GM Seeds and the Militarization of Food: An Interview with Vandana Shiva

Please take a few minutes out of your hectic schedules to read this post. Genetic Use Restriction Technology (GURT) is a threat to the very sanctity of life within the biosphere.  Seeds designed to die after one generation may serve corporate ledgers, however they serve only to inhibit the evolutionary processes underlying species progression.  These “suicide seeds” are quite possibly the most insidious threat confronting all life in the 21st Century. The economic stranglehold that this technology places upon the small farmer also merits examination. Personally, I suggest not consuming food derived from seeds that contain the deliberate insertion of a cancerous gene.

HJ

Earth First! Newswire

By Jon Letman /Truthout

 

Indian physicist and philosopher, activist and ecofeminist pioneer Vandana Shiva talks with Truthout in Hawaii about GMO, the militarization of agriculture, the politics of occupation and the primacy of biodiversity.

Foot soldiers in the battle against corporate globalization and the privatization of commons like land and water have long been aware of Indian physicist and philosopher Dr. Vandana Shiva. An ecofeminist pioneer, today she is best known as an outspoken opponent of the GMOs (genetically modified organisms) being developed by transnational biotechnology and chemical corporations like Monsanto and Dow.

Shiva disputes the notion that patenting genes and controlling the world’s seeds, and thus much of its food supply, will better serve humanity. Biotech companies claim their genetically engineered (GE) crops are able to withstand threats from insects, disease, and man-made pesticides and herbicides while making a serious contribution to feeding an increasingly hungry world.

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The Devil’s in the Details

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In local news yesterday, a police officer pursuing a motor cycle in violation of department policy struck and killed a guide dog as he was leading his owner across the street.

FOX Affiliate lead in:  In what was a bizarre series of events, a guide dog committed suicide by darting out in front of a police cruiser while the officer was in pursuit of a suspect. Sources say the dog’s owner frequented the downtown area at odd times of the day.

NBC Affiliate lead in: Are the guide dogs provided for the blind being properly trained? Following an accident with police, local Eye-on-Town reporter visits the state penitentiary where many dogs are trained as part of the prison rehabilitation process.

CBS Affiliate lead in: Should the city fund overhead crosswalks for the busy intersections downtown?  Join local news reporter Lucinda Eyecandy for the latest following a chaotic traffic delay in the downtown area.

ABC Affiliate lead in:  Tonight on The Bachelor watch ten young women display that the best route for a young woman to take towards fulfilling her potential lies not in engineering, philosophy or aerospace, but in finding a rich man and competing for his affections.

Sleight of word is perpetrated against the public on a daily basis. The media’s purpose is to seek ratification of a particular position.

One love,

HJ

P.S. Meanwhile back at the lunch-counter, Joe from janitorial services sees Jackie Whatisrhetoric B.A., VP of Marketing. While trying to break the monotony of waiting in line, Joe asks, “Hey Ms. Jackie, did you hear some crazy dog ran out in front of a cop car and committed suicide?”

Astonished at how easily the “sheep” believe the nonsense on TV, Jackie hastily retorts, “You should really stop watching sensationalism Joe, the dog didn’t commit suicide, he was just badly trained.”

A young intern walking by overhears the conversation but is clueless as to the subject. Unable to critically assess the impact of the events to his own life, he returns to the consumptive notion of acquiring a whole lotta loot like the “dude on the Bachelor” so ten chicks can fight over him.

Why limit your understanding?

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(Image taken from Pink Floyd – The Darkside of the Moon)*

I had a discussion with a young family member recently and he motivated me to write this.  A lecture by Manly P. Hall that I can no longer locate also served as a compass for concretion. Hope you find it a worthy investment of your time.

