Rule of Law

In New Mexico, or at least Santa Fe, has a fascinating policy on dogs, as I discovered during this weekend when our wheels were in the shop:

1-You can’t leave the dog in the car (well I already knew that, but there is apparently now a squadron of 30-somethings out there determined to teach me (who has been driving around with dogs in car for more than twice as long as they have been on earth, and nary a fatality or even massive discomfort) how to travel with a dog.

2-You can’t take the dog out of the car.

3-You can’t take a dog inside a food store (OK everyone knows that in the USA, though not elsewhere).

4-You can’t tie the dog outside the food store (but it’s a good way to meet cute cops).

5-You can’t keep your dog tied up (refer to the squadron of femi-s in 1 above).

6-You can’t let your dog run loose.

Now, that’s an interesting rule of law, and I can see the convenience for those who enforce. No matter what you want, there’s a law you can enforce. But what I say is:

1 – Democracy does not work on the premise that anyone can have whatever she wants. The goal is the greatest good for the greatest number — and;

2- If we all got together and discussed the issues and the REASONS for them, we could have a rule of law that does work AND, if the citizens understood the sense of the law they might even be willing to participate in upholding it.

Meanwhile, given that our current culture is based almost entirely on the exchange and circulation of MONEY, rather than the greater good, I have settled on the following:

1 – Drive into the place where I want to buy something. Look for a tree to park under.

2 – If there is no tree, remove dog from car.

3 – At this point an attendant approaches to inform you the dog must remain in the car.

4 – Point out that would be illegal and unkind. No tree to park under.

5 – Attendant insists.

6 – Explain nicely to attendant I came here to buy (whatever, some large sum, in the most recent case some expensive native trees). But of course your rules make this impossible.

7 – Put dog back in car and drive away, saving a large sum of money.

Have done this twice in NM, and both times attendant was left behind jaw dropped.

It seems to me entirely logical.

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Bare Bones Biology 136 – Corposystem Community

Last week we overviewed the relationship between the corposystem and the whole earth ecosystem. The earth ecosystem is the unique unit of life that consists of the sum of all the other units of life on earth and the climate they generate. The ecosystem uses light energy to make food energy (Bare Bones Ecology Energy Handbook*). It then uses the food energy to do the work of staying alive – that is, it keeps all the earth organisms alive by making food for them. Then it recycles the products of life, that we think of as waste products; but the ecosystem puts the products together with more energy from the sun to make more life. The ecological miracle of life is that it is sustainable, as long as the products are recycled and there is light energy from the sun.

Earth Systems Final2 copyThe corposystem is the modern corpo-political culture. It uses the food energy from the ecosystem to feed the humans who do the work of making money. That work includes withholding from both the human community and the biological community any services that are not profitable. In other words the corposystem retains the money and also, for the most part does not recycle its products.

The problem the corposystem is now facing is that money (despite the clever misuse of the term by some authors) money is not energy. No matter how many clever games we use to make more of it – money cannot grow food energy to feed the humans who do the work of the corposystem. Only the process of photosynthesis can energize life on earth, and we can’t do photosynthesis. Even if we could, we would just unbalance a different node of the web of Life.

It is people working and living that drives the corposystem. It is the resources from the ecosystem (food energy and other resources) that feed the work of humans, and it is the work of humans that drives the corposystem cycle. Not money. Money is a product we play with.

This is good because it means, whenever we take a mind to, we humans can stop the insanity of competing with the ecosystem. We can change our culture to one that collaborates with the work of the ecosystem and so is more sustainable. Whenever we decide to, we can use the work of our hands, minds and bodies to support the cycles of life that actually do feed the welfare of the whole of Life itself. To do this, we need to understand how the corposystem generates a human culture of fear, anger, hatred, greed and dominance, in spite of our normal human need for the kind of a compassionate community that I have described in earlier blogs in this series (beginning with Bare Bones Biology 092).

HeroVictimVillain copyThe cycle of human roles that drives the work of the corposystem is shown within the corposystem cycle in the diagram on my blog. The culture diagram is my perception of our modern American culture: It can be a guide to ourselves, and a hope for the future if we can understand what we are doing to ourselves.

First let’s remember that a cycle is not me or you as individuals. A cycle is more like a set of job titles, or life-styles. I claim that our modern American corposystem culture limits us to three available over-all life styles: Victim life style: Villain life style: Good Guy-Hero life style. Some individuals choose to become very good at one or other of those life styles, but we aren’t specifically stuck. If you are raised with all the life skills of a Victim you can choose, and if you work very hard to figure out what keeps you in that life style, you can change to another lifestyle. But in our culture you will not be recognized, understood or rewarded if you try to choose any lifestyle that is too far apart from the available three. This is really difficult to explain, so I have placed a personal example on my blog directly below the transcript of this podcast. (https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2012/12/11/a-heads-up/).

