Bare Bones Biology 187 – Wisdom

This is my statement on this tenth day of November, 2016.


140120-MLK-ASC_7709RLSBitsy and I like to participate every year in the parade, walking up Martin Luther King Street, behind the big, green garbage truck, around the corner in front of the African-American Museum on Pruitt Street, and then on through downtown to the school. Bitsy loves a parade, and walking that way, with the community, brings to my mind a very simple, very important event in my life that had nothing to do with Martin Luther King, Jr. He was in college at the time. Unknown. I was in high school.

It happened during our family cross-country road trip to – I forget where, but it was someplace in the south where we stopped at the fairgrounds and climbed up high in the old wooden outdoor grandstand to watch a horse show. Special treat for me. I was one of those horse-crazy girls, very blond, very white, very shy, raised up…

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Godspeed, populists!

Leaving Babylon

The time has come, the walrus said, to reopen this blog. I promised a tribal post, but that will have to wait for final touches. Meanwhile, to go along with the current political frenzy (and yes, I am voting this time, in case you wondered), I offer you a timely post that emerged this afternoon from a discussion on the Small Farm Future blog, which itself was provoked by that blog’s response to JM Greer’s recent musings on liberalism.

First, I hastened to refresh my understanding of classical liberalism. I compiled this vignette from quickly perused sources.

Classical liberalism is a political philosophy and ideology in which primary emphasis is placed on securing the freedom of the individual by limiting the power of the government.

Main features: freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, and markets; rule of law and equality before the law; government by consent (constitution, checks…

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Bare Bones Biology 321 – Premesis Revised II

It is foolish to compete with people who are promoting the same goal as one’s self. For one thing, it’s impossible to win. My father used to say: “Don’t cut off your nose to spite your face.” That is not how successful systems function; and more importantly for us, it does not matter who is more important than whom; with the entire system is teetering on the edge of collapse, none of us will be important in the end — and that dominator ethic is a major cause of the failure of our corposystem in its modern environment. Growth by competitive domination for personal gain.


Successful systems, to the contrary, are supportive of their environments, which are the other half(s) of themselves.
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To be supportive of a different system requires complex modes of communication, so that the complexity of the information base is first increased, and then recombined by “discussion” from all viewpoints and then translated into a “language” that interprets the information for the “other.” After thorough discussion, the relevant information is then used to respond to and support the survival needs of both (all) of the involved system(s).


That is the natural process. It is what will happen. and is happening in any case. Humans donot control nature, but humans could be part of the discussion if we would change our attitude toward both our own importance and the nature of the other systems. The advantage of being human is  that we can do this process — discussion/recombination and then decision — by intent, rather than wait around for natural selection to decide. We have the tools. We lack the will.


However, if we all make the same small contribution, or if we all simply believe the world view in  which we were raised, without using our tools to communicate positively with the other essential systems, then we will end up with knee-jerk  radical activism that never learns more than it already  knows, but instead becomes more and more violently focused on its original viewpoint (ref. Huston Smith), which is fifty years out of date.


Knowledge is not advanced without the recombination process — in humans, that process would ideally arise from discussion, defined as both listening and talking toward the common goal — rather than war — defined as ranging from the “Powers of the Weak” (Janeway), through debate, through the increasingly more violent options.


Unfortunately, our corposystem (and the people who believe in it) requires the world to bow to it’s own imaginary “survival of the fittest” event. That is, the war option, rather than the partnership option as defined by Eisler). War — for the most part, is NOT the natural system, or not the mature natural system. Highly evolved systems evolve to generate more highly evolved systems that cooperate. But war is the predictable and predicted end of the corposystem, in part because of its “dominator” world view – the suicide event of the corposystem — when opinions that have solidified into a radical versions of their own original insights cause more harm than good because they cannot adapt to any environment other than that of their own origin, which has died 50 years ago.
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If we genuinely want to grow a viable system for our Homo sapien future (I don’t believe that is what most of us want in our modern corposystem; what we want is to “win,” i.e., dominate other people and nature and God — and for the most part we don’t consider what we are losing in the process — but that is a different problem). If we want to intentionally grow a viable system to replace that corposystem – then we need to have a more rational understanding of nature’s Law of Life and how it functions to drive forward the three basic requirements of naturally evolved        (complex adaptive) systems:

1 – self perpetuation within the system’s other half, its environmental system                                                   (sustainability)

2 – communication between and among the systems

3 – natural selection of the emergent properties of the system by its                                                      environmental system(s).


