Bare Bones Biology 263F – The Problem Is

Right now it seems as though we (as humanity) are running panic stricken, in all directions at the same time without any sustainable paradigm to guide us, each person responding in knee-jerk fashion, mostly trying to “fix” our social collapse, each according to his own world view and without respect to getting rid of the cause of the affliction. This is why I have not enthusiastically focused my energy on any of these separating actions, though many will

 

150615-Flood-ASC_7400sI bless the culture shocks that saved me from myself. Wisdom is gained, according to the Dalai Lama (Becoming Enlightened) by “analyzing the facts and discerning the actual situation.” He should know – he’s had enough paradigm shifts in his life, and I’m quite sure we would agree that this kind of wisdom, based in factual reality and gained through deep study and empathic participation — combined with wise (altruistic) compassion — is essential to long-term, reasonably rewarding human lives.

 

Before that I actually believed that we had dealt with the problem in the 50’s and 60’s. I knew I had, and that’s another thing about one’s own paradigm. Unless we have an opportunity to experience the logic of another’s paradigm, we just naturally tend to believe that everyone else thinks like we do. They don’t. They don’t even want to. They like their own.

 

We need to begin rational fact-based discussion of issues and stop fighting irrational wars (debates).

 

I bless the culture shocks that saved me from myself. Wisdom is gained, according to the Dalai Lama (Becoming Enlightened) by “analyzing the facts and discerning the actual situation.” He should know – he’s had enough paradigm shifts in his life, and I’m quite sure we would agree that this kind of wisdom, based in factual reality and gained through deep study and empathic participation — combined with wise (altruistic) compassion — is essential to a long-term, reasonably rewarding human paradigm.

 

Is it possible, given the chaos we are now creating, that our response to our social and biological collapse is not so much about the actual cause of the problem as it is about the necessity of “getting together” in order to “analyze the facts and discern the actual situation” in an effort to grow some wisdom around the problem? Is it perhaps that our World Views are pushing us apart, preventing us from getting together even to discuss the real issues?

 

I think it’s important for us to understand that all world views are or were logical in the circumstances of their origin, and to understand that culture shock is one of those painful blessings with emphasis on blessing, and to understand that we always have choices. We can cling to the seeming security of what we already understand, or we can choose to become a part of change, for the benefit of the entire community.

 

150614-Cabin-ASC_7341RLSsThe natural biological response to stress is indeed to generate diversity, but I think the wise approach, in this case, would be to benefit all of us by sharing and evaluating the world views of all in our effort to understand why we don’t just admit to the real cause of our pain so we can remove it. And then proceed to develop a more sustainable world view of the whole. In other words, to discuss the issues among the disciplines.

 

There is always a starting point for discussion, because we all are looking at the same problem happening in the same Earth Biosystem. We are not experiencing a bunch of different problems. We are in fact, every one of us, experiencing one common experience, the death of our species.

 

I think that’s worth a little time spent in problem-solving with others of our kind.

 

I believe paradigm change is the only hope for human kind in this age, and it is clearly happening, but extremely inefficiently. We could do more. We could consciously use our unique mental equipment to grow a new world view that is aligned with our current factual reality, which is overproduction, overpopulation and overshoot.

 

My goal is to grow or create a new paradigm that will result in a sustainable, reasonably comfortable human presence on this earth. What is yours?

 

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

 

A copy of the podcast can be obtained at:  http://traffic.libsyn.com/fff/Bare_Bones_Biology_263_-_The_Problem_Is.mp3

 

References Cited:

Collapse, by Jared Diamond. Penguin Books, 2011.

Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot by Tom Butler and William N. Ryerson. Goff Books, 2015.

Becoming Enlightened, by His Holiness The Dalai Lama and Jeffrey Hopkins,  Atria Books, 2009.

https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2015/06/17/

 

 

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“Democracy”

de·moc·ra·cy n

“the control of an organization by its members, who have a free and equal right to participate in decision-making processes.” (Encarta® World English Dictionary © 1999 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved. Developed for Microsoft by Bloomsbury Publishing Plc.)

