Bare Bones Biology 191 – David Barsamian

David Barsamian created Alternative Radio (http://www.alternativeradio.org) that plays on KEOS and actually around the world every week, with some of the best facts and opinions available these days. I’ll
write about Alternative Radio, briefly, below the transcript.

Barsamian2“Well, let me say this. In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act. We live now in a time of tremendous lying and
perfidity, and citizens need to inform themselves. Chomsky (http://www.chomsky.info/) says it’s the task of citizens in a democratic society to educate themselves, so they will be able to resist the propaganda that’s cascading upon them through the media and through the educational system.

“Propaganda is, first and foremost, destroying the truth in terms of U.S. foreign policy. It completely misrepresents U.S. intentions outside the country. Everything the United States does is always presented in very benign, benevolent terms. If there is anything tragic that happens, then you’ll notice they use the passive voice and say that ‘mistakes were made’ or ‘it was an accident, it was not intentional.’

“So I think, to be able to resist this kind of propaganda it’s very, very important to be informed. I mean, many Americans don’t even know that they don’t know what they have lost because of the paucity of public education. Many people have lost the ability to distinguish evidence from opinion.

“So when you watch something on FOX news, all those gas-bags and blow-hards who know nothing about nothing, they’re not talking about facts. They’re talking about opinion. Not evidence. So when they say things like, ‘Iran is an aggressive country, OK let’s say that’s the case. Iran is an aggressive country. The fact is that Iran has not invaded another country in 250 years. You can’t go more than two and a half years in
any part of U.S. history and make that statement. The United States is constantly directly invading, occupying other countries, undermining them through economic warfare, political warfare, and straight-out military invasion. So the historical record often is at extreme variance with the propaganda tropes, and propaganda plays a huge role for manufacturing consent for imperial foreign policy, as well as domestic wall-street policy.

We have an economy run by the 1%, as the Occupy movement (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occupy_movement) says. It’s an economy by and for the financial elites, the bankers, the people who own the economy.

“And this makes perfect sense, because one of the founding fathers was John Jay, the first President of the Continental Congress and the first SupremeCourt Justice of the United States. He said: ‘Those who own the country ought to govern it.’ http://books.google.com/books?id=wRYzAQAAIAAJ&pg=PA2 There you have it, right at the beginning of the founding of this country you have a statement that 1% should
control the 99%. Another example is James Madison, who is endlessly quoted, but not this quote: ‘The aim of government (this is a direct quote) is to protect the minority of the opulent against the majority. Simple English. The minority of the opulent, that’s the rich, and the majority is everybody else. And that’s what we have today, economically, and it hasn’t changed very much, it’s just gotten worse in the United States.”

And then Lynn pops in here: “I’m doing OK. Why should I care?”

Barsamian: “There’s a very important human quality, which is compassion, and if we see our fellow human beings suffering or in some way disadvantaged, we have to extend ourselves as much as possible to help them in any way we can. I think that’s what makes us human. That’s what makes us humane.”

Of course you know David Barsamian’s comments are about politics, but I find it fascinating that all or nearly all posts about any serious issue come down to the same sorts of subjects and points of view. I can read through this whole broadcast above and replace the political topics with science topics and nothing is changed except that good science gets to work with already-established facts and most of politics is about cause and effects based in historical evidence. Yet we can’t change facts and we can’t change what already has happened. I think it’s time to get the good information and use it well instead of trying to prove that facts aren’t real and history didn’t happen.

And that’s why David Barsamian has continued to offer us real fact-based information from the lips of experts – not only about politics, but about all the many issues that are currently being overwhelmed by special-interest propaganda.

I’ll be out of town, attending a program led by Fr. John Dear and Roshi Joan. I’ll tell you about that when I get back. Meantime, I do hope you have the chance to listen to the opinions of an honorable, outspoken media man. I hope he is not one of the last.

