Bare Bones Biology 271 – Wise Choices

Letter to DV – I printed and read your series of comments on Facebook, because I can see a lot of good food for thought in there, and I even read the article by your poor naïve horror-struck author. I say naïve and horror struck because it seems to me that he (and nearly everyone on the web) somehow grew up believing life is supposed to be neat and easy and on track, just the way we want it to be, just because we are humans. This of course is what the corposystem wants us to believe and is basic to its propaganda.

Ocamora-ASC_8563RLSsHumans do not, can not, and should not control the Biosystem. However, there is NEVER nothing that we can do. What we can do now is to conform our world view to the needs of a nurturing Biosystem, rather than nurturing the corposystem lie.

I think our human problem on earth is that we are mostly doing the wrong things, because we are thinking the wrong things, because the corposystem has seized control over and is using our media and our politics to brainwash us. That is hard on those who recognize the problem. But nevertheless, just because someone else is doing nothing, or doing the wrong things, is not a good reason for me to do nothing, or to do the wrong things. That’s not the hardest question; the hardest question is how to live, surrounded by toxic propaganda, so that we do more good than harm to the welfare of the Biosystem.

As you pointed out, it is, indeed, too late for the perfect solution. The reality is that there never was a perfect solution. People are not in charge here; we never were, and the “human question” will surely be resolved long before 60 years. The solution for us will depend largely upon our choices during that time. What goes around comes around. That is not a tragedy, it is a fact of life. We caused our own tragedy by ignoring the reality. We have no responsibility to control the Biosystem, because that is not how the universe functions. Our human responsibilities are first to do as little harm as possible and second do the best we can within the reality that we find ourselves in right now, because now is the only time when we have the possibility to make wise choices.

I believe the most important thing we can do right now is to avoid believing the corposystem propaganda, to identify the reality, and to discuss among ourselves what the world looks like from outside the corposystem paradigm. Not to submit to the arrogance of the current corposystem world view, which is essentially growth for profit by domination. I refuse to be dominated, and increasingly larger numbers of people are doing the same.

What concerns me most is whether these increasing numbers of people will choose viable, sustainable alternatives to the corposystem paradigm, or if they have swallowed the corposystem myth of human omnipotence and will try to create something that satisfies a different set of human values but is equally as harmful to the Life of our Biosystem. The Biosystem does not have human values or needs, only Biosystem needs.

We do need models for our choices. Lots of them. We especially need models that demonstrate the corposystem lie — the failure of the corposystem paradigm — so that we can stop killing the Biosystem and begin to heal. Discussion and publication of negative models is not failure – it is wisdom.

Ocamora-ASC_8595RSsDo you see how the corposystem domination has prevented you recognizing the value of your work?

It does the same to me. That is our challenge. Because whatever happens, not you nor I nor the corposystem have the option to dictate outcomes for the whole world. If that is your goal, then failure is a certainty, for the same reason that failure of the corposystem is a certainty. Humans cannot control the Biosystem. We must learn to conform to its needs or we will be replaced by some other species that will do a better job.

The corposystem has taught us that we must be winners or losers. I reject that concept; I think winners is a losing paradigm. What we can do in this biological crisis is make a success of our individual opportunities by making decisions that benefit the Biosystem, based on good factual research and wise human compassion. And to discuss these decisions with other people who understand the problem and have expertise outside our own in the areas of Biosystem facts and wise compassion.

Our choice in now time is whether to contribute to the welfare of the corposystem or of the Biosystem, because we can’t do both at the same time. If your goal is to save the corposystem you are right – you have no chance — and you would do more good by just giving up. My goal is to benefit the future welfare of the Biosystem.

What we do not and cannot know is when and how the corposystem will crash, and whether or not you and I can help to develop a new system out of the ashes that can support the factual needs of the Biosystem.

So – are we to pout because we are not omnipotent and omniscient Gods? Or are we to accept that as wisdom, and do the best we can to make good choices based in hard biological facts and wise human compassion

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

A copy of this podcast can be downloaded at:  http://traffic.libsyn.com/fff/Bare_Bones_Biology_271_-_Wise_Choices.mp3

Sections in green were omitted from the podcast because of time constraints.

