Bare Bones Biology 361 – Air

I tend to sleep in the afternoon, especially if it’s hot and I’ve been working. Bitsy woke me up. Was someone here? Or was it the redbird perched in the cedar tree outside the open window? I don’t know. Sleep hard; half-deaf; Bitsy was trying to tell me something, but I don’t know. One day when that happened I didn’t wake up at all, and later found a note by the place where the door should be. I imagine Bitsy having a conversation with our visitor, but I didn’t get to.

 

In our safe place in the mountain canyon, it was snowing yesterday. My closest neighbor (about half a mile) phoned. She was snowed in, two inches, temperature below freezing, and called to tell me not to try the road. It’s washed out at the culvert. The sky is blue-blue; the air is clean, clear, crystal. And cold.

And here was I at the Little Thicket, in the Brazos Valley of Texas, sitting at my little table with the door open, watching the wrens flit to and fro and the Biosystem breathe.

 

Or try to.

 

It was sticky-hot the day before, and my skin said somewhere above 90 and maximally humid. Cars drove with lights on; you could see the yellow air, see into it, but not through it. Like Los Angeles used to be.

 

The whole Earth Biosystem is breathing, and this morning – maybe it was trying to cough out the hot, sticky Gulf air, sick air full of homo-toxins from Houston and Mexico City and the Valley of the Shadow of the Oil well that runs all the way up the left-center of Texas and the right side of NM nearly to the mountains, and from the Gulf of Mexico where the water flowing into the Gulf is so toxic that residents who can afford it buy distilled water to rinse after washing.

 

But the Biosystem can’t cough. So then this morning, the cool front of relatively clean air from the northwest, from the direction of our safe canyon, swept overhead, releasing the power and energy of its going as it dug under the warm air from the Gulf, pitched it up, swung it around, and pushed it back upon itself. Layers. Cool clouds rushing southeastward overhead; warm clouds higher up, rushing in the opposite direction. Everything moving, swirling, thrashing, and me out there with the new camera to my new eye, I had to regenerate my video skills, trying to catch the power, flow, excitement of the event.

Within an hour the inflow, downflow, cleansing, pushed on through and the sky is blue for a brief time. But tomorrow or the next day it will turn the color of skim milk, and then dirty cream as that yellow air filters back back northward, slowly, infiltrating the houses, hovering over the open fields, flowing around the little remaining pockets of woodlands where the trees and bushes are making oxygen faster than the bad air can filter in, until we have another day of heavy smog, and then another, filling my lungs again with homo-toxins, until the earth takes anoher breath, with the next cold front, and shoves it back down south again.

 

With every breath in the summer the air is warmer, and pushes farther up and north, until it pushes me and Bitsy back into our traveling rig and up to our safe place in the cold, clear, clean of the canyon.

 

This is Bare Bones Biology, a production of http://FactFictionFancy.Wordpress.com

 

A copy of the podcast can be downloaded at: http://traffic.libsyn.com/fff/Bare_Bones_Biology_361_-_Air.mp3

 

Advertisements

Bare Bones Biology attends the March for Science

At Texas A&M University.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of course, we already know that Science is the study of natural phenomena using the scientific method.

 

 

 

 

 

Many natural and unnatural phenomena were present.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And available for study.

 

 

 

If you decide to use any of these pictures for anything, please credit:  Photos by Lynn

 

 

 

 

 

And remember it is not all fun and games.  The basic truths are important to the survival of the above species and the climate that provides their basic needs.

 

 

 

 

 

Science tells us about a lot of things that we can do.

But there are many more that we can NOT do safely.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So faking science to win elections or for any other reasons conceivably could be genocidal.

 

And to all you wonderful Texas marchers, there are already people in London, California, and various places between who are quite impressed by the way in which you have brought the subject to its relevant point.

 

 

Bare Bones Biology 359 – Report from the Field

I like learning things. Always have. You learn a lot in a college towns, and there is something charming and uplifting about people of college age – setting up a table with a chalkboard and scientific diagrams that explain all about God. Or supernovas. Or poor people who live somewhere else. Or photographing themselves next to a dog who patiently perks up his tired ears for each picture while he sits in front of a loudspeaker that nearly cracked my hearing aid. While nobody notices the squirrel running to and fro in the background with mouthfuls of leaves for the nest she is building.

