty cold. Not like Maine, or Siberia, but my body tends to not like anything below freezing, and there is no other source of heat than the sun – maybe we could do wind power to some extent – and I am beginning to think about that. If I were to put in a permanent year-round dwelling on this property, where should I put it?

So I hopped into the car this morning and trolled up and down the road, and sure enough, the cabin is located smack in the middle of the shadow thrown by the cliff as the sun rises in the East. We’ll talk more about the permanent shelter later.

Meantime, I have installed an internet dish that is tolerable – I mean I at least had sense enough to insist on a system in which most of the electromagnetic forces are presumably shielded inside of electrical cords, except for the dish that collects them from some satellite out there and seems to keep them under control. I do not sit in the line of fire of the dish, nor do I spend whole days behind it anymore. And who can, there are weeds to cut, and they grow faster here than I can think about them, and apricot trees to plant.

The internet is here so that I may do my work? My work is trying to activate a discussion among the people – this is a life or death discussion now. It really is. I am well enough educated and informed and sheltered to be healthy and to know exactly what is happening to nearly everyone else, and to the whole Life of Earth, including the human species. And more or less what must be done. Most don’t even notice – they think this suffering is normal, and have not been living this precious human life long enough to recognize the changes.

But my JOB, my internet, is to sing my song: just this one little canary, or maybe a cedar tree, a canary would never make it through the winter, tweet-tweeting in the wilderness:

“You destroyed my healthy world, but you could grow a better one for your children. If you can stop thinking like the corposystem taught you to think. I can tell you how that can be done.”

But the discussion – and the decision – are up to you. Not my problem anymore.

And the event will require an end to pride and competition, and the beginning of meaningful community.

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

 

A copy of the blog can be downloaded at:http://traffic.libsyn.com/fff/Bare_Bones_Biology_311__Canaries_and_Cedar_Trees.doc

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Bare Bones Biology 307 – I Didn’t Do That

Yesterday was not good for me. First I had two doctors’ appointments; second, they were both 100 miles away; third, I drove from my mountaintop to theirs and back, all in one day, stopping for medication on the way back, and then zonked out under my electric blanket by 6 pm. Just before midnight I woke up, went out to my little travel-trailer workshop, turned on the electric space heater, and all the lights went out in our entire subdivision.

I didn’t do that.
160320-SantaFe-asc_3694RLsDid I?

So, using battery power, I checked my emails, which consisted of about 50 political flyers, one of which I read because it did not have any fantastical, tremendous, horrendous, unbelievable, hyperflagulous words in the title.

While I do not write about politics, I do write about how systems function, and these words from Bernie Sanders could have been me – talking about naturally evolved systems that have nothing to do with politics.: “. . . the American people understand that you cannot change a corrupt political system by taking its money.”

And this is my version of essentially the same reality: “When I say that we may not succeed in implementing your mission, I am not referring to what you can do today to help other people who are caught in the system – what I mean is that what you can do today will not accomplish your long-term heart’s desire and frustration, which I believe is to move up one level of systemic organization — from helping individuals, to changing the system that creates these victims — and in fact what you do today could, unawares, enable the system’s creation of victims. “ Bernie said it better, but that’s the way I talk.

About two hours later, the lights came back on and I went out to the little workspace and turned the heater on again. Nothing bad happened, so I plugged in the DVD player to continued my study of “complex adaptive systems” of which naturally evolved systems are evidently a subset – Subset? That doesn’t make sense. How can a factual natural reality be a subset of a human conceptualization???? Ahhh, I get it. If your head is in the Biosystem world view, the naturally evolved complex adaptive systems are a subset of the Biosystem. On the contrary, if your head is in the corposystem world view, you are required to behave as though all of the natural world is a subset of human conceptualization.

Not long now, we will have to choose sides or lose the field of play.

160320-SantaFe-asc_3631RLsI did that. One day in 2006 I sat at the end of my driveway in my old white Ford pickup and realized that we cannot solve our human problems from inside our corposystem worldview that created the problems. I decided then and there, ten years ago, that I would approach my life from that time forward trying to think like a system. As though I were a system. And it has been difficult even for me, with all the background that I have in my life as a scientist and a human person, to get my human head around some of the Biosystem needs for its survival.

So it’s hard, but that is an entirely different subject that has nothing to do with the fact that we will soon have to choos. In fact, we are choosing every day — with everything we do. What do we want more – compassionate recognition of the effect our behaviors have on other people and all sentient beings? Or, like a child, do we want what we want — no matter what?

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

A copy of this podcast can be downloaded at:http://traffic.libsyn.com/fff/Bare_Bones_Biology_307_-_I_Didnt_Do_That.mp3

 

 

Bare Bones Biology 268 – Systems

I capitalize Life to represent the emergent property of the Biosystem. And life is used represent individual living things.

 The green bits were edited out of the podcast because of time restraints.

 

How to say it, that’s the problem, and in five minutes or less, it’s difficult. So today I will need to strain my brain and yours, because I want to talk about systems – real natural systems. I will reference a “A Systems View of Life,” co-written by one of the speakers at a previous Bioneers, that I have not yet read, and a book entitled “Linked” that I have listened to about 5 times and benefited every time.

