Bare Bones Biology 111 – Ritual II

What we all require from our rituals is guidance about “what we should do and what we should not do.” (As Thich Nhat Hanh says in Touching Peace)

We need to understand who we are and how to fit our lives into the big Life without causing harm to ourselves or to it. At the Peach Clubhouse we will have a copy of Joanna Macy’s very fine talk at The Economics of Happiness conference. She started out saying “We are really blessed by the straight talk here.” That got my attention. Or keep watching all the good talks at where it will eventually be posted.

Understanding how to fit our lives into the big Life without causing harm is a complicated task for which well-tested knowledge and positive rituals will help us a great deal more than any other kind of power. We are not more powerful than the big Life that is all life, and our attempts to provide for ourselves by destroying that Life will fail because our modern corposystem rituals are built in the sand of denial and based on the myth of omnipotence.

Ritual is a method of communication within and between populations. If the conditions are right, the rituals of a culture evolve with the needs of the culture. In our so-called modern cultures we have so many unmet needs, and so many ritualistic heritages, that they tend to be confused and misused by intent or by ignorance. That does not mean that rituals are wrong. If your language means nothing to me, then your rituals probably will also not inform me very well because there is no way for me to understand our common roots. That does not mean that you are fundamentally different from me or that your new discoveries are new to me. Yes, you have rituals that are special to you. We all do. Some of these are more useful than others. All of them can be misused.

So let’s not permit our favored rituals to lead us away from our deep reverence for the Source of everything that we need to stay alive and well. You’ve been studying your discipline for 10, 20, 30, even 40 years. I can top that, but why bother? At the root of the Source there is no metaphor, but only pure reality that cannot be denied, no matter how powerful our technology – no matter how bright we are.

Let’s stop growing cultures of denial in which the positive rituals of others cannot bear fruit: a) because we are not listening, so we don’t understand; or b) because we believe our own way is “special.” Maybe our way is not so very different, only we have different rituals and metaphors for the same old human problems. Maybe there are some better answers than what we know today.

Let’s not continue to ritualize our fears into the aggressive or passive-aggressive expressions of the need to win, or to be “right,” or to know more than others about how we proceed to the next evolutionary step in our human lives. We do not know how the earth will evolve. Evolution has way too many variables for us to predict. But we do have something previous generations did not have. In addition to the ritual warnings, we also have fact-based warnings about what we should not do as humans who love life.

For only one example, NASA Director James Hansen and other climatologists predicted climate change more than 50 years ago, based on over-growth of human technologies and population. We weren’t listening. That was a mistake.

If we choose to study only one source or sort of information about what we should do — or not do – our work tends to cancel the efforts of the other at a time when we could be doubling our impact by listening to authoritative sources of both sorts of information .

When I was involuntarily working for women’s liberation, I had no vision or image of women learning to be more powerful than they already were. I imagined women and men growing the rituals for our sustainable future, based in the subtler, more effective “Powers of the Weak” so that we together could grow a subtler, more effective more enduring and sustainable culture for human kind.

Maybe I succeeded and it took a couple of generations. Maybe that is what’s happening now. If so, I wish we would call it for what it is and work it for its full potential so that fully informed people of various traditions, rather than always trying to “teach” the other, are willing to listen hard and well together, and together discuss viable solutions.

For that to succeed, we must include valid scientific data in all our deliberations. Good basic biological science (not technology but holistic science) tells us a lot about what we should not try to do. Actually, so do most of the technologies we are using in our fatal effort to subdue the earth.

Bare Bones Biology 111 – Ritual II
KEOS 98.1 FM
The audio podcast can be downloaded here
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Recommended References
Thich Nhat Hahn –
Elizabeth Janeway – Powers of the Weak
Joanna Macy –
James Hansen –
Paul Woodruff – Reverence: Renewing a Forgotten Virtue

Bare Bones Biology 109 – Communication

In the past two Bare Bones Biologies, that’s 107 and 108, we tackled one of the most complex of human topics, communication. There are people who specialize in this area, and I probably should consult such an expert, because I confuses me. We so seldom use communication to communicate our reality, and then we have to translate, or guess, what people mean by what they say, and I’m not a good guesser. I finally did figure out the reason people don’t listen to what I say – that’s one of my biggest complaints – is because they’re listening instead to what they would have meant if they had said it.