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 http://traffic.libsyn.com/fff/Bare_Bones_Biology_136_-_Corposystem_CommunityF.mp3

Recommended References:

Bare Bones Biology Ecology Energy Handbook
Go to the right side of the page under Chapters and download your free no strings PDF.
Bare Bones Biology 135 – https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2012/12/05/
A Heads Up – https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2012/12/11/a-heads-up/

Question for Discussion

Most people who read this blog are aware of the concept of Yin and Yang. For every earthly action or event, there is the possibility of both a “good” and a “bad” result. If we are really paying attention to the results of our actions, we can observe that this is true in our human experience. Why do you think this is true?

Try this for an Idea

Watch your actions for a whole day. You will be happy with some things you do and not happy with other things you do. Why is this? Is it because of peer pressure or because of some negative or positive responses of other people? Or is it because you have really considered the right or wrong of your actions? Ask yourself, why are they right and why are they wrong?

Definitions:
Whole Earth Ecosystem = All the species of organisms on earth and the environment that they generate to live in.
Corposystem = The modern American corpo-political system including its international entanglements.

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 http://www.BareBonesBiology.org

Recommended References:
Nukefreenow.org – http://nukefreenow.org
Los Alamos National Laboratory – http://www.lanl.gov/
El Museo – http://www.elmuseocultural.org/
CCA – http://www.ccasantafe.org/
KCEI – http://culturalenergy.org
Green Village Youth Hostel – http://hotels.lonelyplanet.com/japan/sado-ga-shima-r1973959/green-village-youth-hostel-p1002920/
Grave of the Fireflies – http://wikipedia.org/wiki/Grave_of_the_Fireflies

Letter to a Mother

You ask if the American Dream can be saved, and I answer that I am very proud of the American Dream, at least my American Dream that imagined a level playing field for all of human kind, balanced under the rule of law. However, I doubt that it can be saved from our greed and our egoistic belief that we can force history, evolution and nature herself to function as we choose to believe they should. The fact is, we do have some control over history to be, some control over technologies related to evolution, but no control over the basic natural law that drives both, and we seem not to know the difference between what we can and what we can not control.

Evolution, for example. What difference does it make on God’s green earth — if evolution was or was not involved with us being here. That is a question for God. The important thing is that evolution does exist and it functions according to natural laws that we can not change. That is also a question for God — why natural law functions the way it does. Who do we think we are, telling God how he should have made the laws of life? Our question is how to live fruitfully within its boundaries. (Can you imagine faintly that I’m having an argument with Adam?) Whoever, we humans will fare far better when we face the fact that we are not riding high, either as a species or a USA, and recognize that we are on the downhill side of our life cycle because of our “take-charge,” “dog-eat-dog,” “red in tooth and claw” attitude toward each other and toward the ecosystem.

Fortunately that’s not how nature works in the overall scheme of things — dog-eat-dog, or red in tooth and claw — and even more fortunately, we know the basics of how it does work. Of course we may not be happy that eating is an essential part of how the ecosystem distributes the energy of its life. It may seem like the big dog gets the best cut. Yes, animals eat to live, but that does not mean the more you eat the better off you are and it does not mean that we should try to dominate. Nobody dominates in the ecosystem, and if they try to dominate the ecosystem will fight to maintain its balance, and the ecosystem is bigger than we are. A fact that our top dogs don’t want us to talk about. And so the information about how the ecosystem really functions is essentially not available to the public. We get plenty of scraps to fight over, but not the real facts that could permit us to adapt to the real deal of how the ecosystem maintains its living balance.

This blog began as a discussion of power; we discuss useful information: not propaganda, not fake facts, not hype or (usually) not metaphors. The real deal.

Up to now we have talked about how energy flows through the system and does not recycle. We pointed out that we can not hog it all for ourselves and still survive in an ecosystem in which all the energy must be shared to maintain the balance and resilience required for its survival. We pointed out that millions of other species participate in this balancing act by their own life functions that accomplish necessary processes within the ecosystem. The flow of energy we can not change; it is a basic requirement for survival; the energy must reach all the living organisms of the ecosystem. The fact that the big dogs want to talk about technologies that will give us access to more organic energy does not change the fact that doing so (unless we change our human social structure) will further unbalance the energy flow of the ecosystem. It’s one of those scraps they want us to fight over while they are grabbing the best cut, so they don’t provide all the information we need to make sensible choices. The bottom line is, no matter what we do to get more energy, we will unbalance the ecosystem unless we change our American belief that growth is good and more growth is better.

That’s not how the ecosystem works, and we can’t change how it works.