 

A naturally evolving/evolved system is a set of objects /nodes/things linked together in all or nearly all dimensions by processes or other manifestations of energy. The nodes and links of an  evolved system work together to generate a unitary emergent property (properties/characteristics/phenotypes) that is/are useful to the environment within which the  system evolved/evolves by natural selection.
Ocamora-ASC_8719RSs

Implications of this definition follow:

 

  1. 1. Every kind of system has unique characteristics (emergent properties) that were of value to the environment within which the system evolved. For example, you are a system that consists of subsystems, your emergent properties are Homo sapien. You are a subsystem of our current social system, the corposystem, that is a subsystem of the Biosystem. The defining emergent properties of the corposystem are growth by domination for profit. The corposystem is a subset of the Biosystem, whose defining emergent property is Life.

 

  1. Every kind of system is unique because its unique emergent properties permit the system to fill or define a new and useful niche within the environment of its origin. If there were no unique niche available that contributes to the welfare of the parent system, then there would not be that subsystem. For example, your kidneys evolved as a subsystem of you because they are necessary for your survival. Your brain also.
  1. In this modern world we need to use that brain – all of it — both the logical, critical faculties and the emotional, instinctual understandings — if we are to survive. That’s what it’s for.

For example, if we reject basic science in favor of humanities – or if we reject humanities in favor of basic science (which is NOT engineering), then we are not using all of our brain power in the effort to survive within the Biosystem.

  1. Each system interacts with its environment through its emergent characteristics.   The emergent characteristics of our corposystem as it has evolved, no longer align with or enhance the welfare of the Biosystem. This means the corposystem is in competition with the Biosystem. Competition is not the natural order of success. Competition leads to extinction of one or other of the partners. Success in the Biosystem requires balance among the parts (think again of your kidney).

Because the corposystem and the Biosystem are not aligned, and in fact are in competition, therefore they cannot both survive unless we decide to use our brain to force a change in the emergent properties (the behaviors) of the corposystem.

5 – The function of a system is to perpetuate itself. If it can’t do this, it will die. One implication of this reality is — if you have been raised within the corposystem — then you have been trained to behave in ways that benefit the corposystem, and our evolved human social system will induce or force you, in many and subtle ways, to behave in ways that promote growth by domination for money.

 For example, one of the ways the corposystem exerts this pressure is to start an argument over some issue of great importance, and then refuse to pemit us to discuss it because it is “controversial.” Especially if it is NOT controversial but factual, the corposystem is afraid of it. If we don’t discuss it, then we cannot align it with the needs of the Biosystem, and our behaviors will support the corposystem world view rather than sustain the Biosystem. It would be like the kidney competing with the rest of your body.

 Ocamora-ASC_8563RLSsTake climate change for example. There is no doubt about climate change. It’s a fact. The only doubt is what we will do about it. To defend itself from this fact (that would require the corposystem to shrink rather than grow), the corposystem first created a fake controversy. But facts always trump propaganda in the long run, and now the corposystem has been forced to take that issue seriously. So the new corposystem propaganda seems to be revolving around schemes intended to make money by promoting climate-change-related growth of businesses and charitable organizations.   The corposystem is based in growth. The growth of the corposystem destroys the Biosystem as we know it.

The Biosystem is changing in effort to maintain its viable balance, and as a result the productivity of the Biosystem is falling and will continue to fall, no matter what we do. Unless we can stop corposystem growth. That is how the Biosystem stays balanced. It is now out of balance and changing to a different climatic form. That’s how the Biosystem gets rid of problem subsystems.

My goal is to help grow a NEW human social SYSTEM to replace the corposystem. The emergent properties of the new system must be sustainability and resilience (at least). This can only be accomplished if we align our behaviors (not our emotions or our beliefs, but our behaviors) with the needs of the Biosystem.

And that is what basic science (not technology) is for. As for systems, our understanding of systems will not save us any more than our understanding of gravity or thermodynamics can save us, nor can technology within the corposystem, because technology serves the emergent characteristics of whatever system is using it.

Systems is just another fact of Life. It can help us align our behaviors – that’s what basic science (not technology) is for.

The corposystem will die in any case, because it is dedicated to overcome the Biosystem using domination and growth. The questions now are: 1) Will the corposystem damage our Biosystem to the extent humans cannot survive in it? And 2) Will we be able to step outside the corposystem world view and grow a new human social system that is sustainable?

 

This is Bare Bones Biology, a production of FactFictionFancy.wordpress.com and KEOS radio, 89.1 FM in Bryan, Texas.

 

A copy of this podcast can be downloaded at:http://traffic.libsyn.com/fff/Bare_Bones_Biology_267_-_Systems.mp3

 

References

The Systems View of Life, by Fritjof Capra and Peter Luigi Luisi, Cambridge University Press. 2014.

Linked by Albert-László Barabási. Perseus, Cambridge, MA, 2002

Knowledge and Wisdom

BUILDING A WISE SOCIAL PARADIGM

© 2015, Dr. M. Lynn Lamoreux
A Work in Progress: If you have a question or comment, or if you find something that needs to be referenced or defined or linked, and is not so indicated, please let me know.