 

Across the street is the bookstore, Barnes & Noble. I like to hide in a big puffy armchair in the far back corner and watch the people, where nobody knows I’m there and I could stay all day, nobody would bother me. Or sit at the front with a computer and a cup of coffee, thinking about Book 25, watching the people go by, and occasionally being recognized and squealed at:

 

“L Y N N N N N!”

 

But today I have an appointment with the ophthalmologist, so I gathered up bags and computer and coffee and pushed out the door, to find that someone had parked so close to my pickup, on both sides, that the door would barely open.

 

I placed the cup of coffee on the hood of the pickup – where I could see it, not to forget and splat it on the concrete as I normally do when I put it on the roof — I opened the left side door as far as it would go without scratching the next car, about six inches, maybe six and a half, squeezed all the bags and the computer onto the floor under the dash, put my right foot on the step and grabbed the overhead handle with my right hand so I could SQUEEEEEEZE myself into a six-inch thick flexible flab, squishing backward between the door and the seat. I settled myself in the seat and moved the computer and bags onto the other seat, heaved a big sigh of accomplishment, and looked out the front window at my coffee cup on the hood of the pickup. Way out of reach.

 

Just at that moment, a cute young Aggie (that’s a student of A&M) march-stepped around the corner. Straight-faced, he took in the situation, and without pause he executed the solution, picked up the cup, handed it to me through the open window, said:

“Here you are ma’am,”

and marched on in to the book store.

Life in College Station is more fun.

People do nice things, as though it were perfectly normal.

People smile just because you look at them.

On the way to the ophthalmologist, I stopped at Denny’s, for lunch and to use their wifi, and the waitress asked if I do all my computer work there.

 

No, I said, only the emails. I do everything else at home.

“I’m writing a book.”

 “What’s it about?” And she sat down in the booth opposite me.

So I told her it’s about how systems of Life communicate among themselves. How survival depends on the systems working together, rather than competing against each other, and we have more than three systems to organize: Ourselves, our social relationships, and

“Yes,” she said: “Oops, gotta go.”

Later she came back to tell me she’d been thinking about it, and systems makes very good sense and then she told me all about her own systems. I was glad to hear systems becoming real in her life and put one of her examples in book 25.

The last chore of a busy day was the ophthalmologist. I smiled at a woman who stood at the corner where the historic Planned Parenthood building is now occupied by a “Pro-Life” organization. She wanted to explain Jesus to me, but I said we already have met and walked on past, thinking that squirrel is more likely than Jesus to be top dog at A&M in the end times if the pro-life and the pro-choice can’t figure it out — that they both want the same thing – and it would take only a little study, heads together, to get what they both want. But they are having more fun pretending to care; believing that they care about the people, and what they really care about is the game. Playing the toxic game harder and harder and harder – if we can only try hard enough we will get what we want. Sorry – maybe in the corposystem, but that’s not how Life itself actually works to keep itself going. We don’t need more of that game; what we need is Jesus’s game for real.

And so thinking, I pushed open the door to the ophthalmologist and looked over to the left where the receptionist cheerfully greeted me, and at the same time I felt something soft and squishy moving under my right hand.

 

I leaped away, pulled my hand back, looked the little old lady in the eye and without thinking I said:

“Oh, I’m sorry, I thought you were a chair!”

And went inside to get my eyes examined.

 

This is Bare Bones Biology, a production of https://FactFictionFancy.Wordpress.com, and it’s all true except that I moved some of the locations to slightly different neighborhoods.

A copy of the podcast can be downloaded at:  http://traffic.libsyn.com/fff/Bare_Bones_Biology_359_-_Report_from_the_Field.mp3

Bare Bones Biology 356 – A Woman is Not a Family

Women’s rights, and specifically women’s suffrage is an excellent model for a number of society’s ills and it also usefully models the ignorant kind of linear thinking that causes many of those ills.

Don’t misunderstand. There is nothing wrong with being ignorant; it is the normal human condition. The word simply means uninformed. We all are ignorant of one thing or another, and it is far the best to know it, rather than to stumble around in the dark, false belief that we are well informed about important issues that we do not fully understand. And the women’s suffrage struggles of the past can make us a good example.

 

We were mostly taught to reason from top to bottom and from bottom to top, as though the universe were based in those hierarchies — or to reason from side to side, as though all the things and processes in our lives were parallel and comparable. Either kind of image leaves most of the rest of the universe, outside of ourselves, mentally invisible, because Life, in particular, is not that simple, and instead is a complex of evolved self-perpetuating systems, none of which are linear or strictly parallel; but more accurately all of which are nestled together within, around, between, and intimately encompassed among other evolved systems. The older metaphors more nearly parallel the systemic reality (say, more than 10,000 years ago, ref. Joseph Campbell). The Creation as Life, nurtured in a womb.)