If Mr. Flores would ask me to help prevent someone (anyone) from expressing his point of view in a “democratic” meeting, I would wonder what Mr. Flores was trying to hide. If Mr. Flores then pointed out several times that the police were there to keep order — and he posted a couple of bouncers near the person who wanted to speak (you can see their bottom halves in the second photo) – I would make a big effort to find out why Mr. Flores didn’t want this person to express his opinion. Knowledgeable honorable people who are looking for solutions to real problems – such people are not afraid of ideas.

What is a Town Hall Meeting?

“A town hall meeting is an informal public meeting which gives the members of a community an opportunity to get together to discuss emerging issues and to voice concerns and preferences for their community.”

Mr. Flores meeting, of course, was not a Town Hall Meeting. When a person talks for a couple of hours without discussing, that is not a town hall meeting.

“dis·cus·sion n
Talk or a talk between two or more people about a subject.”

When we the people go to a town hall meeting, we expect a discussion. What can we do in a supposedly democracy in a fake town hall meeting when we are not permitted to have a real discussion?

According to a recent publication of the TEA party: “I understand that the local MoveOn.org and Brazos Progressives will be out in force preaching more class warfare.” It sounds to me like the TEA party leadership also does not want a discussion.

I can’t speak for the MoveOn Leadership in DC, because I walked out on about their fourth sentence, because up to then nearly every sentence contained the word “fight” two or three times. Well, yes – if you want to end up in a fight, then you should fight. However, fighting will only make our problems worse.

We have very serious problems that are out of control, and the only way to control them is to deal with their causes. Beating up on someone else (passive-aggressive or overt aggressive) never solved any real problem over the long term. Beating up on other people only makes more enemies. I think Jesus and Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. and the Buddha all agree on this point, and I believe they have accomplished more that is worth accomplishing than almost anyone else I know about. Winning doesn’t solve problems. It’s fun, but it only makes more enemies. If we really want to solve problems more than we want to have fun – well, our behavior labels us. Clearly we don’t.

And anyway, there is no way to win ourselves out of this particular problem in which we find ourselves. There is no way to solve it with fake town hall meetings that concentrate on economics in a fake democracy that does everything in it’s power to prevent us from understanding really what our problem is. So that we could actually get together and solve it. So, the meeting was all about economics, but – I’m not an economist, so here is the definition of economics.

“ec·o·nom·ics n
1. the study of the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services (takes a singular verb)”

So – economics studies the relationship between supply and demand. Nobody talked about that in the town hall meeting, even though the root cause of our very big problem is the relationship between supply (from this good green earth) of everything we need to stay alive — and demand (by humans).

The real problem is that we are running low on supply and our so-called economics is trying to solve that problem by selling more stuff. And borrowing money. Neither of which will solve the problem of a limited supply. Does it make sense to try to produce more when there are fewer resources? Not even to an economist, but if we only had those two choices in a condition of low supply – well, I wouldn’t do either of those solutions, I would tell the people what is the real root problem and ask them to help solve it. But as that solution seems not to be on the table, surely borrowing money can’t be nearly as toxic as trying to make more stuff when we are running a bit low on resources.

Even I know that outflows are only one side of the economics problem. And inflows do not come from people. They come from the green mother earth. If we want to try to fix our very big problem we can’t do it by focusing only on the outflows. We will have to think, talk and share ideas about the inflows, where they come from, and how we plan to get enough without destroying the green mother earth that produces them.

God made the world as he made it. God did not make supermarkets. He made the earth to be fruitful with carrots and potatoes and corn and wheat and apples. He did not make economics. He told us to be honest and kind and compassionate. He did not suggest that we use trickery and chicanery to get what we want by causing harm to others.

