Bare Bones Biology 296 – Suicide by Corposystem

160215-mapletreebud-asc_2612_1RSsThe universe we live in is composed of interacting, naturally evolved systems. We did not create this miracle, but we are part of it; and there are rules, laws of nature that we are slowly learning to understand. And the worst part — it seems we must ever and again, both as individuals with thinking minds, and as social systems, relearn all the same old painful lessons that have been learned the hard way so many times before by others of our kind. We have guides to the “laws” of human behaviors encoded in the structures of our wisdom traditions.

 

The Law of Life itself on this earth is basically simple and is framed by the balance of energy and entropy; of work and information; and the systems that naturally arise within that frame. This universe is what it is; we add our own complications. In fact it is part of our nature as living things to add complications. Complications are a part of evolution. But we have this nice brain and all those wisdom traditions to help us, not to mention modern science, all studying the same universe. You’d think we would learn the rules.

 

As individuals, we humans are naturally evolved systems. We are composed of naturally evolved systems and we are parts of the whole naturally evolved system that maintains itself by balancing the relationships among energy and entropy using the natural laws that regulate work and information. This fact has implications.

One of these implications is that we embody functions within and among the systems. Whether or not we want to. And the better we can manage these functions the less suffering we will cause to others. Or actually, I should say the more suffering we will prevent, because if we were to use our beautiful brain to manage our behaviors within the wisdom traditions and the wisdom of science (I am not talking about technology here, but our knowledge of cause and effect) we could be preventing suffering rather than causing it.

 

You already know my personal prime directive to do more good than harm in my time on this earth. This kind of aspiration is not possible to accomplish if we refuse to see the downside as well as the up side of our behaviors. For me, figuring out the meaning of good and harm is enough of a challenge to keep me going until someone else takes over, but I do have one important guide in the effort. I know that I cannot change the natural laws, and therefore I must align my plans and behaviors with what is, and not with what I wish it were.

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I am tempted to say the four noble laws of nature, but some out there may not have a sufficient sense of humor, or is it irony, to enjoy that line. Oh, let’s leave it. It is not likely to do more harm than good. How many people will read this anyhow??

 

One of the primary functions of a system is to maintain itself. You and I are naturally evolved systems composed of other systems that all function together to maintain the whole. Our respective liver, heart, digestive system, excretory system, and above all, in humans, our most highly evolved subsystem, our brain. And our mind. Part of our job of life is to take very good care of all the systems of which we are composed. For the benefit of the whole. That is, for ourselves individually, for the social systems of which we are a part: family, tribe, and now a new system that, like it or not, we are creating together, the global corposystem.

Another primary function of each naturally evolved system is to do no harm to the larger systems of which it is a part. To do good if possible. Because these are our environment, and our environment is the other half of who we are.

 

Now here’s the downside of that magnificent brain of ours and the corposystem that it is creating. The corposystem, that is us, rather than to helping to form a collaborative whole, is determined to establish domination over the Biosystem. The corposystem – in its war against the Biosystem, is making us choose.

 

In this kind of triangle, we cannot do more good than harm unless we think very deeply about the “unexpected” but not unexpectable consequences of our actions.

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

 

The podcast of this blog is available at:  http://traffic.libsyn.com/fff/Bare_Bones_Biology_296_-_Suicide_by_Corposystem.mp3

 

Communities and Evolution

Happy Days Folks,

This week I will refer you to a blog post from last year at about this time. It is even more relevant today.

https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2011/12/31/

Bare Bones Biology 088 – Evolution and Creation
KEOS FM 89.1, Bryan, Texas
Audio download is available at the below link.

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A Heads Up

Today I will treat you to an excerpt from my upcoming memoir that will be entitled “Outside the Circle.” Tomorrow I will post my weekly radio spot/blog. So far I haven’t found a way to explain what I want to express in four minutes, so today is background for you, and also the same diagram to relate back to what I said last time. This time is mostly based on my opinions; last time was mostly based in facts. Beginning next week I will go back to the interview format to post stories of people who have been growing communities in various places in the USA and abroad. We need them.

from OUTSIDE THE CIRCLE
Lynn Lamoreux
Photos by Lynn

“If you want to lay hold of your future, you need to let go of some of the things you believe about today.” Pastor Jeff Hackleman

Why?

Once upon a time a Professor friend of my father patted me on my little blond head and said:

“I think you should major in biology. I would so much like to have a secretary who actually understands all the terms and concepts of my research. You could do such a good job.”

So I majored in biology and became a secretary.

That’s just one event, of course, in a lifetime, but it illustrates one of the many influences that condition our young years to our place within our communities. That was my place. Not only me of course – that’s the way it was at that time and in that culture. A successful woman was a wife, failing that a secretary or a teacher, in any case under the control and protection of a dominant male hero. I was raised to be a successful woman; and in our culture, at that time, women were among the designated victims. Successful women performed that role well. So that’s how I grew up to interact with the world.