Otherwise, the systems will choose for us, and because the corposystem is operating on a world view that is not sustainable in its present environmental conditions, the Biosystem will eliminate the greatest threat to itself, the corposystem. Or to be more accurate, the corposystem will eliminate itself by its own behaviors.

Therefore, and because I didn’t see anyone else concentrating on this approach when I began, my work involves elucidating a holistic viewpoint of how systems function in evolution, so that others may use this information as they discuss its ramifications and recombine its relevences within their own community of world views.


Because we must either choose or choose to not choose, and without the best information, the best choice is not possible.


The result of my search is given as a contribution to the community and for the love of the vision — what Homo sapiens could have been. Once I make the information available in a form that others can access — whether or not I succeed in communicating the relevance, ramifications, validity and/or implications of my alternative world view — then my obligation and my gift to the human community are fulfilled. I can’t make it happen.

Free at last!




Now what shall I do?




This is Bare Bones Biology, a production of


A copy of the podcast can be downloaded at:





Recommended References: Sorry my web provider cut me off so not complete:

Riane Eisler. 1987. The Chalice and the Blade.

Huston Smith. The Roots of Fundamentalism–A Conversation with Huston Smith and    Phil Cousineau. A DVD.

Elizabeth Janeway. Powers of the Weak. A classic that set me on this path decades ago

Perpetual Curse of the Warrior Mindset

Creative by Nature

“We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive.”  ~Albert Einstein

Gladiator Rome

For well over 2000 years a competitive “dog-eat-dog” mindset has dominated the world’s most powerful human civilizations. The goals of our leaders (as well as most members) have been to conquer, defeat or control whatever (and whomever) we can. Those who thought differently were quickly pushed to the side, silenced, enslaved, ignored or demonized.

Look closely at the challenges humanity has been struggling with. What is the root cause of the environmental destruction, the poverty and inequality, crime, racism, terrorism, economic instability, mindless consumerism, endless wars and skyrocketing military spending?

These problems exist (in my opinion) because the most powerful human cultures and civilizations have propagated a world view that presents life as a never-ending war between opposing forces- a struggle between good and evil, man and nature, friend and enemy, “us” vs. “them.” Such dualistic thinking can serve a useful purpose at times, but creates chaos, inequity, unhappiness and instability when allowed to…

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Is this a test?

Three nonliving levels of organization for example might be:



subatomic particles

Bonus:  quantum particles/waves


More?   Is God living or nonliving?


“That’s the Whole Mystery”

To have the mind submit.  It must serve, not dominate Life.”


Joseph Campbell in conversation with Michael Toms.

Common Unity – A Viable World View

You speak of getting down to the root causes, Lynn, but I think you are only looking at proximate causes—at least in the matter of the corporosystem. You identify the profit-through-domination clause of the articles of incorporation as the Achilles heel of the corporosystem, and thus of our own viability as a species, because of entanglement with this system.

Of course we are both right, but that is not the question. The question is: “How do we get out of the fix that we humans are in.” Or not. Because we cannot make time go backward, the answer to that must be to deal with what to you are proximate causes.

A root cause of anything relates to its cause-and-effect functional relationships rather than to any particular time frame; root cause implies function within the existing system.

I think we are not disagreeing. Just leaving out a step of analysis, which is to describe our premises.

Mine are:


  1. All of our universe is composed of naturally evolved systems. I am a system, part of the human species that is also a system. The corposystem has evolved within the human species and is now our primary western world view (system). The corposystem and the human species and I are all part of the Biosystem, which is also a much more ancient and powerful naturally evolved system but is not human.
  2. Humans cannot change facts. This is by definition; it’s why we call them facts. Basically there are two kinds of facts: Historical facts (human and evolutionary) and functional facts that are now mostly studied by physicists (Laws of Thermodynamics, gravity, Law of Life includes evolution, complexity and how systems evolve). To the extent that we understand these facts, we can use them but we cannot change how they function to maintain the integrity of theuniverse (thus of Life). Evolution, for example, cannot go backward, but can only go forward as described by the laws of physics and the facts of Life.
  3. No human is to blame (because no human can control) the facts of Life that naturally evolve more complex systems from less complexity, and have been doing so as far as we know from the origin of our universe. Humans are more likely or less likely to survive, however, depending on their behavior, and their behavior does arise out of their world view.
  4. Science is the study of measurable facts using the scientific method. Technology is not science; technology is tool-making. Science is not technology.
  5. We humans have a problem.   Therefore we look for causes. Problems of this magnitude cannot be solved by workarounds or by denial. They require that we address the fact of the physical cause of the problem. Precisely as the problem-solving involved when we try to cure a parasitic disease by cutting its life cycle.
  6. Denial or mourning or other normal reactions are normal but they cannot change our problem. Our problem is that we happen to be living in the final stages of a classic biological overpopulation event affecting humankind, and the reality of that overpopulation event prevents us from resolving most of our current other human problems that we could otherwise resolve — because we cannot FIX the other problems (war, economics, human rights, the social-system problems, as opposed to the Biosystem problem) until and unless we can provide for the survival needs of people without threatening the survival needs of the Biosystem. This is a fact that can be supported, but not in a 600 word blog or on the space available on Facebook. Hence the think-tank conference that we plan at end of July. If you want to be invited please contact me via email. I can’t accept inquiries via Facebook.


  1. Either we address this or we don’t. However, we should understand, as we make this choice, that we are choosing to NOT address the root functional cause of most of our current human problems, and rather to concentrate on its symptoms (again using the parasite thought-example). Our survival does not directly depend upon our world view, but it does directly depend upon whether and how we deal with the overpopulation event.

Personal Goal/opinions

  1. My goal as an individual system and part of a species (system) is to identify the worldview (is that another word for metaphysics?) that has caused our present problems, so that I can evaluate my own behaviors relative to the needs of the Biosystem and share that information with others. My reason for doiong this is that all overpopulation events end in crashes, and we humans do have some control over how much suffering, of all sentient beings, results from our population crash, which seems already to have begun, if we are willing to defy the corposystem ban on productive discussion of substantive issues, whether or not we can change the biological blowback that is and will result from ourprevious behaviors. We could be moderating the suffering while at the same time gifting our children and grandchildren with a new human worldview (metaphysic/religion/?) that is more compassionate (defined as the Dalai Lama might – “wise compassion”) and sustainable than the one we now have.


I perceive that your goal is to change or modify or understand a metaphysic (worldview/paradigm?), and will comment through the rest of this from that perspective:

Without the Big Lie that the human is separate from, and superior to, Mother Earth and the Community of Life—carried in our culture for thousands of years and passed on to each succeeding generation—the corporosystem could never have gotten a foothold.   That is well said. I think about 2500 years, the Axial age, was the major turning point. I do not disagree with this but do not see any way to use it to address “The Problem.”

I think you are also too quick to offhandedly dismiss metaphysics as irrelevant,   I don’t think I did dismiss metaphysics as irrelevant. My perception of communication – transfer of information – among (between) systems is that information is not transferred directly. What this means relative to metaphysics (or any human opinion/belief) I cannot explain without background (as in writing the book, and I already tried that). The best example is genetics, which operates from genotype to phenotype with intermediaries. Or a cell membrane, acting as intermediate between the cellular contents and its environment. Or the emergent liquidness of water that makes Life possible, but is not a characteristic of the subunits of itself as a simple system. It is not the genotype, or the insides of the cell, or the gases that mae up water, that interface with their systemic environment. It is the phenotype (or the molecules that float in the cell membrane, or the charged liquidness itself) that directly communicate with the environment. Similarly, our worldviews and our opinions and our metaphysics do not directly affect (for example the Biosystem). Rather, our worldviews (a mental system) generate our BEHAVIORS and it is our behaviors, in the case of the corposystem our communal emergent behaviors, that communicate information to our neighboring environmental systems such as the Biosystem. In other words the Biosystem does not respond to our worldviews, but to our behaviors, and we as a corposystem are behaving suicidally. Because our behaviors now are the proximal danger to our survival, therefore I tend to concentrate on them.

As a practitioner of science for most of your adult life, you were likely working within the materialistic, reductionist, mechanistic, nihilistic paradigm—a paradigm based upon a particular set of metaphysical assumptions about the nature of the Universe and of Life on Earth.