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 122 – Human Hands

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 later this week at:http://traffic.libsyn.com/fff/BBB122-Human_HandsFinal4.mp3

Hold up your hand flat open with your palm facing me. As though you were a policeman trying to stop an onrushing disaster.

Your four fingers and your thumb are all pointing in different directions.

Now let’s think of your four fingers and your thumb as problems or “actions” that you and other socially conscious people are promoting — spending your time, energy and money, using your life to benefit your family, the community and humankind in general. Every person using his/her best skills to address one or other of the major actions, trying to relieve the problems faced by humankind today.

Let’s say your first finger represents hunger, and all the people trying to reduce world hunger. The second finger can represent global warming. The third finger can represent conflict, for example war, politics, genocide, modern economics. And the fourth finger represents religion and spirituality. Your thumb represents overpopulation.

What I notice about this hand is that all five of the digits are pointing off toward different and separate goals. If you added together the five different problems, and the people who are working to address these problems. Well, they are not working together for a common goal – they are going off in five different directions. Often they fight or argue with each other or they simply ignore each other, rather than discussing common goals. For this reason the work of one group often cancels out the gains of one or more of the other groups.

For example, one group is working for compassion in the belief that a compassionate community will not fight. Another group tries to win because they believe that will solve all our problems. The climate change group, after a few hundred years of evidence, is finally beginning to recognize its problem is real and is trying to decide whether to adapt or deal with the root cause of climate change. The hunger group can’t possibly accomplish its goal in the face of climate change and excessive population growth. And the overpopulation group believes that no positive goals can be achieved by continuing the destructive path that caused these problems in the first place.

We imagine if all the groups accomplished their goals they would all add up to a successful community. The reality, however, looks more like a mish-mash of confusing goals and conflicting interests.

Efficient and effective problem solving does not jump out into the world in five different directions at once, with the different parts of itself fighting among themselves. Modern business practice has made many serious mistakes, but at least one good concept has come out of it, and that is goal setting. Good business defines its goals, sets its guidelines, and informs all parties involved.

Our basic human goal is to live in a community that is sustainable into the future. Surely it must be, and if it’s not we should ask each other why not, because we aren’t acting as though it were. We have all these five problems, and more, dashing off in all directions at the same time. Don’t you agree that we could organize ourselves in some way that would at least have a chance of growing a positive future? I think such a future is possible.

If our primary goal really is the common welfare, then we can align our four fingers to represent of our commitment to the common goal of human sustainability on this earth, in good health, at least through the lifetimes of our grandchildren. If my genuine stated goal is the same as the stated goals of people working in different disciplines – then we will cease to be all working for different outcomes.

Next, we can recognize the physical facts: (1) that nobody can accomplish anything if there is not enough food for them to eat, (2) that all our food comes from the earth, and (3) the earth now has more people than it can feed. If you don’t believe these are real facts, then you have an obligation to the hungry humans in the world to fact-check your belief system.

So we then fold our thumb under at the roots of the four fingers, to represent represent the facts: (1) that overpopulation is at the root of all of the other problems. Yes we have had these problems in the past and we did not solve them before. Blame your heritage. Now is now and now we cannot solve them if a large part of the earth’s population is desperately struggling to make a living, and ; (2) therefore, that no other compassionate goal can be accomplished when there are more people than the earth can feed; and (3) therefore, the four other goals cannot be solved in the presence of overpopulation.

Therefore, if we genuinely want to accomplish our goals. If we want our behavior to reflect our commitment to the real goal, and regardless of our personal expertise or our primary interest — hunger, global warming, conflict resolution (community) or spirituality – then it is our obligation to spend a portion of our effort, every day, to help compassionately reverse human overpopulation, first informing ourselves about why it is a problem, and then addressing that problem as it relates to our own special skills and projects. I tend to judge people’s compassion by their behavior. When I see anyone brush off this obligation with a platitude or a blank look — we all do really know how important it is. Then I wonder why they don’t really want to know. Can it be they don’t want to help carry the burden of responsibility that goes with knowledge?