121202-Clubhouse_DSC2442LSsWhen I say victim1, I do not mean that I was mistreated, although of course that happens too. When I say designated victim, I’m talking about the class of people whose function is to be rescued (saved, supported, mentored) by the designated heroes of our culture. The designated heroes of my world at that time were the men. That’s how they knew to interact with the world.

When I say interact, I’m talking about all of one’s engrained behaviors that we don’t even think about. When to lower the eyes, how to stand, how we present ourselves to the world. I reacted to the world like a victim, and that is how the world saw me, not only because I was a woman but also because of my unconscious mannerisms. So long as I stayed where I belonged, I was treated just fine. Like a puppy that rolls over when threatened by a villain dog — or wiggle wiggle wiggles and licks the face of the kindly hero dog – I was welcome within the pack.

And so I went to secretarial school after graduating with a degree in biology, and then (my father’s friend having forgotten the whole thing) I got a job as a secretary at Stanford Research Institute.

Time passed.

Eventually it occurred to me that I might be better suited to the scientist part than the secretary part of the job description. And now there were women on the television who seemed not to be designated victims. So I went back to school in Biology, graduated with high qualifications, and that was when I began to learn about the many “nice” and not so nice, subtle and brutal ways that our culture molds us or if necessary forces us into one or another of its three designated roles. I call these roles the hero, the villain, the victim.

The first difficulty I recognized was me — those victim mannerisms that I had learned from the cradle. So I set about to lose them. Losing victim mannerisms is not as easy as it sounds, but it’s possible. Watch, watch, watch, what do I do, how do they react? Learn. Try again. And what happens then? Well, eventually it becomes obvious that it isn’t only me. How many times did the good-guy heroes help and help me to understand:

“You did it wrong. If you would do it the way I do you would succeed like I did.”

An impossible requirement of course. I know of one woman who followed them all into the men’s room just to maintain her place in the conversation, but I doubt that worked well either. Suffice to say, eventually I figured out that it is most often the good-guy heroes who really keep the victims in their place because heroes tend to be so dedicated to their dreams of what the world should be like that they do not see what it really is like for anyone other than themselves. Of course it is not so simple as that. The good-guys, usually other good-guys, are also responsible for opening doors for us, but we already understand that part of the equation.

I don’t have much to say about the designated villains, because they knew what they were doing and I knew what they were doing.2 It was a very straightforward and uncomplicated relationship, or it would have been except for the heroes who won’t believe that “George” could possibly be a villain because he is their friend.

But to get to the point, after I watched the many ways in which the heroes themselves were largely responsible for my role as victim, and were keeping me in that role even though I had graduated, I definitely did not want to be a “hero” in our culture, and that of course was the role I had been training for. Victim and Villain were out of the question and now I definitely did not want to be a hero. What then? Those are the available options in our American culture.

I ended up a really odd little pup who didn’t fit anyone’s idea of how someone should behave. I wouldn’t roll over and play dead for the designated villains of the world; I wouldn’t wiggle and fawn on the designated heroes; I had no desire to actually BE a designated hero – and certainly was not willing to play the role of villain or victim. And the people around me weren’t a little bit interested in the fact that I was a good scientist, because they couldn’t recognize me. To them I must have seemed rather like an attack Chihuahua that nobody takes seriously but they keep their distance just to be sure.

So to shorten this long history, they brought out the big guns to force me into line. Unfortunately for them, they never noticed that I had all the time been doing a good job and documenting that fact. So in the end they resorted to a villainous (that is, illegal) attack method, and I overpowered the compulsively helpful advice of my good-guy attorney who also would have been happier if I kept my place (victim), so I won the case and here I am.

But I was pretty disappointed all the same, because I didn’t win what I thought I had won. Naively I believed that the women, when they were admitted to the work force, would bring with them a new and more positive paradigm of human relationships. I daydreamed about it in times of the most stress. A new social order that does not require designated victims to grease the wheels of communal and economic interactions.

But that is not what happened. Instead, what I did win was the right for women to be designated heroes rather than only victims, and they came in force, actually bringing with them less compassion than the men heroes before them.

“If you had been competent (like me), you would not have had all those problems.”

Was I the only victim of this system? Of course not. It’s fair to say that all the single women and many of the married women were designated victims at that time in the history of that institution, and most of them suffered far more than I. Many left; some were truly brutalized and retreated with medical disabilities; I won the court case. I changed the world for those who followed; but I didn’t change the system. All I did was reshuffle the designation of victim.

HeroVictimVillainSo the culture changed, but the essential cultural roles did not change. We changed the designated victims, so that women (so long as they are married) now have access to the “in” group. And blacks. That’s “blacks,” but not people who are perceived as (or think of themselves as) “negroes” or “colored.” They still are designated (or self-designated) victims in our culture. Or sometimes designated (or self-designated) villains. But we maintain our cultural trinity; we have made no effort in our culture to get rid of the CAUSE of victimization.

The driving force behind our cultural trinity appears to be our reverence for “winners.” We are deeply conditioned to believe that we are NOT OK unless we are winners, and there are only two designated routes to winning – you can be a hero or you can be a villain.

Heroes become winners and feel good about themselves by helping victims. Heroes are the good-guys.
Villains become winners in ways that victimize other people. Villains are the bad-guys.

