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 ( 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 (, 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 (  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 (  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:

, please do watch this one  toward the end of the post







Survival and Evolution

The function of a system is to perpetuate itself. Biologically, this is done by regulation of the information systems by the environment. That is another way of saying that evolution is a process of change over time mediated by natural selection.

In terms of the genome, of course the information system is the genes; in the social context, the information system is the brain (nervous system). The genes generate a system (in humans an organ system, the organ system then becomes part of the environmental influence on further evolution, we get a brain). Our brain is one of a social creature. For this reason, even though the emotional part of the brain can’t really explain itself, it CAN respond to the environment by growing a culture; that means it can communicate with other human creatures in space. More importantly it means that the culure then becomes part of the environment that evolves the brain to become more intricate. The system (in this case the brain, for a giraffe it’s the neck that gives the whole organism system a selective advantage) perpetuates itself and selects, usually for a more and more specialized version of itself within its successful niche. Whatever is our selective advantage (or think of a giraffe neck) becomes selected FOR ever more strongly as all the organisms within the whole Biosystem evolve together, finding ever more narrow niches, meaning that their functions become more and more specialized within the entire ecosystem. The brain, again, or ours, then learned to communicate over time, as well as space some point the brain learns to communicate over time (story telling, then writing, then the technologies) as well as space, and then it becomes the strongest element in its own environment as it specializes in using and growing an intellectual brain on top of the emotional brain.

There is a dance between the environment system and the brain system that generates the flow of information (gene pool) that defines the species system. This concept is the same as levels of organization except the idea of levels of organization tries to linearize the process so that our brain can conceptualize it, but the reality is that every system interfaces at one level AND another with all the other systems, which is what I read also in Tibetan Buddhism. The only way I can visualize this is to mentally draw a bunch of bubbles, each of which represents a system (I guess beginning with cells if we work up from the bottom levels of life, but of course one could go biochemical, chemical, etc.) all the bubbles are inside other bubbles and interact with other bubbles, and all of them represent actions, not things. Processes. What they really respresent is systems that have evolved because they work to maintain the life of our biggest bubble short of God’s universe – the Biosystem. Each system evolved in an environment and in that environment each system evolved because the whole Biosystem is more efficient with that system than without it (Let’s refer to that as the first law of evolution and defines “fitness” – all the systems and subsystems in a biosystem are successful insofar as they contribute to the more efficient survival of the whole Biosystem.) Because these bubbles must ALL be functioning well if the whole is to be sustainable. The second basic law of evolution is that the primary function of any system is to maintain itself. An efficiently functioning Biosystem evolves to be more and more like itself (as I described above relative to organ systems, the human brain or the giraffe’s neck).

130822-LittleCreel-ASC_5599RSsChanges happen when system break down. Or systems break down when changes happen. Evolution cannot be understood at an individual level. The entire Biosystem crawls through time as a unitary Life Form that responds to internal and external change according to the efficiency (or lack of efficiency) of the interacting processes.

In all cases, the system evolves over time in response to its environment, and all the systems evolve together. The way I picture this is to imagine how all the organs in an organ system must evolve together within the skin, which is within the ecosystem — or the organism doesn’t survive. At the same time, every change in the organ system bubble must conform to the needs of the cellular (biochemical) system of bubbles of which it is composed. And also at the same time it must fit itself into its relationship with the species system (biological community) of which it is a part. In doing this, it will tend either to maintain its efficiently,

sustainably functioning self, or, if some part of the “physiology” of the Biosystem breaks the bounds of the checks and balances that maintain it sustainably – then it will begin to change it’s own environment (which is the sum of all the species at any given time – or rather it is the sum of the billions of processes implemented by all the species together, plus the internal and external environment that they all together mediate).

In the case of the human brain, of course, once it evolved the ability to communicate both laterally and linearly (and then systematically) it became a uniquely conscious vehicle for evolution, and at that point it took upon itself (like it or not) the RESPONSIBILITY to care for the welfare not only of its neighbor in the cave but also of the sum of the species (all the sentient beings) of which it is a participating member. Responsibility is not a choice – at the level of a brain, responsibility is part of maintaining the subsystem of which it is a part. The brain is responsible for the welfare of the body, and for the welfare of the human community and for the welfare of the environment that we are sacrificing to our personal wants and wishes.

All this is what I also hear in the Tibetan Buddhist texts that I have read – those that I could understand, and whether I contributed the understanding to the text or the text contributed an understanding to me – I think it is as real when written by a monk as it is when written by an evolutionary biologist.