An audio copy of the above transcript can be downloaded here

Or at http://www.BareBonesBiology.com

Recommended References:
http://www.alternativeradio.org/
http://www.chomsky.info/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occupy_movement
http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/const/yates.htm
https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2012/03/17/

Advertisements

Bare Bones Biology 174 – The Real Answer

Of course it requires hard work to grow a satisfying belief system, and that hard work may well be the purpose of life for humans, because, in growing a valid sustainable belief system and passing it on to the future, we are contributing to the welfare of all humankind. That is what my own blog is about and that is why I will not change the honesty of my “style” or of the facts that I report, just because the corposystem (definition below) wants me to do “what works.” Or “what sells.” Well, I’ll modify that statement. I will and do change both the style and the factual reporting whenever I can learn to conform more closely to the reality of the Biosystem (definition below).

131023-Chama-ASC_6792RLSsTherefore I agree completely with Alejandra’s critique (in the blog referenced below) that “helping” people for financial gain may not be a kind or ethical practice. I think that was her point, and I think she was talking about the welfare of individuals who are suffering for the want of a clear life ethic. I think the world-view problem is a bonanza for the corposystem. First it can muddle the questions and then it can give (pardon, sell) its own (fake) “answers” or “solutions” to the people. The corposystem can control the human herd with fear and confusion and at the same time harvest the product (money) that results from the peoples’ fear and confusion.

Of course there are no key words for happiness, and happiness isn’t even the goal that will lead us toward contentment. Nor is ordinary emotional compassion. The accomplishment of a satisfying life goal requires hard work, not rote answers or solutions. In my opinion, that hard work is the life spent learning to understand and correlate the realities of (1) the human experience with (2) the facts of Life on earth.

131022-Chama-ASC_6788RLSs1 – We compare human experiences in our different cultures, and the better we understand the realities that are common to all or most human cultures, then the closer we approach the core of what it means to be human. Joseph Campbell’s publications have been helpful to many people in this regard, as well as the work of Ruth Benedict, Margaret Mead, Tony Hillerman (ex.The Shape Shifter unabridged), and others. The more we understand our common humanity, the more we can align ourselves with it.

Ethics, religion and all that are very helpful in guiding our path toward a satisfying life, but we must do the work. On the contrary, a frantic search for “happiness” or even “compassion,” “right versus wrong,” or “superiority,” is not helpful, because then we are only thinking of making ourselves feel good. Making ourselves feel good is a beginning to understanding our place in the whole of Life, but when we come to believe that our own human culture is the whole of Life (that is the great corposystem lie) then making ourselves feel good no longer aligns us with the realities of Life, but with the defects of the corposystem.

2 – Humans are not the center of the universe, nor did humans create Life. Humans cannot stuff into our pockets the Creation and all the Laws studied by physics and the biological sciences and make them give us (that is, sell us) what we want. If we truly want to grow our contentment within the reality of things we cannot change, then we must check our common human experiences very carefully against the larger facts (facts are things we can’t change, defined below).

Human contentment arises out of aligning our own personal reality with the greater Facts of Life so that we can grow a communal ethic (belief system) that will benefit the future of all Life on Earth.

The keys to a satisfying life are a) to align ourselves with the reality of our culture; and b) to recognize that no human culture is perfectly aligned with the biological and physical Facts of Life that we cannot change; and c) to figure out what realities we cannot change (and stop trying to change them) and what we can change (ourselves), and use that information to grow a belief system that can sustainably benefit: 1) ourselves; and 2) the future welfare of the whole system (all sentient beings, unto the seventh generation).

This is Bare Bones Biology, a production of FactFictionFancy.Wordpress.com and KEOS FM, 89.1 in Bryan, Texas. A podcast of this program is available at:

I very seldom post comments on blogs, but today I did. (http://alejandraarroyo.wordpress.com/2013/10/16/alain-de-botton-derren-brown-on-magic-happiness-london-4dec2013/).

http://mindofandy.wordpress.com/2013/10/22/fear-one-another-pt-2/

The Real Answer

In this day and age, the corposystem has taken control over the education system and is teaching us basically the reverse of what I said yesterday (Bare Bones Biology 174).  It is teaching us that happiness is the goal of human life – rather than the contentment of a job well done – and it is teaching us that we humans can control the Laws of Nature (therefore there is no point to studying the needs of any other part of the Life system.)  It is teaching us that we do not need to know the basic laws of Life on Earth; that all we humans need is humanism.

