Bare Bones Biology 242 – Fracking III repost

So here’s my answer to the question asked by the young man at the airing of the documentary Gasland in College Station in 2011 (https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2015/01/14/). Yes indeed, young man, every industry is having problems. That’s because the question is not fundamentally about industries. It’s about the universal law of cause and effect. About the common root cause of the effects that you don’t like, and the bigger question is whether you will decide to take actions that will make things better — or carry on doing the same behaviors that caused the problem in the first place.

No living thing on this earth has ever had the power, in the long term, to get whatever it wants without doing the behaviors (that is the causes) that will bring the effects that we want. I150118-Sette-ASC_3695RLSsf we sincerely want to solve the problems of industry and their root cause, then problem solving requires, first, knowing what we want; second, knowing what stands between us and getting what we want; and third, understanding that many actions are possible and useful for now, but most of them will cause more harm than good for future generations if we don’t know how the system functions.

So it’s your choice:
You can do nothing, or you can do something.
If you decide to do something, you can decide to:
Do something that will make you feel better;
or you can
Do something that will probably be a little more frustrating but will actually help improve the conditions.

The living earth ecosystem, not industry but the living Earth ecosystem – that’s what produces our air, water, earth and energy.

 

The living Earth ecosystem does not function by human values or aspirations. The living earth ecosystem functions very elegantly, incredibly, but definitely on the basis of cause and effect and according to the natural laws of physics and biology. So if we want to influence the living earth ecosystem we must do the actions, the causes, that will cause the effect we want. And not do the actions that cause adverse effects.

 

That’s all there is to it; and we know enough to do it; and there is no other way to get what we say we want.

For the past 100 years at least we have clearly understood our problem. We are unbalancing our ecosystem by taking away too much of the resources it needs to maintain its own balance of life, and using those resources for activities that poison the cycles required for its health and ours.

 

We know how to fix that. We fix it by reducing our growth of all kinds, because it is our growth that consumes the resources that the ecosystem needs to maintain its own healthy balance. There is no other way to get what we say we want, but we refuse to do it.

That’s why the oorporations don’t want us to understand our human problem. They would be required to help grow healthy communities rather than simply use the productivity of the existing communities to feather their own pocketbooks.

So your choice, young man, now, is to decide whether you want to make the earth more healthy, or if you would prefer to spend your time:

 

Doing nothing;
Trying to believe the corposystem fairy tales;
Resorting to powers like prayer or spirituality, that we cannot control, while ignoring or mis-using our own personal and social power;
Having fun;
Being miserable;
Blaming someone else;
Fighting over issues that will not change the outcomes;
Debating issues that will not change the outcomes;
Complaining;
Crying;
Pretending the glass is half full;
Pretending the glass is half empty;
Trying to win something;
Or trying yet harder to believe in the human value system that caused the problem in the first place.

Well, here’s my helpful hint. Your first next step should be to learn the difference between measurable facts, propaganda and opinions, including your own opinions.

 

At the same time you should:

 

(1) begin studying the laws of biology. The most basic laws, not all the details people try to befuddle you with. You will not learn about ecosystem health by studying physics or even physiology. It’s the ecosystem that’s sick, not a human or a proton.  A completely free download of the Bare Bones Ecology Energy Handbook is available on my website; I don’t even keep track of who downloads these.

 

(2) Stop arguing or fighting over anything, and begin problem solving discussions. Preferably with someone who read the same handbook. https://factfictionfancy.files.wordpress.com/2010/06/pages_std-portrait-barebonesecology100627-finalfinalprinter.pdf

(3) Stop doing or supporting those actions that cause harm to the life of the ecosystem.

You’re right. Fracking is a symptom and not the cause of our problems. Stopping or limiting or confining fracking will not solve all the problems. Neither would anything else solve all the problems, instantly. Doing nothing will definitely not solve all the problems, and stopping or limiting or confining  fracking could prevent terminal destruction of the earth’s remaining fresh water, though it won’t improve the dirty air that now pollutes our beautiful Brazos Valley.