This is not necessary by the way. If we did understand each other it would eliminate a lot of confusion, and it would only require asking a few questions. But now I find a generation or two of people who are offended by questions, because they equate questioning their meaning with – “dissing” them. (To diss = to disrespect.)

I can understand this, because so many people in our culture are addicted to – or afraid of – power. So we often use words as we would money, or expertise, or machismo or whatever we have at hand to reinforce our own sense of dominance or of defence. The result is not very useful.

I remember a time when expertise was envisioned as useful, not because it gave us an individual edge in a world of fearful competition, but because our individual expertise, whatever it is, can be used to contribute to the welfare of the community. There still exist communities, and some new ones growing, in which each person within the community supports the efforts of the other (even if by support we mean pointing out the flaws so together we can grow a better effort).

Every effort has value, and the values among the many can be discussed. They have worth. None is perfect and none is expected to be perfect. But all together, if the information is made available for solving problems, the community is in a position to deal with the real problems as a group, and so the community has more power than the individual to build a better future for the whole.

Generally, in our culture, we tend to view these communities a primitive, but let’s face it, primitive peoples lived sustainably for thousands of years until we came along with the so-called advanced cultures that are not sustainable within the factual reality of the earth ecosystem. Loving the ecosystem will not change this fact. Neither will technology. Until the spiritualists and the technologists are willing to learn about limiting factors, our advanced human cultures are on a fast track to destruction. Because we do have responsibilities to the earth itself, and unless we know what they are, and fulfill them, well, then our spiritual and technological good intentions are, and I quote St Bernard of Clairveux: “the road to hell, paved with good intentions.”

In a society of competition, where everyone is afraid of everyone else, we cannot use our expertise compassionately to benefit the whole, because the whole is composed of other people, most of whom are more concerned with their own physical or emotional survival.

The result is useless and fruitless power struggles rather than a compassionate intention to address real problems. And in a society where people are hooked on feeling good, or aspiring to feel good, there can be very little compassion, because in a crisis situation, compassion most often does not feel good. Doing what’s best to benefit the whole, often does not feel good. But that is what compassion is – doing what is best for the long-term interests of the other and the whole.

When a solution to a problem is well documented in fact, then it is the responsibility of compassion to study these facts and use them to promote the overall welfare, that is the least suffering, of the whole. For that, we must learn to listen and to discuss. Without listening and discussion of the impact of the facts on all the levels of life, from the individual through the ecosystem, there can be no deep, sustainable, compassion.

Bare Bones Biology 108 – Communication
KEOS 89.1 FM
This program can be downloaded here
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Owl photo taken in New Mexico at
Discussion photo taken in California at the conference of:

The Dalai Lama Recent Teaching

As it spoke to me.

His Holiness has boiled down his message to a very compelling core. As you know, I found his message compelling to begin with, because it parallels what can be seen and questioned in the world of measurable facts. Measurable facts are not everything, but if one’s message ignores the core realities of science it is not a compelling message at a time when we are killing the earth — because real things are real, including our responsibility to not kill the earth. Therefore, real things must be incorporated into any valid world view. I like to listen to His Holiness, especially if I’m feeling a bit stressed, so yesterday I listened once again, to a new version of the Four Noble Truths, spoken recently in New Delhi. I will summarize and paraphrase for clarity and hope that I do not mis-represent. He talked for about six hours:
2012_03_23_Delhi_truths_english_video_day1_hq.mp4 about 1:10 into the talk.

