Bare Bones Biology 300 – Responsibility

At the turn of the century, with the help and support of others in my communities, I finalized my scientific “life’s work,” a holistic description of a mammalian system, and preserved the mouse colony so that it would be available for others, and collaborated in the writing and publication of the book.

 

160219-Mountain-asc_2790s copyAnd then I stepped out into a strange new world, in which people for the most part seem not to like each other, nor to understand naturally evolved holistic systems, including collaborative human relationships aimed toward common goals.

 

Except for war. Of course that is why we enjoy war. It is our community. Our naturally evolved system, the corposystem, the worldwide corpo-political-social system. A world where people mostly enjoy hating each other and/or fighting and bullying, or fleeing the devastation. Where people believe that we can solve problems by pretending they do not exist or by blaming someone else, or by sacrificing ourselves to individual human goals that are impossible to achieve. 

 

So I spent about another decade, more or less, studying the genetics or rather the evolution of our human corposystem behaviors, while looking for a role I can play that conceivably might succeed and to help solve our human survival problem. Which of course is real, serious and imminent – and relates to natural law, so it does not respond to human bullying and does not care about our excuses, denial or reasons why we can’t do what is necessary and do-able.

 

160219-Mountain-asc_2764RLSs copyIt was obvious to me from day one of this century, when I stopped thinking about mice and turned my attention to people, that we humans are behaving, as a group, in a way that makes no sense within our environment, and we cannot survive outside our environment.   And I know WHY.

 

Because the other half of ourselves – individually, mentally and physically — IS our naturally evolved environmental systems, and we do not care about our environmental systems in the same way that we care about our physiological subsystems.

 

Even most or many scientists, activists and educators do not understand WHY our corposystem behaviors do not make good survival sense; therefore, for the most part, we all are doing more harm than good, no matter our intentions. We are working for growth, money and dominance, rather than survival. Nearly all of us. At this time in our development, that kind of behavior is counter-productive within the environmental systems of which we are a part.   It is my misfortunate that my life and career rather uniquely prepared me to be one of the knowledge-holders within our current social system, the corposystem.

 

M'Donna-IMG_20151003_125919151LSsAny knowledge-holder within a social group or species has a responsibility to make her knowledge available to the whole group, whether or not people want to hear about it, so this is my responsibility – it is our responsibility – it is what we must do, if we want to save our species:

 

1- We must take control over our population growth in some other way than requiring people to be born and then trying to reduce the population – and the problems caused by overpopulation — by killing people off. The killing is not a solution to anyone’s problems. We do have birth control. I know all the excuses; don’t bother to tell me; the universe does not care about excuses. The universe cares about HOW naturally evolved systems function together to survive.  We reduce the population or we die off as a species.

 

And while we are doing that, we can proceed to develop a human future that is sustainable.

 

2-   We all, and particularly the world of religion, need to understand how the living earth system was formed by evolution of increasingly complex naturally evolved, interacting systems, and incorporate this knowledge into the religions.

 

All religions focus on the same light, AS DOES SCIENCE, and it is time to begin acting as though the light is more important than our human wars/debates/dominance behaviors and rituals that do not relate to our current human environment. We can take a lesson from the responsible leadership of His Holiness The Dalai Lama. Not necessarily his Buddhism, but the wisdom of his leadership.

 

3-   We need to learn how to discuss problems and then discuss them. We ALL need to align our worldviews with factual reality as best we can. That does NOT and should not require either debate or silence. Debate is practice for war, and silence is abdication of our responsibilities to our others. Good outcomes of discussion require good research, good listening, and communal discussion of our current Limiting Factors within our naturally evolved Biosystem Environment. It’s not supposed to be easy, or fun, or happy-face — but it can be rewarding if our genuine goal is survival of our species rather than being better than other people and other species.

 

4- My personal responsibility is to keep myself healthy and solvent until I can make available a description of how naturally evolved systems function to maintain themselves, and propose one possible recipe for how we can, or could, align our worldviews with the factual reality of natural law by good research and communal discussion.

 

When this is done — then it will be up to all of you: heads or tails, do we want to grow a future, or just pretend to be happy trashing the future that my parents’ generation tried to give to us?