I say to MoveOn and the progressives and the TEA party that you are all fighting over ephemera, and if you don’t start looking for real, factual information about how God did make this world to operate – then you will all lose. And so will I.

I say to MoveOn and the Progressives and the TEA party, and especially Mr. Flores, you are all wrong when you fight over some “democracy” that is dead and gone and never was like you say it was. You should be working together to learn the real facts about how this good green earth nurtures and feeds us – learn where our real supplies really come from and how — so that you all can help to build a more bountiful life style for the future. Instead of just having a fun game of king of the hill.

If Mr. Flores were to ask me to help make sure that someone doesn’t have a chance to talk – that his ideas should not be heard, I would wonder what Mr. Flores is trying to hide. Here’s my first guess. I guess he’s afraid we folks in the audience will figure out how much he does NOT know about our world and our country and even our economy. And how much he does NOT know about what is needed to make our country honorable and fruitful once again.

So I think it would be better to ask. That guy who didn’t get to talk might have had a good idea.

Stewards of our Children’s Future

On April 12, 2011, the Community Sustainability Commission of Benicia, California in collaboration with Solano Community College launched the first lecture-workshop in a five part series. The first speaker is a Texan in California!

The Mayor of Benicia, and the President of Solano community college introduce the first of a 5-lecture series in Benicia, California. I think it’s a model for those of us who want to DO SOMETHING, rather than just worry or complain or wish. I know that we have a very different sort of community here, and sometimes we tend to look to our University for resources, but TAMU has a different vision, and in any case cannot generate community outside of itself. They can give us information and helpers, but community has to come from the community. I think College Station is looking for the failed “American Dream,” but I think Bryan really might be looking toward community as that old dream of infinite growth fades into the past and we must look to a more realistic future for the children.

We will have a DVD copy of this series on file at the Peach Clubhouse to watch or borrow. Economics of Happiness will be shown again at the Unity Church in Bryan on Wednesday April 20 at 6 pm (or, come at 6, it will probably start about 6:15) and will continue to be available.

Bare Bones Biology 039-Good Luck

Is that good luck? When you stick your head out the back door in the first light of dawn and a great, gorgeous owl just glides almost right by your head? Well, I don’t know about that, but I’m out in the yard, doing a little dance with the morning star, because if you thought I was celebrating last week (I was), well that’s nothing to today, with all the good news that’s come into my inbox this week. We’ve had a long ten years with very little good news and I’ve been working on our common problem for all that time, here and away. I finally just settled down with the conclusion there was nothing more I could do that might help the problem and not make it worse, than try to start the discussion among our people. Because nobody can solve anything that none of us will talk about. So. That’s what I’ve been doing.

I felt like I was working pretty much alone, but I guess not, because –- I have succeeded. Or. At least the responsible nontoxic discussion has finally begun. So now I eagerly pass the baton to National Geographic and PBS (and now we know why the corposystem has been fighting so hard to get rid of PBS). But NG and PBS can handle the discussion better than just you and me, so we can go on to the next step, because talking is not enough. The next step is to settle back, take a good look at the overall reality of our situation, and decide upon common over-all goal. My goal is to make life not worse, and preferably better, for coming generations of human kind. We need to make that real. Well, if you agree. If you don’t agree we need to talk more.

The reason we need to set a common goal is because what we’ve been doing is reductionist problem solving, and I know about reductionism from being a scientist. Reductionism does not answer the real questions, nor does it solve the real problems precisely because it is focused on some one little thing (no matter how important) that is not the real problem. In a previous broadcast I called this “evolutionary problem solving.” It might help. It does help – short term – but long term it will not solve our over-all problem. In fact, it makes it worse to work on the symptoms while ignoring the causes

So until our heroic, beautiful, magnificent individual efforts are focused on the real common problem, they will not be used to resolve it. They will be used, but for other purposes. As it is now happening that the corposystem is using all that heroic energy to feed itself — to do battle against the ecosystem.

