Friday, February 6, 2015

The Absurdity of Extremism

We live in a modern society, we consider extremism to be, well, "extreme." We sit surrounded by plastics and synthetics, swimming in prefabricated food and swirling thirty second advertising sound bites. News stories are all extreme, even the weather. Every day there is a new, drastic weather condition. It is never just a sunny day or a snowy day, it is now a Polar Apocalypse.

In many countries, people have what they need by growing their own food. They may not wear pants or shoes on their feet. They do not spend hours every day online. They do not have smartphones, dumb phones or televisions. Their world is not inundated with glossy perfect smiling models starving for attention. Their world is full of life. Nobody has it easy. Not us surrounded by a cacophony of conflicting rabid views and arguments, nor the boy going without meals in a third world country. Different extremes. The extreme of comfort driven life versus the extreme of survival. While we live in comfort, joking about the odd sudden die off of the bees; other countries have started doing their research.

While we prioritize and set our DVRs to record pabulum shows, people in other countries work on addressing the needs of their people and trying to protect their wellbeing- as well as their environment.

I am not going to be extreme, but I am going to point out some absurdities: first, when at least thirty countries have scientists and leaders denying corporations the right to grow certain crops that are genetically modified it is not something moronic or easily dismissed. When Russian newspapers express confusion about how Americans somehow choose to remain uneducated and make potentially reckless decisions regarding crops and nutrition it seems like "oh, those silly Russians-like they have a clue." Well. Maybe they do. What are the rates of diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease and obesity in the United States? Compare those rates to other countries. Go ahead, google it. This blog will still be here. I want you to take a look for yourself.

Now, I am going to put on corporation shoes for a moment. Tight, shiny, expensive shoes. If I wanted to maximize my profits and they were my only priority I would take these steps:

1. I would put a well paid employee or independent contractor in a position to do irritating, slightly misinformed campaigns against me. I would create my own extreme hater- so that the average joe encountering this venomous creature would feel driven to defend my company and to show support by buying from me just to spite the jerk. This would also get people to ignore any news legitimate or illegitimate about my products or practices. MY PROFITS GO UP.

2. I would use ad campaigns to appeal and insinuate that I support practices Americans want to perceive me as supporting. Those thirty second sound bite ads, people rarely look past them.

3. I would label different types of products under sub company names so people don't realize how large my company actually is. Movie companies, soda companies etc. They all do this. Do you know what seven corporations own most of the products you buy? It is another easy google search.

Those shoes aren't to my liking. I am taking them off.

Why are the bees dying? Why do anti-GMO campaigns in the United States focus on disproving cancer links rather than mentioning the unethical practices against small farmers and the dangerously high death rate of bee populations that other countries have linked to some of the modified crops?

If the bees die off, what pollinates the flowers- your smartphone?

Ethics in advertising. Ethics in practices. We do not prioritize these. We prioritize and justify the profits of the corporations, that are already laughing their way to the bank with the profits we have already endorsed them with. They use the money we spend to buy the votes that are ours. We give them our votes and our voices. It is our choice. We can educate ourselves, we can encourage stores to offer other, small label brands supporting small business. We can choose to vote wisely with that dollar or we can make fun of the people who do while our ignorance shines brightly for the rest of the world to see.

We become a country of Emperors in New Clothes, in a world bemused by our pride in ignorance.

We express anger over other forms of Extremism and of folks with opposing views. We forget compromise and what we should prioritize. We are as extreme in our own ways as the folks we make fun of for being irrational and dangerous overseas. If we want to become world leaders again, we have to choose to educate ourselves and prioritize in a non-egocentric, narcissistic manner. Right now, we sound like overindulged, obese children who have been spoiled rotten. Shrieking and shouting, pouting about how we should treat each other here and overseas.

Abortion. Religion. Color. Weight. Gender. Taxation. Political Parties. Nationality. Guns. Diet.

When do we get back to the grey area of being human and accepting the value of the differences between us? When do we get back to valuing our world and the species on it? When do we get back to valuing spirit and intelligence? When do we get back to valuing ourselves? Perhaps if we get to the point where we can accept and love ourselves, we can learn to accept others. It is our path to choose.