We are proud in our culture that it is possible for people to switch roles:

“Anyone can be a winner.”

But we don’t examine the harm that is done to so many by our cultural trinity that supports the for-profit community.

The imperative to be a winner keeps the masses striving – the competition supposedly makes for a better life, but in reality that compulsion to be a winner is the very keystone that permits the reins of power to take the ultimate control over us all – designated victims, villains and heroes alike. We believe so strongly that winning = good that we are willing to sacrifice our whole lives, our selves, our careers and health and happiness to be a winner or, failing that, to wiggle wiggle wiggle and lick the face of winners. We are afraid to ask questions and even more afraid of answering and discussing, for fear of not knowing everything (and yet nobody does); we are afraid to use our God-given brains when things don’t make sense; we are afraid to turn off the TV (where the reins of power most firmly attach themselves to our self image) or even to talk to people who might be different from ourselves. All for fear of not being winners.

But only the good-guys and the bad-guys actually get to be winners in our culture, even though the designated victims are the most essential. The designated victims, as you see, are necessary so that everyone else can have someone to be better than – so they can feel good about themselves. And that is probably why Americans are so very dedicated to designating victims, either at home or abroad, rather than building a new paradigm that would include discussion of our common problems and goal-centered efforts to resolve them.

I’m not saying heroes are bad. Of course we need heroes to save us from real peril. Heroes saving victims is important to the victims they save and to all of society. But it will not stop our society from creating more victims. If the people you save have not a decent life or future, then what have you won? For you and for the people you save, we need to grow a more positive communal paradigm that does not glorify the creation of losers.

In every human culture in all of history, the cultural norms and communal paradigms have been maintained by story-telling as the elders pass on their cultural myths around the campfires or on the screen porch in the evening, or as they are working at their jobs. That is education – that is the function of education, and so it would seem obvious that we should build our new paradigm around the children, during t heir education. Many, many insightful and dedicated teachers are trying to do this; are doing it. But the power to grow and build our communities is no longer primarily in the hands of parents and teachers because it is no longer they who primarily educate our children. The corposystem media now hold the reins of power. And the power and energy to grow and drive the corposystem forward through time is generated by the push and shove of victims, villains and heroes. We the people can choose to blow it up like a balloon, the corposystem, until it pops and shatters and crashes all over us – or we can withhold our energy from our unsustainable and toxic cycle, and choose to grow a sustainable way of life that is based in genuine compassion for the long-time welfare of human societies.

Earth Systems Final2 copyTurn on the television at any hour of the day or night, turn to the channels that are available free of charge, and watch for three or four hours. In it’s most raw and obvious form, this is the culture we pass to our children. Villain, victim, and ever more brutal hero. This is the culture that can control every one of us wannabe heroes by defining who and what are the winners in our world. And setting us against each other. This is the culture of designated heroes, villains and victims. Only the players change, not the roles. If we run out of victims at home, we go abroad.

But this little Chihuahua is trying to stay outside that circle; not willing to reinforce our cultural trinity; not willing to fight over nothing, or make the earth more biologically fragile for the future generations – not willing to create more victims as a result of her contribution to life as an American, as a retired volunteer do-gooder hero, or as a citizen of the world.

I want the same thing now that I wanted when I sued our institution. I want to create a more positive communal paradigm.

Addendum: I hear that the corposystem is putting a lot of funding into studies of compassion and other innate human emotions, just as they previously put a lot of funding into various other technologies (yes I think they invest money primarily if they expect to get a technological return for their big bucks). The people doing the work believe this will benefit human kind. In this culture, I think it much more likely the knowledge will be used to make money and to prevent the people from asserting their power, and I think the greed ethic and the compassion ethic cannot co-exist without doing great harm to ordinary people. So that is another area where we must be extremely careful as we grow our compassionate communities.

Bare Bones Biology 134 – Community and Ego

I had a dream last night about human ego, whatever that is, I will not try to define. In the dream, some guy was driving the bus and I was picking up the pieces. Literally, I mean, I was picking the pieces of newspaper and trash, old egg shells, gum and plastic wrappings — out from under the gas pedal — as they kept rolling back in there — while two other people sat behind, telling me what I was doing wrong, and the trash kept piling higher and deeper.

You will never guess what this dream was trying to tell me, because I didn’t until I started to write it down, and immediately came to mind my persistent question: “Why did The Creator give us our ego in the first place?” The thing causes so much pain and suffering to us and our communities, convincing us that our own belief system, our own need to be more right, is more real than reality. It isn’t, you know. Nobody is “right,” because nobody understands everything. And if we believe that our mind, emotions, intellect (reference), or our world view (reference), are more powerful than the biological reality. Well, that’s a pretty good definition of pain and suffering, now or later.

Pain is life enhancing. It guides our choice of behaviors so that we avoid drowning in the river when its currents are swirling in flood, or burning our little hands on the stove. Because we were formed within the biological community – our response to pain is biologically life enhancing.