And then – we all work together to accomplish both the root goal and the individual goals by enclosing all of life on earth within the fully informed, goal-oriented, responsible, compassionate hand of human kind.

And then, you ask. (Everyone does.): “But it is such a big problem, what can I do?” The answer is – in this sequence:

1-You can recognize that this is not about “me.” It’s not about who does what at the level of individual decision making. Do not promote the fake debate (https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2009/06/10/another-fake-debate-pro-life/) over family planning, which is corposystem propaganda meant prevent us from growing our personal and community power (http://FactFictionFancy.Wordpress.com/About)within the ecosystem. Instead study the real overpopulation threat, which is about human suffering at the level of the population, and at the level of survival of the whole living earth.

2-Do not waste time blaming anyone; it will not accomplish our common goal. Instead educate yourself and others about the suffering of populations of humans who do not have access to family planning because our corposystem is withholding that resource from them.

3-Education yourself about how the ecosystem functions to maintain its balance and therefore it’s welfare and its life (you could start with the Bare Bones Ecology Energy Handbook downloadable from the right side of this blog site).

4-Discuss all three “sides” of the issue with family and friends. The “sides” minimally can be described as the conflicting needs of individual persons, families, communities, and the whole earth ecosystem.

5-What we need most right now is the political will to make family planning available compassionately to everyone on earth who wants it and needs it for their health and well being. Work as a citizen to bring this to the people who need and want it.

Bare Bones Biology 122 – Human Hands

Bare Bones Biology 113 – Thinking Compassion

A few days ago I heard Ray, at a Dharma talk at Upaya Zen Center, read this poem by Naomi Shihab Nye, entitled “Kindness.” If you are reading this on the blog, I suggest you might want to go to the bottom of this page to download the original Bare Bones Biology podcast and listen to Ray’s beautiful rendering:

Kindness

Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.

Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and
purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
it is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you every where
like a shadow or a friend.

Naomi Shihab Nye
from The Words Under the Words: Selected Poems

Well, I’m ashamed to say, as an American, that I never understood kindness until I had spent six months in Japan – I mean kindness as a way of life for its own sake. No strings attached. And that experience is one reason you have the opportunity to hear my thoughts about how we might be able to deal with this crisis that we are in.

I think it’s primarily a crisis of biology; I know it’s primarily a crisis of biology, because I’m a biologist, and that’s why I keep telling you various aspects of how humans interact with the ecosystem. Because the basic problem is not complicated; you can understand it as well as I can. But the solutions are not simple. Unless we want to ride this merry-go-round another time – well I don’t think we have another time for this merry-go-round because, all the other times around – war/peace/war/peace/war/peace/war/peace – all the other times around, the earth was able to provide us with what we needed to try to stay alive and try to solve our problems.

This is no longer true. This crisis is unique, and we cannot solve it by winning a war, or three wars or eight wars or however many wars we are doing right now. In fact I’m inclined to believe that these wars are mostly being staged by the corposystem to prevent we-the-people from understanding that we really are facing a crisis that will require us to hunker down to responsibilities that are very much more heroic than staging wars. We can’t solve it by growing another war.

Neither can we solve it by a concerted effort to teach compassion to everyone without regard to the fact that this is a biological crisis. At the root, it’s a biological crisis. We have never been here before, to the place where knowledgeable people have stated that, in 2007, we used 150% of the earth’s capacity to provide what we need to survive.

You might want to listen to the report on ecology to His Holiness The Dalai Lama, delivered by Diana Liverman from University of Arizona. Begin after the introduction, about 27 minutes into the video ). The powerpoint presentation that accompanied her report, will be linked to this blog under the heading Planetary Stewardship

In Texas or New Mexico, or in any city, you may not notice the devastating changes caused by our rape of the mother earth, because every generation believes their time of birth is normal, and because the damage is being mostly accomplished by destruction of other organisms and other peoples. But we cannot continue to survive by destroying other organisms. It is other organisms that generate air, water, earth and food energy on this planet. We might as well eat ourselves as destroy them, and that is essentially what we are doing.

