Bare Bones Biology 072 – More Corposystem Games – FactFictionFancy

It’s a lot of fun to fight over television controversies, because it seems like nobody gets hurt and nobody loses. So we sometimes forget that most television controversy is just make-believe arguing that is meant to keep us solidly in front of the TV, and not learning about the real facts of life. On modern television, even the news is manipulated — a corposystem game – not real life at all. The facts of life? We breathe air, we drink water and we eat food, and without that all the games in the world won’t keep us alive. Not the TV, not the corposystem, not money.

Money isn’t even a real thing – it’s only a commitment to trade for goods and it’s only useful when people are willing to honor it. We can’t eat, breathe or drink money. So maybe we should spend a little more time understanding how we get what we do need to stay alive, and a little less time trusting the corposystem to get it for us.

The corposystem does not and cannot make food energy, air or water in useful quantities. Those things come from the ecosystem. Yes of course, the corposystem can move things around, and mess them up — but it cannot make enough food, air or water to keep us alive. It is the nature of the ecosystem to produce these things, just as it is our nature to need them, and there is a very important reason for this. We and the earth ecosystem are one living, interacting system. Just in the way that you and your kidney, and your lungs and your heart – all are one living system.

The corposystem is a parasite. It’s not alive, so it does not care if we destroy the air, water and food. It only cares about one thing, and that is money. So the corposystem is using and destroying our air, water and food energy to make things, to sell to us, to get money. And it invents TV propaganda games for us, so we won’t notice that it is taking away our air, water and food. Games like this one, that I call FactFictionFancy. It begins with a news announcer. Here’s the example, a TV announcer says:

“Nearly all living things on this earth, including us, require food to get the energy we need to stay alive, and when we break down the food and use the energy — that process releases carbon dioxide.” That’s a true fact. “NONONO” screams another announcer on a different show that is owned by the same corposystem. “When animals break down food during their metabolism – and use the energy – that process releases water, not carbon dioxide!”

Aha, a fight, what fun, let’s join in, and so a third reporter, owned by the same corposystem claims to have checked with some “expert” who says it’s carbon dioxide. And so it goes. We all sit glued to our TV sets, wondering who will win. Before long a couple of politicians enter the argument, one on each side, Republicans versus Democrats. Water or carbon dioxide. Because they hope to get votes if they say what we want to hear.

But the thing is, of all those fighting people, nobody’s opinion makes any difference at all, because – the reality facts can be measured and have been measured and THEY ARE WHAT THEY ARE. Nobody’s opinion can change them. So, while it’s a fun game arguing, it does not put food in our mouths or prevent the asthma deaths that are caused by air pollution, or save the crops that are lost to drought or the water that was polluted by fracking and runoffs from contaminated croplands. While we behave like fans at a dog fight – as though we had no responsibilities – as though nobody is getting hurt because it’s only a game on TV.

And our politicians are arguing about nonsense instead of discussing solutions to real, difficult problems in a real, life-or-death world.

Bare Bnes Biology 072 – More Corposystem Games – FactFictionFancy
KEOS radio 89.1 FM, Bryan, Texas
Transcript at
Audio later this week at

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.

In Answer to Your Letter

I believe as Americans, we should not be fighting each other or anyone else over unimportant things while the country and the ecosystem collapse around us, and I believe that something is happening higher up in the politico-economic structure that wants to lay waste the land in order to “get theirs” now. Of course this has always been true, but right now there are two huge differences:

(1) Now the ecosystem has run out of reserves to support their biological and economic ravages. Before now we were not so big and there were always more resources somewhere that could make up for the crooks’ behaviors.

(2) Now the power brokers are more subtle and have learned to maintain their power by setting us against each other. Obviously their goal is to pretend we are recovering and at the same time give us something unimportant to fight over so we won’t notice as they ravage the countryside and we lose the rule of law that is THE thing that defines us as American.

Our political model makes this very easy for them, especially after Bush indoctrinated a whole generation of young into the glories of war, because the people are willing to believe that “winning” a debate or an election, or ANYTHING is a valid way to solve a problem. Just as they were willing to believe that “winning” a war is. Wouldn’t you think we would notice the proofs of all the failed wars? So I am dedicating my time and energy to fighting FOR the constitution and rule of law and the ecosystem.

One of the things that stands in the way of our problem solving, as we push the whole earth ecosystem further and further away from a healthy balance, is that we are NOT teaching our people how the ecosystem works. We do know in its basics how the ecosystem works, but we are withholding this information from the voters (even on PBS). I think the reason for this is what I said above — so that the voters will not interfere with the crooks’ ravaging.

The other thing that stands in our way is our war mentality that prevents us from talking among our selves and realizing that we all want the same things and we all have the same problems. We apply our war mentality extravagantly to almost everything we do because we believe that “winning” is more important than solving the problems. We are so indoctrinated in the “winning” model that we can’t feel good about ourselves if we believe someone else might be better in some way than we are. Now I ask you, what problem does that solve?

I am antiwar. Really. Not like people who go out and fight with each other about whether or not we should have war. I don’t care who wins, so long as we solve the problems.

Wait — if we solve our common problem — wouldn’t we all win?

What a novel idea.Blue-DSC_2519Ls

We All Need the Same Thing

Open Letter to Chet Edwards,

When people care about their own personal desire to win, more than they care about anyone else — often they try to get everyone arguing about something ELSE, and when nobody is looking at the REAL issue, they grab it.

090810_dsc2697sIf we fall for this scam — everyone loses because the important discussion about the difficult problem is never held. Up to now the ONLY things I have heard were answers to people who are screaming about things that are not relevant to the problem of the long-term welfare of the United States of America.