 

A copy of the podcast can be downloaded at: http://traffic.libsyn.com/fff/Bare_Bones_Biology_300_-_Responsibility.mp3

 

 

References

Lamoreux et al. 2010. The Colors of Mice: A model Genetic Network. Wiley-Blackwell.

The Dalai Lama. 2010. Toward a True Kinship of Faiths. Doubleday.

 

 

 

 

 

Bare Bones Biology 182 – What to Do?

This is great. I’m getting actual questions from readers. So the question today is: How can I learn to be a success so that I can use my human values to benefit all sentient beings?”

121310-Rt 83-ASC_7650RLSs copy 2And the answer is, I’m Sorry – I can’t tell you how to do impossible things. It’s very unlikely that you can be a “success” as defined by this culture – the corposystem (defined at https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/page/4/) – and still honor your human values to benefit the future of humankind. This is because the corposystem is not human and it is not working to benefit all sentient beings. The purpose/function of the corposystem is to make money by harvesting the products of growth: growing food to sell: corn, cattle; growing merchandise to sell: computers, cars. And even growing humans for corposystem profit.

131213-LayeredSky-ASC_7658RLSs copy copyThe corposystem is selling resources. Everything the corposystem sells, including money, ultimately comes from resources that are created by or harvested from the Biosystem. The Biosystem, that is the whole Earth system of Life, can make more resources, but it takes time. The resources are now being depleted faster than the Biosystem can make them. Therefore, growth of anything, in this “anthropogenic” age, cannot benefit the future of humankind as it has done in the past.

There is a conflict of interest between the needs of the corposystem and of the Biosystem. If we don’t promote growth, it is not likely that the corposystem will reward us with “success.” On the other hand, growing the corposystem is harmful to our own future, because a healthy Biosystem is necessary for the survival of humans. Therefore, it is very likely that the most important contribution we can make to the future of human kind is to work for the welfare of the Biosystem rather than the corposystem, even if we don’t succeed.

The function of human cultures (and the corposystem is a human culture) is to provide an environment in which people mature knowing what we should do to grow a sustainable and reasonably comfortable lifestyle. That is the purpose of human cultures. To raise up the children knowing how to behave in a way that will nourish the common welfare. We cannot do that within the corposystem because the corposystem is neither sustainable nor comfortable. Nor even human regardless of the Supreme Court.

Our toxic corposystem raises us up to believe that it is our human responsibility to accomplish profitable miracles. Isn’t that what TV is all about? Teaching us that we are Gods of the impossible? But the bottom line is that trying to do impossible things is more likely to be a waste of your one life. And mine. Our real choice is whether to benefit the corposystem and be a “success” while causing harm to the future generations of sentient beings – or to do what is right for the future generations, regardless of whether or not we become a “success.”

Our responsibility to the future of human kind is to learn to understand the difference between facts and opinions – and to find a valid way to study the FACTS about how the Biosystem functions and what it needs to be healthy – and to discuss opinions about why, how and what we can do to benefit the future welfare of human kind — and then do the very best we can to benefit the Biosystem, and of course at the same time to help those of our neighbors who may be early victims of the corposystem battle for dominance. Fighting among ourselves, or arguing over facts that we cannot change, will only prevent us from using our talents to benefit anyone.

131024-canyon-ASC_6807RLSsThere are only two ways I know of to change the corposystem. One is with violence and the other is without violence. BOTH WILL FAIL if we forge ahead in the belief that we can do miracles within our own personal belief systems — without knowing what we want to change and why and how it will benefit the future generations.

We must choose whether to benefit the corposystem and be a “success,” while causing harm to the future generations of sentient beings — or to do what is right for the future generations of the Biosystem.

This is Bare Bones Biology, a production of FactFictionFancy and KEOS Radio, 89.1 FM in Bryan, TX. A copy of the podcast can be obtained at:

Bare Bones Biology 179 – Culture Collapse

Here’s the problem with my statement of our problem.   Nearly every sentence needs to be defined and qualified so that people who are raised in a different world view (https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2013/05/01/) will perceive the logic of it.  I’m working on that defining and qualifying, but it takes time and space.  Meantime, here is the outline:

 

1- Human survival is facing two immediate physical root problems, one related to Biosystem needs and the other related to human wants and wishes:

 

a.  overpopulation (note that to say “as the population grows” is not useful here because the growth is now in the final phases of exponential doubling (http://youtu.be/bsd1IT7ySfE, please do watch this one) and will begin to decline as food availability declines.  It is not a question of “when” we run out of food.  We have already overgrazed the food supplies that Earth can produce (http://www.earth-policy.org/books/fpep/fpepch3).  These are things that can be measured.  Of course we can argue over anything, but it is not wise to argue over measurable facts because they eventually prove themselves and make us look foolish for wasting the time we could have been helping.

