Howdy Folks, Welcome to Systems, Symbiosis and the Forest Goddess. My name’s jim cranford.
In episode 2 we closed with the concept of the microbial mat acting as the brain and central nervous system for the forest.
If you are waiting for science or religion to verify this, it just won’t happen.
It doesn’t matter if you were raised in a religious or scientific background, everything you have been taught has been spun to get you to behave in a certain way. You have been lied to.
For example, we have been brainwashed into believing that we are separate from Nature. We have been convinced that we must fight against Nature in order to survive, and therefore it is right and proper to rip apart our environment for profit. We have been conned into believing that human beings are special, either the descendants of the gods or the pinnacle of evolutionary progress. These fundamental beliefs translate into a screwed set of values and priorities. The result of applying these values is the mess we find ourselves in today.
Both science and religion want you to believe their philosophy… they want you to think they have all the answers between them that they offer the only options.
Are science and religion really at opposite ends of the spectrum, encompassing all between them? Well, we all know the history, we just need to put it in perspective. In the olden days all we had was religion for a philosophy. All the institutions of learning were owned and operated by the church. Then along came science. It didn’t grow out of the ground or appear fully formed out of the blue, it branched out of those religious institutions. Consequently, science inherited some of the same negative patterns that defined religion, like dominion over Nature and the enslavement of the working class. That also has meant that religion financed and controlled all scientific research through it’s ownership of all institutions of higher learning. Not much has changed today, religious orders still own and operate the major universities.
The battle between religion and science is staged.
Does MIT have a chapel? Does CalTech? Does Notre Dame have a science department? Does Harvard give out Doctor of Divinity degrees? In reality religion owns science lock, stock and barrel.
Religion and science keep up this mock battle for our beliefs to keep us from noticing that it is Nature that really runs the whole show. They want to keep us gobbling up the environment and lining their pockets.
After a while you may begin to notice that these lies all work together to extract certain behavior from us. These aren’t lies of misunderstanding, on the contrary, taken as a set of protocols, the lies fed us over the centuries show a coherence only possible with a deep understanding of “human nature”. Civilization demonstrates a degree of organization, coordination, consistency and yes, understanding not likely to be carried off by human beings at least not the ones that i know.
Awakening is not a one time deal, it’s a lifestyle.
It’s like the levels in a video game, or the corporate ladder, or boiling water. When you step up a level, the rules change. One of my favorite examples is the professional sports leagues. It doesn’t matter what sport, if it has a pro league you can be sure it fits this pattern.
We’ll start at the bottom. Kids learn to play the game, they learn the basics of the sport. As the levels get higher, the learning becomes more complex, but still is directly related to the performance in the game. Kid grows up, turns pro. Lots of things change at this level. There are contracts and money added to the mix.
Now the kid knows the game backwards and forwards and moves up to being a coach. At this level the rules change, new responsibilities and challenges. From coach he moves up to GM, a whole new ball game. Everything learned in the past is important, but the new rules change everything.
Somewhere near this pinnacle of success our sports hero will find out that all the sport, with all it’s rules and competition is really a front for a system with an entirely different rule set. This invisible set of rules trumps all the others. This rule set has been in place from the very beginning of the sport. This rule set was the reason the sport was organized in the first place. Of course this shadow benefactor from all sports is gambling.
Civilization has a similar shadow rule set that trumps all others. It is the reason for the existence of civilization itself.
We are like those children first learning how to play the game. We are so wrapped up in playing that we have no idea what our efforts lead to down the road.
I used to think that it was just pride that held science back, that scientists just didn’t want to admit that the shamans and witchdoctors were right all along. Then i was sure it was just greed, the hunger for wealth and power, that made human beings act so crazy. There is no doubt that pride and greed have, and continue to play their parts. However, the deeper i explored this Natural communications system, not just as an observer, but as a participant, learning from the experience, the more i began to sense that there is something much deeper going on here. Our civilized madness is not an end in itself. Our seeming separation from Nature is an illusion. Our cities are no less Natural artifacts than birdnests or termite mounds. There is a grand plan going on and we are a part of it. The plan comes from high above our paygrade and security clearence. We are a strategy, signed off on by Mother Nature herself. We are in sort of a need to know phase. The plan expects most people to continue to be decieved. Complete awakening would just be way too painful for most folks to handle.
I think it was Gloria Steinman who said, “The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.” I think it is worse then that. What will really piss you off is when you find out that the truth is, there is no freedom. Like it or not, we serve a higher order, through our web of symbiotic relationships.
We tend to look at symbiotic relationships like communication channels in that we are amazed to find them in the first place. Look how unusual it is to find this kind of behavior in a deaf and dumb universe, we say. Imagine, such diverse species cooperating and communicating. How did the learn to do that? However this kind of behavior not unusual at all. In reality communication and symbiotic relationships are the glue that holds Natural Systems together. Most species depend on dozens of direct symbiotic relationships and many, many more indirect relationships for survival.
