A Small Medium @ Large

Illusions We Live Part IV – All We Are Saying is Give Bees a Chance. Hivemind Alert – We briefly interrupt today’s regularly scheduled rant on the mass sub-unconscious, or whatever, for an urgent message from your planet:

A bee farmer down on Barren Fork, in Ozark County, recently lost 60 hives due to sudden colony collapse. He’s not alone.  Almost two thirds of all the honey bees in the United States extirpated last year.  Birds fall out of the sky, childhood cancers and autism skyrockets, and the Ozarks is becoming a biological desert with Roundup-resistant nightmares like thorny amaranth.  So what’s new?

The World Health Organization classifies glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen. CNN TV (2/15/19), said that a metadata study at the U. of Washington found the risk for contracting Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (a cancer of the immune system), is 41% greater for those who use glyphosate. 

Meanwhile, our BFF’s (best friends forever) down at the White River Valley Electric Coop, the City of Ava, and the seven-toed neighbor next door let the good times roll under the relentless bombardment of toxic spew.

Here in Missouri, we peasants are variably dosed with over 5,600 tons of this unholy stuff each year.   In Illinois, where more than twice as much poison is dribbled over the landscape, you can drive across the entire state without a single bug messing up your windshield or grill.

Our astonishingly affordable politicians operate just like Monty Python’s famous Dead Parrot sketch.  They refuse to admit there’s anything wrong with the taxpayer’s dead bird, even while loudly insisting that Big Ag is waaaaay more cost-efficient and desirable than a healthier, locally owned, and organic biocide industry  

But lo Walmart shoppers!  Scotts Miracle Gro, the exclusive marketing agent for Monsanto’s consumer products in North America, is launching a new herbicide suitable for organic gardeners.  It contains ammonium nonanoate, a liquid “with quick dissolution in the soil.” 

But even if the “sterile sponge” philosophy of chemical farming is rejected as laughable by real organic farmers, MiracleGro is betting that vast numbers of low information customers will keep profits fat.   Bad consequences will follow also.

For example, the acres of farmland harboring glyphosate-resistant weeds nearly doubled from 2010 to 2012, from 32.6 million acres to 61.2 million acres.  Doubled in two years! 

A synthetic poisons ban will help create a safe, profitable and locally grown food system, but only if Missouri farmers get both financial support and a market-coordinated plan from the get-go.  “We need to help farmers reduce risk during transition, create long-term contracts, invest in appropriate technology, and commit to developing infrastructure to support investment return.”  Peter Golbitz, founder of consulting firm Agromeris.  

For now, the search for political sanity remains theoretical. “It’s definitely a tightrope act,” says Gary Wheeler, CEO of Missouri Soybean Association when discussing Missouri dicamba restrictions. “Making sure we deliver to our farmers and working side by side with industry and regulatory partners at the same time.”  

Indeed.  Watch the gut-churning documentary Food Inc for truth about how this “side-by-side with industry” thing works in practice.  Meanwhile, the natural processes of species resurgence and immunity backlash runs amok at our cost.

But what about the men and women who work at the bottom of the pesticide pyramid?  What will become of them?  Well, they stand to move straight up to ownership positions as our frontline “keepers of the balance of nature.”  

They will combine information, decision-making criteria, and a variety of methods and materials to achieve nutrient dense soils and a naturally-occurring pest mortality ratio. The promotion of natural and beneficial predatory and parasitic insects, and plant-grown mortality agents within an effective and redeeming pest management system, is the key to sustainable organic farm incomes. Believe in global worming!

“It should have been obvious all along,” said entomologist Robert van den Bosch (author of The Pesticide Conspiracy), “that no species can really overpower nature without disrupting the entire planet’s ecosystem and food chains.  Yet that kind of domination is exactly what we humans are still trying to achieve.  It’s responsible for the many, many ecological problems that are beginning to manifest themselves.”  

Integrated pest control and the banishment of synthetic pesticides, fungicides and rodenticides is underway across America. Will Ava stop using taxpayers’ money to poison city property?  Will it take a lawsuit?   To check out strategies that will successfully drive carcinogens from a community see Moms Across America (Zen Honeycutt is Founding Executive Director).  Save the bees, already! 

Thanks in advance for doing the right thing.  

We now return  Herald readers to the Small Medium’s snit-de-jour.

Consciousness is not to be confused with perception. Most people would say that we’re conscious of anything we perceive:  “Kick a rock if you’re confused on the concept!”  We could diagram the situation as “I”◊(kick a rock).  We typically think our consciousness is the second item, but in reality it is the entire expression.

The error lies in believing that consciousness is an actual space inhabited by elements called sensations, ideas, and learning- and all as muddled up with that vaguest of fallback terms, experience.  But if perception is consciousness, why are we least conscious when doing something habitual?  How many of us can recall anything we’ve seen when rushing across town and late for an appointment?   

Most of the time we’ve been yakking on the phone, barring our teeth to the wind, and making eddies in the space-time wash.  Oh yes, we may insist that our consciousness is doing it all, but our head, hands and feet operate in another world, continuously obeying a sense of driving on the road and not the sidewalk, stopping at red lights and so on.  Our deep programming drives along without any rational or logical acts of will.  Meanwhile, in real time, our robot over-lords are laughing.

When asked the question, ‘what is consciousness?’ we become conscious of consciousness, and take this to be the most self-evident thing there is.  Unfortunately, it’s not true.  We can, for example, lose consciousness, but not sensory and biological reactivity, which are separate things.  We are, in fact, constantly reacting to things in our environment that have no phenomenal counterpart in consciousness whatsoever.  

Color and light and size contrast effects go on every minute of our waking and even dreaming experiences without our being in the least conscious of them.    Consciousness has been likened to being a flashlight, which illumines things in whichever direction it turns, then concludes that there is light everywhere.  Just like this, we conclude consciousness pervades all aspects of our mentality when actually it is a very modest participant.  

Julian Jaynes (The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind) states that “Like the flashlight, we cannot be conscious of what we are not conscious of, though we are convinced that we are conscious all the time! Certainly this is the feeling. In the flashlight analogy, “the flashlight would be conscious of being on only when it is on.  Though huge gaps in time occurred… it would seem to the flashlight itself that the light had been continuously on.  We are thus conscious less of the time we think.”

Our feeling of being an uninterrupted ‘I’ assumes that we (put your name here) emanate as a steady and mighty stream of consciousness. But the flashlight metaphor is closer to how the subjective conscious seems to itself without any careful distinction between what is introspective, and all the other neural abilities and powers operating in our lives.  Consciousness is not cognition and should be sharply distinguished from it. More to come . . .