Help Wanted to Repair our Failing Communities

We are experiencing so many growing health, social and environmental problems across America, why?  I believe our mounting problems are due to our unbalanced view of life, and to our poor relationship with each other, and with our environment.  Correcting basic biological principles is the only way that we can get back on track.  If we do not, our growing problems will continue!

Biology sees cells, organisms, and communities as living systems!  From cells to organisms, to indigenous villages, to historic Roman forts, to pre-industrial villages and towns, we find biological forms and processes.  In plan view, we find villages that look like cells, and organisms that look like towns.  From cave drawings, to places such as Stonehenge, we find diagrams and structures that seem to symbolize this life force that is within us all.

So, what characteristics do all these living systems have in common?  Healthy living systems all have the same basic structure and processes, and they all deal with the same basic environmental issues.  They create a boundary that controls what flows in and out of them.  They all have a control center (a brain) that connects to a network that monitors what is going on within them and in their external environment.  They all act to defend themselves against threats and pursue resource opportunities.  Life’s goal is to create a stable internal environment (homeostasis) to carry out the delicate processes of growth, development and reproduction.

Below is a conceptual diagram that represents a living system.  You can see this diagram as a cell, as an organism, as a family, as a company, an institution, or a community.  This diagram has a control center that interacts with both its internal and external environment.  Living systems also have subsystems within subsystems, like a self-similar fractal.  By understanding and applying this simple conceptual framework to our living systems we can create healthier relationships for ourselves, our families, our institutions, and our communities.

So, why are we experiencing so many health, social, and environmental issues?  I believe it is due to our unhealthy focus on ourselves, at the expense of others (community), and the environment.  Our self-focus, our selfishness, is at the root of all our problems.  We are indulging ourselves even at the expense of our own bodies, and at the expense of our communities, and our environment.

Over the last 100 years or so, science has taught us that there is no god in the sky.  With this revelation, many of us have thrown out all the meaning that religion provides.  This has created a meaning vacuum in our communities that needs to be filled.  I believe social religion was an emergent property of community.  Religions developed independently in different societies around the planet.  Religion promotes a structure that gives meaning and values to the community, allowing people to live in greater harmony with each other.

What have we replaced communal religion with?  It’s opposite, self-centered consumerism!  Instead of the community teaching us how to live, we have outside forces conditioning us to focus on ourselves.  They tell us that the more we consume the happier we will be.  Consumerism sells us on the belief that self-consuming is the meaning of life?  This is the vision that is being sold to us by the controlling industrial complex.  It is just like the gun lobby, only with other spheres of our lives.  These forces dominate New York, Hollywood, and Washington, and in turn they are dominating our country and our planet!  In some respects, Putin was correct, our system is not working any better than their political system!  In some cases, western capitalism is the leader in taking man into the abyss!

Our new self-centered societal orientation is turning us back into animals from which we have come.  We are now experiencing the contaminated fruits of this unhealthy world view at all levels; from disease in the body, to mental health and drug issues, to the breakdown of the family and community, and growing environmental issues.  If we are all focused on ourselves, there is no community!

Doing the right thing for our community and environment is the same as doing the right thing concerning our health, or doing the right thing concerning our family.  If we do not, we will surely pay a hefty price in the future!  To fix our failing communities we must first value community!  By again valuing and caring for community, we will be truly valuing and caring for ourselves and our planet!

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