 

131122-crescentcity-ASC_7329RLSs            b.  we have grown a corposystem, our American political system, that is based on the corporate model ( https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2013/10/25/  toward the end of the post).  The corposystem evaluates itself (and everyone in it) by winning, that is dominating other people, and by profits.  This is not how the Biosystem functions.  Success, in Biosystem terms, is NOT based on winning or “survival of the fittest.”  It is based on the balance among all the necessary parts of Life.  All the millions of life cycles of earth. in equilibrium.  As it relates to us humans, we can simplify the necessary parts of Life as:  air, water, soil and food.  This is what we are destroying with our technologies and our populations.  All the other species of plants and animal (other than human I mean), working together, generate the balance of Life.  Therefore, as we destroy these other species in our search for more and ever more food — our air, water, soil and food supply continue to deteriorate.  In other words, we are committing suicide by our belief in our own omnipotence.

 

2- Human cultures historically have been “successful” (and note that none of them have been successful for very long) to the extent that they can balance human behavior within the resources provided by the Biosystem.  We have always had war, poverty, starvation, religions, spirituality, and degradation of bits of the Biosystem because of our human cultural choices.  Those things are caused by human cultural interactions, not by the unchanging Laws of Life.  We humans cannot change the Laws of Life; the other option is to put our money where our mouth is and change our choices.

 

131125-Cyd-ASC_7361RLSsThe reality is that our culture is in the collapsing stage because it is based on a non-sustainable model.  The FACT is that we cannot change the basic biology of how God (or whatever) created the Biosystem to function.  It was created; it does function.  It will not change in response to our opinions. Our obligation to Life and to other humans is to grow a biologically sustainable, reasonably comfortable way of life.  Our viable way to accomplish this is to change our culture so that our belief systems align sustainably with the unchanging, factual Laws of Life.  It’s not useful to point out that other people aren’t doing this.  The question is, are YOU fulfilling your obligation to Life.

 

Fighting among ourselves is of no benefit to anyone and causes great harm because we COULD be using that effort to ACTUALLY STUDY how the Biosystem functions and learn how to live within the Biosystem in a way that is sustainable.  Opinions do not change facts, and the tragedy is that the facts we need are available.

 

And we must change – or die.  Because that really is how the Law of Evolution works.

 

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

 

 

 

 

https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2013/05/01/

http://youtu.be/bsd1IT7ySfE, please do watch this one

http://www.earth-policy.org/books/fpep/fpepch3

https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2013/10/25/  toward the end of the post

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bare Bones Biology 148 – Responsibility

Bitsy and I are now wending our way toward Santa Fe again, and the first person we met was actually a donkey. We met the donkey in Gatesville. Of course, the first thing we did when we got there was go out into the large empty lot behind the trailer park, just to hang out for a while, not realizing it was full to bursting with the ultimate sticker, the Texas Sand Spur. Bitsy is too big for me to carry her out, and we were well on the way across the field, so we made slow progress, stopping step by step to pull stickers out of her feet, and we didn’t notice the donkey on the far side until we got there. He surely was keeping an eye on us. Standing between us and the herd of sheep that were his responsibility. We approached carefully, not wanting to scatter the herd in flight, and the donkey also approached carefully, of course from the other side of the fence. The sheep stood back in a fleecy front, looking nervously from their lambs to the donkey and back again. When they took a few curious steps toward Bitsy and me, the responsible donkey moved between us and the sheep until we finally took the longer road back to the trailer.

