Bare Bones Biology 058 – Happiness

“May all living things enjoy happiness and the root of happiness.
May they be free from suffering and the root of suffering.”

I recently attended a weekend workshop at Omega Institute , where Pema Chodron explained, “The root of happiness is when we can stop struggling with ourselves just as we are, and against the world and our experience just as it is.”

She spent eight hours explaining this statement, and of course I can’t tell you about it in just five minutes, but the concept coincides perfectly with our scientific understanding of life on earth. And it reminded me of one of the most important ideas in the Bible, that is humility. When three bodies of knowledge converge, it’s time to pay attention. If we want to be “happy” or content, we need to have the humility to recognize that humans cannot change the works of God. We can’t change how the ecosystem functions. Even if we are the biggest cheese in the corposystem. Even if we are a biologist.

Biology is the study of life, and life is a fragile flower, beautiful and delicately balanced at the intersection of the interacting laws of physics. Change one little bit of it, and life will change as well. In fact, that is a definition of life. It changes as conditions change. That’s how it stays alive. But life CAN NOT change the basic laws of nature that give rise to life in the first place.

If we want to survive, let alone in happiness or contentment, we need to know what we can change and what we cannot change without destroying the interacting emergent balance that is life itself. It’s not hard to understand. It’s common sense, once we know how the power flows through the ecosystem, and if you want to know this you can download the Bare Bones Ecology Energy Handbook from my web site.

Life exists on earth because the natural laws are exactly as they are. If gravity were a tad off, or energy transfer were not as it is, we would not exist. If the diversity of species is sufficiently diminished, the living earth will not be able to accommodate the changing conditions of life. That’s how it stays alive. The living earth could die, just as your living body can die, if the balance of its needs is overwhelmed.

Technology can not change these things. We are not God; when we struggle against God’s miracle we are fighting against God, or the ecosystem, or life as it must be if it is to be. Exactly as the corposystem is now fighting in a vain and ill-advised effort to overwhelm the ecosystem. It is the worst kind of hubris to believe that we have more power or knowledge than God – or the ecosystem. I think it is the worst kind of criminality, because we know what the ecosystem needs to stay alive, and we know what will happen if we mess it up, and yet we publish continuing propaganda promoting ever greater messing, rather than to admit our mistakes and come together in an effort to bring a better quality of life to our future generations.

“The root of happiness is when we can stop struggling with ourselves just as we are and the world and our experience just as it is.” Pema Chodron

The Bible refers to this happy quality as humility. Recognizing reality for what it is.

Our experience of suffering arises from our struggle against the realities of the miracle of life.

Doing the right thing is not a struggle against reality – it is the process of going with the flow of positive human values informed by the needs of other living things and their emergent properties. The right thing to do exists where the best of human values affirm the long-term welfare of all sentient beings at all of their levels of organization.

Bare Bones Biology 058 – Happiness
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Biology for Real

_DSC4648 copysmallToday we begin a series that will end in the publication of Book 18 “Biology for Real.” The premise of the book is that Life is real; it is not a head game; and it operates according to laws of nature (like gravity for example) that we all can understand. (Who can’t understand gravity? You go up, you come down.)

We all know we have created biological problems on this earth. I think we will be better off when we all begin to work together in the effort to solve them. The first step is to understand basic principles. Fortunately the most basic foundational processes of life are rather well understood by biologists. It seems to me a huge problem we have had in explaining these laws is that we are all the time metaphorically comparing LIFE to ME. Life is not me. Life is a marvelous ongoing creation of the whole earth ecology, and that’s what we need to understand if we are to be good citizens of life on earth. No metaphors here. Only the facts.

Every bit of comment and feedback will help to improve the book. From now I will be posting twice a week and will use the feedback to improve the posts.

This begins section two of the book. Section one was a definition of science (Science is the study of measurable facts using the scientific method. Science is not technology, nor is it religion, nor is it incompatible with either.)

Let’s begin with the big picture and outline the realities of our lives that we can not change.