If that were the case, then our happiness would be easy, but in fact humanism is not enough, because humanism today believes in the dominance of humankind over everything else, and that is not really true, so you begin and end with a lie that benefits the welfare only of deep pockets (the corposystem, defined below) and causes irreparable harm to the balance of Life (the Biosystem/Ecosystem defined below).

The ideals that are taught by the corposystem are a lie, and we can’t align ourselves with a lie because the reality is that we simply don’t fit in, and we always know that we do not fit.  Knowing that we do not fit is not happiness and provides us no way to do a job well done.

131022-Chama-ASC_6784RLS2Thus humans generally don’t have the information they need to align themselves with factual reality, and therefore human-kind is always looking to buy something to make us happy.  Or, if one aspires to the upper classes, finding something to sell.  The current generation seems very hung up on trying to prove they each are better than the other – another impossible goal – or yet more incredibly trying to prove that we know more about what the Biosystem needs than even the Biosystem “knows.”

And so the Corposystem is in a constant impossible war for dominance against the Biosystem, and humans are constantly engaged in impossible wars for dominance over each other.  Confusion creates war creates money, and the function of the corposystem is to make always more money, without regard to the welfare of the people, or rather using the fake image of welfare to activate and reactivate that imitation welfare-money-imitation welfare-money cycle.

Entirely to the contrary, the function of the Biosystem is to maintain Life.  And that is what my blog is all about.

If you followed Bare Bones Biology from the beginning, I have progressed over the 3+ years, beginning more or less with facts about the whole of the Biosystem, and then working more toward study of facts, realities and truths at the level of biological and social communities, and lately I’ve been talking more about individual human realities.

During that period of time, the corposystem has co-opted some words that I need and changed their meanings to support the corposystem modus operandi – which is to generate confusion.  Also I have received more inquiries about the definition of corposystem.  Therefore, over the next three or four blogs I plan to define the terms I use, and then proceed again to answer the question “what can we do?” but the short answer is that we will never understand what/why we need to do until we as individuals learn how to align our own opinions with the Facts of Life, and then use that knowledge to the benefit of the 7th generation to com.

DEFINITIONS

I provide these definitions, not to start another corposystem war over whose definition is better (who cares, we need words to talk with and we need to talk if we are to avoid more wars).  My hope is, if you will understand my definitions (or yours) then we can both talk about the same things – worthwhile things — and not just argue over unimportant things while the balance of Life around is us is being destroyed by us.

Biology.  The study of Life (all of Life, and the laws of nature that make Life possible on earth) using the scientific method.  The scientific method requires study of measurable facts.  If you aren’t using the scientific method to study measurable facts, then you technically are not a biologist, even if you know more about something than someone else who is defined as a biologist.


Scientific Method.
  The scientific method is the study of measurable facts followed by a formal review system that makes sure the discovered knowledge is available for discussion by the human community.  Contrary to common usage, the study of Life without using the scientific method is not science.  By definition, science and scientists use the scientific method to study measurable facts.  It is entirely possible to study reality without using the scientific method, but then your results may or may not be measurable facts.  There is nothing wrong with things that are not measurable facts.  They aren’t science, but some of them are a lot nicer than science.  The reason to keep these defined categories is the same as the reason for definitions.  They are a great help to us in our efforts to align ourselves with realities of life, and so grow a satisfying world view, as discussed in Bare Bones Biology 175.


Basic Biology.
  This definition is the same as the above, but specifically refers to the learning to understand the natural laws that make Life possible, not to how we use these laws after we understand them.