Time we also can not change, whatever it is I don’t know, but only in the movies can we make-believe going back in time. The mistakes we make today will be with us forever. We are the product of our history that we can not change. Today is the only moment of time that we can control. How would the world be different if I had decided to go out and ride a horse this morning instead of writing this letter for you and your children? We can never know the answer to that question. Maybe we can learn something by the briefest look at our history.

We are a subunit of the ecosystem. We got here somehow; that matter was decided by God, or at least not by us, and it is history. Whatever is our opinion about that doesn’t change whatever happened, so there is no point arguing. We have a better documented idea of what happened during historical time, when we evolved our social behaviors from the lifestyle of a tribal hunter gatherer; to the pasture nomad with domesticated livestock; to the farmer with domesticated food crops; to cities built on the power and wealth of individuals who in effect domesticated other individuals to work for them; to the United States where we have developed a concept of civil rights based in the rule of law rather than the rule of rapacious individuals.

This rapid social change is incredible, in only a few thousand years, and I just bounced across the high points. If I were to pin down the most important social changes of our species in historical time (I am neither a historian nor a sociologist, so you can tell me if I am wrong), I would point to:

1) The Axial age when the current major religions formed, all of which espouse the similar ethic: Do not do unto others what you wouldn’t want done to you; the fall of a sparrow; the ten unfruitful actions; compassion=kindness as a positive and fruitful life style.

2) The abolition of the slave ethic (which occurred first in France);

3) We can hope and pray that we are in the middle of a similarly important jump in our social awareness, if we do a good job using the power that we have right now in this moment in time, to make wise decisions.

So that is where we are in time.

We are also a subunit of the universe in space. The universe is organized in levels of complexity, like boxes inside of boxes. I will skip over a few of these levels as quickly as I addressed the story of our times. The whole universe contains a bunch of galaxies; each galaxy contains a lot of stars; some of those stars have planets, including ours, and the earthly planet is unusual in that it is a living thing. A definition of life is that living things create the balance they need to stay alive, and this is certainly true of the whole earth ecosystem, and easily proven. So we are organisms that live in a living ecosystem and we are made of cells that live in a living organism. Levels of organization in the living ecosystem can be thought of from smallest to greatest, as: cells; tissues; organs; organisms; populations (a population is all of one kind of organism); and ecosystems and the whole big living earth that gives life to it all. Among all those various levels of organization, I choose to consider three over which we do have some element of control. Or at least all of our behaviors do influence all three of our closest levels of organization, and because we have influence, we therefore also have responsibilities to the outcomes of our behaviors.

Level One is us and our interpersonal interactions. One on one.

Level two is the human population behaviors. It would include war and the health bill and things like that. Maybe things that happen on the internet. Level two is basically the average of all the interpersonal interactions in the human population, and their impact. Politics and civil rights depend upon the accumulated behaviors of all the people.

And here we run into that “tooth and claw” error again. Politics and civil rights are political; however, they do not primarily affect level two according to who wins and who loses, as in an election. Level two outcomes are not the wins and losses — they are the actual history that we leave behind us — the actual composite result of what we all do. Successes and failures are not the same thing as wins and losses. Level two outcomes represent the results of what we all do and how that whole result changes history from what it otherwise would have been. Tooth and claw politics is not the most effective and certainly not the most positive road to success, because it only benefits the big dogs while at the same time causing harm to the population as a whole. Which is more important, the big dog or the whole of level two?

Level three is similar to level two, but it is more real because it is the entire ecosystem with all the parts that keep it alive. All of life on earth, not only people. If the ecosystem dies, or kills us off to protect herself, then we have wasted our level one and level two efforts. Ignoring or denying that fact will not lead to a successful outcome for human kind on earth.

The most important point here is that we, and especially Americans, tend to assume that whatever we believe is good — is good — without stopping to find out what really would be good at level two, because we have been suckered into the belief that whatever it takes to win in a good cause is good. And what about level three? We don’t even try to think about what is best for the survival of level three. We just toss our cans in the recycle bin and try to save the people of Haiti, working at level one, and get on with fighting over scraps in level two.

That won’t do it, folks, because that’s not how the system works! The requirements of a healthy level two, and especially a healthy level three, are different from the requirements to be a “successful” level-one American hero.

If level four is God, then I’m pretty sure God would not want us to destroy the pretty little blue and green life form that is circling around our sun; and because I don’t see anyone in the media effectively paying attention to her needs, I choose to focus on helping level three.

Because I am working at level three and you are working at level two does not relieve either of us of the ethical responsibilities of level one, and the biggest of these is to respond to other organisms in need, if they really are in need of our help. Using these people to feather our own nest, without also responding to their need, no matter how noble the nest, is unethical.