There are two bottom lines here that seem important right now:
1. We are responsible as individuals to our own organism (ourselves) and (because we can’t survive in a failed system) to our environment in which other organisms must participate. We could say this is self-preservation on two levels (this is why “survival of the fittest” does NOT describe the process of evolution unless you define fitness to exclude simplistic competition.) This responsibility can be thought of as: sustainability and resilience. Resilience basically is a way the system maintains itself by all the parts interacting. Sustainability is a more linear idea that seems mostly to encompass the ongoing balance among the resources and the needs, probably old-fashioned supply/demand economics reflects an idea of sustainability, whereas resilience is more akin to the benefits provided by the fail-safe functions of a space-ship environment.

130822-LittleCreel-ASC_5602RLSs2. The function of any system is to maintain itself. When this FAILS for any reason the failing system throws up variables. Actually the system is always throwing up variables, that is a Third law of evolution that we already knew from Darwin. When a system starts to fail, these variables are not as readily absorbed into the system bubble; they splinter into a thousand bits (genetic recombination, social breakdown, species breaking up into subspecies) and the bits try to specialize into niches and/or generate niches they can survive in. Whether or not they succeed depends on the internal and external environments.

That’s where we are at; in our case it has become a process of social evolution that maintains itself primarily using false information to create fraudulent social environments, that could have been real environments if we didn’t have too many people for the resources. When people do realize that the social niches (social systems) are no longer able to maintain themselves because the environment in which they evolved no longer exists or is dying – or there simply isn’t enough food for everyone — that is the source of war and revolutions.

a. we would rather resolve the issues without violence
b. but we can’t because the breakdown of the system is throwing up multiple new social systems that do compete with each other. This is the part of evolution that has to do with competition, and that mostly happens when systems are failing because (usually because the environment has changed so much the system can’t cope) – all the rest of evolution is about communication, integration, connection and cooperation. Even in non-social species, but of course not using words, rather actions and functions.
c. We are humans. We have at our disposal, in addition – words, concepts and ideas.
d. Therefore, if we want to survive we need to take a step in regulating our own evolution. There are three requirements for that: (1) stop changing the environment into which we evolved. That requires a sustainable culture, and developing a sustainable culture requires DISCUSSION RATHER THAN COMPETITION. At all levels of organization. (2) the goal is to do this without the war stage of confrontation among the groups.

I think this would require that we understand how evolution really works. I know that there are several groups out there trying to evolve humans, but none of them are functioning to fulfill the requirements outlined above because none of them understands how evolution really works. Our culture is based in competition and war. That concept grew out of a very primitive understanding of how evolution really functions – “survival of the fitness – a concept that cannot succeed unless one defines fitness as I have above.

Unfortunately, ALL the major competing groups in our corposystem culture believe in the corposystem ethic, even while they also believe we must evolve.

Yes indeed we will evolve, but we CANNOT evolve in a “humane” direction by using the failed corposystem ethic because the corposystem ethic is based in WAR and always has been. Even the compassion groups do not see themselves as they use a corposystem war ethic to change the corposystem war ethic.

If we want to succeed in evolving a better social system, we MUST NOT war against the systems that keep us alive (the corposystem war against the biosystem). Rather we must change ourselves in a direction that conforms with the welfare of the whole. Those “evolution” groups do know this. What they don’t understand is that you can’t use stories to change facts, and you can’t work for the welfare of the whole if you don’t know what it needs that is different from what humans need, and you can’t know this while at the same time excluding facts of nature from the conversation. And you can’t do it AT ALL if your mode is debate based in human opinions.

Humans have a brain that responds to stories. However, the ability to respond to stories is not enough. If we want a humane environment we must honor the process of evolution as it really is, not as “survival of the fittest (undefined).” We must use our analytical brain to debunk the corposystem, to understand evolution, and to SKIP the step that requires competition and violence. If we insist upon using the corposystem ideology to change the corposystem ideology, without recognizing that the corposystem is a failed system throwing up competing variants, because THAT IS HOW EVOLUTON FUNCTIONS, then we are lost, because we are promoting a failed system. Even the compassion movements are doing this. That is not changing a system; it is part of how the system – how it maintains itself. If we are going to use ONLY stories in this effort (no matter that the above is true) rather than evolve ourselves into a species that can USE OUR WHOLE BRAIN, NOT ONLY THE PRIMITIVE BRAIN to regulate ourselves in our environment, then there is a chance we might break out of our own failed system.

Either we use our thinking brain – on top of and including the emotional brain and the survival brain — to do that or we don’t. If we cannot grow a sufficient number of people who consciously promote discussion of the cause of the failure of our corposystem culture, then evolution will take hold, we will split up into factions and the factions will become more and more violent.