Applied Biology. is the same as biological technology.  The technological use of our scientifric (biological) understandings to make or do something that we want to make or do.  Usually, in the modern corposystem, to make money.  This includes technologists such as physicians, wildlife management professionals, etc.  Any technological application of biology is applied biology.  Most biologists in today’s world do not realize that applied biology is not basic biology.  Applied biology can cause great harm to the Biosystem if its basic applications are not fully considered.  Overpopulation is a perfect example of this fact of Life.  Too many of one life form can unbalance the Biosystem in which it lives — so that species eats up all of its food and crashes that system.  This is natural, but if we don’t want to crash our own system we should be considering the relationship between “saving lives” and the future welfare of the system of which we are a part.


Biology
we cannot make conclusions about “good” and “bad” behaviors without considering the long-term expected results of these behaviors or we are likely to accidentally cause great harm.  Applied sciences that do not consider the basic science usually make this kind of mistake.  For this reason, technology is very dangerous without consideration of basic biology, and debates over what is right and what is wrong do not solve problems that are caused by ignoring the basic facts of Life.

Earth Systems Final2 copy 2Facts.  Facts are things that we cannot change.  There are at least two kinds of facts.  First are historical facts; things like your date of birth; we can lie about them but we cannot change the reality, and anyhow, I’m not talking about history; I am talking about the laws of nature. The Laws of Nature are facts like gravity, weight, thermodynamics, measurable energy, evolution and death. The whole of human history and human power have grown in the human mind that wanted to understand the facts of Life IN ORDER TO SURVIVE into a comfortable future. That is, until the last few generations. Now, it seems, we no longer believe that our survival depends upon the facts of Life. Instead, we have come to believe that we can change the facts to suit ourselves. We even write books about it that I will not reference, but we actually believe them.

For these authors, the unfortunate thing about facts is that it doesn’t matter what we believe, the facts keep on going just the way they always have done, because a fact is not something humans decided to believe in. A fact is something that would be here even if there were no humans, and the bottom line fact is this — humans cannot survive without the living earth that gives us life – it is the forever facts that created the living earth Biosystem — and competing with that which gives us life does not make us big and wonderful and powerful; it makes us dead.

But of course we would be dead anyway, sooner or later, so the more important reason to understand the facts of Life is to avoid causing misery and suffering by fighting wars against realities that we cannot change, and to know the difference between what we humans can control and what we cannot control.

Community.  The biological definition of community is very different from the social sciences definition. Biologically, a group of any one species (such as a group of people), the biological word for that is not community – it is population.  The population of humans in College Station.  The population of goatweeds on my ranch.  The population of a certain kind of mosquito in the Brazos Valley.

The biological definition of community is: The system that is composed of all the plants and other organisms that live in the same area and interact with one another.

131020-dng-CanyonASC_6779RLSsSo biologically, a community is ALL the organisms. Because they all do interact with each other, either directly or indirectly.  All the populations in the Brazos Valley. The population of goatweeds and of mosquitoes and of humans – all those populations of organisms together form the community of the Brazos Valley, along with all the millions more populations of organisms. When I say millions, we must consider the good rich soil of the bottom-land and all the other places where there are – yes – millions of different kinds of micro-organisms contributing to Life, if we haven’t killed them off, and all the plants and all the insects, the spiders that used to live here and everything else that is alive. That is the biological definition of community.

So it seems that everyone who is using the word community is not talking about the same thing – but we all are right. Whenever everyone is right, and they are all using the same words to mean different things, that is a perfect setup for arguments. But why argue? We do want the same thing; we only need to know what it is.

I believe a human community is a group of people who interact with each other in an emotional and social system that is very much like the physical system of a biological community. The function of biological communities is to promote the welfare of Life Itself, or one could say to maintain Life in environments that change.  The biological community does this using the sustainable physical system of biological interactions.

The valid function of human communities is also to serve Life — so that Life may provide for us the earth, air, fire and water that we require to maintain our human communities.  However, in practice, human communities in our culture primarily serve their own vision of human welfare, and they do this using emotional and intellectual interactions among humans, in addition to physical interactions.   Our current culture unfortunately is not based in a sustainable system, which is why I keep on writing this blog.