“Most suffering is due to ignorance. Therefore it is very important to not permit ourselves to be ignorant (or we will not only suffer but cause a lot of suffering LL). The counterforce of ignorance is knowledge. Ignorance will not go away through prayer. Or meditation. The counterforce of ignorance is only education. You cannot learn the alphabet through prayer, but as soon as you know the alphabet, you understand it. So ignorance is diminished only through study and the development of understanding.

“If the ultimate source of suffering is ignorance, then there must be a counterforce to ignorance, and that is the understanding of reality.”

(Now, in fairness, of course he was not talking only about physical science. He was talking about the expressions of suffering, which include “fear, suspicion, jealousy, anger attachment, that all center on I. Self as the center.”) And then he spent a lot of time explaining that point. Bonnie has his excellent early tapes of the Four Noble Truths that he presented in England, with our favorite translator, that lays it all out beautifully. I watch those also whenever possible. So do listen to that, and then here is his current summation. Beautiful. Do remember the word Dharma has been, can be, translated as “truth,” and refers to reality as it is – and when we study the Dharma we are trying to figure out what reality is, so that we don’t increase suffering.)

“We must be 21st Century Buddhists, with full knowledge of Buddha dharma.
First we should all study the reality that is revealed by science because it is universal;
Second, we can all study reality as philosophy, (I think he means here we can study under different philosophical and/or religious umbrellas, all of which emphasize compassion.)
Third, specifically as Buddhists, we use our Buddhist practices to implement our reality.
As Buddhists, we are bound to study and understand the law of causality (cause and effect, or the predictable results of our behaviors) and then —

    Do not do any action that predictably could cause harm to others


Bare Bones Biology 089 – What Can We Do?

So we evolved (or if you want to know more about that see BBB 010 through 019 and 088). What’s that got to do with what we can do for the future of humans on this earth? (check out New Dimensions – Creating the New Dream

The answer is, we can and DO affect the welfare of future generations by our behaviors now. We can improve the human condition, if we put our faith in the reality of our obligation to the future, and change our lifestyles according to the needs of the ecosystem to maintain its health and ours. Some people make small changes, others make big changes, depending on our situation. But we all can place our faith in the heart of the process that created a Jesus and a Gandhi and a number of Buddhas and a Mohammed, and you and me. And stop placing our faith in humans and human works. For the simple reason that the whole of the process and system and creation that is the living earth – it is too much for humans to understand. There are too many interacting parts. That’s why it sounds so complicated, it is. And we should not be tinkering with the most basic components of something we don’t understand, and believe me, those guys who say they do understand, they don’t understand either. Nobody does.

Many people believe that all scientists have faith in technology. This is too bad, because I don’t know any good basic scientist whose faith is centered in their technology. Technologies are intensely human, and a good basic scientist would look at the world, examine the cause and effect of the devastation that has been wrought by human technologies. Technologies are invented with the specific purpose of trying to force an end-run around the reality of the system and the process of nature.

A good scientist would see in our current devastation a failure of human technologies. A good basic scientist has faith in the process. She would not try to tinker with the very thing that gives her life. She would not experiment with the welfare of the grandchildren when we already know what they need. They, and we, need clean water, clean air, good rich living soil, and food energy that is generated by healthy growing plants. And we know it is the earth itself that creates these things for us. The very complexity of the earth. The earth can do this work of creation if it is healthy, and our job is to stop tinkering and help the earth to be healthy. The very reason that a basic scientist loves the ecosystem is because it is a way to study the process and the systems of the living earth that are NOT controlled by human fallibility.

The corposystem, on the contrary, was designed by humans who do not understand the system or the process. I know they don’t/didn’t understand either the system or the process of how the universe evolved from subatomic to solid and from solid to alive and from alive to human. I know they don’t understand this because nobody does. Because the creation cannot fully understand its creator. A lot of the ills of the corposystem are caused by its reverence for human technological power. Human technological power, or even human compassion or spirituality are not enough because there is no way humans can change the natural laws that permit the system to survive.

The creator is not human. Humans are not God. That’s why humans require faith, and that’s why we cannot enjoy a sustainable presence on this earth unless our faith is placed in the basic laws of the process and system that permitted the creation in the first place. That’s the natural laws, the laws of nature. Regardless of who created them and how.