This is Bare Bones Biology, a production of http://FactFictionFancy.Wordpress.com and KEOS radio, 89.1 FM in Bryan Texas. A download of this radiocast available at:


traffic.libsyn.com/fff/Bare_Bones_Biology_242_-_Fracking_iii_repost.mp3
 

Links, References and Trackbacks:
https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2015/01/14/
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1558250/
https://factfictionfancy.files.wordpress.com/2010/06/pages_std-portrait-barebonesecology100627-finalfinalprinter.pdf

Key Words: fresh water, fracking, propaganda, difference between measurable facts and opinions, industry, root cause, living earth ecosystem, human values, law of cause and effect, resources, poison, balance of life, growth, healthy balance, corporation, biology, physics, physiology.

Bare Bones Biology 100 – Climate Change, The End

On a Thursday I went to two local meetings, one right after the other. The first was a seminar — a group of people who are concerned about the health of the whole ecosystem that we live in. Second, I went to a political meeting. All the people I met at both meetings are concerned for the welfare of our whole community. But their views of what is a community are so different that, if they were talking together, they probably would not recognize our common motivation.

I despaired of explaining this gap until I once again realized that we are talking about levels of organization. BBB-051 and BBB-052. By my system, individual is level one. Level two is the population level, our local community of humans or all humans as a species. Level three is the entire worldwide ecosystem, which is a super-organism that consists of all the species on earth and the environment we all create to live in.

People who work at the population level need to understand as much as they can about the social sciences, because that’s how we humans manipulate other people, for good or for ill. That’s all about hopes and dreams and kindness and cruelty and good and evil and empathy and compassion, as defined by our common human values. This is different from individual, level one welfare, and the difference is the cause of most of our political battles. That’s because, instead of trying to understand the differences in a way that will generate a living space for individual welfare within the communal welfare, in our culture of today we are choosing to fight over those conflicts of interest. For example. My neighbor’s oil well is giving me nosebleeds, shortness of breath, and I think maybe affecting my memory, which at my age is a concern. Good for him, bad for me, a simple individual level-one difference, he is bigger than I am so I will move. However, a more
difficult problem is the effect that his oil well has on the rate of asthma, alzheimers and obesity and other problems of the people of the whole community. That’s level one welfare, conflicting with the welfare at level two. At that point, we need a serious human discussion or we will likely end up with a serious human fight. That’s the kind of thing that good politics should be addressing. The welfare of the individual within the population of humans. There is always a conflict of interest. That’s what the social sciences are about.

The ecosystem is the level that includes all of life on earth. Everything alive is part of the whole earth ecosystem and requires a healthy ecosystem to stay alive, because the ecosystem literally makes the air, water and rich soil, and it makes these things by balancing extremely complex cycles of energy and climate and organic molecules. That’s not a matter of opinion. Without the ecosystem, there is no population to worry about, and that’s what the folks at the seminar mean when they are concerned about the common welfare.

We need the so-called “hard sciences” to understand what the ecosystem requires to stay healthy. Because the ecosystem does not function according to human values or emotions, the social sciences will not help us understand what the ecosystem requires. That’s why we need biology and ecology. And facts. And our unique human brain that can understand the difference between ecological facts and human emotions and desires. And our unique human language that can share knowledge and information over space and time.

There are measurable facts in this world. Our opinions are fun and they make us feel important, but they do not change facts. Science does not change facts. Nothing changes facts; that’s why we call them facts. Thermodynamic relationships are real, and all of life is based on them. The law of cause and effect is real. It is a fact that what we do today will influence the level of human suffering in the ecosystem of the future. The world keeps changing; that’s a fact, and we need to deal with it.

Bare Bones Biology 100 – Climate Change, The End
KEOS FM 89.1, Bryan, Texas
Audio download available later this week
here and at http://BareBonesBiology.com

Recommended References:
https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/ Levels of Organization
https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2011/04/24 Emergent Properties
Bare Bones Biology Energy Handbook is available on my blog for free download
Beyond Religion: Ethics for a Whole World, by H.H. The Dalai Lama

Bare Bones Biology 084 – Imagine

This is the last in the series describing what I think are the bottom line requirements to grow a better future for our human lives within this living earth ecosystem. It’s been tried before, with varying levels of success, and other people are proposing other, equally serious recipes for our future welfare. We’ll look at a few of them later. First I want to summarize.

Compassion and basic scientific knowledge should be applied to our interactions with each other and with all other living things including the ecosystem. To do this we should each, as individuals, first try to separate out the immutable facts from our personal opinions, and if they don’t line up we should try to figure out why not.