To understand why we were given an ego is more difficult. What good is the blasted thing, if the use of it causes us emotional pain and suffering, but it doesn’t tell us what the danger is? Well, of course, that’s one function of community – to help us avoid emotional suffering by passing down the wisdom teachings of the ages. The harm caused by our ego-trips is well and often explained in all the wisdom teachings, and better behaviors described.

Maybe that’s what the ego is meant to do. Maybe our ego suffering is meant to enhance the welfare of the community by passing on some wisdom from now to benefit the future. I hope so, because our age is growing new problems faster than any before, and with these new problems, we must learn new lessons (or apply the old ones) about what not to do if we don’t want to suffer.

Our origins designed us genetically and behaviorally to live in a biosystem that functions to support life, but our human culture now has grown an artificial corposystem that functions to make money. And the power of this corposystem seems to lie mostly in our human ego needs.

So many people so filled with the fear of not being better than other people. Is that our ego? Why do we feel that we must be better than someone else? We can’t discuss the important issues, because someone might go into a one-up or one-down tizzy, or just turn their backs and walk away for fear that we might know something they don’t know. But isn’t that the point of discussion, that everyone knows more than only one? Don’t we WANT to deal with the problems? We keep saying that we do, and then the next thing you know we are debating irrelevant questions for no better reason than to satisfy our never-ending need to win. Even though the floods of climate change (climate change series Bare Bones Biology 092 through 100) are already tickling our toes – even though everyone really does know the end result of these ego trips, in our modern times, will be disaster.

So now my question is: how can we be aware of our ego, and all the negative, painful behaviors that it generates — how can we use that knowledge to grow a more positive, life-supporting human community?

Lynn Lamoreux
Photos by Lynn

This blog is an expanded version of Bare Bones Biology radio program that will play next week on KEOS Radio, 98.1 FM, Bryan, Texas. Bare Bones Biology is a completely nonprofit project. The podcast can be downloaded at

Recommended Action/Question for Discussion: I’m tempted to suggest that you start an argument and consider what methods you use to win. And what are the results. But in fact I doubt that you need to know more about how to argue. So instead I suggest you find a person with whom to discuss an issue and see how long you can keep it going without either of you having an obvious emotional reaction (because this will be a serious subject.) Maybe you could try this one – http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/11/26/why_birth_control_is_still_a_big_idea
“In the United States, especially this year, any occasion when contraceptives and public policy overlap seems to be an excuse to fight about other issues.”

Bare Bones Biology 124 – Education

Last week I said: “We begin by taking the responsibility to educate ourselves about all the many sides of the population issue.”

I said this because one of the favorite corposystem power ploys is to distract us from our goal and occupy us with fake debates that do not interfere with corposystem desire to do whatever it wants to do. This is just another version of the old “divide and conquer” ploy. People who are fighting with each other cannot solve problems, for at least two reasons. One reason is that the solution to any problem is many sided.

Debates are two-sided sound bites and fun games, if we think life is nothing more than a game of winners and losers (that is not, by the way, how evolution functions (Bare Bones Biology 088 to 091) but debates do not resolve problems. Instead they prevent people from even evaluating and discussing problems — even problems that threaten their own futures — which is the second reason that debates don’t solve problems.

So what are the many sides of this overpopulation problem? I could begin by making a huge list of human opinions about overpopulation, but, human opinions cannot change the natural laws that permit our biosystem to survive. God the creator made the biosystem to function the way it does function, and that IS how nature works. Life feeds death and death feeds life.

God’s very breath is the breath of life and lifein the biosystem, whether we like it or not, and I think that’s why we don’t like it. We want what we want for ourselves – we want to use the earth for our own selves, and we don’t really care how many other species we kill off, and we don’t want to hear about it.

The trouble is, those species ARE the biosystem. They are what God breathed into the biosystem to make our air, water, fire (energy) and earth. That is how life on earth, the biosystem, functions to stay alive. God is Life – or God created Life.

That’s why I mention levels of organizationlevels of function of the biosystem) every chance I get. Individual level, population level, and all of life, the biosystem. If we are to make wise decisions, we must consider how the other levels affect us. If we could once realize that ONLY solving human problems is NOT the solution to human problems we would be far better off. Because humans cannot HAVE everything they want without causing irreparable damage to the biosystem. And anything that damages the biosystem is harmful to human individuals and human populations and even to the corposystem.

Every person on earth, except the most isolated, the sociopathic, or the super-spoiled, knows that we must have a balance between the wants and needs of individual humans and the requirements for community welfare. Individual humans cannot have everything they want if whatever they want causes harm to the community. Society is a constant readjustment between individuals, families and populations, in which nobody ever gets everything they want. We could paraphrase Mitt Romney’s recent “joke.” Obama wants to help the biosystem; I want to help you.

This is ignorance generating ignorance, because right now the biosystem is (check the facts, please) maxed out of earth, air, energy and water that we need to stay alive. Therefore, nobody can help anyone unless we all help the biosystem. The best way to learn how the biosystem stays alive and healthy is to read widely, and discuss the issues, and then check the facts. I’m talking about everyone – especially those who believe they already understand the biosystem. Most of us don’t. And then come back to the political arena and help to change our own behavior.

