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GMOs - Philosophical Issues of a Thanoptic (Death-delivering) Technology
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GMO Philosophical Issues

GMO Philosophical Issues

GMOs - Philosophical Issues of a Thanoptic (Death-delivering) Technology

At first glance, GM technology is but good technology. The public relations claim is, if one believes it, that we do really need this technology in order to improve agricultural yields in an age of exploding populations.  But how did GM technology get its start?

First, there was an attempt to own living things, to make them patentable for commercial use. For something to be patentable it has to have a "distinctive" identity. It can't be a chameleon.  It cannot constantly be altering its nature, subverting what we claim to own. Yet if something is alive, it will change. Thus strategies to preserve patentable identity and akin $ value almost invariably involve doing something that subverts that aliveness or is deadly.  This is similar to putting chemical preservatives in foods to maintain longer "shelf life" - and preservatives are generally not healthy. With GMOs this preservation process goes deeper.


One of GM technology's first thrust, in this regard, would no doubt make Rachel Carson turn in her grave. They altered plants to withstand yet more killing agents - eliminating alive organisms yet more effectively from surrounding biological environments.

Sec
ondly, there created terminator plants and suicide seeds that will not reproduce a second generation. This prevents a subsequent generation from likewise escaping the patented mold as well as forces farmers to buy more of the same seeds. In contrast to nature's rainforests which are teeming with life and interconnected consciousness, GM technology has planted sterile forests of flowerless and fruitless "terminator trees." They often exude poisons from every single leaf, killing all but a few surrounding insects and birds. The resulting forests have been called silent forests - again a step beyond what Rachel Carson envisioned as possible.

Thirdly, genetically-modified food companies have gone on multi-billion dollar buying sprees, purchasing seed companies and destroying their non-patented (potentially competitive) seed stocks. This includes Monsanto's 2005 purchase of
Seminis, the world's single largest developer, grower and marketer of vegetable and fruit seeds (supplying 40% of US vegetable seeds and 20% worldwide), Monsanto is now the world's largest seed company overall (or scarily guardian of our agricultural life forms), either owning or being partnered with 13 other major seed-owning corporations. It further announced its intention to purchase De Ruiter Seeds, in an on-going buying binge of still more seed-owning corporations. With such consolidations, Monsanto and 9 similar seed-growing conglomerates now collectively own over 55% of our entire planet's commercial seeds, and almost 2/3rds of all patented seeds.  For commercial advantage, however, competition had to be eliminated, even if this involved heirloom seeds. Time magazine referred to the consequences of a now growing effort to buy out seed companies and eliminate their competitive stocks as the global Death of Birth.

In the ideological battle (the most important of all battles for the winning over of minds) the term "biotechnology" is critically important. It so nicely and soothingly implies we are enhancing what is biological or alive via ever new technological advances - just as with do with machines (making vehicles ever faster or batteries more efficient) . But when we reconstruct what is living to fit this kind of mechanical mold and expectation (plus what rings up the cash register), the true results are often deceptively different. We are not enhancing life. Thus I would strongly encourage activists, as a first and critical ideological step, refuse to accept industry's key label of representing itself - "biotechnology."  A good replacement term might be thano-technology or death-technology . What we are seeing as so-called "advancing" of life is actually a growing deadening and even annihilation of key biospheres.  See the "inner activism" section at the end of this article about ideological activism.

Fourthly, imagine that of the deadly gravitations outlined above are not accidental. In other articles, I explain why they are intimately intertwined, as in Moving Away from a Death-Centered Vision of Nature. Thano-technology is an entirely logical development of our seminal 17th century worldview. Thano-technology thus will in fact will win out - unless we first challenge the root or core vision that drives it. This is why the underlying struggle here is about issues that go far beyond what first meets the eye.

It should be added that the worldview that historically led us through the Industrial Revolution is certainly not all bad. On the contrary, it helped us so brilliantly design labor-saving machines and valuable transportation and communication technology. Despite Marx and Engels' observations, it made some condisions far better for many in all walks of life, as in helping to later abolish slavery when machines could do the same work. But did this thrust help us is all domains? As Thomas Kuhn once pointed out, theories of science often try to convince us that they capture some universal (all-side or objectively true) truths until an "anomaly" or contradiction inconveniently pops up. Something happens that doesn't fit the universal pattern, mold or principle. Then we try hard to deny, resist or rationalize away the anomaly not to upset the "whole apple cart." We resist precisely what could help us break through our illusions. Newton worked hard to convince us that not part but all of nature moved mechanically, or according to universal math principles (principia universalis naturalis mathematica). The prime example was the motion of stellar objects. Soon the Newtonian view was applied to the creation of dazzlingly powerful machines and the tracking of atoms, sub-atomic particles, etc. Thus not only modern astronomy but later modern physics, chemistry, various sub-specialties, and finally ((biotechnology) (getting into the habit of replacing that term with death-technology) were born. The invention and proliferation of synthetic chemicals especially exploded after the 1950's. However, we forget that living forms, again inconveniently, seemed to violate Newton's laws, not from time to time but routinely. They simply do not act like billiard balls moving linearly when bumping into each other. Living things move unpredictably and in hair-raising "crazy" ways.

Isn't that true? 

On no, if we could just analyze the motion chemically, or by some other such mechanical means or mechanistic psychological explanation, even that motion could be predicted.. We just need to keep looking for the hidden mechanism.