We cannot CHANGE the corposystem by conforming to what it does not want us to do. And right now what it does not want us to do is to use the analytical part of our brains, along with the emotional (storytelling) part to understand the real issues sufficiently to change the system or grow a new system that is both sustainable and resilient in relation to the efficiency of the Life processes of the entire Biosystem.

Every person on earth can contribute to this effort of understanding the real issues if we are willing to figure out what the real issues are and discuss them on a daily basis at least use the words IN ADDITION TO WHATEVER ELSE WE MUST DO TO MAINTAIN OUR BUBBLES. And if we who actually are educated do not make the effort every day to at least USE THE WORD “overpopulation,” and support and encourage those who are trying to save us from it – then the human world will end in fire (war).

Either we take charge of our own information systems or we fail.

If we refuse to address the causative issues (those discussions that are not permitted by the corposystem, and figure out the methods the corposystem uses to repress the info), or if we believe that humans are more powerful than the causative issues, then we will fail. If we can develop a culture in which ALL HUMANS take some responsibility for discussing the real issue that we face in addition to whatever else they are doing to maintain the environment that we need for survival – then there is still time.

That’s why God gave us a uniquely conscious brain.

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

Owl photo taken in New Mexico at
Discussion photo taken in California at the conference of:

Bare Bones Biology 077 – Demonstration

If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you always got.
The rich get richer and the poor are always with us. If it has always been this way, it always will be this way.

In fact, it has not always been this way. For example, humanity 6000 years ago was a whole different story, before we began trying to prove that human power is stronger than the laws of God and nature. Now, if we want our grandchildren to live in this beautiful Garden of Eden in reasonable comfort, we must build another new story that considers the needs of Eden. Because the earth ecosystem is also a living thing; it also needs to survive; it is our only source of food and water; we humans will not survive without it; and if we always do what we have been doing, we will make our survival on this earth impossible.

So I say it’s time for a change, but if we try to make changes using the same methods that caused our problems in the first place – we will mostly get more of the same problems.

So how to change? We can’t grow change by going backward to the time when there were more resources than we could use.

Also we can’t grow a change using the corposystem system that has co-opted our “American Dream,” unless we take control over the corposystem and define its uses and their limits.

If we are to make positive change we must know what we want and how to get it without making things worse. Two of the most basic requirements for success are: 1) we must honor the needs of the ecosystem, because all of our food energy is grown by the ecosystem and no alternative sources are available; 2) we must prevent the corposystem from controlling our human values and directing our behaviors so that we cause long-term harm to ourselves and to others.

The first time I heard from and, that’s what I thought they wanted – to make a positive, sustainable change. Later I dropped them off my computer because the vocabulary of and consists mostly of “fight.” Which is not anti-war nor anti-corporation nor a change. I do not believe war is a solution to anything except overpopulation, and there are better, quicker and cheaper ways to deal with overpopulation. When this national sit-in began, I again tried to believe in MoveOn, and I went to hear their speeches. In every sentence they screamed “fight” two or more times. Otherwise, I would probably be sitting in with them.

Finally, now, someone is telling us what the demonstrations are about, at least the Wall Street sit-in. It turns out they have a General Assembly and their General Assembly has now formulated a list of causes. So I checked these causes to see if they conflict with the requirements for our sustainable future in this garden of Eden. The bottom lines is that they do not seem conflict, but primarily to control excess, and I agree they are important issues that we must address if we are to grow a sustainable human presence on this earth. So long as the demonstrations remain non-violent, I will support them in principle.

I am waiting to see how they plan to cure the problems they define, both at the level of human rule of law and at the level of ecosystem survival. Because as far as I can tell, these groups, and the new rally for jobs by, have not proposed any solutions. It will not be easy to cure problems that were caused by previous generations using more than their share of limited resources. A solution is possible, but one thing is certain. We cannot cure that problem by using up more than our share of the limited resources. I still don’t see anyone addressing that reality.

Bare Bones Biology 077-Demonstration
KEOS Radio, 89.1 FM
Audio can be uploaded later this week here
or at Http//

Below is the “Occupy Wall Street” first declaration:

‘Occupy Wall Street’ Issues First Official Declaration
by Beth Buczynski
October 3, 2011
11:32 am

