Conflict…and Development

In my studies today, I came across this quote by Theodore Roosevelt, “The most ultimately righteous of all wars is a war with savages, though it is apt to be also the most terrible and inhuman. The rude, fierce setter who drove the savage from the land has all civilized mankind under a debt to him. American and Indian, Boer and Zulu, Cossack and Tartar, New Zealander and Maori—in each case the victor, horrible though many of his deeds are, has laid deep the foundations for the future greatness of a mighty people…it is of incalculable importance that America, Australia and Siberia should pass out of the hands of their red, black and yellow aboriginal owners and become the heritage of the dominant world races.”

It’s an interesting statement to consider. Was it necessary? This is a tough question to answer, but the answer is crucial. If I re-frame the question, perhaps it’s a bit easier to consider—“What does it mean to be civilized, and was it necessary that “civilized” people took over the world? If it was necessary, where do we go from here? What becomes of “civilized” people?” 

In a sense, by answering these questions, we determine the future of society. The obvious but not so obvious underlying and subsequent questions to consider are the following: “What is development?,” “Why is development important to the future of humanity, and/or the evolution of the human species?,” and “How will humans continue to develop in the future?” 

Amazon on Flickr.

Me :)

artnet:

Kate

In this portrait by Chuck Close, which appeared in the W Magazine feature All About Kate, Moss projects a frank, vulnerable quality rare in the print and runway work for which she is internationally known; the images capture Moss, a celebrity since the age of 14, transitioning into a new role as an artist’s muse.

(Reblogged from artnet)
(Reblogged from travelingcolors)

In a relationship, one mind revises the other; one heart changes its partner. This astounding legacy of our combined status as mammals and neural beings is limbic revision: the power to remodel the emotional parts of the people we love, as our Attractors [coteries of ingrained information patterns] activate certain limbic pathways, and the brain’s inexorable memory mechanism reinforces them.

Who we are and who we become depends, in part, on whom we love.

“limbic revision”, A General Theory of Love by Thomas Lewis, Fari Amini, and Richard Lannon (via brain pickings)
(Reblogged from thread-of-ariadne)

MONSANTO, What You Don’t Know Could Kill You (and your Kids)

"Let food by thy medicine and medicine be thy food" - Hippocrates, the father of medicine

I was reading the news online this evening concerning the worldwide Monsanto protests that happened today, and I read the following article in USA Today: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2013/05/25/global-protests-monsanto/2361007/. I was struck by the ignorance displayed in the comments after the article. I was especially dumbfounded by the comment that defended the “safety” of GMOs (A genetically modified organism (GMO) is an organism whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques) by saying that the science proving that GMOs are not safe is “bad science.” I would like to know what “good science” has proved that GMOs are safe? And exactly why is the argument centered on their safety? There are much greater concerns, and those issues are not getting presented well.

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First, a bit of common sense, and history. The agriculture that we have today, which produces the food that supports the world’s sedentary populations, has been developed over thousands of years. Sedentary populations only developed after agriculture was developed, and today’s agriculture is a result of many long dead populations. For example, potatoes were developed in the Andes by pre-Incan civilizations. Corn was developed in Mexico before the Aztecs. GMOs are completely new, they have virtually no history, and the rate that we’re producing them is staggering. To argue over their safety and point fingers at science is ridiculous. There is no effective way anyone can know with certainty whether these modifications are safe or not as there is no study that can be developed that will tell us with certainty. To know with certainty, changes would need to be made one at a time, and then studied over generations. It is practically impossible to know whether GMOs are safe or not, and any argument that centers on their safety is a classic redirection that misses the point.

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Secondly, there is one corporation that legally owns the seeds of the GMO crops, and the main issue at hand that we must ask ourselves is the following: Do we, as human beings, want a corporation responsible for our FOOD?” Let’s reflect for a moment on agriculture and what it actually is. Agriculture is solely responsible for the ability of human beings to live in sedentary populations. Before agriculture, humans were nomadic, and hunter-gatherers. Without agriculture, our modern existence is not possible. We have examples in history of ancient civilizations that experienced an agricultural crisis that tainted their food supply, and those civilizations died out, and the survivors became nomadic until new agriculture developed that supported a new civilization. The central question at hand is, do we want to put the keys to our modern existence into the hands of one corporation?

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Let’s also reflect on the nature of corporations, and remember tobacco corporations, for example, and how corrupt they have been over the years. They have done, and arguably still do, the most unethical things. We know that they not only hid the evidence that cigarettes kill, but they secretly added chemicals to make them more addictive. To think that this could not happen again is ignorant, and shows a lack of understanding of what the profit motive does to ethics within a corporation. Profit trumps ethics, every time.  So again I ask, do we want the seeds that grow the food that sustain our existence in the hands of one corporation?

Third, Monsanto has a business model that is based on selling the seeds that require their chemicals, so they sell the seeds to the farmers, and the chemicals. They patent their seeds, and the farmers must buy them year after year, and cannot save them. If the farmers save the seeds, they get sued. This business model effectively places Monsanto into the position of Global Controller of all Food. Not only is it a monopoly in practice, but it is arguably the most power one single corporation has ever held, EVER. 

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(varieties of Maize, or corn)

And lastly, because the industrial farm industry exclusively grows the Monsanto variety, over time, all other varieties go extinct. Today, mass production of food has drastically reduced the varieties of produce that are grown. What happens if the one Monsanto variety of corn develops a disease, and the disease produces crops that kill the livestock that feed on the corn, and then humans as well. Then we have a worldwide food crisis. Historically agriculture has produced many different distinct varieties of each product, simply due to the fact that agriculture is regionally specific. Also, farmers of old spent years breeding and developing distinct varieties as an art. This practice has all but died out as profit has become the sole motive as agriculture is owned by large corporations. Food crises can literally decimate a sedentary population within a generation, and the way to avoid them is through diversity.

The main reason that Monsanto was banned from Peru was because of the risk of losing the immense wealth of diverse crops that the pre-Columbian civilizations developed over thousands of years!

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In conclusion, please do your own homework. Food is what allows you to thrive, and it is each and every one of our responsibilities to eat right to live. When you are dying because a greedy corporation produced toxic seeds, you are dying. By then it’s too late to do anything.

(Reblogged from kateoplis)