What we can do is to believe in this fact and learn to understand how we are causing harm. There is nothing on earth that we can do to change this very moment. What we can do is give the gift of life, the gift of fitness, to the future by living inside the belief and understanding of the reality of what the earth needs to be healthy.

Bare Bones Biology 088 – What can we do?
KEOS FM 89.1, Bryan, Texas
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Bare Bones Biology 066 – Corposystem Power

The corposystem can not destroy our heritage, the rule of law, the soil, water, air, the climate and our freedom. That is, they can’t do it unless we let them, and because we all know that this is true, the corposystem gives us games to play to prevent us from thinking about the reality of our power.

One game is to change the subject away from real facts by claiming there is a debate. Rather than consult experts and discuss opinions, they display their own ignorance by debating fake or peripheral issues. We saw this clearly in the so-called debate over climate change. Also “Darwinism” and others you can name.

Another game they give us to play is to use really important issues, like fracking to make us forget the root cause of the multiplicity of our lesser problems. Fracking is as important as global warming, but the root cause of both is growth, because economic and population growth require resources that come from the living earth ecosystem – resources like food, minerals, water, soil – and the economy and every living thing requires these resources in order to grow. We can not grow forever because we will run out of food, clean water and good soil. And we run out of them because they are being destroyed by fracking and chemicals that are used in an effort to support more growth. And the game is, while we are fighting over fracking, or “Darwinism,” or poisoned soil, the corposystem is trying to grow some other part of itself, so that whatever we gain by reducing fracking is more than lost by the overgrowth of something else.

Or some important problem bubbles up in the news, and immediately the corposystem might start a fight over whose fault it is. Fight! Fight! We all gather around to watch and have a good old time blaming each other. Blame-placing, of course, takes away all our personal and social power, because we can’t change anything that has already happened. We can only do one thing at a time, and fussing over things we can’t change doesn’t change anything. That’s why political blaming and fighting is one of the corposystem’s favorite games, because it distracts us so effectively from the bigger problem. The bigger problem is — us — sitting on our TV watching the fight when we could be using our brains and our hands to make positive change.

If we would stop debating and blame-placing, and hand-sitting, and think factually about reality, we KNOW that growth beyond resources is NOT A GOOD THING. The solution to our problems is NOT growth, after we have already reached the capacity of the earth’s ability to feed us. From that point, which is approximately now, the solution to all these problems is to stop using more food energy and other kinds of energy than the earth can grow. But that’s not what the corposystem is doing. Instead of looking for real solutions, the corposystem just gives us another game. This time it’s a cliff-edge panic decision that is meant to grow the corposystem. Bush chose war — Obama chose debt. Neither war not debt nor any other kind of growth addresses the real problem.

So there is no point poisoning the future water and soil and air, just to squeeze out another dollar or two for a dying corposystem that will crash anyhow. Or maye it will change. It can’t continue as it is, because, there aren’t enough resources. Our better option would be to build a more compassionate and sustainable social order for our future. We can begin this by refusing to play the corposystem’s power games. Blame-placing, political board games, aintitawful games, cliff-edge panics. And use our own personal power to do something positive.

Anyone can do that.

Bare Bones Biology 066 – Corposystem Power
KEOS radio 89.1 FM, Bryan, Texas
Transcript at
Audio later this week at

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
KEOS 89.1 FM, Bryan, TX
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People Are

When your world falls apart, it is because the reality of life does not fit whatever is your world view of life. It’s a form of culture shock. Your choice is to somehow find yourself a more logical world view — one that better fits the facts. It is hard and painful work. Or the other choice would be to is to clutch more firmly your illogical world view and withdraw into yourself. My world view has been trashed several times, a painful event, but one that leads to a higher level of understanding as we put the pieces back together in a more logical way. Here is my new one. Because I am a scientist, I always try to base my views in measurable facts whenever they are available, and so I begin with an extremely well documented fact.