Debates do not solve problems; they only result in everyone trying to prove they are better than everyone else.

They aren’t.

And while we are playing ego games, the bottom line is we cannot continue to live in the biosystem unless we also reduce the numbers of people who are draining away the breath of life from the biosystem.

LynnLamoreux@Yahoo.com

This blog is an expanded version of Bare Bones Biology radio program that is playing this week on KEOS Radio, 98.1 FM, Bryan, Texas. The podcast can be downloaded later this week at http://www.BareBonesBiology.com

Recommended References

Bare Bones Biology Energy Handbook Download

Click to access pages_std-portrait-barebonesecology100627-finalfinalprinter.pdf

(First blog in this series) https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2012/09/01
(Second blog in this series) https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2012/09/09/

Population
Bare Bones Biology 020, https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2010/09/05
Bare Bones Biology 021, https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2010/09/11
Bare Bones Biology 022, https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2010/09/19

Power Ploys
https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2011/07/29/bare-bones-biology 066, corposystem-power/
https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2011/09/13/3677bbb072/

Evolution
Bare Bones Biology 009 to 019 and 088 to 091

Life
https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2010/07/03/bare-bones-bio…cript-011-life/
https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2011/06/04/bare-bones-bio…58-–-happiness

Levels of Organization
https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2011/05/22/bare-bones-bio…d-population-i
https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2011/06/11/bare-bones-bio…-population-ii/

Don’t go Away – Dog Park Diary 120911

In a far off time we learned to understand “I-Thou” relationships. This sounds to me very much like Buddhist enlightenment. An experience that is available to humans and very likely represents a relationship with whatever we see as our God. Cheri Maples explains the implications of that kind of relationship with life in Buddhist terms: “It’s not about me, but I can make a difference.” In fact, everything that we do all day every day does make a difference, whether or not we are aware of it. So i think the most important point of human life is to understand what we are doing and what difference it is likely to make. We cannot do this by following only our emotions or only our opinions. It requires study. Study of how we affect people, and also study of how we affect the whole giant biosystem/ecosystem, because — we do. The Dalai Lama calls that “wise compassion,” and everyone can do it. It is so very much more important than a life spent only playing in the dog park — I mean human park. I think Bitsy probably doesn’t understand this, but a human life spent in wise compassion is almost like a human gift to God.

Bare Bones Biology 123 – Heroism

Once upon a time I was a real hero. I forced my employer to hire women scientists on a more or less equal basis with men. As a result, the employer hired a gaggle of very competent women, and several of these women let me know that I: “wouldn’t have had all those problems if I had been competent.” Apparently the newbys want to believe they alone are the heroes; that the past is not relevant.

My parents belonged to the generation of the great depression. My early years were informed by WWII and some magnificent expressions of American democratic responsibility, as we tried to imagine a better culture after the war.

In the next generation after mine a great many American and European women and men modified their own pleasures in order to benefit future generations. And yet, more often than not, I hear the Newbys of today say the Green Revolution was a failure, as though everything would be fine today if we had properly solved the problem yesterday. The Green generation understood that good times always have a dark underside. They recognized the new threat — the first ever worldwide, overpopulation-induced shortage of food. And they (we) dealt with it.

WE gave YOU your cushy livestyle. We worked together to achieve one of the most important human accomplishments in all of history. The birth rate dropped in all the educated countries. This was not a biological change. It is not possible –, well I will get into biology some other time, but the biosystem laws of life will not change just to relieve humans of their responsibility to balance human populations with biosystem requirements. Only the human brain can accomplish that task. Only education combined with technology and responsibility.

Education combined with technology. So yes there were bad guys, there are always a few who want to take control over their family, or a community, or their country, or the world. How do they do it? Obvious – they take away the solution to the problem. In this case, take away the education and the technology. Make more people, so the food will run out faster (it has) and there will be more poor people who have no time to worry about anything beyond their next meal (there are). Now the corposystem falsely claims that populations will automatically adjust themselves if only we make them grow. In other words, the corposystem propaganda is that we must grow the population so that the population can reduce itself.

Folks, that’s not how the biosystem works to stay alive and well, and because that claim is so intensely un-biological, therefore the corposystem has had to make sure that we do not understand the biology. I’m not talking about human biology, but the whole of the biosystem – the biosystem biology. The biosystem that gives us all of our food is threatened by overpopulation. And now we have some of the most biologically uneducated adult generations in this country in recent history, and what’s worse, they don’t even know they are uneducated. They believe they alone are the heroes. And the corposystem is still working hard to withhold access both to education and to the most useful and harmless technologies.

The quiet heroism of the green revolution gave us 50 extra years of the good life in which to generate the technologies that are needed to regulate populations, and it gave us time, 50 years in which to reach a sustainable level of reproduction so the good life could be carried into the future.

But the subsequent generations have abandoned responsibility for the whole of the prosperity that we generated in the Green Revolution — turned it over to the corposystem. That is not a failure of the green revolution 50 years ago. It is a failure of responsibility now.