Sustainable.  This is a very interesting word.  It does not mean that everything stays the same.  It can mean that the essence survives indefinitely.  The essence of Life is – Life.  Life is sustainable on earth (so far) even though individuals cannot live forever.  Well, really, BECAUSE individuals die (and for a lot of other reasons) and because life forms (species) that cause harm also become extinct, therefore Life on earth is sustainable.  To understand sustainability one must begin with the core essence of a thing.  The core essence of our culture is profit gained from growth.  That is not sustainable on earth. Human social systems have been successful so long as the earth could provide enough resources of food, air, water and soil to support the human communities, but they are not sustainable (Diamond, Collapse).  However, our economic system could be made sustainable if we were to rewrite all the corporate documents to require biological and economic sustainability as the prime directive, and enforce that directive with a sustainable rule of law.

What is a System?  According to the dictionary, a system is “a set of connected things or parts forming a complex whole, in particular, a set of things working together as parts of a mechanism or an interconnecting network.”  I was once advised, by a university professor with whom I was discussing some improvement that should be made in the educational system:  “The function of an organization is to perpetuate itself.”  I have remembered this comment because I believe that it is very true – if it cannot maintain itself, it’s not a viable or sustainable system.

I believe a system perhaps originates as a singularity – a rare and fortunate coming-together of a set of processes that function well to maintain an emergent (new and useful) process that contributes positively to the whole. The creation of the corporation might be an example – or the creation of Life on earth.  The emergent function of the Biosystem is to maintain Life; the emergent function of the corposystem is to grow wealth.

In my own definition, a well-established system has at least two additional characteristics that  make it more likely than not to perpetuate itself.  The first is the ability to respond to modest changes in its environment.  Climate change is a fact-based reality — an example of the Earth Biosystem/Ecosystem responding to change in the human populations.  The second quality that systems develop to perpetuate themselves is protection from outside influences that might tend to cause disruption or require change.  An example of this sort of thing might be human belief systems that protect social systems from disruptive ideas – for example, the climate-change deniers’ belief system permits him to continue believing in his life-style without change.

So my definition of a system is a group of processes that function together as parts of a complex interconnected whole that generates a specialized useful emergent property or function and is organized to perpetuate itself by balancing processes that ensure stability with processes that ensure variability.

The unique emergent property of the Biosystem is Life.

The unique emergent property of the Corposystem is its growth-related profit mechanism.

Emergent Property.  An emergent property is a characteristic of a system that results when all the parts of the system function together, and is different from any of the parts separately.  For example, the emergent property of Life results from a particular combination of things (molecules) that are not alive.  An emergent property of water is that it is a liquid at room temperature.  Water is made of oxygen and hydrogen that are gases at room temperature.  There are many liquids, but water is a unique liquid.  So the emergent property of water is the unique and very specific characteristics of water.

The whole earth ecosystem is an evolved system that uses the energy from the sun to maintain and increase complexity of life in a universe that is flowing toward entropy in accordance with what humans refer to as the First and Second Laws of Thermodynamics.  To accomplish a balanced, sustainable stability of Life, the billions of earth systems must be able to respond to change, within and without itself, and that capability is achieved through the Law of Evolution, or the ability to balance its billions of interacting processes in response to changes within and without itself.  This is accomplished by the exquisite balance of the interacting web of limiting factors.  In times of little environmental change, the limiting factors discourage variability by selecting processes or organisms that function to maintain stability.  In times of environmental disruption, the limiting factors permit and select for biological variants (mutants).  Whenever variability is increased, the system has more options to select forms that are able to function more effectively in the new or changed environmental conditions, so the whole system becomes more capable of change.

Potentially, limiting factors are each of the interacting factors that are required for Life to survive.  For example, Life requires food; if there is not enough food, then food is a limiting factor.