 

At this time of overpopulations, extinctions and climate change, it is important that we know how things fit together naturally to enhance each other, and recognize that man-made destruction does not represent our power over nature; it represents nature’s power over us

 

The fact is that not women nor families, nor our human social systems are linear, not from top to bottom not from side to side. Not linear.

 

Earlier women’s suffrage arguments, as they relate to biological reality, can give us a good example, as reported by Prof. Pamela Radcliff, University of California at San Diego, in a series of lectures, mostly lecture number 6, that is available from The Teaching Company, entitled Interpreting the 20th Century: The struggle Over Democracy, course number 8090, in 2004.

 

Dr. Radcliff explains that, during the struggle over women’s suffrage early in the 20th century, one of the arguments against women as voters defined women as not individual persons, but as a component of a different entity — the family.

 

Well – of course women are components of the family, but so are men. And children. And dogs and cats. And sometimes goldfish. And the environment in which the whole family operates is also an integral component of the family. Woman as family or even woman as a component of family, is not meaningful in relation to decisions about who is an adult, human, participatory citizen. Women participate in all sorts of things – and so do men. Whether or not they are components of the family is not a difference between women compared with men. They both are, if they are and aren’t if they aren’t. That’s probably why it didn’t fly, because that argument doesn’t make logical biological sense.

 

I’m guessing the logic behind that particular argument was a false belief that biological systems are linear – that is, top-down organizations, sort of like a Russian doll, consisting of a man who directs the women who directs the children. In those days, most Western people did think that Life, and the Universe, are ordered that way. Now we know better.

 

A family is an evolved, complex adaptive system. Actually, so is a woman, but a woman is a different kind of evolved, complex adaptive system from a family and a similar kind of system to a man.

A woman, or a man, is a system composed of organs, tissues, cells and the environment in which all of those things can exist and with which they interact to maintain Life.

 

The cells, tissues, organs are things. Their behaviors maintain Life. Life is not a thing, it is a quality or characteristic that can only be maintained by the behaviors of the cells, tissues and organs within a compatible environmental system. We can refer to the cells, tissues and organs as subsystems. They are also systems; less complex systems.

 

Most of us already knew that people are made of cells, tissues and organs. The more difficult concept is that the whole system (the woman – or any other evolved system) is NOT ONLY the sum of all her parts. She is more than that. The whole woman-system consists of all its parts (things); plus all the functions and behaviors that the parts do as they interact with each other; plus the environment that sustains the whole woman-system; plus the emergent property that is generated by the functions of the parts as they interact with the environment.

 

For example, one of the parts might be a stomach. That is a thing. What it does (its behavior, or function) is to digest food. The food comes from the environment. All are connected with each other and with all the other parts of the woman-system. When all of the components of the woman-system do their jobs at the right times and places relative to the requirements of the environment, the result is LIFE. The woman remains alive. LIFE is one the emergent properties of that system. LIFE cannot exist without its interacting behaviors.

 

If one of the subsystems – it doesn’t matter which one, imagine the stomach again – if one stops doing its behaviors in a correlated fashion, then all the parts of the woman are still there, but the woman may no longer be alive. All the subsystems may still exist, but the emergent property is no more. The woman is dead.

 

So to summarize, an evolved system consists of: (1) the subunits of the system and (2) their correct behaviors, interacting with each other and (3) with the environment and (4) the emergent properties that result.

 

A woman is an evolved system composed of organs and tissues and cells and their behaviors in their environments. So is a man. So is a child.

 

A family is not. A family is an evolved system, sure enough, but nearly everything in our universe is an evolved system of one kind or another, and the family is a different kind. It is not an organism. It is a social system and its subsystems are not organs; they are people. People who do behaviors together (and in their environment) that result in the emergent social system known as the family.

 

A family is a higher-level system that is maintained by the behaviors and functions of the organisms of which it is composed, interacting with their environment. Its subsystems are men, women, children and other. Higher level means more complex. More complicated, because it is composed of people-systems in addition to their organs, tissues and cells.

 

We do not need to know these facts in order to understand how evolved systems maintain our lives, but if we consider these differently ordered relationships – different from what we were taught — as we contemplate the inconceivable complexity of the millions of systems of which we are a part, the knowledge gives us a more accurate image of the reality of how the Life of Earth manages to stay alive. This can be useful if we want to stay alive in joy and compassion.