The bottom line is:

These people who make up things to fight about could very well tear this country apart, so I hope you do not “wait to hear what they say” before you decide how to vote. You have gotten lots of money and other perks for your good old boys, without regard to what is best for the whole country.

This time, the need of our country is more important than your good old boys, and frankly I don’t understand their logic, because if the country goes down the tubes they will go with it. I also don’t understand all this fighting, because everyone NEEDS the same thing if they are to get what they WANT, and that thing is a vibrant USA. That is the issue, and we should be discussing it among ourselves.

So I hope you have the guts to do what is best for the country without regard for whatever nonsense the idiots come up with to distract us from our most important goal.

Move the Moon, it Bugs me

“Make President Obama Stop Global warming.”

You must be kidding.

That organization (and I have to say a lot of other organizations) get no money from me. And the hungrier they are for the green the more ignorant the claims they come up with, some of them.

But that makes Global warming an even worse problem doesn’t it:

1. Obama can’t fix it without our help;

2. All these people who could be helping are wasting their energy thinking of stupid things to say to raise money.

To spend your time thinking or talking about what you can not do to help mankind Is a waste of your brain and the time you could be spending doing something worthwhile..
There is more that you CAN do than you can ever do.
Just make sure that whatever you do now does not make life worse for someone else later on.

Health Insurance

I am very happy that I have my government insurance program (Social Security and Medicare) and I can not imagine why anyone who is in danger of unemployment would be trying to prevent our government from making these government obligations available to all the people. Of course I paid my bit for it, and I always knew I was helping to pay for other people who were in worse trouble than I. And happy to do that.

So I will plan to go to the demonstrations, but I do keep wondering why? Why not spend my energy doing something more substantive. Why not find a way to use my personal power to make exactly the point that I wish to make about health insurance instead of trying to get on TV so that someone else will do it for us. (Of course I know why, it’s very difficult to think of ways to get our word across that great gap between us and the government.) The media are supposed to bridge that gap, and demonstrations do catch the attention of some elements of the media, but there is no reason to believe those media will actually present our message — and demonstrations are not rational discussion.

In fact, most demonstrations nowadays seem to be intended specifically to draw our attention AWAY from the real issues so we will not think about the common welfare but only about fighting with someone who disagrees with us.

I feel very sure that every individual person who really cares about the common welfare can find an easier, more direct and probably more effective way to make his views known to his friends, neighbors, representatives and to the media. Good old fashioned neighborly discussion would be a start, carried forward with rational, well considered letters, emails and Touchstone radio pieces. And support KEOS or your own independent media.

Not so Random Thoughts

I started this blog to pick apart the sneaky little power ploys that people and organizations use to get what they want — and the honorable options that are available to the rest of us who don’t wish to be sneaky and also don’t want to be hornswoggled.

But when I see issues rise up, such as the limits of sustainable productivity of the earth — over which we have no power — and we are behaving as though we do — I get side-tracked, It seems important to mention the fact, because that’s like setting out into a hurricane with nothing more than a little bit of a sailboat.

And while we are dealing with that, and starvation, and AIDS and war and a few other significant little problems, it appears the media can’t find anything substantive to talk about and are again inventing things to get excited about. “Cable News Stokes Political Fever” (David Carr).

Makes no sense.

Not that I think we need to get excited about anything; I think we should discuss our problems like sensible people, with the aim of solving them.

But in the meantime I’m slacking off a bit today because I want to squeeze in some biology lessons from time to time, and biological fact is not as easy to write as my opinion about what we should talk about. I already wrote about energy; tomorrow I’ll cover green plants. The shortest biology textbook in history. I think that leaves evolution and ecology for future exercises. Then the quiz.

Stop and Think

This sounds all too familiar. (“Enough, population doom merchants,” Dominic Lawson, Sunday Times of London).

Didn’t I write not too long ago about the reactions of the press in response to biological realities?  I said in the mainstream media their usual response, especially to big problems like AIDS and global warming, seems to be denial for a period of about ten years, during which time crises that could have been contained (if the press had fulfilled its responsibility to educate and inform) reach fairly unmanageable proportions. I’m not the first to notice this. For example, Dot Earth.

That’s what happens when we pretend that all of reality is nothing but fun and entertainment — that we should not discuss any other kind of reality.  Then they look around and wonder why the scientists never told them this was coming.

Oh, well, when I went into university teaching (thankfully now behind me) my mentor said:  “Nobody will understand you when you tell them; then when they figure it out for themselves they will come and ask why you didn’t tell them.”  That is indeed what happened, and it’s probably a good thing in an educational setting that the students should learn to think.  But it’s not an intelligent way to deal with real crises.  A much better approach is to listen to a variety of experts in different fields and pool our expertise.

Mr. Lawson’s article in the Times purports to address a report to be issued by the UK’s Sustainable Development Commission, but he never really discusses the reportand.  He gets off on Optimum Population Trust (OPT), a British organization concerned with issues of population, that held its annual conference last week.  Invitation only.  His article is basically a “bait and switch” attempt to change the subject from discussion of real population issues to the personalities of individuals at OPT for whom he apparently has little or no respect.

080420funeral_dsc6582fs-copyI happen to have it first hand — from a respected scientist who attended — that the OPT meeting was both sane and sensible.  It makes me wonder what are the credentials of this reporter that he is able to so confidently second-guess the real data.  So I looked him up on Google.  Apparently he has quite a lot of money, a cousin who is a biologist, and an iffy reputation with regard to serious journalism.   Unless he has qualifications not mentioned, I certainly would not trust his opinion with regard to scientific or economic decision making.

Think about it.  What is our best response here?  Should we just wait and see what happens?  Or might it be better to pool our expertise, discuss the issue, and make some plans just in case the scientists are not as crazy as Mr. Lawson thinks they are.