The second people we met at the next stop when we went out this morning to crack the ice off some water for our morning coffee. Because the water pipe on the trailer is broken and just pours the water all over the ground. These people are driving a honking big F350 diesel truck and pulling an even honkinger trailer from Fort Worth to California and stopping overnight at Abilene. They are the most perfectly lovely people. Retired military. Friendly and kind to a fault. But they left that diesel running for an hour or so at night and again in the morning, till I had to take myself out into the 27-degree weather to get away from the (no it is NOT the smell, it is the sickness, it is the air, it is climate change, it is LIFE ITSELF stupid).

No I didn’t say that; what good would it do. They would only assume I don’t know what I’m talking about. The fact is that I do, and these presumably responsible people, life is good for them, and they have not the slightest clue how drastically all our lives will soon be changing because they have no clue and don’t give a sh – – about paying the price for their good lives. Does it make it OK to not take any responsibility for the reality if you are perfectly lovely people? Or not to even try to have a clue?

The third people I am happy that I did not meet were screaming obscenities at the desk clerk because of something that had to do with internet access. I don’t know how old they are, but I can remember when there wasn’t even television, not to mention anything like internet, and I think we were better off. At least we learned about real things in those days. I guess depending on what you use it for – either the television or the internet – I guess if you only use it to get whatever it is that you want – and if you only want internet access – I guess I should feel sorry for people who are so devastated by the momentary loss of the most important thing in their lives and the only way they can think to solve the problem is to scream obscenities at someone who doesn’t know any more than they do about getting it.

So then I started to think about responsibility. What is responsibility?
130304-GatesvilleSheep-ASC_2670sAnd how did that Jackass come to know the answer to that question, and we don’t?

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:

Bare Bones Biology 138 – Happiness

Good Morning. It’s 2013. What is your function in Life?

Joseph Campbell says that Life is: “a wonderful, wonderful game, and the hero is the one who can participate in it decently, in the way of nature.”

Lately, more people seem to believe that our function in this enterprise is to be happy; especially the corposystem wants you to believe that your value as a human person is to buy stuff, and that will make you happy. H.H. The Dalai Lama (Pursuing Happiness, October 17, 2010, Emory University) has said: “When I say happiness I mean deep satisfaction.”

120908-Dogs-ASC_0561SsSomehow, I don’t think all these varied opinions compute. I think our biological role may very well express itself in our feeling of deep satisfaction, and our deep satisfaction may be found in human interactions with each other and with our environments. That is, in family, in human communities, and in biological communities as I defined them in previous posts. I think our deep satisfaction is best found in the knowledge that we are doing a good job of fulfilling our obligations to community and to Life itself.

Deep satisfaction is not the same thing as fun, and it is not found at the corner bar, the TV or computer games. Our primary role in Life is not spirituality or sexuality or religion or politics or winning anything or becoming a star. If it is true that deep satisfaction for individual humans is gained by participating in life decently, in the way of nature, then we really do have the obligation to ourselves to learn about what nature requires for Life and what the other members of our communities require for their satisfaction.

A human community is any group of humans that shares Life within a biological community. The successful human community teaches its young the skills needed to survive in the biological community. Not the corposystem. The corposystem is a temporary aberration. The biological community is the actual source of our Life: our food, air, water and shelter.

In that context, my “American Dream” was to help grow a human community that can sustainably meet the physical and emotional needs of the people indefinitely into the future.

120804-Nukes-ASC_8932LSsIf you share this dream, then heroism is not enough; we must also understand the needs of nature and how they differ from our own. Heroism and happiness and compassion and love and spirituality are good, but they cannot accomplish the goal of sustainability if they impose themselves upon, or stand aloof from, the needs of nature.

Religion is good, but only if it aligns itself with The Creation. Technology is sometimes good, but only if we take charge to ensure that its use will serve the long-term survival needs of the biological community.

No matter what your expertise or your “passion” it cannot achieve your goals unless you are willing to share it with others in the community and avail yourself of what they have to offer toward the common root goal. That really is the primary function of good human community.

As far as I know there is only one way for us to work together to grow a human community that can sustainably meet the physical and emotional needs of the people indefinitely into the future, and that is to first proclaim that as our common goal. Stop beating around the Bush and throwing up arrogant proclamations and accusations and lies to get what we individually want. Instead, proclaim the goal, and challenge everyone in the community of like and unlike mind to evaluate themselves according to their own responsibility toward fulfilling the common goal.