The Biosystem is the Life of Earth.  Life of earth is stable when all the interacting factors of its environment are stable.  Life is sustainable because it can change when the interacting factors of its environment change.  Life changes mostly by the process of evolution.  Usually that involves responding to environmental change (change in limiting factors) using positive and negative selection by means of limiting factors.  Useful species survive; harmful species become extinct.

131022-Chama-ASC_6790RLSsThe corposystem is a system that uses energy resources provided by the earth ecosystem to generate continual growth, and the function of the growth is to make profits that are used to make more growth.  The corposystem operates by Ponzi economics, and therefore is neither stable (because the continual growth generates constant unbalancing and reorganization of the limiting factors) nor is it sustainable (because nothing can grow forever unless it has unlimited resources).  At the current time the corposystem operates as though the Law of Evolution (which humans cannot change) is based in competition and power.  It is not, see the above; evolution functions by balancing the limiting factors; the corposystem operates by growth, which unbalances the limiting factors.  The modern human corposystem is defined by human laws and by-laws that require growth of both money and population, and we are now at the point where the earth provisions are not sufficient to accommodate this requirement.  Therefore, the earth ecosystem is coming unbalanced, throwing up a myriad of different sorts of variables (climatic, genetic, social, economic, species extinctions) that wlll VERY soon, maybe 20 to 50 years, make our Bio130902-Monero-ASC_5831RLSs copysystem unfit for human habitation.

We could make the corposystem both stable and sustainable if we would change the corposystem imperative (growth), and there are quite a few economics books available on this subject that are written by trained economists.  I have not read them, but I do know it is biologically possible to grow a stable and sustainable human presence within Life of Earth if we were to balance the limiting factors of the corposystem and align them with the needs of the Biosystem.  I also know if we choose not to do this for ourselves, then the limiting factors of the Biosystem will do it for us and we will become extinct, and Life will start over as it has done several times over the millions of years of its evolution.

Bare Bones Biology 145b – Power

Y’all remember the Peach Clubhouse (which is still functioning by appointment, and you might be surprised what we are up to).  We learned quite a number of important things from the Peach Clubhouse.  One is that we aren’t going to change anyone’s mind, which is really, really sad because if we collectively continue our current world view, then this generation will be responsible for the unnecessary suffering of the children of man on into the foreseeable future.

Pipelines mapPeople look at me askance when I say this.  “Dotty old ladies have a right to their opinions,” they seem to think. In any case, they don’t bother themselves to find out whether or not I know what I’m talking about (http://www.radioproject.org/2013/02/putting-the-eco-back-into-economics-with-david-suzuki/).  Apparently they don’t understand that the biological laws of God and nature are what they are, and do not change according to our opinions.  That’s why we call them facts. (Romans 1:20.  “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made  . . .”)

The generation that is currently in control of our society is so ignorant of reality and so arrogantly confident in the power of its toys that they actually believe they invented systems that can compete successfully against the systems that God created. Compete with the earth

Nonsense.  Not to mention blasphemy and astronomical ignorance.  The laws of nature are natural laws – facts of life — with or without God, no matter what anyone believes or how powerful Chevron may be.

Personally, my goal is to do less harm than good on this earth, and to grow a vision of a social structure that might succeed after this one crashes.  (Yes, I know you are happy with this one, but any social structure that can’t tell the difference between a law of God and nature — and a Managing Director — will not survive on this earth.)

And because it is the responsibility of elders to share what they have learned in their long lives, therefore my goal is to figure out and share the skill-set necessary to grow a sustainable, reasonably comfortable and rewarding human lifestyle within our earth ecosystem for our future generations.

For the do-gooders who are working hard to do whatever you are working to do – all of you out there who believe that a one-track vision is enough (compassion, saving every fertilized egg, growing bigger web-based pyramid schemes, good grief, happiness) – you are wrong, and it is your responsibility to fact-check what you are doing against the needs of the ecosystem rather than the applause of the corposystem.  The requirements for contributing to a positive human social structure are that each of us take the responsibility for our fact-based education – minimally – about:

1. The basic physical requirements for the ecosystem to be healthy. Because the healthy functions of earth ecosystem give us everything we need to stay alive — soil, food energy, air, water, shelter.

