Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Intentional Ignorance and Inconvenient Truths

I have heard people say so many times "Don't tell me. I don't want to know!" Why don't you want to know? What don't you want to know?

If you're saying "No, I don't want to know what happens in that movie." or "Don't tell me the ending of that book." or "No, I don't want to know how to make a car." or "No, I don't want to know what it's like to see someone killed by a bomb.", well, I can fully understand and sympathize with those sentiments.

You don't like that movie, or want to see it yourself; you want to read the book, and have the outcome be a surprise; you're not interested in mechanics; you're not a soldier and/or are squeamish.

However...Someone brings up circumcision. You say "Don't tell me! I don't want to know! I'm just getting it done cause that's what the doctor recommends." Well, why? Why not become fully informed? What if that someone said to you "No health organization in the WORLD recommends the procedure, it is the amputation of a completely normal body part, the procedure is highly painful for infants, anesthesia is rarely used and when it is, is never enough to block the pain completely, and there are often complications such as hemorrhage, infection, damage to the glans, tightness of the skin on the shaft (painful erection), scarring, and death. Would you circumcise your daughter? No, because that's genital mutilation. But it's the same thing on a boy as on a girl - a major, unnecessary, mutilative surgery on a non-consenting minor."
(more info here:

And you go on to say "Don't tell me any more! I don't want to know!" Why? Is it because you don't want to have to face making a decision, one that family and friends may not be happy with? Or perhaps if you face that it may be wrong, you'll need to spend time an effort researching it to find out if these facts are true. Perhaps, once you realize just what it means to circumcise, with all the after-effects, you'll feel obligated to advocate against it. Perhaps you've already circumcised one or more sons, and don't want to face that you just might have been wrong, or you were circumcised yourself, and don't want to face that clearly. Whatever your reasons, why are you willfully choosing to be ignorant on a subject that has a very high impact on yours and others' physical and mental well-being? At least research on it.

There are quite a lot of other parenting topics that a lot of people "don't want to know about it". Why? Look in to it. A lot of people tend to be of the mantra "it didn't hurt me growing up" or "I turned out fine", so why not do the same with my kids. Did you really? Is it really not harming your children?

Another topic that people tend to not want to know about is food. I'm really researching organic farming, and the one book I'm reading, called The Organic Farming Manual (pub date: 2010), says in there that (in regards to what contaminants you should test your water for) "Arsenic, in areas where there are large poultry operations, as it is now routinely added to commercial poultry rations."

Say WHAT? They add arsenic to our chickens - and we eat them? "I don't want to know, don't tell me....I like eating chickens." do I, but I don't like eating chickens that eat arsenic. I could go for an organic chicken, but it would cost more. I could also just ignore/acknowledge that I'm eating chicken which ate arsenic, and eat it anyway.

Potatoes. I recently read The Omnivore's Dilemma. Here's a quote from there. He's talking about a potato farm that is typical of most potato farms that supply potatoes for french fries, and quite possibly general consumption. Page 8:

"It was fifteen thousand acres, divided into 135-acre crop circles. Each circle resembled the green face of tremendous clock with a slowly rotating second hand. That sweeping second hand was the irrigation machine, a pipe more than a thousand feet long that delivered a steady rain of water, fertilizer, and pesticide to the potato plants. The whole farm was managed from a bank of computer monitors in a control room. Sitting in that room, the farmer could, at the flick of a switch, douse his crops with water or whatever chemical he thought they needed.
One of these chemicals was a pesticide called Monitor, used to control bugs. The chemical is so toxic to the nervous system that no one is allowed in the field for five days after it is sprayed. Even if the irrigation machine breaks during that time, farmers won't send a worker out to fix it because the chemical is so dangerous. They'd rather let that whole 135-acres crop of potatoes dry up and die.
That wasn't all. During the growing season, some pesticides get inside the potato plant so that they will kill any bug that takes a bite. But these pesticides mean that people can't eat the potatoes while they're growing, either. After the harvest, the potatoes are stored for six months in a gigantic shed. Here, the chemicals gradually fade until the potatoes are safe to eat. Only then can they be turned into french fries.
That's how we grow potatoes?
I had no idea."

That's what we're eating? Have those chemical levels really faded to a safe level? Is there a safe level for such toxins? Just what are we putting into our bodies. The other major question is: "Where did all those chemicals go?" They leached out of the potatoes, therefore they must have leached into something else. Where? The most obvious answers would be our air, earth, and especially our water. That means contamination.

"But I like eating potatoes. If you keep telling me about all the foods that are bad for me, I won't be able to eat anything!"

I like eating potatoes too. Do I want to support agriculture businesses that promote dousing our foods in [toxic] chemicals though? No. If I know, I can do something about it. I can change my eating practices so that I'm eating organic. I can protest the big business. I can buy locally, organically grow food from my local farmer's market. I can buy organic in the grocery store. Ya, organic is more expensive, but it's far better for the environment. It's also higher in nutrients, and you're paying for the true cost. (If you don't know what I mean by that, research it!)

"I just want to continue doing what I've always done. Change is hard. Besides, it doesn't really affect me and my life."

Well, it's your body, your choice, so you can choose to poison yourself if you want. However, a lot of experts are predicting a food crisis by 2050, some say by 2025. I'm sure you've heard of the unrest in Egypt and other countries in that area. A lot of the unrest is due to them having a food crisis, or put more plainly they are starving, so they are warring, to get more food. So if growing practices and food consumption practices don't change drastically by 2025, or at the latest 2050, you're looking at starving and having to war for more food. Does that affect you now?

Let's say you're 20 years old. that's 14, almost 13 years from now. If your country goes to war for food, you're highly likely to be drafted (that means force-recruited) to fight for your country. Or looking at the later're 60 now. That means that you probably are too old to fight, past reproductive age, sick from many of the chemicals and bacteria that are now prevalent in our foods, air, water, and earth (e.coli outbreak in cabbage anyone?) That means you're useless, and worse than useless: a drain on limited food resources. You and anyone older than that will be the first to have your food supply cut off. Does that affect you now?

Knowledge is power. The more you know, the more you have the power to enact change, be it in your food choices, parenting styles, choices for your children, schooling, jobs, church, etc.. It might not be a lot of power, but is it power. Sometimes it's enough. Remember the movie Ants? The ants fought back and won against the grasshoppers, because although they each had very little power, together as a cohesive whole they were powerful. If you get enough people together, each of them with a little power, it adds up to a lot of power and sometimes it's enough to overpower and fight off the grasshoppers.

You also have power as an individual. Every time you buy a product, you are endorsing that product, and encouraging business to produce more of it, whatever it is.

Knowledge is power. Stop closing your eyes and ears to the truth simply because it's inconvenient and use that knowledge to enact change in your life, others, your community, county, and even the world.


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