This is not what we want. None of us can survive a fight against the ecosystem, and this is our year to realign and focus all our work onto that root reality. We can’t win any battle against any grief or sadness or fear or enmity or suffering. We can’t win any battle against breast cancer or poverty or hatred or cruelty or war or dishonesty or even ignorance and wrong thinking. We can’t win those if our effort causes progressing harm to the ecosystem. And this is what is happening. We do great harm to the overall welfare and balance of the ecosystem when we engage in reductionist dogooderism.

Reductionist dogooderism is when every effort is heroic, wonderful, beautiful and leaves you cheering for joy. But all the efforts together do harm to the ecosystem; and therefore none of them can succeed in the long term. And then you go to Bioneers to hear what all the wonderful people are doing, and you leave in tears because their work is so beautiful and the result will only grow a toxic corposystem until it starves out the ecosystem that we need for our own survival. As happened with the Green Revolution. So next time I’ll talk about reductionism.

But today I’m freezing my toes dancing under the stars with a great horned owl. The positive, honest conversation has begun; it will help us sweep away all the lies and get on with the job of helping the ecosystem back to health.

Audiocast at Bare Bones Biology Broadcast 039
KEOS 89.1 Radio, Bryan, TX

The American Dream

When I was growing up, and when I was a productive member of the work force, my goal was to save and to share with the future (to sustain) the “American dream.” Of course, that wasn’t my only goal, but it was foundational, and it defined the boundaries of my personal dream. The whole point of “my” dream was that we all can have different dreams so long as my dream does not cause harm to you or your good dream. Of course, that’s an ideal — an impossible island within which to function. Therefore, the other half of my dream was a continual process of negotiating the boundaries of our individual dreams so that our community dream can be a positively functioning whole.

It was only after retirement that I realized some of the people I worked with — and with whom I shared a mutual commitment to the “American Dream” — it wasn’t the same dream at all. We had never explained ourselves to each other, never negotiated our ideas, and so we all were seriously trying hard to sustain different and incompatible dreams. This was a shock to us all, and we very soon were arguing/debating/fighting rather than sustaining. It became clear that we can not build an American Dream if we don’t know what it is and discuss it among ourselves — before we start to fight over misunderstandings that we don’t know exist. We cannot understand each other unless we define our words.

Sustainability is a word that we must understand if we are to build a future for ourselves, first because Americans have multiple different ideas of what should be sustained, and more importantly because the word has been deliberately co-opted and re-defined by the economic community, following the green revolution, to mean the exact opposite of what it means. The idea of sustainable growth (which is impossible within the living earth ecosystem) has overcome the actual meaning of sustainability. The implications of this reality are, to me, genocidal. I see this campaign to change the meaning of the word sustainability as a deliberate attack on the life and health of the whole earth ecosystem for the profit of a few. Worse, the attack seems to have succeeded, and the result, literally, is a Ponzi type of growth scheme that is manipulating the resources of the entire world. Like all Ponzi growth schemes, it’s lots of fun while it lasts; however, it is not sustainable. The fact of sustainable growth is physically impossible, even though the concept of sustainable growth has become embedded in our culture as a synonym for sustainability.
(This is an excerpt from Bare Bones Ecology, in production.)

How can we know so much and yet so little?

Can a cell imagine a brain? Probably not, because a cell’s “senses” relate to the fluid that surrounds it.

The brain, on the other hand, because it consists of millions of cells, that are organized just so, has the capacity for thought. Directed thought at that. Directed though clearly is impossible for individual cells because thinking requires many cells working together in an organized way to gather all the information necessary to make a thought. That is why we say that thinking is an emergent property that results when millions of the right kinds of cells come together in just the right way in just the right kind of body. It is an “emergent property” of multicellular organisms, and it’s a function that can’t be done by one cell alone. If you knew nothing about the brain and everything about individual cells, you could not predict thinking.