Nothing is stopping us except corposystem greed and our failure to respond to it heroically, in the way of nature.

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
http://barebonesbiology.com/bare-bones-biology-138-happiness

Recommended References:
Bare Bones Biology Ecology Energy Handbook
Go to the right side of the page under Chapters and download your free no strings PDF.
Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth, with Bill Moyers. http://www.jcf.org
H. H. The Dalai Lama (Pursuing Happiness, October 17, 2010, Emory University) Or go to Krista Tippett, On Being.
biological communities https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2012/10/24
human communities https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2012/10/07.

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

Tags: Responsibility, 2013, Life, whole earth ecosystem, corposystem, happiness, human_community, biological_community

Bare Bones Biology 126 – The Bottom Line

How should we proceed to solve the overpopulation/overproduction problem that we humans have created within this earth biosystem? I have heard three rather different viewpoints on this questioning the past few weeks. Last week I talked about technologies. Technologies are not innately bad, but they will not help if we continue to use them to try to change the world, instead of using them to help change our own behaviors.

And you have already heard my opinion of what is needed – that is, that we should individually take the responsibility to educate ourselves about how and why overpopulation is so harmful to the biosystem, and then we should crank up our courage and discuss this issue with others. I am confident if we fulfill this level of responsibility, answers will emerge from the discussions. In the meantime we should make family planning technologies and information available to everyone on earth who needs it.

My colleague, who trains medical doctors at the university level, believes that a more pro-active approach is needed, especially in the more “advanced” societies. She says:

“I think I already wrote back about this issue of where to focus re overpopulation. Obviously I agree we should definitely be tackling the issue of couples/women who want contraception but can’t get it – and it is wonderful that Melinda Gates is now on the case. But another big part of the problem is those who CAN get contraception but still have large or medium families of high-consuming babies in rich countries and don’t realize that these babies will be part of the problem, as well as the victims of it.

“Even if we haven’t noticed any ills, the USA is one of the few countries in the world where you can still fail to notice the effects of overpopulation. Even here in Britain most people say there are too many people. The answer for those who have sacrificed some of their pleasures to help the overpopulation is that they have been right in principle, positively noble. And now the need is more like stopping at one child per couple, to get where we need to be (somewhere around 3 billion, if we want a lifestyle with a few luxuries like refrigerators). Isn’t it? You know this. And this needs to happen in all countries. Birth rate of 1-1.5 per couple, for the next 2 generations. Seven billion is not sustainable unless we all become largely vegetarians and take on a resource usage per person of – not sure, maybe about 20% of the current US average. And stop using fossil fuels.

“One or the other of those, or the Great Dieback where the fall in numbers happens through the death rate instead of the birth rate. I think you have given up believing that there are any alternatives to this. Yes, getting the world birth rate down to 1.5 is a huge “ask”; but if everyone knew what we know, maybe they might try…?” That’s the end of her opinion. She believes more good will result from reducing birth rate in the rich countries than in the poor countries.

And then there are people who believe that God will provide. To this I say that God already provided us with a miraculous biosystem that is sustainable in perpetuity if we take care of it – that is, if we do not take away or destroy what it needs to stay healthy — and then God put us in charge of doing just that that, taking care of it, and gave us our unique brain to do it with. Read the Bible. Or the Koran. Or the many Buddhist writings. We have responsibilities. We are not babies, most of us who can read this; surely we do not expect God to pinch hit whenever we fail in our responsibilities. We can be forgiven, but all the religions, including the Catholic church http://www.catholiccompany.com/essential-catholic-handbook-sacraments-p1001749/, recognize that the effects of our behaviors cannot be reversed. Whether or not we are forgiven, we and our generations must live with and in the results of our behaviors.

And here we are, having too much fun living the good life — or trying to be happy or spiritual — to worry about anyone else’s problems. Too much fun even to realize that their problem is our problem inside the biosphere. Like it or not, whoever created the living earth — created it to function the way it does function – not the way we wish it did. And it will not change for our convenience or our happiness.