I hope the colors come through onto the FFF page. (oh, yuck, they didn’t, ask me for a pdf if you want to see it as envisioned. If you wait until tomorrow it will have pictures.
Words in green, to be defined. In red, provide reference, In blue, provide link
_____________

150516-BrazosWaterfall-asc_6407RLSs copyFingers and toes stiff with cold, I sit in a cabin in a canyon, trying to squeeze enough energy out of my little solar system to operate a computer. Outside, cedar and pine softly sigh as the canyon breathes gently in the energy of the sunrise that finally bestows its welcome heat and light upon my desk. I watch as bubble after bubble forms at the bottom of a glass of cold water that is sitting in the sunlight.

The sun shines everywhere . . . (even) to the ravines and valleys of the mountains and streams.*

I step outside to warm myself.
____________________

Any person who believes that she has the right answers, doesn’t.
No person is God, and whatever it is that gives me these insights first thing in the morning when I wake up – that also is not God. Neither is any human knowledge or insight, because the human brain is not physically big enough to encompass the whole reality of God. Unless possibly God is using this vehicle of the Biosystem to implement Its vision/mission.

Because of our ignorance relative to the mind of God, it is critically important for humans to acknowledge the wisdom of age. Wise elders know they are not Gods (consider the Dalai Lama). Wise elders understand human limitations among the powers that generate our environments. And some wise elders can teach us to ask wise questions. Actually, everyone can contribute to the human process of generating wisdom, both individual and communal wisdom, because dumb questions are almost always as helpful in this process as are wise ones. That’s a good thing, because extremely few human young are wise.

In India, I understand, the custom is or was (Joseph Campbell) for sages to answer or ask questions for discussion and consideration. In the North American Onandaga (Oren Lyons) it is or was the custom for the wise women to select the chiefs (who could be removed for cause) and the chiefs to discuss tribal concerns in terms of what is best for the whole community unto the seventh generation. (I have heard that the Dalai Lama considers 700 generations as part of our communal obligations.)

In the corposystem, whoever is more powerful decides all the answers, usually before the questions have been raised. The corposystem will cite “Evolution,” which it defines as “survival of the fittest,” as its authority to behave in this fashion. However, the corposystem fails to define “fitness” in its claim to authority, and in any case, survival of the fittest is NOT how the “Law of Life” functions to maintain the Biosystem, though the corposystem has unfortunately trained us (both the “good guys” and the “bad guys” – that means you, whoever you are in our western culture) to believe that survival of the “fittest” is how the world works.

It’s not. It may be how the corposystem functions; it is not how the world works, or even the universe for you who prefer to study physics rather than the more complex and, therefore more confusing and interesting,world of Biology.

Unfortunately, in our culture, because we do understand the corposystem quite well, we believe in survival of the fittest as re-interpreted by the corposystem, and we use that meme to define evolution, which is not the same thing. At least not unless we can define fitness, and that would require us to study the Law of Life.

But we don’t study the real Law of Life because we believe we already know.

This unexamined assumption seems to be so engrained in the world view of both the “good guys” and the “bad guys” that I believe it to be the fatal flaw of our corposystem culture. For more information, I recommend “Powers of the Weak” relative to human power, and I recommend my chapter on the Law of Life, relative to Biosystem power.

1 – In short, if we decide to sustain ourselves within the only home that we have, we require a different paradigm, and the new paradigm must conform our human power to the Law of Life. Or, if we can’t do that, then we must define fitness in a way that conforms to the welfare of the Biosystem and to the human wisdom that is available.

# # #

Wisdom fact-checks everything it knows – even its own insights. In my generation we tried to embed that bit of wisdom into the rule of law of the corposystem (Precautionary Principle) but the corposystem refused to ask the right questions because the answers to these questions would interfere with profits, and the defined primary purpose of every corporation and even the UN is to behave in ways that generate the power of money.

2- The second task of our new paradigm, therefore, must be to define our new human paradigm around a more sustainable human quality than money. Perhaps wisdom?

# # #

Wisdom seems to be a creation of the human mind, and the human mind is just another system (all of LIFE is built around nested systems) that functions as do all systems by generating links, in this case among bits of biochemically encoded information, including knowledge, inborn (inherited) instincts and the world view that is given to us by our environment.

The human mind grows, during our lifetimes, more wise (if conditions permit it) using different ideas, understandings and facts that are in the conscious mind, and in our instincts and memories as well, making a web of cross-connections, as is true in any naturally evolved system (Law of Life: Levels of Organization, Systems). When questions are asked or the when some problem is confronted, the ideas, understandings and facts make cross-connections that generate a whole Worldview that is greater than and different from all the inputs added together. All world views are rational within the environment many world views are not wise, perhaps if the environment changes or our education is flawed relative to the current environment. Because no two environmental experiences are the same, therefore no two world views are identical, and, as Joseph Campbell has said, (get accurate quote, the mind can run on to flights of fancy)

I believe this self-sustaining mental system is the probable source of mysticism, religion, and the answers to questions asked, and the insights that I get in the morning after a night of dreaming. In other words, I believe these various kinds of “aha” experiences are very likely emergent properties of our brain system. Therefore our wisdom or lack of wisdom, especially in humans, is dependent on our education, and is very firmly attached to our rational world view, because without a rational world view we cannot sustain our “self.”