Back to the forest system. The forest provides a steady flow of nutrients to the mobile species through a multitude of feeding stations. Fruit and nector are certainly nutritious, but they also carry a bunch of information in hormones, allomones, pheromones, flavors and other enticements. Within the output of each feeding station are messeges that encourage the guest to return often, as well as information on the duties expected by the plant. This is where we get into trouble with our plant relationships. We expect a onesided realtionship. The opium poppy is an extreme example of a plant encouraging it’s user to return often. The folks who live in the mountains where opium is grown have little trouble with their relationship, because they can perform the second half of the deal they have made with the plant. Their duty is to grow and harvest the opium poppy. The big city addict gets the first part of the deal, but has no way to fullfil the rest of the bargain and suffers serious internal conflict as the result.
In a way then, the primates in the forest are addicted to the food they eat. Their behavior centers around the feeding stations and their bodily functions. What do you suppose these primates dream about at night? Visions of sugar plums? Another way to look at it is that primates serve, or maybe they are slaves to the forest.
This is how it was for our ancestors in the Garden of Eden. Our ancestors were fully immersed in the forest system, taking in and processing energy and information from our symbiotic partners and depositing our output on the forest floor. Along with our feces, hair, sweat and skin, dead bodies were absorbed into soil and recycled back into the system.
I don’t usually recommend books, but i suggest you check out Tony Wright’s book “Left in the Dark”.
It is a really good description of how our hormone rich forest diet stimulated growth of our brain and our savannah diet led to a shrinking and malfunctioning brain.
So here we were, our ancestors anyway, hanging out in the forest, digging the ripe fruits and tender leaves of paradise, growing bigger brains, and what happens? The bottom falls out. Forests are shrinking, food’s getting scarce and some adjustments need to be made.
This story is not so much about human beings as it is the forest, so we’re going to widen our view. Besides, the forest system was aware of the situation long before any humans would have noticed. This pattern was in place in the mature forest, long before it began to shrink. In a mature forest, energy is already in short supply. The huge biomass generated by a mature forest uses up most of the availabe nutrients. So there is a forest wide strategy already under way to find ways to import energy. It was, and is, really a simple plan. She just programs mobile species to go out, find food and bring it home.
One of the first steps was to send the birds out to gather energy and bring it back. Some birds would eat seeds and grains and just bring home the bird shit, while others would bring home food for their young, nesting in the forest. In those days there were a lot of birds, which amounted to a sizable daily import of energy for the local forest system.
This is a very simple behavior pattern we can see throughout Nature; go out, find food, bring it home. From ants cutting their leaves, eagles catching fish, to Papa bringing home the bacon, this behavior pattern drives a good portion world systems.
From the forest point of view, primates were perfect for this kind of mission. They couldn’t cover as much ground as birds, but they could carry bigger loads. We have certainly taken to the procedure of, go out, find food, bring it home to eat. It is my contention that it was the forest goddess that first sent our ancestors out onto the savannah.
For a clue as to how that might have happened we can look to the leaf cutter ants. They have prospered using part of process by going out, finding food and bringing it home, for the fungus , of course. It shouldn’t be any stretch to figure out how this symbiotic realtionship developed. The fungus was once attatched to the root of a tree in the forest furnishing it’s moisture, nutrition and antibodies; that’s what it’s current relatives do. What probably happened is that it’s host trees died, leaving the fungus without a symbiotic partner. There were ants nearby and a new partnersip was forged. In this new symbiotic relationship, the fungus no longer counted on a specific tree, but with the help of the ants, could forage a variety of plants. Like i said, this relationship has been highly successful for millions of years.
Our ancestors entered into a very similar relationship with a fungus. That’s going to be the sunject of the next episode. This is really the key episode coming up, so i hope you’ll be around for it.
In closing, i’d like to ead you a little bit from a book titled, “Molds and Man: An Introduction to the Fungi” by Christensen, Universtiy of Minn. Press, 1963. Give you something to think about until next time
“When the young queen from one of these nests goes out to found a new colony, she has her infrabuccal pouch filled with the fungus on which the colony has lived for millions of years. After being fertilized, she seeks out a likely spot, grubs out a small chamber, and casts her wad of fungus out on the floor. As soon as the mold begins to grow from this pellet, she lays an egg or two, crushes these, and mixes them with the growing fungus. She also mixes her excrement with the compost. This is not done just casually and by chance, but deliberately and by intent.”
You don’t suppose that that queen ant was sacrificing her first born, to show her faith? Where have i heared that before?
That’s all for today. thanks for tuning in.