Bare Bones Biology 286 – The Central Question

In the year 1600 AD, the philosopher Giordano Bruno was burned at the stake for claiming that the earth is not the center of the universe. Copernicus and Galileo were persecuted for the same crime, probably not so much because of facts they recognized; rather because the implications rattled the foundations of the worldviews of the human cultural systems in which they lived.

 

And as far as I can see, though our cultures evolve over time, we continue the effort to prove that humans, or our social structures, are the center of the universe. Now we are perpetuating a corposystem world view that imagines people are the center of a SYSTEM that is the center of the universe. In fact, we are not, for one thing, systems do not have centers, and we endanger our own welfare when we behave as though we have a power that we do not have.

 

For myself I am very glad I was born into a culture where people are not burned at the stake because they recognize and espouse the reality that humans are not the power center of the universe. That our survival therefore depends upon aligning our behaviors, therefore our world views, with the factual relationships among the systems that function to perpetuate Life.

 

In Chapter One of Book 25, (as yet unpublished, ask me if you want a copy) I describe the way in which I envision the birth and maturation of our world views, based on modern scientific research of others, and on my own observations of people, especially people who cannot hear my message or understand my words.

 

Biologically, it seems the development of our world views begins with genetically programmed instincts. We are each born with preprogrammed instincts, into various particular environments. As we interact with the environment of our first few years of life our brain grows connections between the inherited instincts and our cause-and-effect relations with our environments. In other words, we grow a belief system that could be referred to as our primary world view. I think of that primary world view as “me.”   It consists of a logical set of beliefs that are mostly subconscious and that intertwine inherited, hard-wired instinct with the circumstances of our early development.

 

As we mature, we enter the age when we can understand and use abstract ideas — reason and logic. Learning based in reason and logic adds a new dimension to our world view that is largely conscious. I think of it as a secondary world view that could be referred to as “mine.” So, in this metaphor, our emergent world view is made up of “me” and “mine.”

 

Humans are generous by nature, but it is much easier to sacrifice “mine” (my job, my money, my status, my secondary world view) than it is to sacrifice “me” (my primary world view). When we are asked share money, or food, or services – generally to be compassionate – we can make make conscious, generous decisions to share what is “mine.”

 

However, when the subconscious worldview that is our birthright — the “me” of our primary worldview — is challenged, we often feel a primal emotional response of fear and anger, and we often don’t know what it is or why we feel threatened by an idea or an event, and we may not even realize that we feel defensive or offensive or do not understand that we block communication in a variety of ways when the foundations of our world view are rattled.

 

If my primary world view is different from yours, we may hear each others’ words, without understanding, rather like living in parallel universes, without knowing that we use the same words to represent different concepts. You cannot hear me – no matter what I say or do. I must work hard to understand your corposystem world view.

 

So the question is, why should either one of us try to understand the world view of the other given that we no longer burn people at the stake for having different world views?

 

And the answer is that your world view is destroying our world – unintentionally, the behaviors that result from your primary world view are destroying our world.

 

The podcast of this blog can be downloaded at:

 

Bare Bones Biology 208 – New Ethic

I believe the corposystem is actually moving, just a little, at the bottom levels, which is where it must move if we are to make any real changes. And I see more and more people who understand that we humans have painted ourselves into a lethal corner. I see that our urgent need now, if we are to survive, is to concentrate on describing the new ethic, or world view, that we must grow if we are to save ourselves. Trying harder within the old corposystem ethic will only increase the problems that it has created.

We take it for granted, our world view. All humans do; it’s part of how our brain works. But that’s our challenge now. If we want to take responsibility for growing something really fine out of the old mess, we need to question and discuss everything we believe – especially everything that we take for granted.

140608-Canyon-ASC_9321RLSss copyThis last part, individually taking responsibility for the new ethic, I do NOT see happening. What I do see is the same old cycle and recycle of past mistakes – the yin and yang of the corposystem world view, around and around, back and forth from one extreme to another, neither extreme sustainable. It is true that more people are asking good questions, but unfortunately it seems also that more people are coming up with bad answers.

