By Ivor Hughes
Traditional or ethnic knowledge has a very long taproot. It is wisdom knowledge. Each one of us irrespective of race, colour or spiritual belief may claim it as their rightful heritage, the legacy of our forebears. Long live that noble tradition, for without our roots we wither and die, and most assuredly ...it will be a horrible death ...from cold fish medical science, speculative knowledge and commerce.
I would ask you to consider that the planetary support systems have been badly damaged. Our food supply has been severely compromised by Chemical and Veterinary Farming, and now the further threat of Genetic Modification. The biosphere is contaminated from pole to pole with nervous system toxins and hormone disrupters. Our children are being born genetically damaged. The immunity conferred by nature across untold millennia has been destroyed by this science commerce driven activity.
In that respect Academia performs the same function for commerce that the Arms dealer performs for petty dictators, they are well paid for their services. Perhaps the Mandarins of these establishments feel an overwhelming desire to protect their position of power and privilege, which has obscured reality? This to the detriment of us all. It is a hubris that needs to be challenged and the perpetrators punished.
Academia demands intellectual and scientific freedom. Yet gives the barest nod to social responsibility in return for public support. Academia is still into the medieval practice of book burning and the stifling of dissent. This whilst garnering many billions of dollars on an annual basis from the Pharmaceutical Cartel.
Given the current condition of the planet and everything that she has given birth to, including us, the behavior of science-led public and environmental agencies is inexplicable. Perhaps without the poisons they do not know what to do?
In this age of 'user pays', how could it be any other way? It is the way of the world. In such a mental climate, human decency is running last in the race to Pharmageddon.
It is writ large and clear... in plain view for everyone to see. A Faustian bargain sealed with corruption in every shape and form. So much so, that a few prominent members of science and academia have been led to protest developments. In other words they have placed their careers on the line. Integrity is worthy of example. Unfortunately integrity is in short supply in the professions.
Anyone remember the story of Burke and Hare, the medical body snatchers? If B and H were alive today they would drool and slobber at the sheer size of the market. Whole bodies, dead bodies, live bodies, body organs, tissue cultures and genetic material from every conceivable source. And, a well trodden path to the patent office.
The following statistics were taken from a press release, issued by the US Patent and Trademark Office dated 9th February 2004.
It would be interesting to know what proportion of patents relate to biological material. This unseemly scramble to patent looks rather like the old Californian gold rush days. It has many profound ramifications for the health and freedom of all nations of the world.
The following small extract is taken from an article by Gwen L. Williams.
Gwen L. Williams is currently enrolled in the Master's program at the Graduate School of Library and Information Science, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Biological Objects: Discovery or Invention?
The definition of biological objects is important for whether an intellectual resource falls under copyright protection or is eligible for industrial property protection. In other words, is the biological object a discovery or an invention? This definitional distinction is important because it affects whether the biological object is patentable and thus eligible for industrial property protection. That is, if the biological object is considered a discovery, then the biological object is not the scientist's creation. The creation of the scientist is the publication disclosing the discovery. Hence, copyright applies to the published findings and the protection of intellectual property rights is protection of the copyright. This protection is particularly important in biology where a person's name is associated as the authority for the first published treatment of a new species.
On the other hand, if the biological object itself is considered a creation of the scientist, then the biological object is an invention and is a potentially patentable object. Whereas the scientist's publication disclosing the invention would fall under copyright protection, the issuance and protection of patents fall under the industrial property branch of intellectual property rights: the protection of intellectual property rights is protection of the industrial property, the invention.
The classification of the biological object is not simply a matter of differing epistemological positions. A May 2002 Science article, "DuPont Ups the Ante on Use of Harvard's OncoMouse," details a recent intellectual property debate between private enterprise and academic scientific research where the biological object itself is a patented "mouse engineered to develop cancers." Another Science article, "Patents, Secrecy, and DNA," published in 2001, indicates "more than 25,000 DNA-based patents were issued by the end of 2000" on various genomics inventions, including patents for gene fragments and sequences.
"It is, as it were, a matter of the relations between publicly supported scientific research and commercial for-profit ventures in free-market capitalist economies."