Our level two efforts, including the ACLU and the political controversies, KEOS radio and education — these are not bad things. I believe all of these good works are the germ of a new breakthrough in human level two belief systems.
But the only way that breakthrough can conceivably happen is if we survive on this earth.

To survive, we must incorporate level three needs into the (already complex) problem set. That’s why I say we have the potential, right in this moment of time, to generate the third giant step in human social evolution. However, we are leaving out the essential component of that step. We can’t survive in level two if we kill off level three. By ignoring this level three need, we will destroy your level two goals that relate to civil interactions among peoples and your level one goals as a mother.

Anyone who claims to care about other people has a responsibility to not make life worse for other people. To do that, we have also the responsibility to understand all sides of our own “actions” at all three levels, so we can know where and how our own “actions” are actually causing harm to other people. We have a responsibility to not rejoice over “wins” that take food out of other people’s mouths or force the ecosystem to change herself (climate change is only one example) for her own survival.

Normal life doesn’t work that way. Healthy life is maintained by a balance of interactions among a skezzilion processes and actions; it is not a win-lose battle; it is a program designed to maintain healthy life — at level three, so that it can be available to all the levels. But if we continue to force the ecosystem into a fight for her life, either we humans (along with a lot of other species) will lose — or we all will lose. If we can’t change our growth ethic and our win/lose method of getting what we want, then we will discover that the ecosystem will do whatever is necessary for her own survival, and there is nothing we can do to stop her except to stop messing up the balance of her systems.

Fake Debates. Torture.

Changing the subject, loss leaders, asking the wrong question. The purpose of any of these so-called debates is to avoid discussing the issue. The debate about whether or not torture is torture is probably a lot of fun for some people. It allows us to get all excited about something that is not the issue. The issue is that:

1) All high government officials take an oath to support the constitution of the United States of America, and

2) The constitution of the United States of America declares the President and other high officials are required to honor the treaties and agreements of our country, and

3) Torture is a war crime and a crime in the United States of America, both because we agreed to honor the Geneva Convention, and because torture is a crime in the United States of America. It has nothing to do with whoever we don’t like or why we are at war.

Without the rule of law we have no United States of America. Under the rule of law, people must be held responsible for what they choose to do. Otherwise, there is no rule of law. Torturing is illegal. Nobody forced anybody to torture. It’s not possible to force anyone to torture other people.

When we choose to break the law, we know what the consequences are. We make that choice freely and accept the consequences, or we change the law — first and legally.

There is nothing to debate here.

But if we live in a culture where only two human values remain — winning, losing — then of course no discussion is possible and nothing is left to us but the mini-wars of fake debates. And we have shackled our souls to the shame and denial of our own abusive behavior.

Rule of Law

Without the rule of law we have no United States of America.

Under the rule of law, people are held responsible for what they choose to do; otherwise, there is no rule of law. Torturing is illegal. It’s not possible to force anyone to torture. When we choose to break the law, we know what are the consequences.

We make that choice freely and accept the consequences, or we change the law – LEGALLY. Just saying we don’t like it or we don’t believe it does not change the law. Or, of course, the other choice is to not change the law. Nobody is above the law, ESPECIALLY presidents and other leaders. That’s the American way.

Otherwise, there is no United States of America and the American dream is only a fairy tale that we tell to children so they will do whatever we want them to do.

Rule of Law

I met a person from Kenya the other day. We had a long talk about leadership. It’s the first time I understood why the Kenyan former leader has been behaving as he does. Very strange to us, but he apparently believes himself responsible, and leaders are responsible to lead the people. He thinks he is doing the right thing. So that is all pretty complicated and it’s not us, but don’t we also do the wrong thing for the right reasons? Sometimes? Everyone does. That’s why “right and wrong” thinking is dangerous.

In fact, I think our entire country is descending into right and wrong “aint it awful” thinking. (Or if I just noticed it, I want to go back to when I didn’t know, but I think it started when the media decided to poll everyone’s opinion on anything, whether or not there was a valid opinion to have.)

Right and wrong is a matter of emotion. If we choose to maintain a rule of law, we need to deal analytically with legal and illegal, and we need to do it with input from as many experts as possible. Right and wrong thinking, and the concept that everyone has a right to his own opinion — these ideas some people take as permission for hate crimes. Torture. War. Hate crimes, torture and war are illegal, whether or not we think we have a right to behave in that fashion, and the reason they are illegal is not because of your opinion — or mine — it’s because of the collective wisdom of several hundred years of human experience.

The whole point of rule of law is to avoid that kind of thing.

Don’t forget it is the rule of law that has made America the most powerful country in the world. And the only people who can save the rule of law is us. And we have been losing it.