 

Life is not a Russian doll in which one entity dominates another entity that dominates or nurtures another entity. Life is not basically a competition, nor is it “survival of the fittest” as that meme is usually interpreted.

 

The whole of Life nurtures the whole of Life. If not, it gets excluded from Life.

 

A family is not a Russian Doll with a man nurturing a woman who is nurturing the children. A family is not even a man plus a woman plus the children. A family is a whole separate higher-level system, and unique, each family a little different from every other family, but the whole of one family (any and every family) is generated by the physiological and behavioral interactions among ALL its subsystems (that is the people and other organisms who make up the family) and the environment in which it is able to survive.

 

If one of the subsystems — that is, one of the people or the environment — any one of them — stops doing its behaviors in a correlated fashion, then all the subsystems may still be there, but the emergent nature of a well-integrated family is no longer viable. The family “dies.”

 

Joseph Campbell elegantly described the family as a separate, emergent entity that is more than the sum of its parts. He commented that when one member of a family makes sacrifices on behalf of the family unit, she is not sacrificing to another individual, but “to the family” itself, as a separate and more complex emergent entity. (Campbell & Moyers, Power of Myth, DVD).

This is how evolved complex-adaptive systems stay “alive,” including human social or professional systems. The system is more than the sum of its parts, and it has emergent properties with which it interacts with all the other systems around it, so that entire the community of systems is benefited. Evolution is the fundamentally cooperative Law of Systems.

A woman is an individual organism, one component of a family. The other components are often a man and one or more children and the environment in which they are able to exist together.

 

The woman is not the family. The man is not the family. The dog is not the family. The children are not the family. The family itself is an emergent property that arises out of the relationships AMONG those three (more or less) entities and their environment. If these relationships are more collaborative than not, the emergent result will be more productive and pleasant. Or not.

 

If the relationships arise out of the flawed, linear “world view” that man dominates woman, who is the family, then half of adult humankind doesn’t get to vote, and the result is conflict and suffering at the individual level and at the family level and also at the level of the entire society, assuming it is a society (environment) that is based on voting.

 

A woman is not a family; it is an organism defined by the code in its DNA.

A family is not a woman, but a social system that is defined usually by local custom or law and by the interactions among its members.

 

A brain is not a cell (even though it is made of cells);

A cell is not a brain (because one cell by itself cannot do what brains do).

 

A corporation is a human social system that is defined by, and evolved around its corporate charter and composed of people and their existing environment.

A person is not a corporation, is not defined by any kind of human charter, but by its own DNA, and is not composed of organisms, but rather of organs.

 

A corporation is not a person, by any valid definition.

A person is not a corporation.

 

A cell is not a tissue, and a tissue is not a cell.

A person is not a cell, not even a zygote, which is a single cell.

A cell is not a person.

 

All the systems of Life are made of subsystems, from the whole living Biosystem to the smallest cell. And no complete system or subsystem operates in linear fashion.

 

Linear logic, therefore, vertical or horizontal, cannot arrive at logically consistent conclusions about how life functions at any level. Linear logic can (and has) given us bits and pieces, but that is the best it can do, and if we want to survive in this world we must pay attention to the other half of ourselves (the environment that we are destroying) and to our subsystems, because they are as much a part of our own selves as is our emergent Life.

 

This is Bare Bones Biology, a production of https://FactFictionFancy.Wordpress.com

 

A copy of the podcast can be downloaded at: http://directory.libsyn.com/episode/index/id/5146404

 

© 2017, M. Lynn Lamoreux, PhD, Photos by Lynn

MLLamoreux@hotmail.com

 

 

References Cited:

 

Prof. Joseph Campbell & Bill Moyers, Power of Myth, PBS, DVD.

 

Prof. Pamela Radcliff, University of California at San Diego, in a series of lectures, mostly lecture number 6, that is available from The Teaching Company, entitled Interpreting the 20th Century: The struggle Over Democracy, course number 8090.

 

 

Bare Bones Biology 354 – Diary Edition

160227-balloons-asc_2881rs

Bitsy and I have nearly moved to New Mexico, with an equal split remaining in Texas, so last Saturday we celebrated our arrival and our leaving (next week) by photographing the local balloon festival, and it celebrated by landing in our back yard. What fun! I will post some of the pictures on the blog. https://FactFictionFancy.Wordpress.com.