1. It is a fact that the anatomical and physiological makeup of humans is determined largely by their genetics, and that they inherit their genetics from their parents. This fact is demonstrated in many ways, but the most obvious is that we are able to change genes. If a change in a gene causes a change in a phenotype (phenotype is a physical or physiological trait), then the gene must somehow affect the phenotype. And there are many other proofs. It’s a well documented fact.

2. It is a fact that humans have brains and it is also a fact that our brains do many things for us that are common to all humans (are inherited from our ancestors) and of which we are not aware. We know this in general because of what happens to people whose brains have been damaged. We do not know very much about the specific.

3. In other words, there are some common characteristics of all humans that are different from other organisms, and some of them are common to us all, even if we don’t know it.

4. I believe that one of these human qualities is our ability to make logical sense out of our environments. In all my past ten years of searching around the world including the USA, I have found that every person has a life-logic that makes good sense if we listen to the foundations for that logic. Many life-logics are extremely damaging to the self or others, but they all make logical sense. Our life-logic has been called a world view.

I believe our brains are always looking for a world view that is logical. Whether or not our world view is factually valid is another question. Some realities are not measurable; some world views conform better to measurable facts than other world views. However, all world views are logical within their own construct.

5. I believe, once the human brain has reached a logic that makes sense, it will protect that logic with everything in its power, and the greatest of these is denial. Denial is an automatic human response to anything that threatens us or (specifically because that’s what I’m talking about) our world view. Of this, I speak from experience, and again I believe it is a universal human trait. This has at least two results:

  • a. most people believe that every other world view is illogical and refuse to listen to what in reality is the logic of other people’s world views; and
  • b. because we are afraid of the emotional black hole that would exist if our world view proved to be wrong (and we know that all world views are wrong in some respects), we create cliques, clans and wars. This is not for the purpose of finding out what is true, but to prove that our own world view is correct. Unfortunately, this is impossible because no world view is 100% correct, so most of the time we don’t know what we are fighting about because fighting proves nothing about the relative accuracy of the various world views, and so we make small problems bigger in order to prove something that is unprovable. Politically, this means that the “pendulum keeps swinging from one extreme to the other and back again.”

6. It is a fact that a very large part of the unique quality of the human brain is that it can adapt to environmental circumstances. In other words, we are all the product of our own experiences, laid on top of the basic qualities of the brain.

7. I believe that a very large element of our American environment (our culture) is that we are taught to believe we aren’t good enough unless we are “winners.” It doesn’t matter what we win, so long as we win something, then we are OK.

8. It is a fact that the scientific method is based in measurable facts. This gives us the option (for those who have access to the method) to build our individual and collective world views on the basis of measurable facts. Undeniably, the scientific world view is more likely than, say emotions, to approximate the reality of things that can be measured. This is demonstrated by the reality of technology. If we didn’t have a good grasp of some real universal law, our airplanes would not fly. So it’s clear that we can (if we choose to do so) get closer to factual reality if we base a world view in measurable facts.

9. Any good scientist knows the difference between things that can be measured and things that can not be measured, and also knows how to tell the difference beween a fact and an opinion or other non-measurable belief. That is why scientists don’t argue with people who are not interested in sorting these things out. There is nothing to argue about unless both sides are willing to acknowledge the portion of information that is proven or provable. There is no point to a big argument over whether or not gravity exists, for example, and working scientists are among the most busy people on the planet just trying to keep hold on their careers. Such an argument is not relevant to their world view.

Most good scientists enjoy a genuine search for knowledge. Most scientists are very committed to the general welfare. Once they know how we are causing harm to ourselves, they want to help fix it. Technologists are not scientists, but most technologists feel similarly. The problem is that the world view of most technologists is that technology will save us from the laws of nature. Unfortunately that is not a viable world view relative to the facts. Most other people also are positively motivated, in the sense of helping humans, but their world views usually have more to do with the opinion that either religion or politics will “save us.”

