Tuesday, March 15, 2016

International Consumer Day: Toxi-city

The national need to fire chemicals at everything as the exclusive response to real or imagined threats

Four decades ago, when children went to school, there was a practice of parents pinning a handkerchief to the uniform. Why? Well, sniffles were pretty common then as they are now and it was simply there to wipe the child’s nose. The child’s lunchbox didn’t contain a pack of medicine because no one in their right mind thought that a cold should be “treated” and they were right. Things are different now. The hanky is out and the pill is in. These days, haven’t we all heard, multiple times, in multiple variations, the following ditty: “He was sick so he went to the doctor to get some medicine”.

Now, why?

Most people know that doctors who tend to the various human illnesses of their fellow beings first take a careful look at the patient and then prescribe a response strategy that is guaranteed to eradicate the problem. For the present clutch of pandemics AKA NCD or non-communicable diseases, the response strategy that works to wipe out the illness is based on the patient very quickly resorting to a change of lifestyle. Medicine is only of marginal importance. Indeed, medicine should be the last resort in treating these types of illnesses according to all forms of doctoring known to the world. Right? WRONG!

This world is no longer interested in eradicating dis-ease. It needs a quick shot or two that fixes nothing but makes people believe it fixes everything. It is more interested in keeping the patient not quite alive and not quite dead and addicted to the chronic use of various tablets, pills and injections. That requires repeated visits to the so-called physicians, the so-called specialists, the pharmacists, the quacks and the kattadiyas. You see, the goal is to profit from a person’s suffering – not to cure that person of it. These losers are only partly to blame. The people too, go to doctors to get medicine not to get cured. If a doctor takes more than 30 seconds with the patient and doesn’t prescribe a battery of tests, a dozen shots and a kilo of pills that there is one horrible doctor who cannot be trusted. All in all, they deserve each other - these medical service providers and those who use those services. Strangely, both of these segments of society believe willy-nilly that something good is happening when all factors indicate otherwise.

I have it on record from a doctor who told me in a state of alcoholic inebriation, “look, when my son has a fever, I cover it with a painkiller or just a drink of kottamalli, but if someone else’s son were to come to my clinic for the same problem, I will prescribe at least four different drugs for the kid. The child’s father is happy, the drug company is happy and I am happy. It doesn’t really matter that the child will probably cure itself through its own immune system 80% of the time. Of course, the child is being systematically poisoned but who cares? Caring is the last thing on any of our minds.  The parent is frightened, I need the money,  I solve his problem and he solves mine and the actual issue with the kid is neatly side-stepped”. Bad? Not at all. What most don’t see is that doctors these days, in their majority, are no better than kattadiyas and corrupt clergymen also have the exact same strategy.

What can we conclude from this state of affairs? In the majority, the people are mad, the doctors are manipulatively vicious and the nation loses.

Four decades ago, when a farmer went to his fields, he was accompanied by his family and his cows and buffaloes. The animals would work, the children would play in the fields and streamlets, the farmer and his wife would tend to the crops. No one in their right mind thought that spreading layers of arsenic, mercury, cyanide was required to cure the fields and ensure a bountiful harvest. Things are different now. The family and the animals are out and the poison sprayer is in. These days, we have all heard, multiple times, in multiple variations, the following ditty: “His plants needed tending so he went to spray the field”.  

Now why? 

Most farmers know that they must first carefully study the land and its environs, the properties of the soil, the condition of the water, the cycles of rain and shine, they can arrive at a system of crop management that will guarantee a threat free cultivation season. They know that a clutch of pests, diseases and weeds can be eradicated by tending to the agro-ecological environment, encouraging microbial action in the soil, encouraging various types of herbs and medicinal plants in their fields, they will be able to harvest strong, high quality, high nutritious foods. They know that trying to murder a pest at the cost of murdering a lot of helpers is a last resort if it is a resort at all. Right? WRONG! 

The farmer is no longer interested in assuring a good harvest season after season. He wants a kamikaze, quick and easy way of hoodwinking himself into believing that his next yield would be that killer harvest  that will make him a millionaire. He shoots every kind of chemical poison masquerading as a “medicine” to eradicate the ills of his field in a fond hope he will win. He doesn’t. He is poor. He will remain poor. He will visit upon himself and others a barrelful of ills to boot.  

I have it or record from a farmer on the future after the glyphosate ban “Sir, what do I spray now? Can I use salt? How about ajinomoto? I have to spray something no? Can you suggest an alternative spray now that I am not allowed to use roundup?” I asked him “look, brother, are you in farming to get yourself a good, safe harvest every year or are you in farming in order to spray things on your field?” He stares blankly at me and I have to ask him the question again. He continues to stare blankly at me. The poor fellow cannot see the difference between getting a good harvest and simply spraying medicines on his field. He doesn’t care. No one does. His fear that his crop will be wiped out by a pest is removed. The agrochemical company makes its usual tidy profit. How about the field? Let it die for all anyone cares.

What can we conclude from this? The farmer is mad. The agrochemical company is manipulatively vicious. The nation loses.

We are a bunch of losers addicted to shooting chemicals anywhere, everywhere, regardless of whether they do us any good and disregarding the fact that they mostly do us bad.

So, does the phrase “to shoot or not to shoot, that is the question” describe our nation? No.

Does the phrase “shoot first, shoot again, shoot some more until everything is dead and then ask questions” describe our nation? No.

Does the phrase “shoot, shoot, shoot, shoot, shoot, shoot and shoot and never ask any questions” describe our nation? Yes.


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