Assume there are seven earths, side-by-side, all of the same size and awe-inspiring beauty.  Now at some position between these earths and the sun, there stands a giant prism.  Kinda like the one on the above Pink Floyd album art.  This device acted such that the light of the sun would be filtered according to the governing principles of optics and exactly one color would illuminate one earth.  There would be no overlap, and no resident of any earth could see that the light was different on any sister planet. Furthermore, none are  mindful of the prism.  While there exists an awareness of the existence of the other spheres, the residents have not yet developed the technological sophistication to travel to, or communicate with the residents of the other earths.

So what results is that one earth is illuminated by red light, one by orange, one yellow, green, blue, indigo, and finally violet luminescence.  No inhabitant of any planet being aware that any other color of light exists but the one directly perceivable.

Much like us, the peoples of these earths were generally amiable, cheerful folks with similar tendencies and curiosities.  There were those who sought to understand by what wondrous workings of the world did this life giving elemental form befall their planet.  The peoples of green-light earth studied green light, the people of red light earth studied red light, indigo world indigo light, violet world violet light and so forth.  Through the progression of time, each group undoubtedly gains an understanding of the wavelength which illuminates its world. However, until each becomes aware of the existence and properties of the other wavelengths, an accurate understanding of the true nature of light CANNOT be realized.  Research conducted on each color may provide a sliver of understanding, but an overarching wisdom shall remain elusive.

Now if we apply this metaphor to our quest to understand the principle harmony underlying our universe, I think we can enhance our position.  After all, isn’t the ultimate quest of humanity one of truthful realization?  We seek knowledge and understanding of that from which flows the principles of all manifestation.  Consider the following scenario of seven students and their respective paths to gnosis.  Each is symbolic of the inhabitants of our hypothetical planets and their study of light.

Student 1 believes that the path to truthful realization lies only in mathematics, chemistry and physics. In his world view, existence is constrained by quantifiability.

Student 2 believes truthful realization is uncovered only in religious books, rituals, and the promise of salvation. We are basically sinners in the hands of an angry God. Confess your sins or do not pass Go, do not collect $200.  His temple of belief is built upon the premise that the underlying conscious force in the universe is limited by human feelings and emotions.

Student 3 limits his truthful path to one of introspective consideration that rests only in meditation and yoga. He seeks wisdom through asceticism and an avoidance of life.

Student 4 believes that his wisdom can only be derived through an understanding of psychology and sociology.  The Holy Grail here is limited to the workings of the mind and its societal interactions.

Student 5 pursues understanding through a detailed study of nature, biology, DNA and the pilgrimage of life through matter. Consequently, the mysteries of the universe can only be comprehended through life in the biosphere.

Student 6 uncovers an awareness of the truth through assiduous study of art, the humanities, and arcane philosophical wisdom. He operates under the constraint of historical utopianism i.e. things were better back when….

Student 7 refuses to acknowledge that white light exists. Until he can see that the light is different on the other planets, he remains steadfast that nothing exists outside his limited wavelength band and defines his existence by materialism.

These seven positions are offered to serve as a reminder of the restraints we impose on our minds if we choose to operate under one construct of reality. While each is capable of providing a degree of illumination concerning the unfolding of truth, each is a limitation in an of itself.

(Superman is a registered trademark of DC Comics)*

If we seek to imbue our lives with the richest understanding of the truths underlying our existence, limited adherence to any singular field of study will serve only to retard our efforts.  The goal of releasing the Ubermensch is one that demands the embracing of all incarnations of Sophia. Do not lock you selves into regimented thinking whereby YOUR perceived view of the nature of things is the ONLY correct one.  Say nothing of relying upon one book or one school of thought (as is common with many today) as the only authoritative source. Broadening the scope of one’s inquiry shall serve to further his or her understanding of First Principles.

One love.

HJ

*”Copyright Disclaimer Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.”

The present need not be so tense.