Since the occupation of Wall Street first began on September 17th, the mainstream media has criticized the general assembly for its lack of a cohesive list of complaints or demands.
Not to be rushed by expectations of corporations and the elite they serve, the Occupy Wall Street action took its time fulfilling this demand.
On Thursday night, Occupy Wall Street participants voted on and approved the first official “Declaration of the Occupation of New York City.” It is reprinted in its entirety below.
As we gather together in solidarity to express a feeling of mass injustice, we must not lose sight of what brought us together. We write so that all people who feel wronged by the corporate forces of the world can know that we are your allies.
As one people, united, we acknowledge the reality: that the future of the human race requires the cooperation of its members; that our system must protect our rights, and upon corruption of that system, it is up to the individuals to protect their own rights, and those of their neighbors; that a democratic government derives its just power from the people, but corporations do not seek consent to extract wealth from the people and the Earth; and that no true democracy is attainable when the process is determined by economic power. We come to you at a time when corporations, which place profit over people, self-interest over justice, and oppression over equality, run our governments. We have peaceably assembled here, as is our right, to let these facts be known.
They have taken our houses through an illegal foreclosure process, despite not having the original mortgage.
They have taken bailouts from taxpayers with impunity, and continue to give Executives exorbitant bonuses.
They have perpetuated inequality and discrimination in the workplace based on age, the color of one’s skin, sex, gender identity and sexual orientation.
They have poisoned the food supply through negligence, and undermined the farming system through monopolization.
They have profited off of the torture, confinement, and cruel treatment of countless nonhuman animals, and actively hide these practices.
They have continuously sought to strip employees of the right to negotiate for better pay and safer working conditions.
They have held students hostage with tens of thousands of dollars of debt on education, which is itself a human right.
They have consistently outsourced labor and used that outsourcing as leverage to cut workers’ healthcare and pay.
They have influenced the courts to achieve the same rights as people, with none of the culpability or responsibility.
They have spent millions of dollars on legal teams that look for ways to get them out of contracts in regards to health insurance.
They have sold our privacy as a commodity.
They have used the military and police force to prevent freedom of the press.
They have deliberately declined to recall faulty products endangering lives in pursuit of profit.
They determine economic policy, despite the catastrophic failures their policies have produced and continue to produce.
They have donated large sums of money to politicians supposed to be regulating them.
They continue to block alternate forms of energy to keep us dependent on oil.
They continue to block generic forms of medicine that could save people’s lives in order to protect investments that have already turned a substantive profit.
They have purposely covered up oil spills, accidents, faulty bookkeeping, and inactive ingredients in pursuit of profit.
They purposefully keep people misinformed and fearful through their control of the media.
They have accepted private contracts to murder prisoners even when presented with serious doubts about their guilt.
They have perpetuated colonialism at home and abroad.
They have participated in the torture and murder of innocent civilians overseas.
They continue to create weapons of mass destruction in order to receive government contracts.*
To the people of the world,
We, the New York City General Assembly occupying Wall Street in Liberty Square, urge you to assert your power.
Exercise your right to peaceably assemble; occupy public space; create a process to address the problems we face, and generate solutions accessible to everyone.
To all communities that take action and form groups in the spirit of direct democracy, we offer support, documentation, and all of the resources at our disposal.
Join us and make your voices heard!
*These grievances are not all-inclusive

Read more:


What we are “fighting for” is a slow decline — not a complete and tragic shattering and loss of the “progress” we have made. The decline is inevitable, because we have, in the past ten years or so, overgrown the resources that can be provided by the ecosystem. But either kind of decline is still possible. This time period, as Karen Armstrong has said, is similar to the age in which the human cultures took a sharp turn toward monotheism (which may have been based in the roots of Buddhism, and certainly was based in India). We have the same kind of opportunity that they had to grow a culture that will lead to sustainable survival. To do this, we must stop dividing into clans that fight with each other and learn to organize compassionately at a high level of organization (for example the whole world order) — or break up into smaller groups so we can organize compassionately around them, as Helena Norberg-Hodge envisions. The problem with monotheism is that that we have created a corposystem that has taken over the job of God and does not respond to human values. The biggest and most powerful idol of all time. If we want to have a God that we can touch and feel, it must be the ecosystem, not the corposystem. Otherwise, we must listen as our God requires compassion as our life style. Or else we will crash and splinter of our own accord as the corposystem is not likely to quietly subside, and the corposystem basically feeds on war, greed and human values.

That’s why we must “fight” for a slow decline by not fighting. Nobody ever wins a fight except the corposystem and the Gods of War. The good news is that we do have the technological knowledge to accomplish a slow decline to the point of sustainable balance. The only thing that stands in our way is greed, war and the corposystem. We must not use any of these as a way to accomplish the goal of peace, compassion and the positive use of technology. To avoid this, we need to understand what is happening and how the corposystem is using what is happening to keep itself alive. It has switched from using the resources of he good earth to help humans to now using human resources to help itself to grow.

Jane Goodall is Guiding us Toward Survival