Back to Basics
The wisdom of man has been manifest throughout the ages as folly.
Ever since he chose to ignore the law and counsel of God (which
he deemed foolishness) in the garden of Eden, we have had suffering
and sorrow through defeat, failure and loss. Indeed, choosing
to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (whether
one were to take it literally or figuratively) has not been a wise
choice at all.
Mankind seems to have accomplished
Yet after thousands of years of experimentation, the
vast majority of humanity still thinks it can and will prevail by
its own wisdom in the end. We hear so many "positive thinkers"
speak of the marvel of technology, of how we have developed ways to do
things by our own cleverness and research and how we can do anything
as long as there is the will and commitment.
Indeed, mankind seems to have accomplished much, especially in the
last few centuries and especially in the last half century and
perhaps especially in the last decade. We are really moving! The
industrial revolution expanded our horizons and performed results
initially deemed as miracles. Even before that period, things like
gunpowder were literally taking the world by storm. We had the Gutenberg
press to mass produce the printed word and enlighten the masses
as far and wide as never before the 15th century.
In the last century,
automation gave us swift transportation to shorten journeys from
what once took years to months to weeks to days and even hours.
Indeed, journeys in hours today were impossible in any amount of
time not long ago for many. When we put men on the moon, we were
drunk with euphoria and nothing seemed impossible to us. Were not educated
men scoffing only a century ago at the notion of man flying?
Now we have high technology, biotechnology, nanotechnology, robotic
technology, genetic engineering, quantum physics, you name it. We are
living in the Information
which, it seems, we can learn all we wish at the touch of a button. Marvelous!
We imagine the expressions on the faces of inventors, scientists,
philosophers, political and military leaders of bygone eras viewing
our accomplishments and we glow with pride.
But how are we really doing? Notice we haven't done much with the
moon since. We either use for war that which we invent supposedly
for peace (as with Albert Einstein's theory of relativity and
the invention of the atomic bomb) or we invent for the express
purpose of war and defense in war as with Reagan's "Star Wars"
program. Was it not war among ourselves that propelled us to accomplish
much of what we have today?
...but how are we really doing?
The invention of gunpowder may or may not have been invented for war
initially, but its primary purpose is for war now and has been for centuries.
Hitler's tinkering with rockets brought us to the moon and to the capability
of high-tech, computerized armaments to blow away populations thousands
of miles away in minutes. The chemicals used in the Great Wars have been
enlisted to serve (and kill) us in almost every area of physical life
including the production, processing, storage, and preservation of the
food we eat and the water we drink.
are we really doing? Let's look at war in a wider sense. We speak of
wars on disease, famine, drugs, and poverty.
of antibiotics was thought to be the beginning of the end of disease.
Today we have the same old fatal diseases returning, striking
fear in the hearts of scientists and leaders the world over. Why? Because
have used antibiotics too frequently and where they should not
have been used, especially in our food chain, feeding it to our animals.
We declare war on illegal drugs and are inventing expensive legal drugs
that arguably kill more people than the illegal ones. Psychopathic
beasts called corporations have the rights of individuals and fewer of
the responsibilities, and run roughshod over society.
Has famine been eliminated despite the use of high-tech agricultural
practices and chemical aids in fertilization and weed and pest
control? On the contrary, our productive lands are being raped
as we use what we've been sold to compete with our neighbors.
GMO Frankenfoods are taking over our fields and polluting everything
we grow. As a result, pests in "new and improved" varieties
are gaining with a vengeance, our chemical methods used to fight
them backfiring. We try everything possible to produce cheaply,
quickly, bountifully. And it’s killing us.
When I was a child, we didn’t use chemicals on our farm until
the fifties, and cancer wasn’t at all common. If someone was dying
of cancer, it was significant, albeit sad, news. Today, there is
hardly a family left untouched by the scourge. I have lost a brother,
two cousins, three aunts, and two uncles to cancer. My mother-in-law
had it and survived.
Besides cancer, what about all the heart disease, diabetes,
muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's, Lou Gehrig's,
Alzheimer's, asthma, and a host of illnesses we have never heard of? Can
there be any doubt that these diseases gain the advantage over us because
our immune systems are crippled
by ignorant, foolish, and unnatural lifestyles including our sedentary
habits, our treatment of foods from field to fork,
polluting the planet and losing it for gain? We’re eating our children
in the siege.
the toll of mental and emotional stress resulting from our fast
pace of life in getting and achieving? We’re killing ourselves, along
with our children.