The unpredictable nature of emergent properties result from precisely organized complexity, and that is why they use the word emergent. It’s not a good word; sounds too complicated. But there you are. The emergent property of a car is that you can drive around in it, where you can not drive around in an engine. The emergent property of a kidney is urine. Not hard to appreciate when you already know what it does — but impossible to predict.

Emergent properties occur at every level of organization, from molecules to cells to multicellular organisms, and surely also the ecosystem.

One of the biggest unsolvable mysteries of life is to understand the emergent properties that characterize the ecosystem. The whole ecosystem surely must have emergent properties — and they will not be human properties, any more than the brain has exactly the same functions as a cell — but there is no way for any scientist to know precisely what properties of the ecosystem support our lives within it. I mean beyond giving us oxygen, climate and the basic requirements of life — there must be an organizing function that the ecosystem needs to stay alive and us in it. But we can’t think about it because we are just a tiny cell inside the complexity of the ecosystem “brain.” If we could understand what it is, and if we could devise a technology, we still couldn’t change it because it is bigger than we are. Cells can definitely mess up what your brain does, if they go wrong, but they can not make your brain better if they go right. It’s already doing what it is supposed to do to keep you alive.

If we persist in believing that we have the ability to understand all about life; if we demand that our technologies save us from our own atrocities, if we become so great a challenge to the ecosystem — to her life and to her unknown emergent properties — that her own life is in danger, then she will eliminate us. She will do this by the immutable processes of which she is composed — shortage of materials; shortage of energy; the disruption of cultures, so that children cry alone and learn to fear life and grow war; the great sweeping climatological changes that we can not predict, because climate — a self-sustaining climate on earth that supports and interacts with life — may very well be the emergent property of the ecosystem. But we don’t know. And the phenomena of collapsing networks that mathematicians are only beginning to understand.

“The French philosopher Gabriel Marcel (1889-1973) distinguished between a problem ‘something met which bars my passage’ and ‘is before me in its entirety,’ and a mystery, ‘something in which I find myself caught up, and whose essence is not before me in its entirety.’ We have to remove a problem before we can proceed, but we are compelled to participate in a mystery…” (Karen Armstrong, The Case for God)

The ecosystem is a mystery in the same way that love and infinity and God are mysteries. Science and technology can answer almost any short-term factual problem, but the scientific method can not stand between us and the mystery in which we must participate as living parts of the ecosystem. The arts, religion, philosophy, history and sociology, are well suited to explore the ongoing, long-term mystery of life, but they do not do a good job of kicking rocks out of our path. Unless our well meaning humanists choose finally to listen to what science and technology can tell us about the rocks under our feet, rather than permitting politics and technology to use our science to serve short-term human ends, they may very well star-gaze us right into history. Or infinity.

The Work has Started. Help Needed Already

And by the time it gets published will probably be my third published book. At the moment I can’t refer you to Amazon, but we do have one book under contract with Wiley, tentatively titled Mouse Pigmentation Genetics.

The new book:

Biology for Normal People

I’m talking real biology, no games, no metaphors, no fairy tales, no debates. Just the provable facts. I sincerely believe anyone who wants to can understand the most simple basic laws of nature, and I also believe this information is being withheld from the people. It’s so nice to know something powerful that someone else doesn’t know, isn’t it. But we are on a campaign to prevent the withholding of this factual information. So that’s the background.

I could use a little help with the first chapter.

I want to start off with everyone on the same page, so we need to agree on what we are talking about — what we are trying to understand is the place where we live, right? Biology is the study of life, so we are going to talk about the place where life exists. On this earth, where life can and does exist. How should we name that place?

The Earth Ecosystem?
The Creation?
The Biosphere?

And for all you creationists out there, I’m especially happy to have your input because I already know a scientific definition. What exactly is your definition of The Creation (the creation we live in, not the event)? What is the difference between the ecosystem that we live in and The Creation. Aren’t they the same thing? If not why not?

Thanks all, I will appreciate whatever you have to say, and I may quote you.