However, we are human, not the Biosystem, and we cannot impose our human emergent insights upon the system of LIFE, because LIFE is bigger, stronger and has a lot more systemic interactions than we have, and it doesn’t care what we think (as other humans actually do, regardless of what they may say). The Biosystem ignores our desires and opinions; it only follows its own Rule of LIFE.

In other words, whenever we believe ourselves to be omniscient or omnipotent, we are not being wise or realistic. Wisdom is not big-headed, it is not power unless it is put to use within an appropriate environment. Wisdom is well- informed, and does relate itself to our (changing) environment, but it is not useful to the community unless we-the-community agree TOGETHER to use it.

Individual wisdom is an emergent quality or characteristic of one individual, but communal wisdom can emerge at a higher level if the individuals involved remain connected by useful discussion or questions or education. Communal wisdom links the qualities that are available within the whole community by the asking and answering of questions (and their discussion) until the entire community becomes wise at a higher level (or not), and perhaps that is the definition of “fitness” – an emergent property of the community as a whole that is necessary for our survival within the Biosystem.

The corposystem, to the contrary, imagines itself to be fit because it was temporarily strong within the environment in which resources were plentiful. When the environment changes, if our wisdom is not up to the task, then we become no longer fit. This is now happening.

3- Thus the third characteristic that must be considered in building our new paradigm is a broad one – education in all its forms – and it must be guided by both the Law of Life, which IS our higher power, and those human instincts upon which we want to base our new human social paradigm, to replace the unsustainable themes of the corposystem, power, growth and money.

# # #

We-the-system only can work with what’s already in our system or available in the environment, so it’s very important that our wisdom must be fact-checked and/or tested by experience, preferably the experiences of many individuals over long periods of time (history), and/or by the scientific method (which is basically the same thing, codified). And it is also true that human wisdom cannot be omniscient because, for the most simple reason, we don’t have enough neural connections, even as communities, to understand all the connections of all the universe. Much less described the links. And certainly not to know the future, except in terms of the past and present.

How does this relate to the Law of Life (that is, to the natural processes that generate time and change)?
My first answer would be to recognize how those processes work as it has been shown by our fact-base, which is provided by science and history. That is, to apply factual/experiential questions to the basic root processes of nature that we cannot change, that created humans in the first place. To do that, I must have in my head an understanding of those processes. Then at that point I ask the questions, I ask them via science and history and of LIFE and whatever else is knowable and relevant.

4- Our fourth task must be to develop a reliable fact base list-for-discussion of things we cannot do even though we can imagine them. Our fact base will change a bit as the environment changes, but at this time the number one criterion must be to avoid further overpopulation of humans because overpopulation is likely destroy any chance we have of building a sustainable new paradigm.

# # #

What happens during overpopulation events? Because there is no doubt we are experiencing an overpopulation event, and no rational person who understands simple math can deny that is a fact. I answer this question as it has been observed and recorded by science and history. Very briefly, among other things, the social network/system/interactions break down. This is happening to us now.

For many decades I have asked the question: why are we knowingly colluding in our own destruction, in the face of all the scientific knowledge and the history and wisdom that all proclaim clearly that we are using our technologieal power to destroy ourselves, at a time when we have already available the technological power to save ourselves?

I can answer in many ways, but it’s important to say that our overpopulation would not have happened in a stable society that had maintained respect for science and for its own wisdom, and of course that answer brings us to question education. But education, also part of the social system, also breaks down in overpopulation events.

And then I think about human youth. Especially human youth in overpopulation events. They lack both wisdom and history (especially in our culture that is intentionally erasing these things). They believe themselves to be right (or wrong) by the criteria of their own immature world view, without accessing other wisdoms, and so they set about to “fix” things all over again in the same ways that didn’t work the last time we tried. This is probably an evolved advantage to the species, because wisdom can be very set-in-stone and relate to a historic environmental reality. When the environment moves toward change, then new ideas are imported into the system by the young. But, as in all things natural, sustainability lies in maintaining the balance, and as a culture in this paradigm we are not even trying to do that. The young are simply doing more and harder what is required by the old corposystem paradigm that is based in power and money obtained through growth. That paradigm is what caused our current difficulties, so I say (over and over and over —) — it won’t work. But there are so many young that the elders cannot be heard above the fray.

With overpopulation comes a vast breakdown in (among other things) the balance (without balance within the Law of Life, remember there is no hope for sustainability) between wisdom and the “right/wrong” worldviews of youth. Another thing that happens with overpopulation is a breakdown in the balance of power to make things happen, because in spite of the corposystem denial, true power lies more in numbers and in behaviors than in money (or wisdom).

Therefore, rather than the elder explaining why this way doesn’t work, and how we have tried it this way so many times through the millennia and eons, and what we can determine of the expected results using computers and good data and science and the precautionary principle – in spite of all this, the cycle merely repeats and repeats, because the youth can’t hear. They are determined to learn by their own experience, and human experiences include a component of instinct that is biochemically encoded in the body and therefore does not change in response to elder wisdom.

Even progress (if any) is not either/or, good/bad. It’s a cycle in time, which is to say, spiral, and it depends NOT upon what we do to change anything now, but primarily on how our behaviors change the environment in which the next generation grows its own world view.