Which, in a way, is good news. If the problem is happening now, then it can be fixed now.

How? We know the corposystem spreads lies; therefore, our job must be to ferret out the truth. And then we must focus on solving the problem, not fighting over it — or we will end up with a war rather than a solution.

This blog is an expanded version of Bare Bones Biology radio program that is playing this week on KEOS Radio, 98.1 FM, Bryan, Texas. A podcast can be downloaded at

Who Cares?

This action occurred right here in River City (Texas) about 90 miles from my homeland. Did you see it in the news? I think Texans did not, so why not just pass this on to as many people as you know.

http://tarsandsblockade.org/2nd-action/tarsandsblockade.org

The Los Alamos action was I think disappointing to the people who worked so hard on it but I was greatly impressed. Obviously the goal of the corposystem media is to prevent these people from trying again by making them believe their efforts are to no avail, and as Americans we tend to believe that if we don’t win (or if we can’t be a hero) we didn’t make a difference. I think we should try to do something (like maybe a half-hour national program, like maybe discussing these issues with people at the morning dominoes table in the spirit of “what can we do,” and not in the spirit of “aint it awful.”) that points out these scattered events are happening all over the united states, brings them together, and makes some common points.

We are being separated from them by a wall of propaganda that tries to make us believe that our shopping malls are an ongoing way of life, and that we can’t talk about the issues of real importance — even for the children!!! In fact the world of our modern American media is a fake fairytale that will crash down on our children’s children (crash slowly or fast, who knows, but we could be trying to prevent it with greater awareness). Even if we don’t believe we can win and even if we can’t be a hero.

Who says winning is the point. I run across so many people who won’t try unless they are sure they can win, and of course — they don’t. The real heroes are those who are trying in spite of the fact that the media prevent them from either winning or being heroes. The worse it gets, the more we will need these people. The future grows out of every behavior we do – every day – win or lose or invisible. Or as one Buddhist said: “It’s not about me, but what I do or don’t do does make a difference.”

Bare Bones Biology 114 – Great Aridness

Formula books, I have called them; I don’t read them. Sometimes I buy them, if I think the cause is worthy, and I skim through, or even give them to other people, but I do not sit down and read, like I would with a serious book, written well to illustrate factually and emotionally accurate truths.

Formula books may not lie, but they do not tell you the whole circle of truth, and of course that’s one reason they are so popular. Just like the rest of the corposystem, they tell you something that you want to hear, and try not to think about the parts you would rather believe don’t exist. For example there are formula books about organic farming that pretend we could save ourselves, very simply, if everyone would turn his or her hand to a backyard organic garden. Very simply, that is not true. And even though I believe strongly in organic gardening, and I do wish everyone would turn his or her hand and pocket book and political will to promoting organic gardening – I also think we need to hear the whole sorry truth about our human tragedy and our current biological dilemma. Otherwise, how can we deal with it?

The solutions are not simple, and even though the modern formula book may be meticulously honest and accurate, it cannot tell the true story if it is so closely focused on setting down facts in simple, precise, decisive, linear outline, in words of few syllables, that it fails to discuss background, repercussions, and long-term implications from the point of view both of human realities, comparative emotional perspectives, and of unchangeable facts. If I could do that – I can see it, but I can’t say it — but I don’t need to do it for this case study, nor could I do it as well as it has been done by William deBuys.

Recently I told you of a book that I have read cover to cover (or at least I will have by the time you read this. If all goes well.). A Great Aridness, by William deBuys.

Wm deBuys is an author and historian who addresses the reality of climate change without rancor, bias or hyperbole, as though it were just what it is, a complex story of human kind. A sad story of human compassion and frailty as well as heroism, dedication and responsibility. A story that has much to teach us. I heard his excellent talk at Upaya, and I thought: “This guy really gets it.” I mean both the human and the biological dilemmas.

And so, a few days later – I’m telling you a true story here — Bitsy and I really did climb into our old pickup to chug to the top of one of the highest occupied places in North America, and I really did take the above picture along the way, to interview Wm duBuys.

Following is an excerpt from our conversation. Someone else should interview this man, someone who has more than five minutes for talking. Oh, yes, fortunately Mrs. Green has done that, and the podcast is available. In Mrs. Green’s opinion:

“When you put (climate change) in the political arena I don’t understand why it polarizes people. It’s the one thing that could unite our country to focus on the planet and the health of the earth. There’s no down side to that, and it’s not political. Why are we fighting about this?” (www.MrsGreensWorld podcast 05-12-12_DuBuysMiraval.mp3)

I hope Alise will also catch Bill for an interview on Rethinking Green KEOS FM, 98.1 before he leaves the country to begin research on his next book. Here is Bare Bones Biology’s KEOS interview:

“(LL) The research in your book shows that there’s evidence of the impact of humans on the ecosystem for thousands of years in the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. People have been influencing the climate for as long as we know about. So now we have a big deal about climate change. My question is, what’s the big deal?

