Bare Bones Biology 117 – Los Alamos

Santa Fe is an excellent place to get lost in, because it is so illogical in the beginning and such an accomplishment in the end. Learning by getting lost, around the small issues, is something we need to do more of, if we want ever to grow a population of people who can think around the big issues. First you go to one place that turns out not to be where you thought it was, then another place, then another, until eventually your brain makes a leap of understanding of its own and realizes that all the places are connected with each other in a pattern that does make sense.

I went to the meeting last night, of a coalition of organizations that are working together to recognize the use of nuclear weapons in WWII, here, where the weapons were created. I’m not sure who spearheaded this action, but it was an excellent meeting, very well attended, that walked an admirable line between organization and self-expression. I did not express myself, but if I had — I would have said:

“People are looking to help people without regard to helping the ecosystem that brings us our air, water, earth and fire. Helping people is good, but only if we remember that EVERYTHING is connected to the ecosystem, so we can at the same time be working to avoid human impoverishment by helping the ecosystem to function normally, or at least not getting in the way.”

The action will be launched on Monday, July 16, with a hunger strike to protest continued development of weapons at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

On August 3, the weekend activities will begin with an art exhibit at El Mseo in Santa Fe, and a workshop on non-violent action. On Saturday the several sponsoring groups, which range from Quakers to Occupy, have lined up an impressive array of speakers, from politicians to those with personal experiences, to speak at the Center for Contemporary Arts in Santa Fe. I hope they will record these talks for people who can’t come. Maybe the new independent radio station, KCEI that is opening in Taos will be able to put up some podcasts for us. I’ll let you know if they become available.

On Sunday, August 5th, the activity moves to Ashley Pond Park in Los Alamos, with teach-ins, speakers and an audio link to the sounding of the Peace Bell in Hiroshima to recognize the anniversary of the American atom bombs dropped on Japan.

I remember one of these anniversaries, about 8 years ago, when I was staying in a Japanese youth hostel on Sado Island. One morning, the residents were all sitting around watching TV, of course in Japanese, so I asked what was on. When they told me –

But I think I’ll finish that story some other time, because you know, unlike most Americans (or Japanese), I remember these events and they are not nearly as simplistic as we now make them out to be.

That’s why we need people who understand that everything is connected and are willing to discuss the connections rather than only debate the simplistic interpretations. Also it’s another reason to not do it again — and especially to not privatize nuclear weaponry. Imagine Blackwater Nuclear. Or you might want to watch the best war movie ever made – one of the best movies of any kind ever made – Grave of the Fireflies. It’s available at the Peach Clubhouse and on Amazon.

I bow to my Japanese friends, and I’m all for serious non-violent actions around human values. As many as possible. And I will be there with camera in hand, reminding people we also need a viable ecosystem.

Then on Monday, August 6th, there will be a full day of non-violent demonstrations in Los Alamos . Bitsy and I possibly might stay over on Saturday night, and photograph the events. In fact, I think this might be a fine opportunity to make a little picture book on the subject, if I had the money, the energy, the time and a collaborator. (hint)

And oh yes, after the meeting I found I had gotten lost again. I drove about 16 miles to find the meeting, and in the end discovered I was less than a mile away from “home.”

Everything is connected in the living earth. Wisdom never forgets this fact.

Bare Bones Biology 117 – Los Alamos
Podcast may be downloaded here
Or at

Recommended References: –
Los Alamos National Laboratory –
El Museo –
Green Village Youth Hostel –
Grave of the Fireflies –

Bare Bones Biology 111 – Ritual II

What we all require from our rituals is guidance about “what we should do and what we should not do.” (As Thich Nhat Hanh says in Touching Peace)

We need to understand who we are and how to fit our lives into the big Life without causing harm to ourselves or to it. At the Peach Clubhouse we will have a copy of Joanna Macy’s very fine talk at The Economics of Happiness conference. She started out saying “We are really blessed by the straight talk here.” That got my attention. Or keep watching all the good talks at where it will eventually be posted.

Understanding how to fit our lives into the big Life without causing harm is a complicated task for which well-tested knowledge and positive rituals will help us a great deal more than any other kind of power. We are not more powerful than the big Life that is all life, and our attempts to provide for ourselves by destroying that Life will fail because our modern corposystem rituals are built in the sand of denial and based on the myth of omnipotence.

Ritual is a method of communication within and between populations. If the conditions are right, the rituals of a culture evolve with the needs of the culture. In our so-called modern cultures we have so many unmet needs, and so many ritualistic heritages, that they tend to be confused and misused by intent or by ignorance. That does not mean that rituals are wrong. If your language means nothing to me, then your rituals probably will also not inform me very well because there is no way for me to understand our common roots. That does not mean that you are fundamentally different from me or that your new discoveries are new to me. Yes, you have rituals that are special to you. We all do. Some of these are more useful than others. All of them can be misused.

So let’s not permit our favored rituals to lead us away from our deep reverence for the Source of everything that we need to stay alive and well. You’ve been studying your discipline for 10, 20, 30, even 40 years. I can top that, but why bother? At the root of the Source there is no metaphor, but only pure reality that cannot be denied, no matter how powerful our technology – no matter how bright we are.

Let’s stop growing cultures of denial in which the positive rituals of others cannot bear fruit: a) because we are not listening, so we don’t understand; or b) because we believe our own way is “special.” Maybe our way is not so very different, only we have different rituals and metaphors for the same old human problems. Maybe there are some better answers than what we know today.

