Bare Bones Biology 351 – It’s About Process

“. . . microwave on high for one minute, or until hot. CAUTION!  Product will be hot.”

Indeed it was hot; but dreadful in texture and lacking in taste. I ate it anyhow, as the other option was a Wendy Burger with enough salt to qualify it as a livestock licking block. Or we could un-attach the trailer and drive around looking for something better. I’m basically not a fussy eater, except that I like to be healthy without eating spicy hot peppers, and I don’t like to move once I get the truck/trailer settled in a good parking place with a clear exit.

170109-hempsteadpenguin-_dsc1044rlsMotel 6 in Boerne has an excellent parking spot and the room is a spiffy little space, pared down to what we really need, without a lot of unhealthy pesticides and cleaning products that most motels hide beneath toxic artificial perfumes that are then disguised under chemicals that kill or damage our sense of smell so we don’t notice the pesticides, bactericides, homicides and toxic artificial perfumes. (Never forget the true fact that the suffix “-cide” means, literally, poison.

170121-jan21_dsc1174rsWhich is more true? The real name of the –cide or the corposystem pretense that it smells good? Who cares how it smells if it is a –cide? Do we really care about the future of our children – enough to study the reality of our communal behaviors of today?

The answers to those questions, by the community of the whole, will decide, but let us get back to our reality of this day. It indeed was not all bad. We could have been sleeping in the park, or the car, and the room was not only tolerable. It was comfortable, with no carpets, no offensive laundry detergents, and no evidence of homicidal chemicals heavy in the air. We found almost what we paid for: a clean space to regroup and relax before a good sleep tonight and another long and careful day of driving tomorrow. And nothing is perfect, we know that.
Too bad about the manager. I would certainly go back, stopping for takeout first and trying to avoid the manager in favor of the nice young clerk who was there when I drove in.

And it’s the process that counts, more than the destination.

So here we are now sitting in the center of a pile of snow that rises well over my head, having driven about 800 miles lengthwise and 7,000 feet and about five layers of atmosphere upward in two days (more about that in blog number 352 next week).

Just to give you a clue of our reception in Chama, it was more or less the reverse of the unreasonable and undeserved hostility of the Boerne motel manager. Above is picture of the kind young man, met at the Chevron, who changed his plans in order to spend a couple of hours digging out our driveway, and another picture taken the next day, of the sturdy and reliable F150, after I brushed off most of the additional foot of snow that came after the snowplow. What a difference 7000 feet can make.

Next day at the post office I picked up the huge pile of bills, requests for money, and mail-order supplies, and then crashed to sleep off the altitude, planning to participate in the women’s march in Chama that will turn out to be far more important in the long run than our failed political system, but what time did that sign say? I could not remember.

chamamarch-6s-copySo now today I have spent all morning digging out another foot or so of fluffy new snow, and the gate to Bitsy’s pen (more than three feet of snow) and the front steps, time after time, and unhitching the trailer after backing it most of the way into the space the young man cleared, so I can get out of the driveway and go to the post office and look at the sign and remember. What time is that march?

The sign was gone.

I missed the march.

chama-march-4lss-copyBut indeed the process is far more important than my presence, among the fifteen or so people who marched in the middle of a blizzard, at the Women’s March in Chama on January 21 to help safeguard our children’s future.


And about 2.5 million people marched worldwide, by the early counts. It could have been 2,500,001.

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© 2017, Photos by Lynn (on the first page)

Photographs of the Women’s March were sent to me without the names of the photographers at the event; thank you all!


Bare Bones Biology 043 – What Won’t Work

There is no point waiting around for a simple answer. There aren’t any. Our cultures are emergent properties (BareBonesBiology 017), arising out of their complexity, and our goal must be to rearrange the components until we find a combination that is life affirming rather than life destroying. I have tried to imagine the most simple and straightforward scenario that could result in a life-affirming culture to grow from the one we have. Next time I’ll talk about that. This time, I’ll mention just a few of the approaches that clearly will not take us where we want to go.

First, complaining about the past, present or future will not make the future better. Whatever action we’re doing right now, in this immediate moment of time, is the action that we are passing on to the future. What you are thinking and doing right exactly now is this moment of your legacy.

Second, winning anything, working heroically, suffering, or striving will not make the future better if what you do unbalances the balance of life (BareBonesBiology 008).

Making more babies than the earth can support and then sending them off to be killed in the effort to win anything will not rebalance the earth. Mostly it only makes some rich persons richer and helps some politicians win something that is not relevant to making a better future. In the short term certain communities benefit in the production and sale of weapons, and in the rescuing and saving of victims, and in the medical treatment of the unfortunate. This may appear to be sustainable, if we can continue to produce enough victims and soldiers, but only to the person who believes that life is a bottomless cornucopia of victims, soldiers, saviors and other consumers.

Life is not a bottomless cornucopia of resources. Neither victims nor villains nor other kinds of resources. Life is a balanced system or it does not stay alive. It is an incredibly arrogant human mistake to believe that humans can control life according to our limited perceptions. Especially human economists who have no knowledge of biology or the ecosystem, but only some inaccurate daydream about survival of the fittest. Life is not about survival of the fittest. Life is all about sustainable balance. Ask any cancer patient.

Saving every person who is threatened by natural or manmade disasters is neither heroic nor useful, even to the persons who are saved, unless we can ALSO provide some plan, some hope for them and for us all together, for a sustainable, viable future with a reasonable lifestyle that does not include starving babies and dodging bombs.

These above are only examples of what I have referred to as reductionist problem solving (BareBonesBiology 040). That’s when different groups of people battle against different individual symptoms of a syndrome, but nobody is interested in curing the root ailment that produces all these victims for us so gallantly to save. That’s why I don’t get all excited about individual problem solving UNLESS its advocates are ALSO willing to talk knowledgeably about how their effort will contribute, everything considered, positively rather than negatively to the balance of life. We need solutions to many, many individual problems. I am not suggesting we should drop everything and hide. We must, however, ALL also understand the probable long-term effects of whatever we are doing, so that we can direct our work toward helping to rebalance the ecosystem.

The root ailment that causes all these symptoms, and more, is overpopulation. For a discussion of this see the January 2011 National Geographic. I am NOT saying we would have no problems if the population were within the range that photosynthesis can support. I AM saying you cannot succeed with whatever positive goal you are trying to accomplish if we continue to unbalance the ecosystem. The many individual efforts to address the symptoms are necessary, but they all will fail unless we all, or most of us, also address the bottom line.

Bare Bones Biology 043
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