 

We have been nearly moved for about three years, but we now have almost all of our self-defining stuff, all in the same location. Only today, the email sent an invitation to buy an upgrade of a computer program and my brain went click/click – and remembered where the original boxes are now stored, that were in the studio when someone else was living there and got moved to the smaller of the two storage lockers and are now nearby, so we could check the parameters be fore deciding how to respond to the ad. It turns out the old paint program we had was for the Amiga computer that is now up for sale as a precious and irreplaceable antique. The raw beginnings of a new sense of control over my life.

160227-balloons-asc_3027rs

 

We celebrate because, after a couple of decades of not actually having a home to live in –well, we had a home, but other people were living in it, and we were living in other places, for work mostly, and because our home was making us sick from
fracking, so whad to stay away, we became so scattered over the face of the globe that we could not FIND anything.

160227-balloons-asc_3130rs

 

Of course, computers never were important, except in the last 20 years or so, and that’s when I wasn’t there, at the studio — and the internet is a very fragile system; your personal records are not safe on a computer – and of course they keep disappearing from where you put them, which hard copies never do; the only problem with hard copies is that you must remember where you put them — and the computers and the internet and the corporations and the storage media and the lodgings and friends and storage lockers all keep changing. At higher and higher speeds.

 

Now we have one place for all the stuff, and have been able to sort through enough to know more or less who and where we are. Though we liked ourselves much better in Japan, and wanted to stay there, or Bali, or France, or Texas, or England, or any of those other places. But we yearned the most to stay in Japan, and cried when we had to leave, and only came back to organize all that stuff for which we were responsible, I mean some of it was living stuff, like an entire irreplaceable mouse colony.
170226-balloons_dsc2182rlss-copy

And then, just when we were about to start looking for a way to go back, Bush and bin Laden demonstrated their partnership in world crime and I decided to stay home to defend our democracy from itself, bin Laden was never a threat to the United States of America, for all the good that did anyone.
170226-balloons_dsc_2193s-copy

My weapon, for both defense and attack? One vote that counted approximately as zero, because I was voting in Texas. And now we are here. We had a fine communal celebration last Saturday around the coming and going and being who we are. Having fun.

 

While it lasts.

 

This is Bare Bones Biology, a production of FactFictionFancy.Wordpress.com.

 

A copy of the podcast can be downloaded at:

Lynn Lamoreux PhD
MLLamoreux@hotmail.com
© 2017, Photos by Lynn
170225-balloons_dsc1862rls2s-copy

170225-balloons-dsc_1830rlss

170225-balloons_dsc_1874rlss-copy

170225-balloons_dsc1986s

170225-balloons_dsc1958s-copy

170225-balloons_dsc2046s-copy

170225-balloons_dsc2148rrss-copy

170226-balloons_dsc2253rlss

Bare Bones Biology 355 – Conversation

A pair of crows swoop low over the frost-dimpled sparkle of old snow in our front yard, looking for a handout, maybe, or just doing their sentry duty; watching Bitsy, in her blaze-orange vest, sniffing out the trail where our flock of wild turkeys stilt-walked single-file, at sunrise, across the strip of bare dirt, on the hill below our neighbors’ houses, where the snow has melted since we left yesterday.

 

Yesterday, Bitsy and I loaded into Old Silver, slid out the driveway in four-wheel drive to follow a snow plow to the main road, and drove South, watching the sky-glow come to life behind the lower layer of snow-clouds and the climate gradually change from winter into almost spring at the lower altitudes.

170221-snow_dsc1480ss-copy

Santa Fe was warm and friendly, as it usually is. Bitsy waited in the car, while Deborah and I had a long, slow, organic lunch at (la? el? maybe le? or the?) Vinaigrette, and a good conversation in the cozy privacy of too much noisy talk around us. Everyone being nice to everyone else. A warm treat in a cold world, and some serious conversation about the difference between an individual person (or crow, or turkey, or pet dog) as a unique system/organism; and a human social system consisting of many humans; and the whole of Earth, animal, vegetable and mineral, organized to make an incredibly complex, whole system of Life. Because those relationships are so beautiful that they tug at our heartstrings, if we ever stop to think about them, and so important to our survival that we are responsible to ourselves for their welfare. Good conversation.

 

Good conversation is not about what hurts and who did what to whom, though that kind of chit-chat can be important; and it’s not about who is bigger or more powerful than whom, because that is always a waste of time, especially in a time of world crisis. Good conversation is about how things function and how to fulfill our individual responsibilities to the welfare of the whole. Ourselves, our whole families, our social organizations, and the Biosystem that sustains the life of all of Earth.