2. Practical, applied compassion. Because humans require compassion to lead reasonably comfortable and rewarding lives (www:Bare BonesBiology 080-The Golden Rule).

3. A rule of law that recognizes the different and sometimes conflicting needs of different levels of life on earth — individual, population, ecosystem — and strives for the overall viable balance.

Photo from 350.orgsmallIn other words, the minimum responsibility of one human to her fellow humans is her sincere effort to learn, understand and discuss together the facts of life around the Laws of Nature, Practical Compassion, Rule of Law.   An arrogant, one-pointed meditation on whatever you already know will not resolve our current problems.  It will require study of what you do not know for us to succeed.

As for me, I’m glad that the revolutionary American Dream is not totally dead, though it has been mortified and driven underground by the corposystem and the biologically ignorant solutions proposed by the TEA party and its hangers on who fail to respect the works of God and nature that permit Life to exist on earth

This last weekend, Americans expressed themselves FOR the ecosystem 40,000 or more strong in Washington DC.  You might not hear about this on the corposystem media, so check it out on the web. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/17/climate-rally-washington-organizers_n_2707886.html.

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 References

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/17/climate-rally-washington-organizers_n_2707886.html

The New Testament, Romans 1:20 (“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made  . . .”)

http://www.radioproject.org/2013/02/putting-the-eco-back-into-economics-with-david-suzuki/

http://FactFictionFancy.Wordpress.com

http://www.BareBonesBiology

http://350.org

Bare Bones Biology 143 – Education

Last week I introduced Stepháne Luchini, whose expertise is in communication techniques as they relate to community and justice. This week and next, I want to air a bit more from his commentary. Unfortunately I had to edit out some car noise, but I think the message is his, and I want to present his message because so many people ask me “what can we do?” or sometimes they tell me there is nothing we can do. My answer, for about the past three years, has been that we must discuss the issues together.

TarSandsHoustonASC_1752sIn fact, we now have factual data available to discuss, relative to our basic communal issues, and of course the purpose of discussion is to bring our opinions to the facts and to each other. If we only discuss with people who agree, that’s almost the same as not discussing, and it generally ends in a big session of “blame-placing” or “aint-it-awful,” or both, which can relieve our own sense of responsibility but does not result in improving the mental health of our communities. That’s one reason I was so interested in Stepháne’s comments about debate, dialog and community. Here’s Stepháne:

“You were interested in exploring the difference between debate and dialog. I think dialog is a conversation between two or more people. It’s one that facilitates people taking into consderation others. Debate’s a contest to see who can win over the other. I don’t think that really helps to facilitate consideration. I think it develops division, competition.”

“Dialog helps take into consideration all beings. I think to consider all beings, we have to consider who is going to be part of the dialog. I think dialog suggests that we have to think of who else will be part of the dialog and invite those others into the dialog. A specific example is if we say at a public meeting about what’s going to happen with water issues in the town of Silver City, who should be at that meeting? Who should we invite? Maybe it’s not that we should decide in a quiet back room of the corporation, Ok who do we want to talk with about water issues because we have a bias toward wanting to make some money. Or as it was in Bolivia, where people needed a new water system, and a US based corporation comes along and says we’ll put in a nice new water system. The people were really happy until they started to get these horrendous bills to charge them for water that was always free, and they revolted. That didn’t work out for that company apparently, because nobody paid.

”We have a system that perpetuates harm and hurts, I believe, with our criminal justice system right now, and I think a lot of people go into it with a feeling that they really want to fulfill the needs of justice. They feel tired, or discouraged, or know that it’s actually causing more harm, and are really seeking what better we can do. People who are district attorneys, people who are judges. So I think there’s room. I think people in criminal justice, professionals, many or most of them, if they saw a new way that could promote healing and true accountability, they would embrace it. My experience with restorative justice suggests that people in our community, if given an opportunity, would embrace an alternative way. I think people can take up dialog. I think we can take up dialog in our politics than our debate. I think we can do more with our efforts to promote community. I think people are ready for it.”