So that’s why I began Bare Bones Biology. To help us find a way to combine our kindness – our compassion for the welfare of future generations – with basic fact-based knowledge about what the ecosystem requires to stay alive, and we must do this with a rule of law and an educational system that can maintain it.

Bare Bones Biology 113 – Thinking Compassion
KEOS Radio, 89.1, Bryan, TX
A podcast of this message can be obtained here
Or at http://www.BareBonesBiology.com

Recommended References:
http://www.eci.ox.ac.uk/news/articles/111021dalailama.php
http://www.Upaya.org
http://youtu.be/OjMWC1Bz2xA (begin after the introduction, about 27 minutes in, or ask me for a copy of the podcast).
http://wwf.panda.org/about_our_earth/all_publications/living_planet_report/2012_lpr/
http://Godlas.myweb.uga.edu/shihabnye.html

Bare Bones Biology 112 – Thinking

Today I am reposting my own thoughts about thinking – that I thought after viewing Mathiew Ricards UTube

I have developed my mind quite a lot, and I think it’s a good idea. My belief for a long time has been that the so-called “right brain” part of the mind contains the more basic inherited human characteristics. That means we can’t change them or lose them — so it’s better to use them well.

From what we know up to now, these basic qualities seem to be the emotional realities that have been so elegantly studied by Buddhism over the centuries, plus I think the stages of mourning and of meditation are inherent human qualities, and of course many things we do not know.

I learned long ago that any major culture shock requires at least (and about) a year to work through to the point of acceptance of the new reality, and I do believe that the stages of this accomplishment are those same stages that have been described for overcoming grief. The stages of grief (or other big change): Denial, bargaining (this is efforts at control), sorrow and grief, and finally acceptance.

The development of the “right brain,” that is discussed by Mathieu Ricard in the video above, trains us to use these emotions so they benefit us, both at the individual level and at the population level of human reality.

Development of the “left-brain” traits complements the “right” by making day-to-day sense of our experiences until we grow the whole into our world view. Again, the survival value is that we are able to use our experiences and learning to guide our emotions, and direct our behaviors toward greater good, both for the individual and for the community.

Remember, the ”left-brain” skills are largely learned. If you are delving deep into the “right brain” inherited skills to solve your problems, you are only using half your potential for good in the world of today. We need to understand our emotions and use our love and compassion for the greater good. We also need to understand how our love interacts with human need, for good or for ill. Or there can be no compassion, because compassion IS the intersection of loving others and acting for their long[-term best interests.

Love is not enough. In fact, it’s the easy way out. We need to LEARN what the other requires, especially if the other does not have the same kind of right brain that we have, we must learn how it what it does need to function well and be healthy. Otherwise, considering the level of human power on this earth today — our behaviors are likely to cause more harm than good.

It’s not normal for humans to stay stuck forever in denial of the reality of who we are and what we can’t have, combined with bargaining for the power to have it. That’s where we are today, stuck in denial and bargaining, and our power is enough to crash our culture and our ecosystem if we can’t learn to see what the culture and the ecosystem need in order to be sustainable.

“Left-brain” skills are required. “Right brain” skills are also required. We will need our whole brain to grow out of the mess that we are in. Too often we confine our development to one skill-set or the other. Even if we then work very hard, or very lovingly, bringing half our brain to the problems of our culture, this behavior does not create the combination of love and compassion with logic and knowledge, that we need to address those problems. We believe we are creating love and compassion. Quite the opposite, the harder we work on our half of the solution, the more we are likely to generate envy, competition and deep, deep grief when we discover that our dreams have been built on the sands of denial of our other, equally valid half.

Bare Bones Biology 112 – Thinking
KEOS-FM, Bryan, Texas
A podcast of this program can be downloaded here
Or at http://www.FactFictionFancy.com

Compassion is not Enough

Compassion is not enough.

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