LynnLamoreux@Yahoo.com

This blog is an expanded version of Bare Bones Biology radio program that is playing this week on KEOS Radio, 98.1 FM, Bryan, Texas. The podcast can be downloaded later this week at http://www.BareBonesBiology.com

Recommended References

Bare Bones Biology Energy Handbook – freely downloadable, no strings

Click to access pages_std-portrait-barebonesecology100627-finalfinalprinter.pdf

(First blog in this series) https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2012/09/01
(Second blog in this series) https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2012/09/09/
(Third blog in this series) https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2012/09/15/
(Fourth blog in this series) https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2012/09/28

http://world.time.com/2012/07/11/melinda-gates-launches-global-crusade-for-contraception/
https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2011/03/30/whose-population-growth-has-the-most-environmental-impact
http://www.catholiccompany.com/essential-catholic-handbook-sacraments-p1001749/

Bare Bones Biology 123 – Heroism

Once upon a time I was a real hero. I forced my employer to hire women scientists on a more or less equal basis with men. As a result, the employer hired a gaggle of very competent women, and several of these women let me know that I: “wouldn’t have had all those problems if I had been competent.” Apparently the newbys want to believe they alone are the heroes; that the past is not relevant.

My parents belonged to the generation of the great depression. My early years were informed by WWII and some magnificent expressions of American democratic responsibility, as we tried to imagine a better culture after the war.

In the next generation after mine a great many American and European women and men modified their own pleasures in order to benefit future generations. And yet, more often than not, I hear the Newbys of today say the Green Revolution was a failure, as though everything would be fine today if we had properly solved the problem yesterday. The Green generation understood that good times always have a dark underside. They recognized the new threat — the first ever worldwide, overpopulation-induced shortage of food. And they (we) dealt with it.

WE gave YOU your cushy livestyle. We worked together to achieve one of the most important human accomplishments in all of history. The birth rate dropped in all the educated countries. This was not a biological change. It is not possible –, well I will get into biology some other time, but the biosystem laws of life will not change just to relieve humans of their responsibility to balance human populations with biosystem requirements. Only the human brain can accomplish that task. Only education combined with technology and responsibility.

Education combined with technology. So yes there were bad guys, there are always a few who want to take control over their family, or a community, or their country, or the world. How do they do it? Obvious – they take away the solution to the problem. In this case, take away the education and the technology. Make more people, so the food will run out faster (it has) and there will be more poor people who have no time to worry about anything beyond their next meal (there are). Now the corposystem falsely claims that populations will automatically adjust themselves if only we make them grow. In other words, the corposystem propaganda is that we must grow the population so that the population can reduce itself.

Folks, that’s not how the biosystem works to stay alive and well, and because that claim is so intensely un-biological, therefore the corposystem has had to make sure that we do not understand the biology. I’m not talking about human biology, but the whole of the biosystem – the biosystem biology. The biosystem that gives us all of our food is threatened by overpopulation. And now we have some of the most biologically uneducated adult generations in this country in recent history, and what’s worse, they don’t even know they are uneducated. They believe they alone are the heroes. And the corposystem is still working hard to withhold access both to education and to the most useful and harmless technologies.

The quiet heroism of the green revolution gave us 50 extra years of the good life in which to generate the technologies that are needed to regulate populations, and it gave us time, 50 years in which to reach a sustainable level of reproduction so the good life could be carried into the future.

But the subsequent generations have abandoned responsibility for the whole of the prosperity that we generated in the Green Revolution — turned it over to the corposystem. That is not a failure of the green revolution 50 years ago. It is a failure of responsibility now.

Which, in a way, is good news. If the problem is happening now, then it can be fixed now.

How? We know the corposystem spreads lies; therefore, our job must be to ferret out the truth. And then we must focus on solving the problem, not fighting over it — or we will end up with a war rather than a solution.

This blog is an expanded version of Bare Bones Biology radio program that is playing this week on KEOS Radio, 98.1 FM, Bryan, Texas. A podcast can be downloaded at

Bare Bones Biology 119 – Rabi Malka Drucker I

Right now I’m skimming through a book written by Rabi <a href="http://www.hamakomtheplace.org/“>Malka Drucker, and I can see I will have to settle down in my lawn chair under the little apple tree and read the book. The title is White Fire:A portrait of Women Spiritual Leaders in America, and sadly it is out of print, but I think you can get it at the library, or maybe even Amazon. I suggest you go to Rabi Drucker’s web site and also the White Fire web site to learn more about this book (including videos) and the other books that Rabi Drucker has written. Right now, she is working on a new book about wisdom, and I can’t wait for that, so I asked her to favor us with an advance conversation on the subject. There are also two podcasts of Rabi Drucker speaking at Upaya that you might want to download.

