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On labeling GE foods
Do I approve it? Definitely yes. Because it will actually help it to be more accepted.
See, it's all about questioning one’s instincts.
We humans are pretty much made of them. We are a thin layer of conscious mind wrapped around a vast space of instinctive reactions. We can’t switch them off. Can’t really suppress them without hurting ourselves. That’s OK. That’s normal and needs to be accepted. What’s not normal is to be completely ruled by them, often without even noticing so.
An instinctive fear of darkness may tell you the night is dangerous – but it’s not the night, it’s the place and possibly people in it. Kids are afraid of darkness. Most adults are not. Even if they are, they don’t let that fear control them. They recognize it. They question it.
If there are any objective measures of society quality, this is one of them: the number of instincts that people have learned to question routinely. In America, we don’t rape a woman just because our instincts tell us she is attractive. We don’t grab someone else’s property because our possessive instincts tell us to dash for resources. Countries where such things are still culturally acceptable are unanimously considered retarted by most of the world and generally do poorly, both economically and socially.
One aspect of America that makes it a wonderful country is the lack of a place for a hierarchical instinct in dealing with government officials. Yes, even with all cases of stupidity and corruption this is still true. You don’t need three bows to approach a Senator just like you’d had to do with kings 500 years ago to satisfy their hierarchical instinct. Today, you write to a Senator with a minimal level of civilized respect, and that is amazingly great, and there are still many, many places around the world where that is not possible. Where a governor is an alfpha of a pack, and no more.
Those are the instincts that we humans have more or less learned to question. But many still go unnoticed and dominate not only individuals but societies.
Consider a fear of height. Combined with other instinctive phobias– like a fear of being stuck in a confined space or lost in a vastly open one – it can result in a pretty nasty symptom called aerophobia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fear_of_flying). At monkey’s times 500,000 years ago that was justified. Falling from a tall tree, staying alone exposed in the midst of a savannah was deadly dangerous back then. The only problem is that times have changed, yet instincts have not. Up to 30-50% of people (per http://aviophobia.net/) are afraid of flying. Result? TSA security theater that costs us insane money. Yes, a theater – the internet is full (http://tsanewsblog.com/1901/news/) of bypass examples with respect to those security “measures”. Add rude workers commanding people as if it is in the army, add shameless scanners, and add restrictions prohibiting taking photos or even questioning TSA actions. Yes, TSA may be deterring (rather than detecting) the most obvious attacks, but its primary effective job ends up being something different: calming the people down. Making them feel safe and protected. That's why the majority agrees to pay taxes to support it. TSA helps them feel less nervous about their flights.
Guess what? Dying in an airplane crash is almost instant. It takes minutes between knowing you are doomed and the actual death, and most likely only seconds of pain. Contrary to that, dying of cancer will take months and months of losing ability to walk, to speak, then to feel anything except pain or painkillers.
Let me get it straight: if you don’t die of some kind of an accident, you face a 41% chance to meet a far more gruesome and miserable death, like cancer or stroke (per http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/lcod.htm). So get over it. While flying, you are guaranteed from a slow death. Enjoy that. Especially since flying is actually way safer than getting to the airport in the cab (http://traveltips.usatoday.com/air-travel-safer-car-travel-1581.html).
Other examples? Female instincts tell them to seek a highly self-confident man. A Macho, never thinking twice (or even once) before making a move. Always knowing what he wants and never hesitating to get that. That’s fine. That was the right program at cave times helping us to survive. Today, these macho people are pushed to the bottom of the social ladder. Because an ability not to punch an opponent during a hostile meeting but keep thinking straight is not a weakness. It is an advantage that only a few have. These people are in control today. They don’t get mad, they get even. Instincts scream and itch in us all against that. That’s OK, they are part of us. That part needs to be respected... and questioned! Questioned, routinely.
Your instincts know nothing about GMO. When they see a genetically engineered chicken (http://nathanbickel.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/monsantochickenshealthyandunhealthy.jpg) they go nuts, trying to warn you that this food is dangerous because, well, it looks strange, and all what looked out of the ordinary in forests a million years ago was dangerous. However most GE food opponents can’t even explain their fears! They don’t question their instincts. They feel it –> zoom! –> they burst into reaction, done! When questioned, they would talk about “open minds” or quote some long-debunked “research” on the dangers of GMO. Well, the reality is that using GMO is no more dangerous than using a “GMO” word in speech! After all, speech does affect brain, and brain does affects body, right? So who knows what the result of that would be after five generations? Why don’t we just ban the “GMO” word? Indeed its safety has never been proven!
But forget the research. 35% of the Earth's land is already cultivated. Most of what is not yet can’t be. It’s either cities or places where nothing really grows, like deserts, mountains, or snow. With spots of wildlife sanctuaries and tropical forests which we want to protect, right? There is not much place left on Earth to grow food. And while we are not at the edge of the global famine, we are not very far from it either. Pretty soon the choice will be straight: either GMO, or a rapid decrease of population (a nice euphemism for a “global war”?), or famine, or some new break-through that would enable us to grow more food. Make your choice. Just be honest to yourself. Reality is what refuses to go away when one refuses to accept it. That 35% figure is not going away. Let's face it.
So I’m all up for labeling GE foods. Why? Because that will stop poring of fear & doubt into the minds of those who don’t question their instincts. When food is labeled, they won’t need to fight tough thoughts on whether a particular piece of carrot has been genetically modified, they would just pass it by and get whatever an alternative they want. Which will be more expensive and of a lesser nutritional quality than a GE alternative, but I’m fine with that. That’s how evolution does its job.
Thus let’s label the GE food and get the crap out of that debate. It will actually help everybody. Help make this world a better place.
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