 

At one point Deborah said that she felt these things strongly, but she had no the words to say what she felt, and I remembered Shodo, who can share emotionally — wordlessly — or mostly wordlessly; she has words for some of it. I did have words – I do have words – I thought I had the words, but eventually I figured out that “they” (I meant people of the corposystem ethic) “they” can’t hear my words because, as I said to Deborah: “They have stolen my words. When I say something to them, they do not hear what I said, but rather something different that comes from their own world views. What I say means something different to them then what I meant, using the same word.”

 

Evolution for example, no longer means to “them” what it really does mean, and that is mostly what I talk about. They hear something that is not the reality we must discuss if we want to survive as a human system within the Biosystem. “They” hear something about domination and human power; but that is not how naturally evolved systems primarily operate; not by domination and power, but by cooperative interactions, and therefore, in our efforts to save ourselves from climate change and other natural crises, we must talk together about cooperative interactions among the systems – and the different needs of the different systems – different from our needs as individual human organisms.

 

We must learn to “talk to the trees and listen to the answers,” both at the level of scientific fact, which is cold and inexorable and absolutely necessary, and at the level of warm human compassion, that is our choice, among ourselves.

 

So finally I understood that, whenever I am thinking about saving our species from extinction, and I use the word evolution, “they” are “hearing” domination, technological domination of the processes of nature, which is the opposite of what I am saying. I am saying that the domination ethic, applied to our relationship with the Biosystem, is what caused our current emergency in the first place.

 

 

What to do?

 

Well, of course “they” say they know better than I do, and then of course “they” want to argue, and the next thing they are in a red-faced purple rage if they cannot win the argument that has turned into a competitive debate. And then someone wins and they think they have won something worthwhile, but on the contrary they have lost the game by winning the debate, because human arguments cannot change the laws of nature – gravity, thermodynamics, nor the Laws of Life such as evolution and the ways that naturally evolved systems maintain themselves – that is, stay alive. They stay alive by cooperating with the systems around them – especially the systems that are more powerful than they are, and arguing over that point won’t resolve the problem.

 

Human dominance relationships cannot change the biological facts of Life. Arguing just uses up a good person’s energy in raging over things that cannot be changed, when he could be using his energy to make positive change toward human survival in reasonable comfort within our families, our social systems, and most importantly the Biosystem. Children of abuse and crisis should know this, having lived it; but they never seem to. Rather, they more often choose some form of abuse as their own weapon of choice. I suppose this is because it works for some people, within the human social systems, but it cannot work in a confrontation with Mother Nature, for many reasons that I have discussed in other podcasts and blogs.
The important point here is that good discussion could change that kind of toxic relationship. Good discussion among ourselves (humans) and between ourselves and our environmental systems, especially the corposystem and the Biosystem; but good discussion requires good listening, not arguing.

 

170201-turkeys-dsc-1231rlss

Good discussion requires good questions; making sure we are all using the same words to mean the same things; understanding what is a fact and so we cannot change it, and what can be changed and what is likely to happen if we do change it; understanding the down side as well as the up side of whatever we want to do, how the systems function to maintain themselves, and how the different levels, the different systems that we live among, how the different systems have different requirements for their welfare; and then listening each to the needs of the other and talking about how we can arrive at win-win-win solutions to our problems, rather than beat each other over the head to see who can beat the hardest. Cave-man style head-bashing, (according to the comics, I’m not sure that was actually true). Simple head-bashing can only work in win/lose situations. We require win/win/win solutions to our root problem, and that cannot be accomplished with simple head-bashing, or with simple knee-jerk compassion. It could be accomplished with wise conversation. Wise compassion.

 

In fact, in our corposystem world, most people have been highly trained in the many ways of winning, but are not taught problem solving skills other than the modern style of the win/lose “cave-man.” Most of us are so well imprinted with the idea that winners are the good guys that we can’t feel good about ourselves unless we can prove to ourselves that we are better than someone else; preferably everyone else. This is impossible, because we aren’t, and so we mostly only fool ourselves, because our “winner” skills are mostly just excuses (and techniques) that we use to avoid listening to anyone outside our own world view. Interrupting, yelling, lying, changing the subject, and other defensive behaviors – are loser skills. You hear them in systems that are falling apart – becoming losers.

