I don’t come from a tradition that views money as the source of all evil. Money is useful. Money feeds people, saves people, builds and creates. Money can accomplish amazing things. It can also subvert a political system, corrupt our food supply, limit our medical options and destroy entire populations.
Kind of like the mantra we hear from the NRA, “guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” Yeah, and money doesn’t kill people, people kill people.
But too many bad things are happening with guns in the U.S. And too many bad things are happening when a very few people have all the money in the U.S.
Well, it’s a big world, and the problems in it are complex and multi-faceted, and no single solution is going to solve our problems — but we have to start somewhere. Better regulation of guns and money seems like a good place to start. Or two of many places to start trying to correct our problems.
So one of the things I notice is that money is power. It gives people a bigger voice. Maybe they’ll use that voice to do something I agree with, something wonderful, something that benefits the world. But maybe they’ll use that voice to do something I don’t like at all or that is destructive. And if that money gives someone a bigger voice than me, or a bigger voice even than a majority of people, that’s not right. That’s not what democracy is about. One person, one vote.
Today I saw a couple of things on Facebook that started me thinking about how this money theme winds its way through my brain right now, impacting my food choices, lifestyle choices and politics.
1) The first is that picture at the top of this page. A friend who “liked” it commented she wondered why it’s so hard to find this place in life. I’m thinking it has something to do with the complications caused when money is the foundation of our existence in this culture — and by that, I’m not talking about having lots of money. I’m talking about having it, not having it or having some of it. It doesn’t matter — it’s not the money itself. It’s the fact that money is the basis of our values, it’s the engine that drives the machine in this country. It shapes our decisions. It can put us in situations we then have to spend all our time supporting. It can keep us up at night. It can distort how we see things. It can militate against simplicity, making our lives very complicated.
2) The second was a conversation surrounding a post on GMOs and Monsanto. On the theme of distortions, a professor of mine once said with regard to the Bible, the narrative is shaped by those who “won,” historically speaking. So applying that principle to the current state of our food supply mechanisms, I wonder if the narrative hasn’t been shaped by those who “win” in this culture, namely those who have money? Good research is expensive, and someone with dollars has to support it.
A blogger I like raised questions about some comments I made related to GMOs. And the comments are well-taken. But what occurs to me is that there is so much hype out there on all sides of any issue, so much research on all sides of any issue — that an ordinary person, someone who’s not a scholar in these areas and has other things that consume their time, could spend the rest of their life reading through it and still not find “the truth.” And back to money: there’s the question of who’s funding the research and making it public? For the most part, probably “mainstream” food operations who are making lots of money. That doesn’t make it bad, just one-sided.
The internet has changed the picture to an extent by democratizing our voices, but opinions or guesses or concerns aren’t the same as solid research, which brings a non-mainstream opinion back to the reality: money governs, to a large extent, the ability to do the research and disseminate it.
So the medical profession told us for years that butter and eggs will kill us and didn’t say a word about added sugars in foods and lack of fiber. Different information was out there — just not enough funded studies and not disseminated widely enough. And a strong sugar lobby that suppressed information. Now we have those with money going after a small company that is successfully selling an excellent vegan mayonnaise.
I’m not a conspiracy theorist, not at all. But I do think money chooses what research will be done, what information will be put out there, spreads it far and wide, in short, has the capability to influence our view of things. I don’t have time to research everything, especially things not in my area of study, so what I see is what crosses my line of vision. What crosses my line of vision as far as good, solid research is more likely to be well-funded and widely marketed research. Or quick and easy posts to the internet that may not yet have research backing them.
3) Medicine brings me to the third thing, a video series I’m watching. I was born in 1948. I’m old enough to be the beneficiary of many years of unchallenged bias in favor of medicine rather than “healing.” I recognize in myself hesitation when someone starts to talk about the latter for prevention and treatment instead of conventional medicine. I’ve watched how difficult it has been to achieve recognition and legitimization for basic concepts like “integrative medicine,” the damage we have caused to ourselves with our food choices, the link between certain diseases and environmental factors including our food choices. It’s difficult to achieve recognition and legitimization for the role of meditation and faith in health. For the potential that naturopaths, eastern modalities, folk remedies, faith-healers, shamans, rituals and ceremonies, micro-nutrients and more may have something to offer in terms of healing. What are we so afraid of?
Why do we suppress ideas and approaches that don’t fit with one point of view? And invest quite a bit of money accomplishing that suppression, by the way. Why not spend the same money on doing and disseminating good research?
And that brings me to the third item I want to share on this topic. I came across a 9-part video series on cancer that drew my attention. I approached it with my usual ambivalence, favorably inclined toward health and healing but indoctrinated to view only conventional medicine as a “real” solution to this terrible disease. Plus I was looking for the sales pitch.
I haven’t yet come to the sales pitch for this series, and I have been fascinated with some information in it about how mainstream medicine came to be while alternative approaches were suppressed and made illegitimate. I can’t vouch for all the information in this series — I haven’t even viewed the whole series yet — but it accords with my personal belief that our bodies seek health and are capable of amazing healing. We just need to get out of their way. In that process, fear is our biggest enemy. There are also enough points that I know are true that it stimulates my interest in the rest.
Most importantly, the video series brings me hope. I’ve lost four people I care about to pancreatic cancer in the last three or four years. The common element was that all were told, there was nothing else to be done. No hope.
I believe there is hope, for pancreatic and other cancers. This video series gives a specific shape to my belief. That shape may change over time, as conventional medicine has, but I’m open to considering these possibilities and would like to see us putting money into learning more about them.
What if these things work in the ways people claim? Why shouldn’t they be covered by insurance, especially when conventional drugs on which people depend can get 5000-fold increases in price overnight? From the death rate for those affected by pancreatic cancer when treated by conventional medicine, which is covered by insurance, I’d say we don’t have much to lose by insuring alternatives. And the alternatives cost so much less because they rely on our natural ability to heal.
Why shouldn’t these possibilities be included in any discussion of options before we say, no hope?
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