Monday, October 31, 2011

Musings: More Trick Than Treat

It's mostly murky at both the six o'clocks now, as darkness extends its reach into either end of the day. But dark is good for Halloween, the time of the year when the veil between the realms is thinnest, our shadow sides closest to the surface, daring us to take a good, long look — it it a trick or treat?

I couldn't find a pumpkin to carve into a jack-o-lantern yesterday, though bags of junky candy were plentiful. I heard the other day that Americans eat 135 pounds of sugar each year — nearly a third of a pound each day. That's way, way up from the 15 pounds a year consumed in 1830, and off the charts when you think of how humans evolved without any refined sweeteners. It is it any wonder that obesity, diabetes and cancer are rampant?

And soon much of that sugar will come from sugar beets that have been genetically engineered to withstand direct applications of Roundup. Still, that's not the only sweet trick ahead for human guinea pigs. Monsanto also plans to start selling genetically modified sweet corn — its first GE product developed specifically for consumers, to be sold unlabeled, of course, to the unsuspecting.

As I suspected would be the case, the mayor's pick, Mike Dahilig, has been confirmed as planning director. I was heartened to learn that Mike is keenly interested in food security and is actually taking some enforcement actions against vacation rentals. Still, I couldn't help but feel profound dismay in reading The Garden Island's account of his appointment:

Commissioner Hartwell Blake said Tuesday that in the numerous discussions among commissioners, there was a feeling that perhaps they should have advertised for the position, because the perfect candidate could have been “out there.”

Blake said it would have been nice if a “perfect candidate” was really out there, but the commissioners will never know.

Ah, yes, there are so many things that planning commissioners will never know, because they just don't ask.

I asked Police Chief Darryl Perry to respond to a rumor I'd heard, that he'd directed the cops to stop confiscating driver's licenses, badges and license plates issued by the Reinstated Hawaiian Nation and Kingdom of Atooi. His response: “Absolutely not.”

As he sees it, such items are evidence, and so must be confiscated in order to prove the alleged crime, be it driving without a license or registration, or impersonating an officer. Needless to say, he did not agree with Judge Watanabe's ruling ordering the cops to return Dayne Gonsalves' Kingdom of Atooi marshal badge, a decision that's been sent up to the Intermediate Court of Appeals.

Meanwhile, I heard that some Kingdom members had used their badges to try and get money from the westside seed companies, claiming they were using their land, which is not entirely far-fetched, since some of the firms do lease the so-called “ceded lands,” though naturally they balked, as they're already paying the state. And I also heard that some Kingdom members had demanded folks pay $35 to park on “their land” at the Andy Irons funeral, and that some unsuspecting motorists complied. Now, that sort of trick does not build sympathy for a cause.

Fittingly, Halloween 2011 has been chosen as the day when the Earth's population of humans — a species with seemingly infinite demands — hits 7 billion, a milestone that's gotta be more trick than treat for a planet with finite resources and countless other species.

It's a strange world we've created, what with genetically altered plant and animal organisms being regularly introduced into the biosphere, to what end we do not know. And now the corporations are moving on to humans. As Democracy Now! reports, “In the past 30 years, more than 40,000 patents have been granted on [human] genes alone—many more patents are pending.”

So what to think and do about it all?

Just the other day, I was listening to a New Dimensions interview with neuropsychologist Rick Hanson, who spoke about human evolution, and how initially, those who were fearful and irritable were more likely to survive.

But though circumstances in our environment have greatly changed, our responses have not. We're still reacting in the same old way, living in a state of chronic sympathetic over-activation and arousal that no longer serves us well, Dr. Hanson argues. Instead, it works to depress the immune system and prompts the release of excessive stress hormones, which harm our cardiovascular and digestive systems.

A few simple actions — consciously undertaken — can help us move out of old reactionary behaviors, he says. These include yawning, touching our lips and exhaling, all of which create “a felt sense of safety,” he says.

I've found that getting out in the garden has a similar effect, with the added benefits of fresh veggies, physical exercise, greater connectedness with the natural world and a profound sense of satisfaction.

"The currents of society are pushing against us,” Dr. Hanson says. “If we want to be healthy and happy, we have to swim against the tide. We have to decide, I want to be a hammer rather than a nail."


Anonymous said...

If I had a hammer....

Anonymous said...

"If all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail."

- Abram Maslow

Anonymous said...

"because the perfect candidate could have been “out there.”"

still is, you will never know.

Anonymous said...

"The greater part of our happiness or misery depends on our dispostions, not our circumstances."

--Martha Washington

Anonymous said...

This is the only place in the country that would hire someone with such little experience and youth. He isn't qualified to do the job, here or anywhere.