10. I believe that — religion is to spirituality as technology is to science. In other words, religion and technology represent different efforts of humans to build logical world views with which to control the laws of nature. Unfortunately, we know factually that we can not control the laws of nature and survive, because the ecosystem is structured with the laws of nature as its foundation. If we pull out the foundation stone the whole thing will crash. It is like a cell in your body trying to change the way your body. If the cell wins, you are dead. Fortunately we probably can’t do this to the ecosystem. As a religious friend of mine says:

“Lynn, you should not worry about the ecosystem. God has created a living earth with checks and balances so that it can protect itself.” True, but the fix will be tragic for humans, and I was actually more worried about the grandchildren.

11. American politics is about winning at any cost, whether or not it is for the general welfare. People in power know that they do not have the power over millions of other people. Therefore, people in power, whether they be corporate leaders or politicians, control the masses by creating false world views that they proceed to “sell” in any way they can.

  • a. They can not sell a false world view using all of the real facts because people are by nature logical and would smell a fish;
  • b. People are by nature logical, and will rebel if they can’t have a logic;
  • c. Therefore people in power leave out factual steps in the logic they provide to pacify the people. They replace these with bullshit that sounds more attractive than the real facts. Thus they give the people two things that people by their nature want very much: a logical world view; and a happy story to go with it.

The problem for the people is:

  • a. The leaders do have access to the facts;
  • b. If the leaders can seize control of communications and education so that they can falsify or leave out important measurable facts, then the world view of the people will not approximate factual reality and that of the leaders will, with the result that the leaders will have the major control over the power. Factual reality holds more power than the logic of one’s world view because you can make real physical things work with factual reality, whereas world views are mostly composed of subconscious or emotional realities;
  • c. The facts have three levels of physical reality that are different from each other.

Level One – individual comfort (I won’t give up my world view no matter what) – refusal to listen to other people’s equally logical world view.

    Level Two – The human group welfare (this would usually be a clique, clan or worldview sort of group, but also could be any human political group) – whatever worked for my father is obviously best for my son and everyone else’s sons. Peer pressure and mob behaviors are included. This is where the pendulum swings but no progress is made toward success.

    Level Three – over-all reality, which in the case of us is the whole ecosystem because we can not survive without it.

      Thinking about our world view in terms of levels is very useful. It explains some realities that otherwise appear to be in conflict. For example, evolution.

      Successful evolution is a sort of negotiation in which the basic needs of all the levels are met. Take cells for example. At level one, the cell that eats another cell changes nothing of significance to evolution, but only to himself. And then someone eats him. At level two, the cancer cell appears a big (political?) winner over all the other cells in the body. But as a result the body dies, along with all its cells, eliminating them all from further participation in any kind of life. At level three, the cells work together to keep the body healthy and thus are able to pass on their genes to another generation of bodies and cells. So if anyone tried to tell you that evolution is an exercise in “tooth and claw” their world view logic is somewhere between level one and level two and represents only a small part of the real picture.

      Unless human kind can develop level three social skills, we will end up like the cancer cells, because the fact is that the overall ecosystem is a good deal bigger than any or all of us, and is probably not listening to any of our world views. Like all living systems, it will do whatever it will do according to the laws of nature (we do know how this will happen in a general sort of way) to save itself, so if we genuinely want our politics to benefit our sons we should find out what the ecosystem genuinely requires in order to stay healthy, and not what some economist (or military general, or president) says it should need according to his very logical world view that leaves out several important facts at the very base of its logical structure.

      And this is why scientists don’t try to talk to people who won’t listen to real measurable facts of level three.

      The fact is that level three will determine the true quality of life for our sons, and at level three we all want the same thing, which is quality of life. Therefore, it is a complete waste of our valuable logical brains to spend them unnecessarily muddling around in levels one and two when we could, instead, listen to the various ways in which we all express exactly the same needs, wants and desires. We could be using all that information to work together at level three to get what we all want, need and desire.