And that is how overpopulation leads to cultural breakdown. NO MATTER WHAT YOU TRY SO HARD TO DO TO STOP IT. The balance is lost (in the human situation) between wisdom and the forces of of change.

# # #

1504021-Bitsy_-ASC_6481RSsWhile I was writing the above, Bitsy worked out the main part of the trail the packrats use to get into the cabin. Bitsy and I sent them packing last year, and the wise adults remembered that experience. But, as always, this year’s youth are taking the risks, exploring new territories and increasing the population in the cabin, even in the face of the inevitable outcome. Bitsy is now outside following the trail the other way. Pack rats are not as smart as humans, but they are very fast, so she may not get them.

Humans can think about the trap we have fallen into, and think about the difference between a planned, co-existence within the Biosystem, and our accelerating corposystem battle against the Biosystem, that results in massive suffering, if only we are wise enough to make that choice. If we do choose, that will be evolutionary history; but it cannot be done by working within the corposystem paradigm. Quite a few groups are trying, but it’s too late. It won’t work fast enough to prevent incredible overpopulation and massive acceleration of the violence required to maintain the corposystem growth paradigm. We humans have run out of eons in which to make up our minds whether we would rather have a struggle for fame, fortune and human power, or a reasonably comfortable and peaceful new social paradigm that is sustainable unto the seventh generation. Or the seven hundredth.

If we want to IMPLEMENT a new paradigm, the necessary first step is to reduce our population to a level that is sustainable, and proceed now to do this in a compassionate way before the war arm of the corposystem ratchets up to a level of conflict that we cannot survive. Because saving all human cells is impossible in any case, and if it were possible it would ONLY INCREASE OUR COMMUNAL LEVEL OF SUFFERING.

If we continue to refuse the option of reducing our numbers, then the Law of Life will do it for us – already is. We will find the BIOSYSTEM solution a good deal more painful than asking well defined questions, based in science and history and the wisdom traditions, discussing the answers, and working together as only humans can to transform our intelligence into action. These are our strengths – right now we are riding our weaknesses into oblivion. But all the wisdom and intelligence and technology in the world is only play-time in the absence of behaviors that impact the Law of Life. As far as the Law is concerned, not deciding is the same as deciding to not.

# # #

1504021-Bitsy_-ASC_6470RLSsAnd while we were having fun thinking, the migrating hummingbirds have come back to the canyon today, and some kind of flycatcher bird is building its nest in the gable of our cabin. The sunpower charged up both my laptops, and now the sun is setting, the cold air flowing up the other side of the canyon, and I pull on a couple of layers of sweaters. And Bitsy ALMOST caught her prey — right before my eyes!!! Not a packrat. It’s a squirrel, living under the house, a ground squirrel, probably the same one I saved from drowning in the water tank last year. And it reminded me pack rats can carry Chagas disease; Peromyscus mice, Hanta virus; ground squirrels, the black plague.

Instinct is not an option, knowledge is useful; wisdom is a choice.

__________________
(*Paraphrase from Lotus Sutra. I think there is something like this in the New Testament and the original Bible. And the Lotus Sutra sounds to this basic biologist a lot like the concept of emergent properties.)

Bare Bones Biology 245 – Dancing Inside of Life

As stated in my blog last week, I’m beginning a series of opinion pieces (my opinions) in response to the opinion pieces of others. This week I respond to Paul Kingsworth, writing at http://www.tricycle.com/special-section/witness. I had so much to say that it was impossible to put in the KEOS podcast version. Below is the full version, with the parts in green indicating what was omitted from the podcast.

Much of our confusion about climate change is caused by our current cultural rejection of science in favor of human emotional solutions to nonhuman non-emotional realities. However, the realities are not so complicated, and if we are truly looking for answers, reality-based answers are not hard to understand.

Our current generations seem often to image science as a destructive demon, rather than as a tool that we are using to understand the reality of natural law. This demonic image does not relate to the reality that basic science (defined as the effort to understand reality using the scientific method) is not technology (defined as the use of natural laws to serve the needs and desires of humans), and basic science is neither destructive nor constructive. It is the human hand that makes good or bad use of our knowledge; and the Biosystem simply accommodates itself to whatever happens.

We humans don’t like this. And so we throw our little tantrums trying, in effect, to blame Life for being what it is, and use our tools to force it to our will, rather than using science and technology to flourish within the limitations imposed by the nature of the Biosystem.

Many of us, including the author of the Tricycle article to which this post is a response (http://www.tricycle.com/special-section/witness, by Paul Kingsnorth), have learned that our human desire to dominate does not work, when applied to the Life System known as Earth. Therefore, many of us are trying to explain this in our different ways. Below is my response upon reading the above article. This is not a criticism; it is a conversational response from my perspective.

1) We cannot solve prob140825-sunrise-ASC_0993slems outside of or beyond ourselves by trying to control them. God and Nature are well beyond the levels of human control.

2) It is a misrepresentation to say that the nature of Nature changes. The nature of Nature does not change, and that is a good thing: first it means that Life is possible; second it means that we can understand what to expect from nature. The more we know about the unchangeable Laws of Life, the better we can plan our human cultures, actions, and other behaviors so that they nurture rather than damage the current manifestation of the Life of Earth.