The transcript of this week’s Bare Bones Biology is below. It’s the first of three parts to our discussion. Perhaps you will read or listen to the others during the last two weeks of August. The next one is on the subject of compassion and the last will be about wisdom. If you add the three together, what you get is responsibility plus compassion = wisdom. At least that is how it seems to me. Here is today’s transcript.

“This week we have the first installment of a discussion with Rabi Malka Drucker.

LL-“There is a conflict between human welfare and the welfare of the whole earth ecosystem.
MD-“No there’s not. We are of it, so there can’t be conflict. Either we are part of the system or we’re not. So the only way to survive is to be part of the system. So there is nothing that can promote human welfare that can hurt the environment.
LL-“Well, there’s – I would say it the other way, though, that anything that promotes the welfare of the whole earth ecosystem also promotes the welfare of humans within that ecosystem. That’s my perspective but it’s not the same.
MD- “How is it not the same?
LL- “It’s not the same because the ecosystem operates on balance, and so if we promote only human welfare and not the welfare of all the rest of the organisms –
MD- “What do you think I said?
LL- “I think you said anything that promotes human welfare would benefit the ecosystem.
MD- “No I said the opposite of that. I said anything that hurts the ecosystem is not beneficial to human beings.
LL- “Well, we don’t disagree. We were just having a little semantic problem.
MD-“I was saying that you can’t say something is good for human beings that is bad for the environment. There is no separation. If it’s bad for the world, it’s bad for human beings.
LL- “I love it. The problem arises out of trying to maintain the balance.
MD-“Again I’ll say, in the highest sphere, let’s take an example. Air conditioning. People like air conditioning. Especially in hot humid places. It’s become part of their lives. Now we find out that air conditioning is bad, and we’ve got a greenhouse effect that harms the earth climate. So here’s a case where the answer has to be that you do what you need to do to survive. Not comfort. There’s living and then there’s comfort, so comfort must be sacrificed. It’s a no-brainer. If you gave the dilemma to a fourth grade class, they’d come up with a solution. The conflict is because of ego – our egos. We don’t want to compromise. It’s simple.
LL- “I think it’s even a deeper compromise. I think it comes right down to our instinctual compassionate response when we see anything suffering. And at that point, if we’re going to consider the welfare of the ecosystem, we’ll have even more difficult —
MD- “Ah, I hear you. So here again, it’s amazing how my tradition sings to my —
So here’s how the Jewish tradition deals with this. The world rests – they have about 12 different things the world rests on, but this particular example the world rests upon justice and mercy. I see this as a vessel must contain the light. So the vessel is justice, and always mercy must supercede it. Ultimately, that’s the answer.
LL- “A Buddhist said that two wings, the wing of love and the wing of justice is what permits us to fly.
MD- “Lovely image, same notion exactly.
LL- How does overpopulation fit into that?
MD- “I’m going to give you the same answer. I keep checking the same box. It’s about ego. Human beings are not facing what needs to be faced, and taking responsibility for it.
LL- “OK, you’re checking the same box I check.
MD-“You’ll find it hard to disagree with me.
LL- “I don’t want to disagree with you.”

No indeed I would be so happy (people keep asking me what would make me happy) I would be so happy if we would all sit down together and discuss our responsibilities to ourselves within the ecosystem. Even if we were not checking the same box. Especially if we were not checking the same box. There is no good survival reason for all this conflict. We all need the same basic things to survive, and these are provided to us by the ecosystem. The way to get these things is to modify our behaviors to stop causing harm to the ecosystem, and the way to do that is first to start talking about our needs and behaviors in our communities and beyond.

Just one more point please, because of my very long history of emphasizing biological levels of organization of the earth ecosystem. When we talk about levels of organization, we use the most simple image – three levels: individual humans and their needs; populations of humans and their needs; and the whole earth ecosystem and its needs.

There was not time in the five minutes to talk about levels, but different levels do have some differences of their needs. In fact, that’s how the biosphere maintains its balance, but that is another story. The point here is that the differences in the needs of the different levels can be a source of our most difficult dilemmas.