Let’s not continue to ritualize our fears into the aggressive or passive-aggressive expressions of the need to win, or to be “right,” or to know more than others about how we proceed to the next evolutionary step in our human lives. We do not know how the earth will evolve. Evolution has way too many variables for us to predict. But we do have something previous generations did not have. In addition to the ritual warnings, we also have fact-based warnings about what we should not do as humans who love life.

For only one example, NASA Director James Hansen and other climatologists predicted climate change more than 50 years ago, based on over-growth of human technologies and population. We weren’t listening. That was a mistake.

If we choose to study only one source or sort of information about what we should do — or not do – our work tends to cancel the efforts of the other at a time when we could be doubling our impact by listening to authoritative sources of both sorts of information .

When I was involuntarily working for women’s liberation, I had no vision or image of women learning to be more powerful than they already were. I imagined women and men growing the rituals for our sustainable future, based in the subtler, more effective “Powers of the Weak” so that we together could grow a subtler, more effective more enduring and sustainable culture for human kind.

Maybe I succeeded and it took a couple of generations. Maybe that is what’s happening now. If so, I wish we would call it for what it is and work it for its full potential so that fully informed people of various traditions, rather than always trying to “teach” the other, are willing to listen hard and well together, and together discuss viable solutions.

For that to succeed, we must include valid scientific data in all our deliberations. Good basic biological science (not technology but holistic science) tells us a lot about what we should not try to do. Actually, so do most of the technologies we are using in our fatal effort to subdue the earth.

Bare Bones Biology 111 – Ritual II
KEOS 98.1 FM
The audio podcast can be downloaded here
Or at

Recommended References
Thich Nhat Hahn –
Elizabeth Janeway – Powers of the Weak
Joanna Macy –
James Hansen –
Paul Woodruff – Reverence: Renewing a Forgotten Virtue

Power Politics

This blog started out to discuss power — especially personal power and the many things I learned about personal power in my years of becoming a successful woman scientist.  I’m still talking about the power to accomplish long-term goals  !


Our book has been published and it is indeed a beautiful book, and that’s not even mentioning the important and well balanced content.  Or the number of disparate people who all had to do a great job together to accomplish the goal.

“The Colors of Mice”

But that is not what I want to say today.

What I want to say today is that nobody accomplishes any kind of significant goal without help, and if you aren’t bigger than everyone else on the playing field, then you must talk with everyone else on the playing field.  And only one person is bigger than everyone else on the playing field.

I would claim, and have often claimed, that “winners” never win anything long term.  Winners are the biggest jerks on the playing field because they only care about winning, not about the long-term goals that are good for all or most of the people.  The odd thing is that they also always believe they are aspiring to long-term positive goals.  I mean unless they are really just brutal dictators or something, and hardly anyone is that.  But the bottom line is that “winners” hurt so many people in the process of winning, and there are so many losers who know so much about the “Powers of the Weak” (they have read Janeway on the subject) that the losers go underground and talk to all the people and blossom out 20 years later to defeat the original winner.

It always happens.  Right now it’s taking the form of blame-placing.  We are having the biggest and most illogical blame-placing orgy in history (or at least it seems like it, I wasn’t here forever).  But it won’t do us any good.  I’ll tell you why tomorrow, but the bottom line is nobody ever won a long-term goal by blame-placing, either.  The only major result of that is to attribute to your enemy bigger powers than he actually has.

The bottom line is that the person with the most power to accomplish long-term goals is the one who is willing to talk to (preferably listen to) all the other people, and discuss the issues.  Everyone’s issues.


I think of God as the most powerful force in the universe, or at least the most powerful force on earth — well, not the most powerful force on earth because if God is God, then He must have dominion over the earth. Then that would have to include gravity, wouldn’t it, and the sun. And the moon. The solar system at least. Probably if I were a physicist I would learn that the solar system can not exist without the rest of the universe. It seems like The Creation must be the whole thing, the whole universe, because any part of the physical world could not exist in the way it is existing without the other parts. I think that’s what Einstein loved about the whole big beautiful construct. All the systems and all the “laws of nature” and all of everything is like one humongous internet with every part interacting with every other part.

I think of God as the most powerful force in the universe.

Some people believe that God IS the power of the universe. I don’t know, but I couldn’t prove they are wrong. The important thing to remember here is — that is not me. I am not the most powerful force in the universe. I don’t know even as much as Einstein knew, and he died. Also it is not you and it is not the President of the United States of America. I think we have recently learned what happens to individual people, nations and the ecosystem when we forget that human people are not God.

I think we need to find a more effective way to contribute to the welfare of human kind. Better than trying to beat God at His own game, because we already know who will win that fight. So maybe it’s not better and better fighters that we need. But — what else can save us? Don’t we need more power and yet more power to win this battle with the universe? Isn’t that what all the hot air coming out of DC, not to mention Austin, is all about?

Wait — we can’t win a battle with the universe, so why do we keep trying? Is there any other way that we could survive here where we are? Let’s think about it. Who in all of human kind knows how to get along in a world where they are not the most powerful thing around?

Women (well, not so much any more, we won the “equality” fight).

Minority peoples and populations.


Ghandi and Martin Luther King Jr. harvested the Powers of the Weak, and you can go to Amazon and buy an excellent if overly intellectual book on the subject of Powers of the Weak, written by Elizabeth Janeway — not the novelist the other one.

What was that Jesus said about children? I don’t think He meant to turn them loose upon the earth with no supervision — no education. If I am honest, I must believe that God gave us this amazing brain to learn about the science, and the beauty and the ethics and the religions that all are trying to understand His universe. I think God would want us to teach the children about all His disciplines.

Maybe He just didn’t think fighting and “winning” is the answer to our problems.  Maybe He wanted us to grow a more compassionate system.