John, the kind of control you’re attempting is not possible. If there’s one thing the history of evolution has taught us, it’s that life will not be contained. Life breaks free. It expands to new territories. It crashes through barriers. Painfully, maybe even . . . dangerously, but and . . . well, there it is . . . I’m simply saying that life – - finds a way.
Dr. Ian Malcolm from Jurassic Park
One would like to think that no matter how we may try to master the elements of nature, in the end and like Icarus flying too close to the sun our efforts will ultimately see us crash to the earth in a self-destructive heap of greed and arrogance.
For those who oppose the propagation of Genetic use restriction technology (GURT) more commonly known as terminator or suicide technology, the anecdotally visual prose of mankind’s purported avarice resulting in a fall is as much hoped for as it is expected.
My problem in filtering the unbridled and impassioned ranting of the voices representing socially conscientious outrage and the almost calculated psychopathic efficiency of the faceless corporate drones espousing a better life through biotechnology, to reach some sort of a reasonable consensus is at times daunting.
On the one hand, corporate avarice as demonstrated by the recent shenanigans of the pharmaceutical industry wantonly breaking the law with the heavy fines being levied for off-label marketing considered little more than a cost – and a low cost at that, of doing business, doesn’t do much to build confidence in American conglomerate morality.
Conversely, the claims of the ties between childhood vaccinations and autism in which a much heralded report supporting a purported link was ultimately exposed as a biased misrepresentation of the data, means that accusations of a big brother conspiracy take on more of an air of an Oliver Stone thriller than a legitimate contention.
This left versus right, Republican versus Democrat, suit versus bell bottom schism is of course nothing new. In fact one might think of each side as being a traveling show in their own right in which searching for connecting points of conflict is the real mandate. The irony of course, and as demonstrated by the recent Occupy Wall Street movement in which many of those doing the occupying were actually the ones realizing financial gains through the very system against which they were railing (check your 401K if you don’t believe me), and you will discover that the real paradox is that in many ways both factions are quite similar.
Let’s face it with an accusatory cacophony of self-serving rhetoric there are credibility gaps to be found on both sides of the debate.
For example, I recently watched a special on Monsanto in which the company’s GMO Bt cotton seeds had reportedly created a suicide economy in India by forcing poor farmers to borrow their way into an abyss of incomeless debt leading them to ultimately commit suicide. This purported link was challenged by statistics which seemed to indicate that although high, suicide rates actually dropped after the introduction of the offending cotton seed. So what is the answer? Is this another vaccination – autism claim exposed or, have the numbers been fudged in an effort to diffuse what is a highly combustible situation?
Sadly, and at a gut level I personally am cynical about any corporation seeking to artificially harness the wonder of nature’s reproductive capabilities under a banner of altruistic endeavor. Come on, we have all come to see that there are more Gordon Gekkos in the business world than there are Horatio Alger protagonists.
This being said, and outside of the two camps in which respective positions are firmly entrenched, what are we the everyday citizen to think as we grapple with job losses and tighter personal budgets and kids going to college and making ends meet, health care and retirement. What is our contextual point of understanding and what practical versus philosophical impact does this issue have on our everyday lives?
So far beyond the volleys of flaming angst directed one at the other, neither side as of this date has presented a compelling case to shake the general public out of our complacent awareness that something may or may not be remiss.