“(WD) Well the big deal is that civilization has only known one climate, and that’s the climate that we’re losing now. The amount of temperature change predicted for this century is roughly equal to the temperature changes between the ice ages and the present. But when the transition from the ice ages took thousands of years to accomplish, we’re now embarking into a century that’s going to see the same amount of change in a tiny period of time. Basically, human civilization has only known the climate of the Holocene, the climate that has nourished earth for the past several thousand years. We’re on the verge of losing that bracket of conditions, and plunging into a new epoch which many geologists have termed the anthropocene because it is man shaped. So that’s a very, very scary prospect, if you value our way of life today, if you value the dependence of human society on existing agriculture and the systems that keep us going.

“(LL) Why is it scary?

“(WD) Well if you rachet up the heat, basically if people in Texas, say, didn’t feel that the intense heat wave and drought of last summer, if they didn’t feel that was a wakeup call, then they’re really not paying attention. What we’re talking about with climate change is moving into a period of time when that kind of heat wave, that kind of drought, becomes normal, and additional heat waves and additional droughts are superimposed on it. The drought in Texas and Oklahoma last summer was unprecedentedly severe. Climate scientists are now saying that drought, because it doesn’t have in its intensity, clear precedents in recent centuries, that drought was by all indications caused by anthropogenic climate change. So if you don’t mind living under those conditions, and watching what those conditions do to the landscape around you, climate change shouldn’t be scary for you, but if you didn’t like it that way, you should be concerned. The Texas Department of Forestry estimates that between 2% and 10% of all the trees in Texas died last summer. The range is pretty wide because the count is imprecise, but if dry conditions persist through this year, the cumulative effect of the drought will probably lead to an even greater die-off. So this is a very large portion of the ecosystem of the State of Texas that died off in one year.

“(LL) So what should be our take-away message if we want to react positively to this serious situation?

“(WD) Well, the take-away message is that we need to begin, with all the energy we can muster, to shift from a carbon based, fossil fuel economy. We probably need to have a carbon tax. Although that’s politically a very, very tall order, and we need to change how we structure the use of energy in our society. This will be a great transformation, and actually encompasses a lot of economic opportunities. It could be a positive thing. It would be a positive thing for the United States, and for the rest of the world.”

That’s the end of the transcript. Five minutes is so short, at least two questions remain to be explained. First, what has the carbon tax and the carbon-based economy got to do with climate change? If you want to understand why carbon is important, you will need to understand some basic biology that you might find in previous editions of Bare Bones Biology. You can read them by flipping back on this blog, or listen to them at http://www.BareBonesBiology.com. The climate change series begins with Bare Bones Biology 093 and ends at Bare Bones Biology 100. Or for a small donation to cover costs I will send you a CD containing both the podcasts and the blog posts for each of these BBBs.

If you don’t want to do that, here’s the shortest possible version of the carbon message to all of life on earth. We can’t live without energy, because energy is the ability to do work. Work is basically anything that moves, and without that, of course, there would be no life and no us. On this earth, all of our energy for food and everything else that living things use to stay alive comes from burning organic molecules such as proteins, carbohydrates, and all those organic molecules found in foods. Organic molecules are made on a base of carbon atoms. The plants make them using energy from the sun, we can’t do this, so we eat plants to get the energy for life. The energy for life on earth comes from eating plants. Or something else that ate plants. Then we burn (metabolize) the organic molecules, and the organic molecules release their metabolic energy in a form our bodies can use — and so we stay alive. When we burn anything (including in our metabolism) the organic molecules are taken apart, the energy is released, and the carbon (and other atoms) are released as waste products of the burning process. The whole earth ecosystem is a living thing, and to stay alive it needs to stay balanced. So it recycles the waste products (carbon dioxide in this case) by using them as ingredients to make more carbon-based organic molecules. The plants can do this, we cannot. Life has been doing this for millenia – life is based on this cycle staying in balance – but today we have unbalanced the life of the whole earth by burning more organic molecules than it can recycle.

The living earth is trying to rebalance, but we are also reducing the plants it needs to do this, so the earth is unbalanced. There is too much carbon dioxide in the air (and other places). Everything in the ecosystem is connected, so this imbalance has some effect on the other processes of life. In this case the effect is to raise the temperature by changing the interaction between the sun and our earth atmosphere.

The result is that the more people are breathing out carbon dioxide and the more machines also are breathing out more carbon dioxide as a waste product of burning carbon-based fuel – the harder the living earth must work to try to stay in balance. Now, after all these centuries – it has come to the time that it can’t keep up.

That’s the basic link between climate change and carbon compounds. As is true of everything it is a lot more complicated than that, but I do think it’s important to understand that there is an unchangeable, life-giving link, so we don’t fall for corposystem propaganda to the contrary. Check my facts – please.

The second question is about people who do NOT care what the climate change does to the environment because they live in cities and they honestly believe that the corposystem is providing everything they need to stay cool, well fed and clothed. This is just too sad to be real, but I think it is real. These people do not know that everything we need to stay alive comes from the healthy ecosystem. The corposystem cannot make earth, air, water or food for us without destroying the energy cycle of the ecosystem. The miracle behind life on earth is that it CAN do this process. People cannot. Not without using more energy than they generate and throwing us more out of balance. And there is no other source for life in the whole universe so far as we know.