I do understand paradigm. Maybe we should use that term. For the rest, I think you must be inferring my metaphysic by my writing style – not by what I say or do. I am not and never have been a technologist, and you are describing technology. Science is not technology, it is inquiry, using the scientific method. But what I think is really interesting is that your description of your image of me almost exactly coincides with my own personal criticisms of the corposystem. This leads again to the subject of cause and effect. If you are blaming science for what you don’t like about our current human social direction, then I think that your critique would be accurate if you were to apply it to technology and “growth by domination for gain,” but you are blaming the wrong entity (system) if you blame science for this — and that confuses the cause-and-effect relationships as well as the power relationships. It’s not me, it’s not science. We don’t even do science anymore. It’s the corposystem ethic that is characterized by those qualities you disapprove. This argument with the wrong entity also continues the old, unfortunate, unnecessary, and not very useful argument between “religion and science.” Metaphysic as originally defined was anything other than Physics (which was called science at the time when the two split). Both products of inquiry into the same reality. If they fight with each other, then they both – to quote myself above – are blaming the wrong entity for our problems. Fighting windmills.   If they are both studying the same reality, then we must assume they are both correct in their observations, barring human error.

METAPHYSICS – I have reread your description of metaphysics (of modern science) and now believe even more strongly (if that were possible) that we must find ways to attribute our observations to the relevent entities.   In my opinion you have perfectly described the EMERGENT PROPERTIES of the corposystem within which we now live. Naturally evolved systems communicate with each other primarily via their emergent properties.   The emergent properties of a system do NOT reflect the individual characterists of the entities of which they are composed (by definition, emergent properties differ from the components of the system). As I said, it takes background in our new world view to understand that statement, but the point is we cannot get out of the mess we are in unless we can attribute the mess to a cause. That attitude is in fact foundational to the new world view that we need to grow. Find out what caused the problem and then deal with the cause (which is an emergent property of some naturally evolved system).

I evaluate my own worldview and my motivations by my choices (behaviors).

I doubt if we disagree about anything significant, except perhaps the denial phase of our overpopulation bubble. My belief is that we need to behave first in a way that will result in human survival with a minimum of suffering of all sentient beings — and then (and at the same time) develop a metaphysic (if that means worldview or paradigm) that informs/directs/nurtures human behaviors that are biologically sustainable.

I wonder if you are familiar with the work of Elisabet Sahtouris. A decade or so ago I read her book, I remember E. Sahtouris, but did not read the book. I will read it. I don’t have the bandwidth for video-watching. There is another biologist author who wrote a lovely little book, and I already referred to “Thank God for Evolution” written under the influence (by students of) Lynn Margulis, and there are a couple of others, but as an elder I can’t remember the names right now, and am not home with my references, so will send later. All of these people are trying to do the same thing that you and I are trying to do, using different words, and that is to grow a sustainable, reasonably comfortable human social system within a healthy Biosystem.

conclusion: namely, that the first and fundamental principle of the Universe is not matter, but consciousness. As far as I know we (humans) do not understand consciousness. If we equate consciousness with process, I agree. My definition of a system is a group of nodes that function to connect processes (and I usually don’t say the nodes are things (matter) that are important only in their ability to organize the processes).   This is a rather Buddhist idea. But we don’t know how it works, except that consciousness is one possible emergent result of naturally evolving complexity — one possible emergent result or perhaps the whole, depending upon how we define consciousness – in the latter case it is certainly nonhuman or superhuman, and in either case it’s a human definition of a natural set of processes or laws of operation of the universe and therefore inherently incomplete. If we describe consciousness as process or the result of process we are exactly in line with each other. If we need a God, consciousness will do very well, and we could say that it is my God. However, in order to use a system to solve a problem, we need to know how the system functions and what went wrong with its normal functioning to cause the problem. We don’t know what consciousness is, except that it is clearly a result of systemic complexity. We do understand the processes involved with overpopulation that is our current problem, and we also have the tools to restore ourselves to a balance consistent with the needs of the Biosystem – and to do so without changing the Biosystem into a living entity within which we cannot survive.
It seems that you and I might have quite a bit to talk about, since we are both highly inquisitive people, who, well into maturity, burn with a passion to understand the world. But if we can’t agree a little on metaphysics that would seem to limit how far such a conversation could go. Please let me know your thoughts on this.

I am sorry this came up while I am on a “business” trip.   I could have perhaps done a better job of responding. Nevertheless, I expect how far we can go with this conversation depends on your interest in it.

I was not planning to mention the think-tank conference on Facebook, but please do let me know if you want to be invited.