Are you smarter than a bacterium?

Bio-sociology Professor Imanishi, from Kyoto University, has shown that the Darwinian vision of nature as a struggle for life has been completely blind to the many more frequent cases of co-evolution, symbiosis, joint development, and harmonious coexistence which prevail in all domains of evolution. Even our own bodies would not be able to survive long without the symbiotic collaboration of quadrillions of microorganisms in our digestive tract, for example.

Elisabet Sahtouris points out that predominantly competitive behavior is a characteristic of a young species during its first forays in the world. In contrast, in mature systems like an old-growth forest, the competition for light, for instance, is balanced by intense cooperation among species. Species that do not learn to cooperate with the other species with whom they are co-dependent on invariably disappear.

I’m going to begin this post with a little propaganda, lifted directly from the military industrial banking government hydra that is currently feasting upon humankind and its own future:

  • “Nature is red in tooth and claw.”
  • “Might is right.”
  • “The survival of the fittest.”

That all makes sense, right? Darwinism at its finest? It’s what we see, every day, in the natural world, so what kind of madman could possibly question the idea that violence and life are inextricably linked?

Well, how about this quote, then:

“There can be no doubt that the tribe including many members who are always ready to give aid to each other, and to sacrifice themselves for the common good, would be victorious over other tribes. And this would be natural selection.”

What damned hippy wrote that, eh? In fact, that was Darwin towards the end of his life, writing in his final book, “The Descent of Man.” Which brings me to the wonderful work of Elisabet Sahtouris, a modern day evolutionary biologist. In her work, she notes that competition is a characteristic only of juvenile species, and among mature species, co-operation is the norm.

Life on Earth, a primer. Bacteria were the first lifeforms on this planet (they’re still the predominant lifeform, by biomass, despite being invisible to the naked eye), and in their immature stage, the fight or flight reflex characterised their existence. Rampant competion being what it is, they soon enough caused themselves a global catastrophe, by having eaten everything available in their environment. Rather than continuing upon a mode of existence which was proven not to work in the long run, bacteria innovated; they created photosynthetic cells, and life once more continued happily for a few million years. They then managed to cause themselves another global catastrophe, in that they were poisoning their biosphere with their waste products (does this sound familiar?), namely oxygen. At this point, innovation struck again, and the development of multi-cellular creatures arose, capable of using that oxygen productively via mitochondria. Essentially they learned to form huge co-operatives to deal with the problems that they had caused and you, dear reader, are a recipient of that gift; it is estimated that there are upwards of a quadrillion bacteria living in each individual human’s gut, without which we wouldn’t be able to digest our food, nor defend ourselves against disease (current research suggests that 85% of our immune system relies on bacteria).

So I ask you, are we collectively as smart as bacteria? Can we learn the same lesson, that while competition and rampant expansion might be a reasonable solution in a world where growth hasn’t yet outstripped its ecosystem’s ability to sustain it, in the long run, if we want to continue to exist, we have to learn to co-operate with one another, to form community (‘Community’ derives from the two Latin roots: cum, meaning together, among each other, and munus, meaning the gift, the sharing of the gift of life together) and share, rather than fight?

Highly recommended way to spend 15 minutes of your day:

Two quotes of note on this theme;

“The direct use of force is such a poor solution to any problem, it is generally employed only by small children and large nations.”

“It’s cheaper to feed your enemies than it is to fight them.”


On causing a mass extinction

April 20, 1998. The American Museum of Natural History announced today results of a nationwide survey titled Biodiversity in the Next Millennium, developed by the Museum in conjunction with Louis Harris and Associates, Inc. The survey reveals that seven out of ten biologists believe that we are in the midst of a mass extinction of living things, and that this loss of species will pose a major threat to human existence in the next century.

According to these scientists’ estimates, this mass extinction is the fastest in Earth’s 4.5-billion-year history. Unlike prior extinctions, this so-called “sixth extinction” is mainly the result of human activity and not natural phenomena.