However — and I am not nit-picking here, because it is very important that we understand the difference between the nature of nature, that is natural law, and the particular manifestation of natural Law that is Life. It is true that the most basic (and unchanging) Fact of Life is that it can and does constantly change in a responsive dance with and within its environment. Thus we can count on change and we can learn (that’s what basic science is good for) what the Biosystem requires of us, if we are to avoid generating life-threatening changes such as climate change or worse.

3) Life does change, to save itself from death, whenever that is possible. That is one definition of Life. And the unavoidable implication is that death is a necessary component of the nature of Life. That does not mean that extinctions are the endings of Life. On the contrary, they are an extreme form of the ongoing rebalancing of Life.

We cannot change the nature of Life, or the fact that Life requires death in order to continue balancing itself in changing environmental conditions. But we certainly could nurture the maintenance of a balanced environment, so as to reduce the need for changes in the Life of the Biosystem, as we do for individual human lives every day. And we absolutely should consider doing so in our efforts to understand the holistic meaning of compassion. If only because we are human and that’s what humans do.

4) As humans, we also must achieve a dynamic balance among the things we choose to do and believe. If we want to survive, save our communities, our species, then we must modify our behaviors. That is what living things do to avoid death. Indeed it is the most basic nature of Life. The idea that we can change how Life functions to stay alive (that is that we can change the nature of Life) is pure human ego. We cannot. Nor can we change our basic human makeup. What we can do, because humans can learn and understand, is learn to change our behaviors so as to avoid threatening the current manifestation of the Life of the Biosystem.

5) To maintain itself as a living entity, the Earth has “started over” several times to rebalance itself from the bottom up. We refer to these events as mass extinctions. Earth is an unimaginably complex system, but obviously is capable of reaching a dynamic balance that can sustain itself — because that is what it is doing when subunits of the Life system crash in the extinctions. However, given an environment that does not threaten its existence, it’s not usually necessary to crash the whole system in order to rebalance it; rebalancing is happening all the time. It’s what Life is. (An excellent background reference for this systems function of Life is The Great Courses, A New History of Life.)

6) All that above DOES NOT MEAN THERE IS NOTHING WE CAN DO ABOUT OUR PLIGHT. The previous extinction events occurred at times when the creatures did not have human brains capable of studying the nature of Life and figuring out what behaviors we are doing that cause death or unbalance.

Because we DO KNOW, through the good basic science – if we are willing to study the known facts of Life and not only contemplate our own human navel – that we can change our destiny at any time, by changing our individual and communal behaviors that are specifically threatening to the Life of Earth.

We can develop our intellectual brain. Instead of trying to be heroes, we can work humbly to learn how to better understand the factual needs of the Biosystem for its own healthy balance, sustainability and resilience.

At the same time, we can develop our compassionate brain/body. If we are to practice true compassion, we must, when there is a conflict between human life and the Life of Earth, we must find a way, or look for ways to nurture the Life of Earth, even over “human rights” and avoid knee-jerk responses that further threaten the balance of Life.

This is not a passive acceptance of reality. Not at all. It is learning as much as we possibly can about the reality of Life that contains the reality of humans. And learning how to participate positively, rather than negatively in our dance with Life.

7) We humans have been “gifted” with brains that are capable of figuring out what we could be doing to nurture ourselves, not by trying to change an unchangeable system but by fitting ourselves into the balancing act that is necessary to maintain our lives as part of the Life of Earth, because we cannot live without the Life of Earth, and it is our behaviors that are changing the environment, and the changing environment requires the Earth to change itself in order to keep itself alive. The bottom line is that the Life of Earth will not choose our welfare over its own. And it is bigger and more powerful, in a million ways, than we are.

The point here is – if we decide to educate ourselves sufficiently to understand the real problem – we can start thinking and talking together about real practical solutions rather than continue trying to dominate the unchangeable nature of nature. Which can’t be dominated.

And while sitting, we could wonder why we seem to have such a need to dominate;

2013-01-13 Cannon River2RFsand learn to recognize that “need” when we see it in ourselves and others.

8) We know and have known, at least during all of my long life, that what we are doing wrong is called overpopulation. Overpopulation is defined as generating more organisms of a species than there are resources available for its survival within the normal environment.

The resources are all those other species that we are destroying, and we are destroying them primarily by taking their food (and other things they need), because we are using all the earth to provide food (and other forms of energy) for ourselves, because there are not enough energy resources on earth to feed all of us humans, as well as the other species. I wrote that sentence as a cycle intentionally.

Overpopulation is normal and has been studied, and because we have the brain and the science and the technology we can do (or could be doing) what other species cannot. We ccould decide to save ourselves before the Earth saves itself by eliminating us. We could voluntarily change our normal behaviors in order to cut the cycle of overpopulation and live within our means.

Cycles can be changed, but we cannot avoid paying for our hubris, and nothing can change overnight. In other words, we can’t “win” any battle against the normal functions of the Biosystem, but we could cooperate in the rebalancing.

And while sitting we can wonder why we believe that it is our obligation to win?
And learn to recognize that compulsion when we feel it.

9) Communally we have chosen to use technologies for domination, rather than cooperation. We have many reasons/excuses for this, and they all make good sense humanly. But nature is not human and doesn’t care about our reasons, our egos, or our human emotions or aspirations or who is to blame for what — unless those traits threaten the Life of Earth. At that point, nature responds (and is now responding) by protecting its own life.