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True happiness is… to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future. – Seneca

Our dominator culture is so firmly entrenched in the future tense that “will have,” “will be done,” and “shall be” define the prevailing mindset of the multitudes. The constant pursuit of wants and desires is resulting in a slow demise of the ability to appreciate the majesty of the moment.  I’m not saying this is good or bad one way or the other, it’s merely an observation.  However, I do believe that lasting happiness cannot be found anywhere else but through contentment within the framework of one’s own life.  The constant quest for one experiential satisfaction after another leads to happiness, but only as long as the novelty of an acquisition lasts. Once this stage nears conclusion, a new freshness is identified and the path begins anew.  The time honored maxim “the excess of virtue is vice” is usually attributed to Aristotle and remains no less meritorious today.  We have taken the Protestant work ethic to new levels of absurdity and our culture seems to embrace elaboration of materialism above any other virtue. Person to person interactions almost always begin with the question, “So, what do you do (to acquire things)?”

Eastern traditions used the word “samsara” to describe this constant seeking, from the Sanskrit meaning “to wander.” This relentless pursuit of transient satisfactions is  contrasted with “nirvana” which literally means “to blow out.”  So we actually achieve the nirvanic state by literally “blowing out” the flame of desire that drives the endless wandering.  As we continue to march into the great unknown, our collective unconscious will eventually mature to the point where we discard the misguided notion that lasting happiness is strongly correlated with fulfilling wants.  Whether our ambitions are directed at an attractive woman, a new car, promotion, etc., satisfaction continues to remain elusive despite the advancement and sophistication of modern modes of existence. The aforementioned maturation is facilitated only by gaining an awareness and understanding of our true selves.  As opposed to a post mortem Judgment Day where our net good is calculated, adopt a philosophy whereby every day is one of judgment.  If we observe our minds and apply our introspective tendencies on these “Days of Judgment,” we will quickly realize that what we seek isn’t listed in the Niemen Marcus catalog, but within ourselves.  This can easily be reconciled with the teachings of non-euhemeristic traditions that advocate a moment by moment philosophy as the path to happiness.  A great many books addressing Eastern philosophy are centered on the wisdom of living in the present.

The beauty of art, whether song, sculpture, or some other adumbration of the creative faculty, is that its beauty is wholly encapsulated in the present. A painting will elicit a similar soul stirring response whether viewed in 1597 or 2007, the different observers having neither lost nor gained some notable advantage as a result of his position on the timeline.  A sculpture does not need the future tense to define its beauty, as what it “will be” is not a consideration necessary for appreciation.  Similarly, a song is only enjoyed while we listen, and one does not hurry through to the end for a quick neurotransmitter bump. Acquiring an appreciation for all types of artistic expression is a vital tool in teaching ourselves how to embrace the present.  Art however, seems to be ever shifting beyond the purview of a middle class existence and remains largely the province of more affluent persons.

I think it’s imperative that we reawaken the ability to appreciate and create works of art in all children of our society.  The indoctrination process of schooling presently serves only to convert present oriented children into future oriented consumers, and the lack of funding for the arts merely hastens this process.  The benefit of drama, music, and other right-brain learning is paramount in presenting some semblance of opposition to the imposition of a samsaric-like existence on the young.  IMHO, at certain ages, art education is more valuable to the development of a thriving individual than the current 3R’s paradigm.  Teaching solely for the purpose of achieving quantifiable test results in reading, ’riting, and ‘rithmetic is a recipe for disaster.  I offer the present educational system as evidence of my assertion.  If even a remote possibility exists that rediscovering and articulating aesthetics can yield a more engaging educational experience, then why not try it?  Here’s a wild suggestion, decrease the 40-50 cents of every tax dollar spent on the patronage of death and destruction and re-direct it to funding the arts programs in schools.

I’d like to leave you with an image of the magnificent “Monument to Francesco Oneto” by Giulio Monteverde.  I gotta admit, from the moment I laid eyes upon this beautiful work, I have been mesmerized. She had me from “Hello.”

Monteverde's Angel

I’ve been looking so long at these pictures of you,

That I almost believe that they’re real.

I’ve been living so long with my pictures of you,

That I almost believe that the pictures are all I can feel.

                                                                        – Robert James Smith

One love,

HJ

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