Now I’m as cynical as the next man when it comes to reports coming out of the mainstream press, and I will confess that for a long time events such as climategate had me at least on the wall when it came to man-made global warming, but one thing my years of cynicism have taught me is to follow the money. If someone can profit from spewing a lie, there will always be a human crass, craven and low enough to do so.

Which is indeed why I find this report from almost 20 years about mass extinction so disturbing. These biologists weren’t paid to express an opinion; there was no agenda that I can see operating, and they were just telling it as they see it. The recent WWF report suggests that just over half of all species have become extinct since 1970; given that things seem to be accelerating, how long will it be until we’ve destroyed the other half of life on Earth?

Perhaps most importantly, what lies beneath this wholesale destruction, and our apparent inability to actually do anything about it? Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, fiat money and its effects upon our biosphere:

Once upon a time, in a small village in the Outback, people used barter for all their transactions. On every market day, people walked around with chickens, eggs, hams, and breads, and engaged in prolonged negotiations among themselves to exchange what they needed. At key periods of the year, like harvests or whenever someone’s barn needed big repairs after a storm, people recalled the tradition of helping each other out that they had brought from the old country. They knew that if they had a problem someday, others would aid them in return.

One market day, a stranger with shiny black shoes and an elegant white hat came by and observed the whole process with a sardonic smile. When he saw one farmer running around to corral the six chickens he wanted to exchange for a big ham, he could not refrain from laughing. “Poor people,” he said, “so primitive.” The farmer’s wife overheard him and challenged the stranger, “Do you think you can do a better job handling chickens?” “Chickens, no,” responded the stranger, “But there is a much better way to eliminate all that hassle.” “Oh yes, how so?” asked the woman. “See that tree there?” the stranger replied. “Well, I will go wait there for one of you to bring me one large cowhide. Then have every family visit me. I’ll explain the better way.”

And so it happened. He took the cowhide, and cut perfect leather rounds in it, and put an elaborate and graceful little stamp on each round. Then he gave to each family 10 rounds, and explained that each represented the value of one chicken. “Now you can trade and bargain with the rounds instead of the unwieldy chickens,” he explained.

It made sense. Everybody was impressed with the man with the shiny shoes and inspiring hat.

“Oh, by the way,” he added after every family had received their 10 rounds, “in a year’s time, I will come back and sit under that same tree. I want you to each bring me back 11 rounds. That 11th round is a token of appreciation for the technological improvement I just made possible in your lives.” “But where will the 11th round come from?” asked the farmer with the six chickens. “You’ll see,” said the man with a reassuring smile.

Assuming that the population and its annual production remain exactly the same during that next year, what do you think had to happen? Remember, that 11th round was never created. Therefore, bottom line, one of each 11 families will have to lose all its rounds, even if everybody managed their affairs well, in order to provide the 11th round to 10 others.

So when a storm threatened the crop of one of the families, people became less generous with their time to help bring it in before disaster struck. While it was much more convenient to exchange the rounds instead of the chickens on market days, the new game also had the unintended side effect of actively discouraging the spontaneous cooperation that was traditional in the village. Instead, the new money game was generating a systemic undertow of competition among all the participants.

This parable begins to show how competition, insecurity, and greed are woven into our economy because of interest. They can never be eliminated as long as the necessities of life are denominated in interest-money. growth.

Competition and scarcity are features, rather than failings, of our current monetary system. It works to concentrate the world’s wealth in to the hands of those who issue it, and we are now so far down this road that the richest 1% of the population own more than the poorest 50%. Wealth inequality is now far beyond anything seen in pre-revolutionary France or America, yet onwards we grind with this insane system.