It is my emphasis on the last paragraph of the abstract. Gwen L. Williams has provided a succinct analysis of the situation from the librarian angle. First it was the spice and medicinal species from the farflung corners of the globe ...vast fortunes made with, dynasties founded. Wars fought and Empires and Colonies raised. The people that paid were the indigenous peoples of those lands that were occupied and subjugated. One may play with the words but the story cannot be changed. The only thing changed is the costumes. Once again the rain forests are being plundered for their medicinal materials. The people are plundered for their knowledge, and their genes.
Tragic as this is, the only thing we can offer is legislation... You know how it goes … the same old boring routine of penal punishment … the same old boring social patch, to patch the patch of the last patch that went wrong.
I ask you to ponder this road upon which society is being herded, read the signpost and see. After all the ethics of deciding whether you live or die under such a system have already been mapped out.
The Cosmic joker played his hand …. And there upon the blue of earth … lay a card that said …….. Global Warming!
At this point in time heated debate ensues in scientific forums … Global warming … whose fault is it? Who cares! It IS happening ! An estimated 10% of the biosphere is going to disappear .. fall off the edge of the world … in great clouds of galactic dust .. What are we doing about it ? Have we understood the implications? Have we understood that our common mother is a living organism?
Legislation will not cure a cancer in the Global Brain … In the business of pharmaceutics and medicine the corruption is widespread with mycelium penetrating into State regulatory bodies whose mandate is to protect the people. Rest assured that legislation drafted will allow those establishments to stall indefinitely … as they siphon off the health and wealth of many nations.
Legislation is an increase in the ranks of lawyers who will wax fat from the proceeds. Legislation is the thin end of the wedge … methodically hammered in until the door is sprung, and the State rushes in like a wave of bad breath … For example this current scenario commenced circa 1750.
The British Parliament first stole the land and forced the peasants into the 'Dark Satanic Mills'. This was done at the behest of wealthy land owners and the aspiring industrialists at the dawning of the Industrial Era.
Consequently 22% of the land was taken and enclosed by an Act of Parliament. Nearly 7 million acres, of which, 5 million acres was arable land with the remainder designated as commons.
There were over 5000 pieces of legislation passed by British Parliament to legitimize the theft of the common peoples heritage and rights. Landowners were able to enclose land without reference to parliament, with the proviso that the majority of landowners agreed to the enclosure.
The wide spread suffering, starvation and the forced transportation by convict ships to the colonies were commonplace. The awful genocidal disaster of the Irish Potato Famine; the sacrifice of the common peoples in the self interest of the privileged is rarely acknowledged.
Today the term 'Luddite' is used as a pejorative to designate anyone who is seen as anti progress. This says more about those that use the term, than about those who suffered the consequence, and currently suffer the consequence of that so-called progress of the Pasteur and Dr Frankenstein mind set.
Today that same situation has surfaced in a more subtle guise. This time it is not the land, but rather what comes out of it.
Today that scenario has taken on a sociopathic form. Your right to control your own body and think your own thoughts is being usurped.
Today in a modern form of body snatching they have access to millions of samples of DNA from the Police departments and hospitals. They have an unlimited supply of body organs taken without permission. They have the third world to experiment on with the dripping needle and lethal pills.
Today your heritage is being legislated away, your right to use the herbs of the land by practicing health freedom is being taken from you.
Today we have a whole industry spawning legislation at a global level, which in theory is designed to protect peoples and individuals from the predatory behavior of commerce, science and academia.Yet give thought to legislation, and the inevitable repression and loss of freedom, which ensues perhaps a Western Cultural Revolution is the answer. If not then it is difficult to see how we can change the current cold fish academic and scientific mindset. Mainstream life sciences have no soul. No respect for life. No sense of awe or wonder at the incredible complexity of it all.
Human experimentation from cradle to grave … At the turn of the 20th century and well into the 1950,s the young thrilled to stories of Cannibals … today the grass skirt and cauldron have been replaced by white coats and patents.
There are far better roads for us to travel. Our history is a chain of thought. Our development as a specie has been through many levels of consciousness … perhaps it is time for us to move on. Perhaps we are on the verge of Spiritual break through?
"The aspiration to be 'Scientific' is such and idol of the tribe to the present generation, is so sucked in with his mothers milk by every one of us, that we find it hard to conceive of a creature who should not feel it, and harder still to treat it freely as the altogether peculiar and one sided objective interest that it is".
William James, Principles of Psychology 1890
15th Feb 2004
Northland New Zealand
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