Instead of continuing this losing fight to the death, we can dedicate our genius to understand the fact-based, nonhuman needs of nature and helping to fulfill them. If you haven’t read Eaarth (Bill McKibben) you could start there, with the hard copy book so you can follow up on his references cited.

And while sitting we can wonder why we would rather fight than collaborate.

We are what we are; It is what It is.
Shed some tears.
Carry on working for the welfare of all sentient beings.
Intelligently, compassionately, and without regard for the outcome.

10) If we ever decide we care more about the community of humans within the Life of Earth, more than we care about our own egos, rationalizations, hopes, aspirations and emotions, then we can readily (though not easily) bring our behaviors under our own control, because we already know very precisely what the primary problem is. It is overpopulation, overgrowth, and a bushel-full of other sins that arise directly therefrom.

“When threatened
by fear and desire
let ego go.”
(A Joseph Campbell Companion, Diane Osbon, page 144)

To me, most of basic science (not technology used to dominate, but basic science that is used to understand) seems a recognition of natural law that has many parallels in Buddhist teachings, which are after all, in large part also based in natural law.
As is the Biosystem.
And human beings.

Dr. M. Lynn Lamoreux

A copy of the podcast can be obtained at:

References:

http://www.tricycle.com/special-section/witness
The Great Courses, A New History of Life
Eaarth by Bill McKibben
A Joseph Campbell Companion, Diane Osbon

Photographs

Winter Picture courtesy of: vairochanafarm.wordpress.com/
Mountain Picture – © Photos by Lynn

Bare Bones Biology 242 – Fracking III repost

So here’s my answer to the question asked by the young man at the airing of the documentary Gasland in College Station in 2011 (https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2015/01/14/). Yes indeed, young man, every industry is having problems. That’s because the question is not fundamentally about industries. It’s about the universal law of cause and effect. About the common root cause of the effects that you don’t like, and the bigger question is whether you will decide to take actions that will make things better — or carry on doing the same behaviors that caused the problem in the first place.

No living thing on this earth has ever had the power, in the long term, to get whatever it wants without doing the behaviors (that is the causes) that will bring the effects that we want. I150118-Sette-ASC_3695RLSsf we sincerely want to solve the problems of industry and their root cause, then problem solving requires, first, knowing what we want; second, knowing what stands between us and getting what we want; and third, understanding that many actions are possible and useful for now, but most of them will cause more harm than good for future generations if we don’t know how the system functions.

So it’s your choice:
You can do nothing, or you can do something.
If you decide to do something, you can decide to:
Do something that will make you feel better;
or you can
Do something that will probably be a little more frustrating but will actually help improve the conditions.

The living earth ecosystem, not industry but the living Earth ecosystem – that’s what produces our air, water, earth and energy.

 

The living Earth ecosystem does not function by human values or aspirations. The living earth ecosystem functions very elegantly, incredibly, but definitely on the basis of cause and effect and according to the natural laws of physics and biology. So if we want to influence the living earth ecosystem we must do the actions, the causes, that will cause the effect we want. And not do the actions that cause adverse effects.

 

That’s all there is to it; and we know enough to do it; and there is no other way to get what we say we want.

For the past 100 years at least we have clearly understood our problem. We are unbalancing our ecosystem by taking away too much of the resources it needs to maintain its own balance of life, and using those resources for activities that poison the cycles required for its health and ours.

 

We know how to fix that. We fix it by reducing our growth of all kinds, because it is our growth that consumes the resources that the ecosystem needs to maintain its own healthy balance. There is no other way to get what we say we want, but we refuse to do it.

That’s why the oorporations don’t want us to understand our human problem. They would be required to help grow healthy communities rather than simply use the productivity of the existing communities to feather their own pocketbooks.

So your choice, young man, now, is to decide whether you want to make the earth more healthy, or if you would prefer to spend your time:

 

Doing nothing;
Trying to believe the corposystem fairy tales;
Resorting to powers like prayer or spirituality, that we cannot control, while ignoring or mis-using our own personal and social power;
Having fun;
Being miserable;
Blaming someone else;
Fighting over issues that will not change the outcomes;
Debating issues that will not change the outcomes;
Complaining;
Crying;
Pretending the glass is half full;
Pretending the glass is half empty;
Trying to win something;
Or trying yet harder to believe in the human value system that caused the problem in the first place.

Well, here’s my helpful hint. Your first next step should be to learn the difference between measurable facts, propaganda and opinions, including your own opinions.

 

At the same time you should:

 

(1) begin studying the laws of biology. The most basic laws, not all the details people try to befuddle you with. You will not learn about ecosystem health by studying physics or even physiology. It’s the ecosystem that’s sick, not a human or a proton.  A completely free download of the Bare Bones Ecology Energy Handbook is available on my website; I don’t even keep track of who downloads these.

 

(2) Stop arguing or fighting over anything, and begin problem solving discussions. Preferably with someone who read the same handbook. https://factfictionfancy.files.wordpress.com/2010/06/pages_std-portrait-barebonesecology100627-finalfinalprinter.pdf

(3) Stop doing or supporting those actions that cause harm to the life of the ecosystem.

