Sunday, September 14, 2008

Hegemony is Easier with Homogeneity- The Power of Slight Differences

The power of slight differences came to my mind yesterday. I was pondering the insanity of farmers losing the power to save seeds. This power is lost because the nature of any corporation, including Monsanto-the owner of destructive technologies like Round-Up and "terminator genes", is simply to make money. And money is often easier to make with hegemony. And hegemony is often easier with homogeneity.

Imagine for a second a dill seed. Tiny, seemingly innocuous, and incredibly powerful, as is the parent plant.

If I buy seeds from the store, they are mass produced for the entire country. There is a need for this seed to grow relatively well everywhere. Obviously, the power of slight differences is lost in this effort. I cannot buy a "Best grown in Cincinnati, OH" seed, let alone a "Best grown in Westwood" seed. But if I take that seed and plant it, and let it reseed it self year after year, that seed will adjust to the soil it is in. It will adjust to the microclimate it grows in. And I need not by dill seed anymore. In fact, bought seed would simply be an inferior product at this point.

Now imagine that that scenario of me letting my seed go to seed as illegal. Imagine that there was a corporation with a team of lawyers and millions of dollars to back them up hot on the trail of anyone trying to save seed. Imagine that charges were being brought against these people who were saving seed. Imagine that the power you have to make slight differences in seeds for the betterment of all was now wrong, illegal, and dangerous. You will have imagined just what Monsanto is doing. You will have imagined the distortion of reality that we are allowing corporations to wrought on the world. You will be seeing hegemony pursuing homogeneity to the extreme. Profit is rubbing out our world.

In fact, it is not much better in consumer electronics. We can relate a product like the iPod to the act of saving seeds. The only difference is that we probably should not have bought that consumer gadget in the first place. A new generation of iThis or iThat is put out just in time for any occasion of buying, which can simply be a new day. The power of technology should be to make our life better. I am positive that the iPod I own has not made my life better. It has taken something away from my life.
And it does not have the power to recreate itself in a new and improved version. The consumer must rely on a completely outside source, a corporation, to bring a new gadget gift to the masses every 6 months or so. And of course this gift costs just as much as the first iteration. Why do we allow this insanity?!?!

You may ask just what the iPod took from my life. Luckily, what it took, I can gain back by simply leaving my iPod on the shelf.

I have done the dished for many, many year now, in part because we do not own a dishwasher. One day, I was rather sick and doing the dishes, and gained a moment of enlightenment. I was enlightened to the fact that I was happy to simply be doing the dishes, and happy to know I would be back to good health soon. Simple, profound, without cost, and priceless.

Yet I had taken to the habit of wearing and iPod while doing the dishes. Instead of finding happiness in myself, I was losing myself to an artificial music experience. I have set my iPod aside for the time and may pick it up when it spontaneously evolves to the next generation.

So I say, leave us alone corporations! We can do well enough with our own seed, our own simple technologies, and our own time to let things be. This act of controlling our own seeds and technologies is enough to enlighten us all. Let things be and be happy in whatever you are doing. Find happiness especially in making slight differences for the betterment of the world.

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