 

Instead of asking to hear more about opinions we don’t understand, we “hear” them as attacks. We “hear” questions as contradictions or debate or arguments, and sometimes, we even “hear” praise as condemnation. It’s true; sometimes if you agree with them, some people will imagine you are putting them down. And sometimes they will do anything, for fear of losing, to avoid good conversation. But good conversation is not about winners and losers; it is about partnership behaviors.

 

We waste our words, our communication – that most precious of human inborn gifts — crying about things we can’t change, without actually trying to find various other ways to deal with the problem as it is. Or more simply, we talk in circles instead of using our time to understand the facts as they are, and the true cause of our problem, so that we can behave in ways that have a chance of fixing the problem. As a result, we keep on doing the things that created the problem in the first place and it just gets worse and worse, and we try harder, and it gets worse, unto the end.

 

Usually the first reason that the problem is getting worse is because we waste our powerful gift of conversation rewinding our excuses to not talk about the cause of the problem.

 

Or we don’t have the words. Most of us humans truly cannot see or hear things or ideas that we cannot say. I don’t know why this is, but it’s like that “lightbulb” experience when we suddenly recognize something that seems obvious once we see it. It had been there all along; we just didn’t have the words to see it with. Maybe our neurons connect around our words, I don’t know, but good conversation really does help clarify realities, by giving us the words to say them. That’s why modern propaganda tries so hard to change the meanings of our words.   And in addition, of course our minds are full of ideas about things that are not real, are not true, and never were.

 

If we think or act as though reality is not true, or behave as though fantasy is true, then bad things happen.

 

 

Good conversation can sort out the realities from the fantasies — in our families; in our communities; and good conversation, rather than war — with the crows in the front yard, the turkeys prancing through the snow, the neighbors, the social system,    and the whole system of Life – good win-win-win conversation is our obligation to the welfare of Life itself, and ourselves within Life.

 

This is Bare Bones Biology, a production of FactFictionFancy.com.

 

A copy of the podcast can be downloaded at: http://traffic.libsyn.com/fff/Bare_Bones_Biology_355F_-_Conversation.mp3

 

 

Credits:

This blog was made possible by a good conversation with Deborah, who gave me some of the words.

 

Bare Bones Biology 353 – God Makes Energy

The title is a quote from one of Angela Sayers’ lovely books, I forget which one. Surely she, in England, never met up with a snow bank such as this, but the principle is universal. Machines do not dominate the weather; they only move it out of the way, or give us time to get out of the way.

170207-storm_dsc1261rlss

And we would be better to remember this principle, as we try to discuss climate change, which is all about our human misuse of God’s energy to make machines so we can do whatever we want to do. There ae some things that machines can not do, and it’s better to remember this fact.

 

For example, we can use the energy of life to make the roads, to push the snow off the roads, to heat our houses, and to grow our food — but we cannot change the way the energy of Life works to operate and maintain Life. And so we fuss and complain because our machines didn’t make the world be like we want it to be, and now we have climate change, and what are we doing about that?

 

Basically, we are still trying harder and harder to dominate nature with the machines, and doing more harm – as a generalization, we are not trying to understand that machines cannot change how God made energy to function. Maybe it would be better to study how Nature really functions, rather than throwing a tantrum because we can’t have everything, because the way we are now going will most likely end with nothing that we want, as the climate of earth changes holistically in response to our micro-efforts to dominate the Earth.

 

Clearly, climate change is not merely a change of temperature. That claim is just one of many boondoggles organized by politicians to encourage us to argue among ourselves — as though our arguments have some impact on the laws of thermodynamics, or gravity – to give us some relatively inconsequential details to argue about so we won’t recognize the holistic reality.

 

Meanwhile, they are extinct or going extinct — those other organisms that created the climate and shared in the climate in which we evolved and thrived. We didn’t create the climate, nor could we – they created and maintained the climate, in their balanced interactions – but now they are gone and going, in huge numbers, and that is largely why the climate is changing.

 

In fact, some people are trying to save the extinct species using cryogenics and the like, but that effort is not likely to be very effective, because the reconstituted organisms will have no place to live. Because we are converting their environments to make food for ourselves. It’s a cycle, a runaway negative cycle, we don’t want to think about – only to control. We could use it to inform our efforts, but we cannot control it. We are putting our faith in the ridiculous notion that we can control God with our machines.