Second, we each need to understand the basic requirements for life, the fact that life is the whole earth ecosystem, so far as we know, and that we are a subunit of that life. A living thing (which is not the same as ”life”) can be defined as an entity, either an ecosystem or a part of the ecosystem that carries within itself the genetic information that is required to drive all the functions of its life. The functions of life consist of cycles of interactions within the entity and between entities at all the multiple levels of complexity.

We are not the director of this symphony of life. The whole ecosystem does not revolve around humans, any more than the whole solar system revolves around the earth. We don’t even really know how it works. Only that it does. And that it operates according to the laws of physics, primarily, as well as other natural laws that we cannot change. Humans cannot improve on the nature of nature, but we can do a lot of harm to ourselves if we unbalance the functions of life and reduce the resilience of the ecosystem. The term resilience refers to the capacity of the ecosystem to rebalance itself.

And third, we must understand that the universal law of cause and effect operates no matter what we choose to do. We cannot change it with our technologies. The commonest inquiry that I get is: “What can I do?” or “What would you do?” (to fix things.)

The answer is that there is nothing on earth that we can do to change the universal law of cause and effect. That means, if the earth is now overpopulated and we are using more natural resources than are available – then that’s the way it is and we cannot change that fact because the cause is back in our history somewhere and we cannot change history.

That does not mean you should be sitting on your keester enjoying TV when there are things you can do to change the history of the future generations, so that they will not be worse off because of us being here sitting on our keesters watching TV.

We cannot avoid the crunch that is coming. But right now is the time to build a version of human society that could bring to the future something better than a corrupt corposystem that sucks the life out of life. That seems to be the culture we will grow unless we pluck up a little pluck, stop being afraid of words, learn how to LISTEN to people who are not exactly like we are, or like we think they should be, and collaborate, starting today in every small way that we can, to build a future for us all – no matter what happens next.

I’m saying that I think the minimum requirement to grow a viable, sustainable human social structure is that the citizens must be educated in the skills of: practical compassion applied to problem solving; the nature and needs of a healthy ecosystem; a rule of law that recognizes the conflicting human values at the individual level and the level of the whole.

Bare Bones Biology 084 – Imagine
KEOS Radio, 89.1 FM
Audio will be posted later at
WWW.BareBonesBiology.com

Bare Bones Biology 081 – Compassion

Last week
we talked about Karen Armstrong
and her Charter for Compassion. Here she is, speaking at Peace Week on The Shift Network

“The idea always is to start to change people’s mind sets, so that instead of compassion being a word that we don’t understand, we don’t know what it means, or we think it means pity, it’s something we think about . . .”

Ms. Armstrong also talks about the Golden Rule, and I agree with her. It’s just good common sense, and I’m saying that practical compassion is just good common sense.

I remember when someone wrote a book about “win-win” negotiation. It caught my fancy strongly and now, when I am negotiating something, I try to imagine a way that the result might be a win for everyone involved, except I no longer like to think of the world as something we can “win.” But the idea is there. Try to think of a solution that will give the most positive result for the most people. It’s certainly better than running scared, and for example your considerate interaction with other drivers generally does not end in a road rage incident. That’s practical compassion. The other driver doesn’t have to subject his heart to the rage and you don’t have to bother with it.

But it’s only compassion if you take the trouble to find out what the other person really does need and not what you think she ought to need if she were the kind of person you think she should be. That latter interaction would probably end with severe aggravation for someone, and probably everyone, because imposing so-called “good works” that people don’t want or need is not compassionate. So compassion is a bit more complicated than the Karen Armstrong quote might suggest. I like to think of compassion as three types.

First there is fake compassion. Of course fake compassion is not compassion, but that’s why I mention it – we want to avoid fake compassion. Karen Armstrong’s example of pity would be one type of fake compassion. Another example would be making excuses to justify bad behavior. Excuses are an easy out for everyone, and they appear compassionate, but the long-term result is harm to everyone. Sometimes people create problems so they can appear to compassionately resolve them. Real compassion cares about the welfare of the other.