Because of these things, famine stalks the world, taking out millions.
Speaking of getting, let's expand on the meaning of war still further.
Let us speak of competition. We’ve been led to believe that
competition is healthy and necessary. Truly, given the way humanity
is at present, if it were not for the fact that one was not willing
and able to provide a commodity or service for less
than another, we would be paying more than we do.
It is the "I" generation:
do it, I deserve it, I owe
it to myself.
But is competition really necessary? I’m not a Communist, but
I do await with great longing for the day when humanity concludes, as
do those at AA, that we have a problem and can’t lick it
on our own. We need a Higher Power, not only in alcohol
abuse, but in the general life abuse of which every one of us is guilty.
We simply don’t know how to live, though most of us think living
is the most natural thing one can do, like breathing or circulating blood.
We are competing with our neighbors and countrymen for a bigger piece
of the pie. We patent to gain control and profit at the cost of all
those who "need" what we invent. We hope to have all the amenities
of life and don’t care a whole lot if many others don’t gain
the same. It is the "I" generation: I can
I deserve it,
I owe it to myself, looking out for Number
We race to the garage sale, the auction, the estate sale, the limited
specials at stores "before others get it all." We are selfish.
Through commercial and political warfare techniques called marketing,
salesmanship, promotion, public relations, and advertising, we’ve
been brainsoiled into thinking
we can’t live without chemicals, synthetic medications, vaccinations,
chlorine, fluoride, cheap, mass-produced factory foods,
modern conveniences, and a host of
mankind did without for thousands of years.
Wasn't it Henry Thoreau who determined to find out how much we really
need to live comfortably and discovered it to
be very little?
But now come the taxes. Half of our working hours
are spent working for the government to pay for those who work
for the government who charge us to support the government.
does the government spend it on? Because we are always sick, the
Canadian government provides us with sick care at great expense. Because
we are sick, traumatized by the speed of advance (as Alvin Toffler wrote
of in Future Shock) and taxed to pay for all these things,
we can’t handle our necessities amply. We then collect "pogy" or
go on welfare, which transfers more of the burden unto the shoulders of
others in the form of higher taxes. We gullibly believe politicians
who promise to "give" us more with our money.
I now doubt that
anyone in Canada can any longer do what Thoreau proposed, given the present
circumstances, but the idea he had was good and that is what we
will be doing... going back to basics.
We will learn
that God is Number One, and
that He alone knows best.
Chemicals have not worked. Instead, they have killed. Though we
live in the Information Age, we will eventually find that we can't
eat microchips. What gain we have achieved by doing things big
and fast has already been relinquished as we pay the piper through
poverty, social welfare, sickness, medical care systems, and death.
Through greed, we have had it all taken away on us. We are discovering
the price tag to be much higher than we imagined.
What is so wrong with going back to treating the land with respect
and TLC? After all, from the land comes our sustenance on earth
and if the land is harmed, so are we. The fact is, we will all
eventually learn the hard way that only the hard way is the easy
way and the only way that pays.
We will pick and plough our weeds learning
that if a chemical is harmful to one plant at any time, it can't
be all that great for any other plant. We will treasure the microorganisms
in the soil and the bugs that are there for good, like earthworms,
dung beetles, and spiders. We will thereby refrain from scorched-earth
tactics to rid ourselves of pests. We will recognize that birds
which eat those insects, pests, and other birds are to be protected
and respected, for our own good as well as theirs.
We will learn that our
lives depend on good, clean living, or they will cease to exist as
they exist now. We will realize that all of nature, from whence
we come, is our caring cradle which we have converted to a corrosive
We will learn that God is Number One, always
has been and always will be, and that He alone knows best. Only
love of neighbor will win the day for us all. (By love, I don’t
mean the religious mush you often see, but a genuine, unselfish, active,
committed regard - with
cost involved - for the other person, for our animals, for our plants,
our food, our land, water and all things.)
We will learn to be satisfied
with less, and we will have more. We will go back to basics
and enjoy life, instead of fighting to stay alive. We may as well
submit to it. That day is upon us. We have no other choice, except to