170207-storm-_dsc1322rlss-copy

If one defines climate change according to a temperature, then of course, the temperature will change according to the systems that control it (the system created by all those other organisms that are going extinct) — but we won’t be here, because the Biosystem is not a bunch of little things that we can fix. It is an entire whole “body” like ours only much more complicated, and it will have to start over, make itself over, slowly adding and testing billions of interacting parts (like our physiology, but much more complex) that gradually “learn” how to work together to re-evolve a new set of sustainable conditions before becoming once again complex using whatever new species arise. That scenario is inevitable (or something very similar) if we continue as we are. It has happened a number of times before in the evolution of this living earth, and it will happen again if we cannot align our beliefs with the realities of our existence within the universe.

 

The future is not the next century we continue so confidently to talk about, as though nothing will change. It can crash dramatically in a few decades, if not supported and nurtured, and then it takes more like thousands of years for earth to begin recovery from a mass extinction. From our point of view – forever, because the higher organisms die off first, and that includes us. And then whatever simpler organisms manage to survive begin to repopulate the devastated earth as they find new kinds of environments that can support life, and begin again the evolutionary journey toward another, similar but different, complex earth system.

If we don’t like that scenario, then perhaps we should do something to prevent it, and what we should NOT do is more of what caused the problem in the first place. If we want to save ourselves, we must now try to establish a new norm for humans. A new “storyline” that does not involve domination as the solution to every problem. Unless we want to simply keep on recycling the extremes: the Hitlers and the Mother Theresas: unto our extinction, the new norm must be based on a new storyline that honors the balance among the systems: sustainable balance and respect for Life itself.   It’s too late to solve our problems with growth and domination.

 

So our recourse now because we as humans are not competent to “make” a viable ecosystem, is to stop trying to force our ignorant will (the word ignorant means uninformed, not stupid or dumb — this is possible, we just aren’t doing it) to stop trying to force all of nature to do whatever we want it to do and instead honor the reality that systems of life – those that survive — work together for the common good.

 

For example, we have been overgrazing the earth since approximately the turn of the century. That means we have been taking out of the earth more than it can continue to grow.

 

These are genuine data that have nothing to do with opinions. Lester Brown, for example, is a nonpartisan expert who has been recording these data for more than 40 years, nearly 50, until his recent retirement. It’s not like we don’t know; we do know. If we do not stop overgrazing the earth we do know the result will be something on the order of the scenario in the paragraphs above.   We can stop in two ways. One is to stop eating/using the available food and other energy supplied by the earth system; the other is to stop reproducing more people than we can feed. We are not making any particularly noticeable effort to do either.

170128-wp_dsc1232s

Our politicians get elected by promising to NOT stop.

Opinions do not change facts**. Whatever we want to believe will not change the fact that the earth has only so much capacity to feed however many organisms and at the same time maintain its own balance as a life form. Maintaining its balance INCLUDES but is not limited to maintaining the climate. Nor will human opinions change the basic laws of nature that we are only beginning to understand, such as how gravity works and how the naturally evolved complex adaptive systems of the universe balance each other to maintain (or not maintain) themselves. It is not by domination, overall, but by cooperation, system with system.

 

What we do know, that every “hands on” farmer in all of history also knows, if you put too many cows in the same pasture they will eventually destroy the pasture and die. And that exact same scenario applies also to humans on this earth. We have been overgrazing the earth, beyond its capacity, now for nearly 20 years, and we cannot change what we have done. Dead is dead.

 

And now that it is done, we have a problem, and there is no point arguing about it, because whatever our opinion, our best solution is to behave as though it is true. Then, if it is true, we have a chance to save our world for the children. If it turns out that I am wrong, then we still leave to the children a better (more healthy) heritage than we received, and a much better opportunity to solve new problems as they arise.

 

 

This is BareBonesBiology, produced by https://FactFictionFancy.Wordpress.com

 

The podcast can be downloaded at:  http://traffic.libsyn.com/fff/Bare_Bones_Biology_353_-_God_Makes_Energy.mp3

 

Feel free to quote me, in context, with credit, while I retain:

© 2017, Dr. M. Lynn Lamoreux

MLLamoreux@hotmail.com

© 2017, Photos by Lynn

 

 *Metaphors – at one point in the history of this blog I promised to not use metaphors, but that turned out to be impossible because all words mean different things to different people. Some of my readers may prefer to use “emergent properties of the system” or “environmental system” or “higher power” to replace the word God. Some might prefer to think “evolve” where I said “learn.” And you may want to know that I use the term “emergent property” synonymously with “macro-property of the system,”

 

**References:

Brown, Lester R. 2008. Plan B 3.0; Mobilizing to save Civilization. W.W.Norton & Co

Sutherland, Stuart. 2013. A New History of Life. The Great Courses, DVD