Those differences might be a good starter for a follow-up discussion about our responsibilities to ourselves and to the ecosystem. What do individual humans need (we agreed on survival, and probably we would agree on the basic human values); what do populations of humans need? What does the whole earth ecosystem need for its survival that might be different from the other two?

Bare Bones Biology 119 – Rabi Malka Drucker I
KEOS Radio, 89.1 FM, Bryan, Texas
Download the podcast here
or at http://www.barebonesbiology.com

Artist William Michael Schindler, Santa Fe

Bare Bones Biology 113 – Thinking Compassion

A few days ago I heard Ray, at a Dharma talk at Upaya Zen Center, read this poem by Naomi Shihab Nye, entitled “Kindness.” If you are reading this on the blog, I suggest you might want to go to the bottom of this page to download the original Bare Bones Biology podcast and listen to Ray’s beautiful rendering:

Kindness

Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.

Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and
purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
it is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you every where
like a shadow or a friend.

Naomi Shihab Nye
from The Words Under the Words: Selected Poems

Well, I’m ashamed to say, as an American, that I never understood kindness until I had spent six months in Japan – I mean kindness as a way of life for its own sake. No strings attached. And that experience is one reason you have the opportunity to hear my thoughts about how we might be able to deal with this crisis that we are in.

I think it’s primarily a crisis of biology; I know it’s primarily a crisis of biology, because I’m a biologist, and that’s why I keep telling you various aspects of how humans interact with the ecosystem. Because the basic problem is not complicated; you can understand it as well as I can. But the solutions are not simple. Unless we want to ride this merry-go-round another time – well I don’t think we have another time for this merry-go-round because, all the other times around – war/peace/war/peace/war/peace/war/peace – all the other times around, the earth was able to provide us with what we needed to try to stay alive and try to solve our problems.

This is no longer true. This crisis is unique, and we cannot solve it by winning a war, or three wars or eight wars or however many wars we are doing right now. In fact I’m inclined to believe that these wars are mostly being staged by the corposystem to prevent we-the-people from understanding that we really are facing a crisis that will require us to hunker down to responsibilities that are very much more heroic than staging wars. We can’t solve it by growing another war.

Neither can we solve it by a concerted effort to teach compassion to everyone without regard to the fact that this is a biological crisis. At the root, it’s a biological crisis. We have never been here before, to the place where knowledgeable people have stated that, in 2007, we used 150% of the earth’s capacity to provide what we need to survive.

You might want to listen to the report on ecology to His Holiness The Dalai Lama, delivered by Diana Liverman from University of Arizona. Begin after the introduction, about 27 minutes into the video ). The powerpoint presentation that accompanied her report, will be linked to this blog under the heading Planetary Stewardship

In Texas or New Mexico, or in any city, you may not notice the devastating changes caused by our rape of the mother earth, because every generation believes their time of birth is normal, and because the damage is being mostly accomplished by destruction of other organisms and other peoples. But we cannot continue to survive by destroying other organisms. It is other organisms that generate air, water, earth and food energy on this planet. We might as well eat ourselves as destroy them, and that is essentially what we are doing.

So that’s why I began Bare Bones Biology. To help us find a way to combine our kindness – our compassion for the welfare of future generations – with basic fact-based knowledge about what the ecosystem requires to stay alive, and we must do this with a rule of law and an educational system that can maintain it.

Bare Bones Biology 113 – Thinking Compassion
KEOS Radio, 89.1, Bryan, TX
A podcast of this message can be obtained here
Or at http://www.BareBonesBiology.com

Recommended References:
http://www.eci.ox.ac.uk/news/articles/111021dalailama.php
http://www.Upaya.org
http://youtu.be/OjMWC1Bz2xA (begin after the introduction, about 27 minutes in, or ask me for a copy of the podcast).
http://wwf.panda.org/about_our_earth/all_publications/living_planet_report/2012_lpr/
http://Godlas.myweb.uga.edu/shihabnye.html

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
Or at http://www.BareBonesBiology.com

Owl photo taken in New Mexico at TheWildlifeCenter.org
Discussion photo taken in California at the conference of: TheEconomicsofHappiness.org