Bare Bones Biology 137 – Human Hubris

Yin Yang copy Everything we do, from recycling to feeding the hungry – everything we do, without exception – has both positive and negative consequences in the whole earth ecosystem. The living earth requires for its survival both light and dark; both life and death, the yin and the yang, in balance. That’s how the earth was created to function, and that’s how it stays alive. Probably God sees the whole as one perfect creation.EarthPhotoYinYang

Humans, however, tend to personalize the ever-changing shadows as negatives, relative to our personal desires that we view as positives. We work very hard to be positive, and that is basically how we throw a monkey wrench into the elegant “clockworks” of nature. With our actions, we disrupt the balance of the intricate web of biological interactions that we do not and cannot understand.

There is a so-called “negative” side to community — both biological communities
and human communities.

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The biological community requires death so that there may be life. No doubt this is because life must change and adjust to its environment in order to survive. This change IS evolution, and it requires the deaths of the temporary living, that would be us, so that the whole of Life may adapt and survive. Death is also the route by which food energy is distributed throughout the ecosystem from the plants to the animals to the organisms that mop up the wastes and return them to their original states to cycle again through the whole system.

The balance between life and death sustains life through time. If the balance on earth changes, the earth changes (for example Climate Change) as it attempts to meet the challenge of the new conditions. Just so do human communities change in order to meet the challenge of new conditions. It’s a definition of life — its ability to change.

The works of Joseph Campbell elegantly describe the many ways that our social and cultural and religious heritages conform us to the behaviors that are appropriate to our survival in our different environments. He said: “The myths and rites were a means to put the mind into accord with the body and the way of life in accord with the way that nature dictates.“

JosephCampbellFoundation In other words, your culture tells you what you should not do if you want to survive.

Just as the process of evolution adapts the biological communities of the Living Earth to changing environmental conditions – so do our human cultures adapt our human social behaviors to the requirements of survival. Because all behaviors have both “positive” and “negative” results, the function of a sustainable human community is to guide us toward a viable balance between the two.

In this age, our human communities have shattered like a star shower, falling into millions of bits – and we are dragging the biological communities down with us. Bits and pieces cannot survive without a whole, solid communal base. We cannot resolve the problem of cultural fragmentation by fighting over the fragments.

We need to grow a new human balance point that is based less in human hubris and more in biological reality, and grow our new human communities around that balance point allowing the whole living earth to re-balance itself.

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In my opinion the most basic requirements for a sustainable human community are: 1) a factual insight into our human nature; 2) a factual insight into our biological reality at all the levels of organization; 3) a rule of law that reflects the need to maintain a balance between those realities and responds to that factual need rather than human hubris; 4) an educational system that gives every member of the communities an opportunity to understand these basic facts of life from all media sources.

All of our endeavors and behaviors have a light/”right” side and a dark/”wrong” side, and the sides keep changing depending on the circumstances. If we continue to respond to these changes with simplistic yes/no, dark/light, evil/good debates – we will fail to balance the whole of life, as it must be in order to survive, a yin and yang of ongoing, flexible responses to what is.

This is a big job, but we can do it if we understand what we are trying to do; the only question is – are you up for it? Next week we begin a series of brief studies of people who are making various efforts to grow human community.

Lynn Lamoreux

This blog is an expanded version of Bare Bones Biology radio program that will play
next week on KEOS Radio, 98.1 FM, Bryan, Texas. Bare Bones Biology is a completely
nonprofit project. The podcast can be downloaded at


Recommended References:

Bare Bones Biology Ecology Energy Handbook
Go to the right side of the page under Chapters and download your free no strings PDF.
Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth, with Bill Moyers. http://www.jcf.org

Question for Discussion:
Which of the statements above are based in fact and which are primarily personal opinion?

What to Do?
Think about it. Is it true that the Christmas and Hannuka Seasons and the New Year Celebrations are based on, and/or nurtured, the wisdom of realized teachers who were trying to grow viable human community?

Definitions:
Biological Community – all the species of organisms in a given area, and the environment they have created there.
Human Community – all the people in a given area
Life. Life is characterized by the ability to change in response to its environment.

Bare Bones Biology 134 – Community and Ego

I had a dream last night about human ego, whatever that is, I will not try to define. In the dream, some guy was driving the bus and I was picking up the pieces. Literally, I mean, I was picking the pieces of newspaper and trash, old egg shells, gum and plastic wrappings — out from under the gas pedal — as they kept rolling back in there — while two other people sat behind, telling me what I was doing wrong, and the trash kept piling higher and deeper.

You will never guess what this dream was trying to tell me, because I didn’t until I started to write it down, and immediately came to mind my persistent question: “Why did The Creator give us our ego in the first place?” The thing causes so much pain and suffering to us and our communities, convincing us that our own belief system, our own need to be more right, is more real than reality. It isn’t, you know. Nobody is “right,” because nobody understands everything. And if we believe that our mind, emotions, intellect (reference), or our world view (reference), are more powerful than the biological reality. Well, that’s a pretty good definition of pain and suffering, now or later.

Pain is life enhancing. It guides our choice of behaviors so that we avoid drowning in the river when its currents are swirling in flood, or burning our little hands on the stove. Because we were formed within the biological community – our response to pain is biologically life enhancing.

To understand why we were given an ego is more difficult. What good is the blasted thing, if the use of it causes us emotional pain and suffering, but it doesn’t tell us what the danger is? Well, of course, that’s one function of community – to help us avoid emotional suffering by passing down the wisdom teachings of the ages. The harm caused by our ego-trips is well and often explained in all the wisdom teachings, and better behaviors described.

Maybe that’s what the ego is meant to do. Maybe our ego suffering is meant to enhance the welfare of the community by passing on some wisdom from now to benefit the future. I hope so, because our age is growing new problems faster than any before, and with these new problems, we must learn new lessons (or apply the old ones) about what not to do if we don’t want to suffer.

Our origins designed us genetically and behaviorally to live in a biosystem that functions to support life, but our human culture now has grown an artificial corposystem that functions to make money. And the power of this corposystem seems to lie mostly in our human ego needs.

So many people so filled with the fear of not being better than other people. Is that our ego? Why do we feel that we must be better than someone else? We can’t discuss the important issues, because someone might go into a one-up or one-down tizzy, or just turn their backs and walk away for fear that we might know something they don’t know. But isn’t that the point of discussion, that everyone knows more than only one? Don’t we WANT to deal with the problems? We keep saying that we do, and then the next thing you know we are debating irrelevant questions for no better reason than to satisfy our never-ending need to win. Even though the floods of climate change (climate change series Bare Bones Biology 092 through 100) are already tickling our toes – even though everyone really does know the end result of these ego trips, in our modern times, will be disaster.

So now my question is: how can we be aware of our ego, and all the negative, painful behaviors that it generates — how can we use that knowledge to grow a more positive, life-supporting human community?

Lynn Lamoreux
Photos by Lynn

This blog is an expanded version of Bare Bones Biology radio program that will play next week on KEOS Radio, 98.1 FM, Bryan, Texas. Bare Bones Biology is a completely nonprofit project. The podcast can be downloaded at

Recommended Action/Question for Discussion: I’m tempted to suggest that you start an argument and consider what methods you use to win. And what are the results. But in fact I doubt that you need to know more about how to argue. So instead I suggest you find a person with whom to discuss an issue and see how long you can keep it going without either of you having an obvious emotional reaction (because this will be a serious subject.) Maybe you could try this one – http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/11/26/why_birth_control_is_still_a_big_idea
“In the United States, especially this year, any occasion when contraceptives and public policy overlap seems to be an excuse to fight about other issues.”