The only way to change our ethic is to discuss these ideas outside the box of the old ethic, and that is more or less what Bare Bones Biology has been doing for the past four years. But frankly what I also see is a lot of people who look right at the new ethic and do NOT SEE IT AT ALL. It is fascinating how people can listen to what is being said and not hear what is being said but simply convert it to something different that is not what was meant in the first place, but is inside of the corposystem ethic. That is one way a system (or ethic) maintains itself.

Our problems cannot be solved by converting every new idea into a different version of the same toxic corposystem ethic. It would be far better to convert the corposystem ethic into a new world view that is based in constructive communication and factual reality. We do this by growing our skills in inquiry, discussion and evaluation.

Our inquiry and evaluation should consist of comparisons. The toxic corposystem ethic is based on growth, debate, competition and dominance, either by force or by manipulation. Growth beyond balance is not an option because it unbalances all the other parts of Life. We can’t survive that. Does your new ethic espouse growth? Then it is not a new ethic, it’s the same old growth ethic, no matter how compassionate it may be. Does your new ethic involve debate, competition and domination by force or by hype or by dishonesty? Then what you are doing will empower the corposystem. Make it stronger. That is not the new ethic.

If we want to reach a common goal/vision we must overtly recognize it – and it must be: sustainable human survival within a healthy Biosystem. Otherwise humans won’t be here on earth, and whatever else we want can’t happen. Then we must at least try, individually and/or collectively, to research and discuss until we can find positive solutions to our human problems. That must be our new ethic.

I do not see us discussing anything. Dissing yes, ignoring unpleasant realities, arguing, fighting, lying in order to “win,” and trying to use human emotions to resolve problems that are not about humans but are nevertheless essential to our common goal/vision. But I do not see discussion. https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2013/01/31/, https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2012/04/10/

If I did see discussion — inquiry and discussion — I would be seeing the new ethic. It’s as simple as that, and anyone can do it.

For the podcastof this program,go here:

This is Bare Bones Biology, a production of FactFictionFancy and KEOS FM 89.1 in Bryan, Texas

Bare Bones Biology 174 – The Real Answer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bare Bones Biology 112 – Thinking

Today I am reposting my own thoughts about thinking – that I thought after viewing Mathiew Ricards UTube

I have developed my mind quite a lot, and I think it’s a good idea. My belief for a long time has been that the so-called “right brain” part of the mind contains the more basic inherited human characteristics. That means we can’t change them or lose them — so it’s better to use them well.

From what we know up to now, these basic qualities seem to be the emotional realities that have been so elegantly studied by Buddhism over the centuries, plus I think the stages of mourning and of meditation are inherent human qualities, and of course many things we do not know.

I learned long ago that any major culture shock requires at least (and about) a year to work through to the point of acceptance of the new reality, and I do believe that the stages of this accomplishment are those same stages that have been described for overcoming grief. The stages of grief (or other big change): Denial, bargaining (this is efforts at control), sorrow and grief, and finally acceptance.

The development of the “right brain,” that is discussed by Mathieu Ricard in the video above, trains us to use these emotions so they benefit us, both at the individual level and at the population level of human reality.

Development of the “left-brain” traits complements the “right” by making day-to-day sense of our experiences until we grow the whole into our world view. Again, the survival value is that we are able to use our experiences and learning to guide our emotions, and direct our behaviors toward greater good, both for the individual and for the community.

Remember, the ”left-brain” skills are largely learned. If you are delving deep into the “right brain” inherited skills to solve your problems, you are only using half your potential for good in the world of today. We need to understand our emotions and use our love and compassion for the greater good. We also need to understand how our love interacts with human need, for good or for ill. Or there can be no compassion, because compassion IS the intersection of loving others and acting for their long[-term best interests.

Love is not enough. In fact, it’s the easy way out. We need to LEARN what the other requires, especially if the other does not have the same kind of right brain that we have, we must learn how it what it does need to function well and be healthy. Otherwise, considering the level of human power on this earth today — our behaviors are likely to cause more harm than good.

It’s not normal for humans to stay stuck forever in denial of the reality of who we are and what we can’t have, combined with bargaining for the power to have it. That’s where we are today, stuck in denial and bargaining, and our power is enough to crash our culture and our ecosystem if we can’t learn to see what the culture and the ecosystem need in order to be sustainable.

