The kid, the father and the dog.

A friend told me that he read a sentence on the internet and got scared. It was this:

“How strange people are…. they leave their son in a nursery, the father in an asylum, and go for a walk with the dog ”. 

I asked him who was the author, so I could quote him or her here, but my friend didn’t remember. Even though, I felt like I should talking a little bit about it. What do you think of this sentence? Shocking? Was it distant from the truth of the facts? After all, what is this society, what are these times, what are we living in?

See, in the field of medicine, doctors today need to follow generalist protocols, which are not very flexible, imposed by the councils, if they don’t want to be sued by themselves dissatisfied patients. However, these patients comfortably transfer the responsibility for their cure or the maintenance of their health, to doctors. 

On the other hand, doctors, as a way to update themselves professionally, attend congresses, courses and symposia, entirely sponsored by the laboratories that manufacture the medicines. There, they watch presentations of “scientific” works, also sponsored by the same laboratories, which prove the efficiency of their medicines. There are those who spend five minutes to see a patient!

In agribusiness, food producers are visited daily by sellers of agricultural inputs. They are harassed as if they were great stars of music or sport. If they represent a high purchasing potential, they will receive free invitations to attend lectures, field days, to travel abroad with all inclusive, or to go to conventions at high-end resorts. Many submit … and become hostages. 

On the other hand, consulting agronomists, responsible for crops, follow “official” guidelines and references from protocols and fertilization tables from the last century. Subject to inspection by governamental bodies that are completely out of date and subject to the fierce influence of large multinational input manufacturers, these consultants simply have no incentive to issue recommendations outside of the interests of these manufacturers. 

The agricultural model dictated by the manufacturers and distributors of inputs is so perverse, that it uses all the necessary communication power to cause, in the minds of producers and people in general, tremendous conceptual confusions. Thus, the salesperson of inputs also presents himself as a “consultant”. Agroecology, a science that studies agroecosystems, is presented as a minority social movement, so that producers lose interest in getting to know it. The term “sustainability” is used with the greatest vulgarity and ignorance possible, generating the discredit of international partners and lucid public opinion. 

The use of highly toxic poisons to the environment and to people is defended, as if they were innocent “remedies” without which the population would suffer from hunger and poverty. The federal government, ignorant of the issue, succumbs to the pressure of lobbies and releases for use in our foods, poisons that are banned in almost all civilized countries, and which will not make the slightest difference in our production, will only contribute to raise the statistics of cases of cancer. 

At agronomy colleges, students receive a load of hundreds of class hours, on how to use these inputs to “fight” the pests and diseases that infest crops. But they hardly receive classes about what caused these problems and how to avoid them. Agroecology is an almost figurative discipline in agronomy’s college. Even microbiology is treated in a markedly reductionist way.

In the political life of the country, the various subjects of interest to the population are treated by politicians in different ways, except with the necessary public spirit and altruism. For the most part, major national issues, such as education, public health and security, are just a “backdrop” for politicians to take care to acquire more and more power and money for themselves. 

But in the meantime, we are here, walking our dog. While our son is in the nursery and our father is in the nursing home. The phrase says it all! The problem is not the multinationals, it is not the politicians … no. The problem is us, human beings! And that has been going on for a long time. Our history is there, to prove it. Selfishness, pride, vanity and, above all, ignorance; these are the defects that have been with us for centuries. 

For this reason, I continue to believe in what spiritists call “intimate reform”. We can also call this a “Christian attitude”; Buddhists speak of “compassion and right action”. I believe in this solution: a mental effort by each one of us, in order to work on these imperfections that I mentioned. It makes a life worth living.

I think, however, that we should not be silent. The moment is for us to speak up. Our young people need good references. Solidarity yes. Compassion and example, ditto. But there is no point in wanting to change the other. Each one who changes himself. The fact is that we cannot let false premises, or mistaken reasoning, justify actions that our own conscience condemns. 

We live in a delicate moment, as a society; but intimate evolution calls us out loud. Yes, we want to get out of that mud. It’s time to experience higher attunements! Let’s go together, daily, to watch our thoughts?

Antonio N. S. Teixeira
Executive Director – IBA

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