The second type of compassion that I think of is free-floating compassion. The feeling of compassion is an important human instinct, everybody feels it sometimes, and some people feel it a lot, and usually it’s a very nice feeling, and it grows positive community. It’s a good thing to spread around. But to be focused practical compassion, we need more than our instinctual emotions. We need to combine our instinctual desire to nurture with our learned understanding of the universal law of cause and effect. While free-floating compassion draws from our inherent human instincts, practical compassion draws from both our instinct and our learned knowledge of how the world works, and especially about the universal law of cause and effect, or what comes around goes around, or karma, or whatever we call it. We all recognize that people are responsible for their own behaviors precisely because our behaviors have consequences that can cause harm to others.

For this reason, practical compassion doesn’t just rush out in a thoughtless action that might impoverish another person or the community or the ecosystem. Practical compassion educates itself: What will be the short-term effect of this action? What are the most likely long-term effects? Will the action benefit the individuals involved? The community? The whole living earth? Or will the action, no matter how elegant or heroic, cause more harm than good?

Usually, it’s some of both – and then the hard work of compassion begins. But any person who sincerely wants to imagine a better future, must begin with the hard work of imagining the most likely long-term and short-term effects of her actions, on herself, on the community and on the whole earth ecosystem.

Bare Bones Biology 081 – Compassion
KEOS Radio, 89.1 FM
Audio will be posted later at
WWW.BareBonesBiology.com

Bare Bones Biology 060-Fracking I

I have lived in a Tokyo suburb, and in the shade of a mountain in Montana, but it’s in rural loneliness where I learned the most about community. I learned to sit under a tree in the forest until the little creatures gathered around to investigate this stranger in their midst. Almost like a Bambi forest glade with the little birds and flowers, but I learned this before I ever saw a motion picture. And I always knew it was no fairy tale, but the deepest source of life itself.

So I already knew this when I went to college, and there I found the wonder of basic science and I dedicated my life to learning how we humans can use our knowledge of basic science to bring to ourselves a life of ordinary happiness, in a perpetual way, like a forest glade that blooms for us and for our children unto the seventh generation yet to be born, and beyond. I mean learning how the whole system works so that we can help us to continue nurturing us on into the future. And now we know; we are choosing not to do it, and that is our human tragedy.

For a long time, I have been wondering how anyone could make that choice.

This morning I woke up remembering how exciting it was in college, that three year period when I understood how forest glade ecosystems function – using all the species at once, and all the cycles, and the flow of energy at all the levels (see the Bare Bones Ecology Energy Handbook) – to maintain the well being of us all, the rabbits and birds and flowers and all of us who are a part of the ecosystem.

This morning after the fracking ]presentation, I woke up remembering how that felt and wondering how anyone, as we heard yesterday and have been hearing for the past 15 years or so – how anyone could dedicate his life to tearing down this wonderful dream of a forever fine future.

And then I realized there isn’t very much difference between a young person who dedicates her life to understanding the factual truth of a functioning world ecosystem (that would be me). There isn’t that much difference between me and, say, a young man who grows to that age of enlightenment and observes the amazing power of the workings of the corposystem. A young man raised on Star Wars make-believe instead of the beauty of factual reality can believe in the corposystem very much in the same way I believe in the ecosystem. Very much as Bernie Madoff’s clients and even his sons believed in his Ponzi scheme, even though anyone can do the math and know there is no future in it. Star Wars economics is of course impossible to sustain for the same reason that any Ponzi scheme is impossible to sustain within a universe that operates according to the laws of energy and the law of cause and effect. Anyone can do the math. But when we are dreaming big dreams and deciding where to devote our lives, if we don’t know about schemes and scams and the first and second law of thermodynamics we get big ideas and are willing to make big sacrifices for them. That’s the tragedy of human kind.

Of course there are no tragedies at levels three and four (corposystem and ecosystem), so far as I know. It’s all about cause and effect. But level one, the individual person and level two, the communities – the tragedy is all around us now, in the air and the water and the soil and every forest glade. Not only the sacrifice of our best human values – honor, honesty, compassion — but also the promotion of suffering – and the effort it takes for idealistic people to believe that what they are doing is for the best.

Even though anyone can do the math.

Bare Bones Biology 060 – Fracking
KEOS Radio, 89.1 FM, Bryan, Texas
Audio download later this week at http://www.BareBonesBiology.com