“Left-brain” skills are required. “Right brain” skills are also required. We will need our whole brain to grow out of the mess that we are in. Too often we confine our development to one skill-set or the other. Even if we then work very hard, or very lovingly, bringing half our brain to the problems of our culture, this behavior does not create the combination of love and compassion with logic and knowledge, that we need to address those problems. We believe we are creating love and compassion. Quite the opposite, the harder we work on our half of the solution, the more we are likely to generate envy, competition and deep, deep grief when we discover that our dreams have been built on the sands of denial of our other, equally valid half.

Bare Bones Biology 112 – Thinking
KEOS-FM, Bryan, Texas
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Or at http://www.FactFictionFancy.com

Developing the Mind

I have developed my mind quite a lot (re. the video below) and I think it’s a good thing. My belief for a long time has been that the so-called “right brain” part of the mind contains the more basic inherited human characteristics. That means we can’t change them or lose them — they are built in to our bodies, and it’s better to use them well.

From what we know up to now, these basic qualities seem to be the emotional realities that have been so elegantly studied by Buddhism over the centuries, plus I think the stages of mourning and of meditation are inherent human qualities.

I learned long ago that any major culture shock requires at least (and about) a year to accomplish to the point of acceptance of the new reality, and I do believe that the stages of this accomplishment are those same stages that have been described for overcoming grief. The stages of grief (or other big change): Denial, bargaining (this is efforts at control), sorrow and grief, and finally acceptance.

The development of the “right brain,” that is discussed in the below post and elsewhere, I assume, means that there are ways to balance these inborn traits so that they serve us well, both at the individual level and at the population level of human reality.

Development of the “left-brain” traits – I’m more familiar with that. This aspect of our lives complements the “right” by making day-to-day sense of it until we grow it into our world view. Again, the survival value is that we are able to use and direct our experiences and learning to direct our behaviors toward greater good, both for the individual and for the community. Because there is a law of cause and effect in the universe to which we must adhere if we are to survive. The law of cause and effect is the root level of both evolution and sustainability.

Evolution and sustainability are intimately intertwined, so that any effort to generate a “shift” in our culture that is sustainable absolutely requires that we understand what (and why) certain behaviors are (or are not) culturally sustainable within life as it does function (not as we wish it functioned). We use our left-brain skills to understand how life does function so we can conform to its reality.

Remember, the left-brain skills are largely learned. If you are delving deep into the right brain to solve your problems, you are only using half your potential for good in the world of today. Because there is so much technology, if we want to generate love and compassion, it is essential that we learn to understand, on a left-brain level, what is likely to be the long term global result of our individual love and compassion (in action). Love is not enough.

We must understand how our love interacts with human need, for good or for ill. Or there can be no compassion, because compassion is the intersection of loving others and acting for the welfare of others.

Love is not enough. In fact, it’s the easy way out. We need to LEARN what the other requires, especially if the other does not have the same inborn instincts that we have, we must learn how it does function to be well and healthy. Otherwise, considering the level of human power on this earth today — our behaviors are likely to cause more harm than good.

Unfortunately we live in a culture that is stuck in denial and bargaining; rather than accepting reality, we are obsessive in our desire to control it. Humans can not control universal realities, but to the extent that the whole culture is based in denial of that reality — “everyone” is doing it, as a lifestyle, and so “no-one” can see that it is not reality. It feels normal.

It’s not normal for humans to stay stuck forever in denial of the reality of who we are and what we can’t have, combined with bargaining for the power to have it. That’s where we are today, and our power is enough to crash our culture and our ecosystem if we can’t see the reality of what the culture and the ecosystem need in order to be sustainable.

Left-brain skills are required. Right brain skills are also required. We will need our whole brain to grow out of the mess that we are in. Confining our development to one or the other and then working very hard, or very lovingly, to bring these to our culture. This behavior does not create love and compassion. It creates conflict, envy, competition, and deep, deep grief when we discover that our dreams were built on the sand of denial.

Bare Bones Biology 003 – World Views

Bare Bones Biology – 100425
Transcript

Earth day was great. The weather held, and all these people hustled around trying to find their best way to contribute to our common goals. I’m pretty sure most of them believe that we all have the same worldview, working to the same goal, thinking the same way they do. I used to believe that too, until I finally figured out that almost nobody thinks like I do. So today instead of talking about science, I’ll talk about worldviews.