Lynn Lamoreux
Photos by Lynn

This blog is an expanded version of Bare Bones Biology radio program that will playnext 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:
http://www.restorativejustice.org/
http://www.luchinimediationservices.com/restorative-justice1.html

Questions for discussion.
(1) What is the most important need in my community and who should be involved in a dialog about that issue.
(2) How does this need differ from the needs of the ecosystem? How do you know what the ecosystem needs? Which is more important and why?
For a free copy of the Bare Bones Biology Ecology energy handbook, go to the right side of my blog https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com, under chapters. Be sure to let me know if it doesn’t work, or if you find something in the book with which you disagree.

Bare Bones Biology 142 – Community/Mediation

An excellent study of different sorts of communities was recently published by Jared Diamond, The World Until Yesterday, Viking Press. Diamond discussed different types of social organizations under various headings, including “peace and war.”

130106-TarSands-asc_1675LSs copyAdministering disputes, justice and peace is, of course, an essential community function. The power of community is based on the efforts of people acting together to accomplish the common goal. To do that, we must not prey upon each other, and we must find the most effective ways to administer justice and, if necessary, control individual behaviors that harm the community.

Our American rule of law seems to be based in a sort of dichotomous debate model, right or wrong, win or lose, power and weakness, and — let’s face it – it’s not working very well. There are several weaknesses in this model. Most obvious is that the basic power is administered via fear, rather than compassion, justice or fairness. Winning, that is beating up on other people, or fighting over anything, does not increase trust among the members of the community, and then the community tends to use compassion unwisely.

We delight in rescuing victims, but to rescue victims it’s necessary to generate victims in the first place. In our culture and in our media and our education system, we do not hear glory tales about preventing victimization. Lately there has been a move to prevent bullying, but of course we aren’t really serious about that. Our whole corposystem model is based in rewarding the biggest bully. Schoolchildren aren’t going to believe that it is not; and I don’t see anyone changing the model. Nor do I see anyone out there shouting the praises of the people who do prevent victims. For example, the gory evening TV programs, last time I looked, all were based in the glory of the gore. But there are people in our culture who are working hard to do just that – prevent victims – and they are using various methods that relate to various sorts of problems.

122212-Solstice-_2s copyProbably you have heard of the restorative justice model of conflict resolution. There are links on my blog. Last summer, when I was in Silver City, I had the good fortune to discuss the restorative justice model of conflict resolution with a leading practicioner, Stepháne Luchini:

“I’ve always been interested in peacemaking and social justice, and even now I’ve moved into criminal justice, as a mediator in the field of restorative justice. But my larger interest is in community and the work with restorative justice is based on dialogue. How can we bring people together who might be in pain where there’s been harm, where there’s anger, and how can we bring people together where they can feel safe where there’s hope of something changing, a transformation, and how can I as a facilitator help guide people through a dialogue process in rocky territory where it’s difficult and we want to avoid conflict and harm, and transform somehow our experience in the past that has been hurtful or where we have hurt someone, to a new experience – transform the relationships we have had between us and them, the good person and the bad person, into something where we recognize the real essence of who we are as human beings, that we all have a need for being safe, we all have a need for being cared for and recognized. That’s what I’ve enjoyed doing for the last decade now, the restorative justice work, because I see, after a couple hour meeting between victims and offenders how something can so dramatically change where there is healing where people who have hurt each other can now hug each other.”

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 References:

Diamond, Jared. The World Until Yesterday, what can we learn from traditional societies? Viking Press, 2012
http://www.restorativejustice.org/
http://www.luchinimediationservices.com/restorative-justice1.html

Communities and Evolution

Happy Days Folks,

This week I will refer you to a blog post from last year at about this time. It is even more relevant today.

https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2011/12/31/

Bare Bones Biology 088 – Evolution and Creation
KEOS FM 89.1, Bryan, Texas
Audio download is available at the below link.

122012-Xmas-ASC_1523LSs