If God made this beautiful living earth ecosystem, then he made it here. Not on the moon or Mars or anyplace else that we can reach. And he expected us to fulfill our responsibilities to not trash His Creation.

But we are trashing it, and so the outlook does look very grim. Here’s what Wm deBuys has to say about that.

“The outlook may be grim but the sunrise is always beautiful, and if you think about this blessed planet that we’re on – – – it is heartbreakingly beautiful, and there is so much beauty in the planet itself and in its creatures, and among its creatures are human beings, and our fellow human beings, that there is always and there will always be beauty to protect and defend, and the defense of beauty is a very high calling, and it’s great work, and great work is inherently optimistic. And so as long as there is that work to do, I think we should all be inspired to do it and all derive a lot of meaning for our lives from the act of doing it.” Wm deBuys, spoken at Upaya. (Look under dharma talks dp642_debuys_great-aridness-perspectives-on-environment_may-2012_dt.mp3)

Please read the book. It’s a good read and interesting, and it helps to answer the most common questions about what we can do to help ourselves and the living earth. The most important thing that we can do is to learn more about how the ecosystem functions to stay alive — including all the interacting stories that make up “A Great Aridness” — so we can discuss solutions that make good sense, and so that we will not be fooled by self-serving money-making schemers, who always abound in every crisis.

Bare Bones Biology 114 – A Great Aridness
KEOS FM 89.1, Bryan, Texas
You can download the audio portion of this post here
Or at http://www.BareBonesBiology.com

Recommended References:
A Great Aridness, Wm. deBuys: http://www.williamdebuys.com/a_great_aridness_110931.htm
Upaya Zen Center: http://www.upaya.org
Mrs. Green’s World: http://www.MrsGreensWorld podcast 05-12-12_DuBuysMiraval.mp3

Bare Bones Biology 109 – Communication

In the past two Bare Bones Biologies, that’s 107 and 108, we tackled one of the most complex of human topics, communication. There are people who specialize in this area, and I probably should consult such an expert, because I confuses me. We so seldom use communication to communicate our reality, and then we have to translate, or guess, what people mean by what they say, and I’m not a good guesser. I finally did figure out the reason people don’t listen to what I say – that’s one of my biggest complaints – is because they’re listening instead to what they would have meant if they had said it.

This is not necessary by the way. If we did understand each other it would eliminate a lot of confusion, and it would only require asking a few questions. But now I find a generation or two of people who are offended by questions, because they equate questioning their meaning with – “dissing” them. (To diss = to disrespect.)

I can understand this, because so many people in our culture are addicted to – or afraid of – power. So we often use words as we would money, or expertise, or machismo or whatever we have at hand to reinforce our own sense of dominance or of defence. The result is not very useful.

I remember a time when expertise was envisioned as useful, not because it gave us an individual edge in a world of fearful competition, but because our individual expertise, whatever it is, can be used to contribute to the welfare of the community. There still exist communities, and some new ones growing, in which each person within the community supports the efforts of the other (even if by support we mean pointing out the flaws so together we can grow a better effort).

Every effort has value, and the values among the many can be discussed. They have worth. None is perfect and none is expected to be perfect. But all together, if the information is made available for solving problems, the community is in a position to deal with the real problems as a group, and so the community has more power than the individual to build a better future for the whole.

Generally, in our culture, we tend to view these communities a primitive, but let’s face it, primitive peoples lived sustainably for thousands of years until we came along with the so-called advanced cultures that are not sustainable within the factual reality of the earth ecosystem. Loving the ecosystem will not change this fact. Neither will technology. Until the spiritualists and the technologists are willing to learn about limiting factors, our advanced human cultures are on a fast track to destruction. Because we do have responsibilities to the earth itself, and unless we know what they are, and fulfill them, well, then our spiritual and technological good intentions are, and I quote St Bernard of Clairveux: “the road to hell, paved with good intentions.”

In a society of competition, where everyone is afraid of everyone else, we cannot use our expertise compassionately to benefit the whole, because the whole is composed of other people, most of whom are more concerned with their own physical or emotional survival.

The result is useless and fruitless power struggles rather than a compassionate intention to address real problems. And in a society where people are hooked on feeling good, or aspiring to feel good, there can be very little compassion, because in a crisis situation, compassion most often does not feel good. Doing what’s best to benefit the whole, often does not feel good. But that is what compassion is – doing what is best for the long-term interests of the other and the whole.

When a solution to a problem is well documented in fact, then it is the responsibility of compassion to study these facts and use them to promote the overall welfare, that is the least suffering, of the whole. For that, we must learn to listen and to discuss. Without listening and discussion of the impact of the facts on all the levels of life, from the individual through the ecosystem, there can be no deep, sustainable, compassion.

Bare Bones Biology 108 – Communication
KEOS 89.1 FM
This program can be downloaded here
Or at http://www.BareBonesBiology.com

Owl photo taken in New Mexico at TheWildlifeCenter.org
Discussion photo taken in California at the conference of: TheEconomicsofHappiness.org