I believe the human brain is hard wired to be logical. With giraffes, it’s the neck; with peacocks it’s the feathers; with us, it’s a well-developed innate capacity for logic. Everyone who starts life with a normal brain, the most normal thing about it is, the brain is always working to make a worldview that is logical.

Surely we’ve all had the experience of walking into a room, stopping and looking around because something doesn’t feel right. Something is not part of the normal logic of this room, and we feel uncomfortable until we figure out what it is. That feeling of discomfort drives all people, I believe, to build a logical worldview within which they can live in some comfort. Or, if they already have one they like, they will cling to it like their lives depend on their own worldview being accurate. We all need to have a worldview that makes logical good sense.

Well, of course there is a problem with this. At least two problems with this. The first is that we have to build our view of the world around our experience of the world. Everyone has a somewhat different environment, and also the environment keeps changing; therefore everyone has a somewhat different worldview. The result, if my worldview comes up against your world view, is Culture Shock! Culture shock is very uncomfortable, but it’s also exciting, and when we work our way through — it takes about a year for a big culture shock — we end with such a sense of competence and security compared with the time when we were afraid of people who are different. Or if we didn’t know that we can handle situations of difference.

So a good understanding of how to handle culture shock is something we can learn, and we can teach it to our children. In today’s world it’s a good thing to do. Go someplace different, live there for a year and listen to the logic of the new place. Or, actually, you can do this without ever leaving home, but you do have to listen to the internal logic in other people’s heads.

Of course the second problem is that everything logical is not necessarily real and true. A good many people don’t know this, but just because your worldview is pristinely logical doesn’t mean it is true. For example, in my introductory economics course I was told that the whole economic model is based on four pillars of solid reality, and it’s true, if you believe in the four pillars, the whole construct is beautifully logical.

Unfortunately, I guess they don’t know about the fifth one, and that’s too bad. We could have avoided these economic collapses if their worldview were more like the real world.

And of course that’s also true of our own worldviews. Nobody knows everything; everybody is wrong about some things, so we can never build a truly accurate worldview. Probably if we did, nobody would believe it. But it’s worth trying to get as close as possible to reality, because the safest worldview is one that is both logical and true. If we have logical reasons to believe that we can fly, for example, that doesn’t mean we really can, and we would be safer if our worldview were closer to reality.

So even though culture shocks and other attacks on our world view can be profoundly uncomfortable, I think it’s worth it. Anyhow, the moral of this story for you and me is that we are better off with a bit more safety and a bit less comfort. In a world that is full of exciting ideas and scary propaganda, it’s worth the effort to listen carefully to the logic of others, because there is always the chance they are right about some things at least. If they are, then our worldview needs to be tweaked a little. If we want to live in a safer world.

World View Three

There are some things about which we have no choice. Most of these are not human realities. Human realities often have a lot to do with matters of opinion, and so they can be changed if enough people want to change them. The things which nobody can change are not so very many, and they relate to the laws of nature that permit life on earth. The laws of energy mostly. They are easy enough to understand if we want to understand them, but we can’t change these by any of our human power ploys. Hitler did not change the laws of energy, and neither did the Buddha. This is good, because if the laws of energy were to change, life on earth could not continue. However, that leaves only one other option: people need to change whenever they run afoul the laws of energy.

The way it usually goes, some people will try to understand the environment well enough to benefit from it; others will try to dominate it. In the long run, the effort to dominate will inevitably fail. Humans can kill, but we can not dominate life.

Fortunately, people are very changeable. Mostly we don’t change; I don’t know why we would rather suffer than change, after we reach a certain age, but we can change if we care enough about something or other.

So the question is: are we better off to keep trying to understand the bigger picture, to keep modifying our world view closer and closer toward a reality we can never fully understand? Or to keep trying to reinforce whatever information and opinions we already understand.

I wonder if this question might go a long way to explain our current political situation. And if so, then I wonder why anyone would care enough to fight over a difference in world view, when we really all want the same thing and our common problem primarily has to do with our relationship with the immutable laws of energy transfer in the universe. I could see fighting, but I don’t understand fighting over something that is not the real problem. When we could be trying to solve the problem.