The Head, the Heart and the Ongoing Difficulty with the GMO Debate

The genetically modified organism debate has been raging in our society for a while now, and it's a complex issue, one that I’ve been struggling to make sense of for years--not actively or anything, but I read, I pay attention, and I feel concern like many other people do. Despite all assurances to the contrary there’s just something about GMOs that nags at me, and I’m far from the only one. Science seems to regard the persistence of resistance to GMOs as being rooted in a lack of education, but I don’t believe it’s that simple. I think a lot of us get it, we’re clear enough on what science is saying regarding the safety of GM crops as it pertains to direct consumption ... even so, there’s just something about GMOs.

In my post, Evolution via Expression and Experience - the Art of Give and Take, I discussed Integrated Information Theory, a cosmological theory that includes consciousness as a fundamental aspect of reality. Within IIT the universe is made up of “sentient fabric”, a single conscious entity evolving and growing, with all matter-be it in the form a rock or a house cat-containing an element of consciousness, and all of it connected in a living web. The theory proposes that as matter evolves and increases in complexity so too does it’s conscious aspect.

This line of thinking doesn’t invalidate spirituality as reductionist science seeks to do, it simply puts a twist on the traditional religious perspective: Go ahead and pray before you eat, but don’t thank an external God for the food, instead thank the food which is just as much God as you and everything else around you. So the goes the theory anyway. Reductionist science doesn’t fair much better in an IIT universe: You know that consciousness thing you’ve been wanting to disprove? It turns out that’s all there is, yeah ... it was all consciousness the whole time, yup, all of it ... sorry.

I mention IIT not because it's a proven theory, but because it illustrates a point: the scientific method is limited to the examination of the physical. This is all well and good if you believe that physicality is all there is to existence, but if you believe in an unseen or energetic aspect to things-a cosmological reality way beyond our comprehension-then scientific assurances which deal strictly in physicality offer only so much solace. 

Science even today tends to make the assumption that if something is not physically measurable by scientific equipment or the five physical senses, it simply does not exist ... The majority of the Universe exists at levels of energy and vibration far, far, far beyond the measurement capability of current scientific instruments.
— ourultimatereality.com

For my part, the GMO debate continues because it cannot be resolved using the scientific method, at least not in the hearts and minds of non-materialists. Therein lies the problem, science is fundementally incapable of assuaging the aspect of genetic modification that concerns me the most: the conscious aspect.

We are a society out of balance, tremendously sick, and blind. We’ve somehow convinced ourselves that technology, rather than being a means to an end, is an end in itself. We cling to the dogma that growth for growth’s sake is rational and that we know better than nature, that it’s our job to conquer nature and cause her to submit to our will, rather than to find balance and harmony within her rhythms. This has begun to change of late, with many people recoiling and starting to swing back the other way, repelled by the shallowness and lack of meaning in our increasingly plastic, consumerist societies. As western cultures continue to integrate eastern spiritual traditions such as meditation, yoga and Buddhism, this trend will likely accelerate.

Perhaps in time we’ll be more comfortable with concepts like the guru system and persons of a peaceful and inclusionary nature, coming to value the spiritual as much as we now do the material? Who knows, maybe one day we’ll ask one of these peacemakers whose forsaken worldly possessions to run for president? Then again, there’s that whole separation of church and state thing...

It’s one man’s opinion, but I believe crops are good enough as is and do not require improving. There’s no shortage of food to feed the world that requires GMOs, only a shortage of will to feed those in need with the resources we have now. What we're really looking for is the ability to feed the world without having to examine ourselves and ask the tough questions, make the hard choices. We have all we need to solve world hunger right now, it’s just not overly convenient to do so. This is the true promise of GMOs, not to feed the world, but to do so without requiring us to change ourselves or the way we live.

As we gain more experience with GM crops we’re learning that-apart from direct consumption-they are harmful to the environment as well as farmer's rights, with increased pesticide use and mono-cropping, associated water contamination, erosion, the killing of beneficial pests, and reduced biodiversity all imposing relevant negative impacts to us and our health. But besides all that, there’s just something about GMOs … perhaps our hearts intuitively warn of dangers that exist beyond the purview of the scientific method? With so much of the universe beyond our ability to sense, measure and observe, it may indeed be time to begin leaning more heavily on the heart. 

Americana Singer Songwriter Ed Dupas’ lived-in melodies unwind with reflective lyrics that speak to the current state of the human condition. Soothing where possible, agitating where necessary, and calling for change where appropriate. Ed Dupas creates and shares well worn wide awake music.

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