      We will never get these needs fulfilled by killing off competitors at level one, or overrunning elections or the ecosystem at level two, because we cannot force level three to do what we want her to do. Our only option is a level three evolutionary compromise in which we adapt our fairy tales to the factual, physical, measurable needs of level three survival — if we decide that is more important than our own need to believe we are more powerful even than God. We are not more powerful than God, and I do not believe God wants us to trash His beautiful living ecosystem.

      And unfortunately for our fairy tales, God’s laws respond to our behaviors — not our world views.

      I wonder what the person said the next day after he chopped down the last tree on Easter Island? “Oops, shouldn’t have done that!”

      A Poem by Maya Angelou

      Glory Falls

      Glory falls around usMayaAngelouIllustration
      as we sob
      a dirge of
      desolation on the Cross
      and hatred is the ballast of
      the rock
      which lies upon our necks
      and underfoot.

      We have woven
      robes of silk
      and clothed our nakedness
      with tapestry.

      From crawling on this
      murky planet’s floor
      we soar beyond the
      birds and
      throught the clouds
      and edge our way from hate
      and blind despair and
      bring honor
      to our brothers, and to our sisters cheer.

      We grow despite the
      horror that we feed
      upon our own

      We grow.

      Poem from “I Shall Not be Moved,” Bantam Books
      Picture from “Outside the Circles” in production.

      Evolution is Real

      What is the difference between a word and a real thing?

      The biggest difference is that people make up words. People do not make the reality of how the universe functions, or how the ecosystem functions. That kind of reality is imposed upon us by God or by Fate, or whatever we choose to call it it is way far more powerful than us. I don’t know a good word for the giver of reality, but I do know it isn’t me.

      Words are not that kind of reality. “Tree” is not a tree, it is a word. I am thinking right now about my favorite tree:090118TGT_dsc8566LSs

      I bet my tree is not what you were thinking before you saw the picture. My tree is a reality, and it would be a reality whether or not I were here to see it or say the word tree. Or ki. Or arbol.

      That’s why we have the word “theory.”

      A theory is an idea that we humans have that we hope is a reality but it will take some time to prove it. If we are doing science, we have some ways to prove it is not real, and if we try hard for a hundred years or so and we fail to prove the theory is not real, then probably it really is real. If it is real, then it was imposed by God or Fate, because we know we didn’t make it because it is more powerful than we are.

      So. Here are some words for you.

      “Theory of X-Inactivation.”

      “Theory that the earth is flat.”
      “Theory that the earth is round.”

      “Theory that the earth circles around the sun.”

      “Theory of Thermodynamics.”
      Wait, we changed the name of that one. We changed it to the “First and Second Laws of Thermodynamics.”

      Because we have a word for a thing does not mean it’s a real thing. It also does not mean it’s NOT a real thing. A thing is real or it is not real. Whether or not it is real might have nothing to do with whatever words we use to describe it.

      Biological evolution is a change in the gene pool over time. Whatever we name it has nothing to do with whether or not it is real. We can prove it is real. You can prove it for yourself. Easily. So why are we arguing over the words we use to describe the reality? “Theory of Evolution”? Evolution is one of the laws of God or Fate, like the laws of thermodynamics and gravity. The earth ecosystem could not exist without those realities because whoever set it up that way – that’s how they set it up.

      Realities are good things to know about – so why are we wasting our hot air arguing over words when we could be learning about the realities of God? Or whatever made it all work to give us life.

      Promises, Promises

      “What if Americans of all ages, races, backgrounds and beliefs could come together in a series of national conversations on topics of significant importance to the nation? What if we could create a listening and learning environment through structured conversations to lead us to better understand one another, establish common ground and transform ideas into action? What if all of us had a role in making this a reality?”

      It’s as certain as sin that we will spend our future forever fearfully circling each other, like Voldemort and Harry Potter, unless we find some way break the win/lose pattern of our toxic culture and talk among ourselves like real people. Believe it or not, there is a way that is well researched, well established and well known in business circles. Check out Promise USA if you are genuinely interested in accomplishing a better future.