In short, if stars moved as predictably as clocks, why not todo del mundo? What better way to bring this ideology to a final proving ground than by taking it to the most diehard turf, the province of anomaly of anomalies, or to core of life by crossing nuclear membranes? Therein Gregor Mendel gave us the Gene Theory, which is penultimately mechanistic. So let us pursue that path to the end since it best fits our worldview. The chief problem we then encounter is that this attempt to so transform life can employ processes that counter life or are deadly.

If someone, nevertheless, defends biotechnology to all ends, I know pretty much how they feel. As a child math prodigy, I once felt that way about the whole quantitative view in physics. I believed nature made homage to only what is the mechanical-mathematical view. What a glorious ideological dream or paradigm this represents. Later in life I grew to pierce its contradictions. This shattered a cherished dream that, for me, could not be put back together again (as quantum mechanics claims it does by leaping through creative hoops). Also as a teenager I had a very high fever that caused my left-brain to shut down and therefore to see the world quite differently than the norm. This is the basis of what I call "raw-wisdom," why I no longer idolize the use of math symbols or those who claim higher intelligence or genius thereby- or blindly follow such symbolisms wherever they lead or mislead. But then this pits me against the wisdom of countless philosophers, physicists, chemists and biotechnicians! And who is right, me or the rest of the world?  Usually the safer bet would be to trust the larger collective view, but here we entertain a different bet.

Imagine that after 400 years of progressively following Newton's and Galileo's footsteps, we are close to seeing the culminating results.  Black fruits of that seed-vision include not just GMOs but chemical pollution, epidemics of cancer, nuclear weapons, global warming, and other developments feeding extinctions or a wholesale death in nature.
  Is this a slanted view, or is there an objective basis for truth? The stakes are high in answering that question, and until we fully understand the track we have followed for centuries, all else becomes minor details - even the whole of the subsequent list of GMO harms.

In this context, many once believed that the earth stood still because it simply felt that way. No one was falling off the edges. To write that the earth moved at vast speeds, contradicting the Bible, seemed insane. Some of us today believe so-called "biotechnology" (death-technologies) will produce life-enhancing progress and so it must be allowed to exist (but just needs to be labelled).

What is confusing, and in following this logic, is that there may be short-term advancements (whether for the farmer planting GMO crops or our culture as a whole).  But now we are entering a very different age in the evolution of our human visions coming to fruition. In this context, nuclear proliferation hasn't been contained but could be. Global chemical pollution is still expanding but it could be reversed. Global warming may be getting worse but could be lowered. Genetic engineering, however, has a different kind of impact that goes deeper and may be permanently irreversible.

Again to get back to the critical term "bioengineering," it actually offers a contradiction in terms. "Bio" refers to life, what is not mechanistically predictable or controllable. "Engineering" refers to the process of envisioning blueprints for machines that are predictable and controllable. Machines move and perform chores we want them to but they are not consciously alive to do otherwise. Biotechnology thus joins what is living with what applies to the opposite, what is dead. Maintaining that this contradiction doesn't exist is great for those who want to be deceptive. It is an inspiring term to all involved: venture capitalists, banks, entrepreneurs, lab technicians, support staffs, university students, professors, provosts. By contrast they would be ashamed to be part of a corporation or university department dedicated to developing thano-technology - unless they are working for the military.

In this light, and back in the 1960's, Rachel Carson wondered why there suddenly appeared an ever-widening wave of death in forests and fields. On the surface it seemed this was due to merely the insensitive introduction of pesticides and herbicides. If only we saw the extent of our wrongs, this would stop. But many environmentalists, first inspired by Carson, ended their lives in utter despair because their aims were not fulfilled. They had to face the fact that all of us are now inundated by yet more pesticides in our fields, forests, and even in our own bloodstreams, mother's milk, placentas, and the bloodstreams of new born babes.

Ecological harms today continue to rapidly accelerate. They threaten ¼ of life forms on earth, and some estimate ½ by the end of this century.  What can be done? We need to look at not only what is happening in front of our eyes, in consumer and political battles or on the surface, but far deeper within. What is most critical is what we believe in. There is the old saying, what we visualize we materialize. The depths of our inner life creates the world around us. If we faithfully believe a core mechanical vision will create progress for life we will follow it to all ends. This revisiting our mechanical view of nature presents a hugely critical challenge.

This is why Melinda and I started the Raw-Wisdom website and why we wrote articles like What Is Raw Wisdom? and Moving Away from a Death-Centered Vision of Nature. Here readers are invited to explore such writings since they outline how our inner visions have given us the harvest of "black fruits.

We are thus called to a fundamental or revolutionary change in visions and to take on an ideological challenge.

Lastly, I believe most scientists in biotech (thanotech) labs are not intentionally wishing to harm our world. They are not just motivated by just paychecks and research grants but also a noble sense that they are still doing right or making again a contribution to advance knowledge. Their perceptions are so filtered.  Politicians who get contributions from industry may also believe they are doing good, and again so it goes down the line. Changing this climate of beliefs, piercing through illusions, is thus of paramount importance.

I have an answer therefore to Rachel Carson's most critical question in Silent Spring:  

 "A year after a massive spraying...there was not a sound of bird...What was man doing...to our beautiful world...who has made the decision that sets in motion...this ever widening wave of death."

We have set this in motion not by any conscious individual decision (the way say Hitler decided to invade Poland, for example) but rather via a vast subconscious tidal wave of our culture's primary decision to adopt a mechanical worldview.

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Keywords:Genetic Theory, Genetics,  Philosophical Issues, Thanoptic (Death-delivering) Technology, theories, mutation, perspective, hypothesis, genetic concepts, genetic models, evolution, approach, origin, selection, variation, Charles Darwin, Darwin's, Gregory Meldel, gene theory

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