A. Working from the most inclusive, think about the universe and the solar system. We do not have the power to change these, we can’t even observe very much of the universe, though the sciences of astronomy, physics, mathematics keep learning more of the facts. The two most important realities of the universe, as they relate to us, are:

1. All of reality is hierarchical. The solar system is a part of the universe, the living earth is a part of the solar system; we are a part of the living earth; our cells are a part of us, and so to atoms and beyond. The technical term for this is “levels of organization.” I spent about four years trying to explain levels of organization to people until finally I realized that everyone already knows about levels of organization, but they thought I was talking about something more complicated because of the technical term. So you already know that our universe and everything in it is organized according to levels of organization. We can talk more about it later.

2. The Universe (and therefore everything in it) runs by “Laws of Nature.” Laws of nature is not a technical term, it is my term. Some people think Laws of God. Whatever we think does not change the laws, so we can use either term. The natural laws are things like gravity, energy relationships, and other realities that mostly are studied by the science of physics.

The lesson we can understand from these two realities is that we are not the most powerful force in the universe and we must conform to universal laws if we are to survive. For example, unless you have considered all the natural laws that relate to gravity and flight you should not jump off any tall buildings. Some things we can not change.

B. What is the most important law of life?

1. All of life is about maintaining balance within the hierarchy of the universe; therefore all of this book is about balance. For our lives, we require balance in our bodies, in our communities and in our living earth ecosystem. And beyond.

C. What is the most important law of human life?

1. Human life must conform to the hierarchies of greater powers and must not upset the balance of life. Whatever we believe will not change whatever is real.

2. Human power is the power to choose among realistic choices.

The thesis of this book is that we can do a better job of living and choosing, both individually and in our communities, if we understand the choices that are available, and especially those that are not available because of the natural laws and higher powers. The more we understand, the more we can make the living earth a better place because we lived in it.

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Biology – 001

The Work has Started. Help Needed Already

And by the time it gets published will probably be my third published book. At the moment I can’t refer you to Amazon, but we do have one book under contract with Wiley, tentatively titled Mouse Pigmentation Genetics.

The new book:

Biology for Normal People

I’m talking real biology, no games, no metaphors, no fairy tales, no debates. Just the provable facts. I sincerely believe anyone who wants to can understand the most simple basic laws of nature, and I also believe this information is being withheld from the people. It’s so nice to know something powerful that someone else doesn’t know, isn’t it. But we are on a campaign to prevent the withholding of this factual information. So that’s the background.

I could use a little help with the first chapter.

I want to start off with everyone on the same page, so we need to agree on what we are talking about — what we are trying to understand is the place where we live, right? Biology is the study of life, so we are going to talk about the place where life exists. On this earth, where life can and does exist. How should we name that place?

The Earth Ecosystem?
The Creation?
The Biosphere?

And for all you creationists out there, I’m especially happy to have your input because I already know a scientific definition. What exactly is your definition of The Creation (the creation we live in, not the event)? What is the difference between the ecosystem that we live in and The Creation. Aren’t they the same thing? If not why not?

Thanks all, I will appreciate whatever you have to say, and I may quote you.

So Let’s Write the Book

It drives me crazy the media trying to teach us to not think, but only respond to their hype like a bunch of Pavlov’s dogs (Wikipedia should have that). We are not so dumb as that. So let’s get started. A book that explains the real facts about biology. Tentative title, “Biology for Voters and Activists and Politicians and Fundamentalists and other Normal People” Facts will be separated from opinions and fairy tales. (Fairy tales includes metaphors.)

Anyone who wants to participate is welcome. You will be credited if your questions or comments (or pictures or videos or drawings) are used in the book. For the videos we will have an online version or a DVD.

We will start the book with a question: What is The Creation (That is, strictly what it is now.)

My definition, which I swiped from Huston Smith (one of our prominent philosophers and scholar of comparative religion) in “Why Religion Matters.”: “Everything, as it is.” I checked with a religious site on the web and it agreed with that definition. So if anyone can provide a better definition and explain why it is a better definition with which to begin a book about the science of biology, please do so.