What can be done, do I hear you ask? Poor little me, what could I possibly do in the face of such overwhelming injustice? Plenty, my friends, plenty. If you wish to be a spoke in the works of the banking machine that is destryoing the world, I offer you a simple solution; stop paying for the machine. This can be as simple as taking your money out of a bank and keeping it in cash; this simple solution, if just a small per centage of the world’s population were to follow it, would be enough to crash the world-destroying banking system, and really, with interest rates at multi-century lows, what have you got to lose? In reality, when you deposit your money with a bank, you are lending it to them and they will do as they see fit with it (if indeed they return it all – just ask a Cypriot about that – and lest you think “That could never happen here”, ask yourself why so many other countries were swift to write into legislation bail-in clauses (read: legalised theft) in the aftermath of the Cyprus crisis), and fit to these means people making a profit at any cost, including by destruction of the very planetary ecosystems upon which we depend.

I shall quote you a banker as an instructive truth about these institutions:

Banking was conceived in iniquity and was born in sin. The Bankers own the earth. Take it away from them, but leave them the power to create deposits, and with the flick of the pen they will create enough deposits to buy it back again. However, take this power away from them, and all the great fortunes disappear, and they ought to disappear, for this would be a happier and better world to live in. But, if you wish to remain the slaves of Bankers and pay the cost of your own slavery, let them continue to create money and control credit.

Do you wish to remain a slave? While your very slavery is destroying not only your world, but the world of everyone and everything around you? If you have the courage to simply see what is, you can change all of this by just taking your money out of a bank. There are many other possible solutions, but this simple act of not actually funding the world-destroying machine, if just a small number of us found the wisdom to do so, would fundamentally change the causes of the world’s sixth mass extinction.

On the insanity of the wise ape

A great tract of Earth is on fire. It looks as you might imagine hell to be. The air has turned ochre: visibility in some cities has been reduced to 30 metres. Children are being prepared for evacuation in warships; already some have choked to death. Species are going up in smoke at an untold rate. It is almost certainly the greatest environmental disaster of the 21st century – so far.

Within the last 3 weeks, such a vast area of Indonesia has been on fire that it has produced as much carbon dioxide as the entire United States economy emits in one year. Given that large areas in the region contain peat, the very ground itself is aflame; yet, the western media has been almost entirely silent about this ongoing environmental disaster. Indeed, this conflagration has become an annual event, to the extent that simply breathing is, in large swathes of Asia,  now considered as dangerous as smoking 20 cigarettes a day. If it were not for the as-ever excellent work of George Monbiot, writing for that establishment rag in disguise, the Guardian, news of this ongoing catastrophe would have troubled no western ear at all. As usual, the comments section is more instructive than the article itself, to develop a sense of what is going on in the average human skull, so I shall quote  you the most upvoted nugget of wisdom from this Guardian piece:

Problem is, there’s not much we can do about it. The fires aren’t taking place in the western countries and they aren’t asking for help.

What should we do? Barge in? Uselessly demand they deal with it better? It’s not going to happen. Yes it’s a tragedy that many irreplaceable species may become extinct, but you think that will be a good argument for a country that so far doesn’t seem to care about the damage this has caused?

Ahhh, what could poor old little me do about this ongoing, annual, environmental utter disaster, dear reader? Perhaps, idiot human, you could stop paying for the destruction? It is, after all, we priveleged billion, in the first world, who are directly, personally, financially responsible, by way of our supermarket purchases, for this.

Somewhat more terrifyingly, this stunning release of CO2 isn’t even the largest happening at the moment, as shown by this live map of CO2 emissions:

Notice that giant, continent wide gusher of gas being emitted from Brazil? That would be the Amazon rain forest on fire. So completely silent are the western presstitutes on this that we have to turn to South American news for any information at all:

The region most affected has been the northern state of Amazonas, the heart of the largest rainforest in the world. The region has already seen 11,114 forest fires since January of this year – a 47 percent rise compared to the same period last year, said INPE.

According to Greenpeace, these fires has already destroyed almost half of the 1 million acre Indigenous Territory of Arariboi, and again were started deliberately, in order for someone to make money.

I had this on my wall as a kid; I never thought I would actually live to see this prophecy played out, but I am becoming ever more concerned that I am actually living through it right now, due to our collective abject moral cowardice.

What will it take for us to awaken from our slumber nightmare, dear human?