You’re right. Fracking is a symptom and not the cause of our problems. Stopping or limiting or confining fracking will not solve all the problems. Neither would anything else solve all the problems, instantly. Doing nothing will definitely not solve all the problems, and stopping or limiting or confining  fracking could prevent terminal destruction of the earth’s remaining fresh water, though it won’t improve the dirty air that now pollutes our beautiful Brazos Valley.

This is Bare Bones Biology, a production of http://FactFictionFancy.Wordpress.com and KEOS radio, 89.1 FM in Bryan Texas. A download of this radiocast available at:


traffic.libsyn.com/fff/Bare_Bones_Biology_242_-_Fracking_iii_repost.mp3
 

Links, References and Trackbacks:
https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2015/01/14/
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1558250/
https://factfictionfancy.files.wordpress.com/2010/06/pages_std-portrait-barebonesecology100627-finalfinalprinter.pdf

Key Words: fresh water, fracking, propaganda, difference between measurable facts and opinions, industry, root cause, living earth ecosystem, human values, law of cause and effect, resources, poison, balance of life, growth, healthy balance, corporation, biology, physics, physiology.

Bare Bones Biology 240 – Reality Check

FAX to BLM 140812 (FAX receipt filed)

120115_buzzards_ASC_4671Ss

U.S. Bureau of Land Management
New Mexico State Office
Fax: 505-954-2010
• I am protesting parcels NM-2014-001, 004 through 015, which are in the Rio Chama Watershed and East of the Continental Divide.

I am an 80-year-old retired career basic scientist who planned to spend the rest of my life in the Brazos Valley of Texas and was forced to move because of the destruction of the quality of the air that was threatening my health. I am not alone. Large segments of the American people are becoming homeless or mobile. It is excellent business for the travel trailer parks, but not for building healthy productive communities.

I lived in this location in Texas for 35 years, and invested much of my life savings in four pieces of property in Texas. When I arrived in Texas the air was always as crystalline as that in northern New Mexico on a good day like today. When I left, the air was consistently, daily, gray with a dank smog that damaged my lungs and other organs.

This fug is still there on most days, over the entire region of the hill country and eastward, and up to about 200 feet elevation, and of course it continues to get worse as all those wells leak (I was threatened when I photographed effluent being poured into the local creek). This change took (for the worst of it) about 5 years and was very clearly, the most of it, the result of intensive fracking north of us.

In addition, of course, I know many other people who owned land and homes in the Brazos Valley of Texas who have had personal health problems, have been forced out of their rural homes, have lost their jobs to people brought in from outside to work the oil and gas jobs, and even have observed flights of birds drop from the air, killed or disabled by the fumes from those local processing stations the gas companies try to hide back in the boonies. I can document these things.

Some of the negative effects of fracking are very well known and well documented.. This destruction does not sit there on top of the BLM lands. Among these problems documented in regions of fracking, worldwide. Destruction of air, water and the almost completely unstudied underground biosystem are among them. Earthquakes that indicate unknown kinds of damage to underground bio and geo systems.

Our air water and soil are the commons. They belong to the people – not to the gas or oil companies, and not to the BLM. Money is not more important than the common welfare, and a little more money now will not solve the human problem of depleting resources. In fact, it will make the problem worse for children who are born today, because we did not try to solve the real human problem, but only tried to do more of what caused the problem in the first place.

I am a basic career biologist – not a technician or a technologist. Regardless of the opinions of technicians and technologists, I and other basic scientists know that what we do to the earth today we can never undo. Before we do anything we should deeply consider what will be the effect on the future of humans in New Mexico and beyond, because the effects of this toxic technology are not only local. But expand far across the land air and water, and into the future.

I sincerely hope I will not need to sell out and move away from New Mexico as fracking continues, but I hesitate to invest further – to buy a property where I can live in winter – until I find out to what extent New Mexico is willing to protect her citizens and the natural wealth of her Biosystems from fly-by-night developers who bring temporary jobs, use up the infrastructure of the communities, and then sell off a portion gas and oil overseas and go away to feed off of the next community. It is the function of government to protect its citizens from these snake-oil salesmen who promise temporary riches rather than help to grow sustainable communities for the welfare of all the people.

I have purchased land here. Again, I hope this is a place where I can live healthy to the end of my days.

Dr. M. Lynn Lamoreux
Lumberton, NM 87528

Copy to:
Rio Arriba Concerned Citizens
POB 934
Abiquiu, NM 87510

This is Bare Bones Biology, a production of FactFictionFancy.Wordpress.com and KEOS Radio, 89.1 in Bryan, TX

A copy of the podcast can be downloaded at:

Again, this link does not appear to respond to my efforts to open it, but the address is:
traffic.libsyn.com/fff/Bare_Bones_Biology_240F_-_Reality_Check.mp3
You have to precede the above with http://

References

For a more inclusive and very well informed account of the biological and human consequences of fracking go to Alternative Radio and download the audio or the transcript (or both) of Fracking and Public Health, Sandra Steingraber. http://www.alternativeradio.org/products/stes001

And while you are there: http://www.alternativeradio.org/products/lint001
Thomas Linzety. Corporations, communities and the environment.