Identity

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I keep thinking about the idea that the root cause of nearly all problems today – whether they be ecological, societal, political, or those of human mental and physical health – seems to be a disconnect from reality. It seems to be a narrow minded, egotistical, addiction-like mentality where the needs and wants of the ‘I’ or ‘We’ are superior to the needs and wants of ‘You’ and ‘Them’. Industrial agriculture rests solely on this premise.

‘I’ or ‘We’ – whether defined as humanity, a corporation, a nation-state, a race – are always the ones that know better. The technologies we use and the activities we spend our time on are ideally focused on acquiring more power and enjoyment. Despite the vast amount of effort expended and possible repercussions that could occur, our shifting and amorphous goals are paramount. It may cost us billions of dollars, billions of human and non-human lives, and the very security we wish to maintain, but our goals of growth, production, and control in every facet of our lives are supposedly worth this cost and effort. The myths the author dispels show that industrial agriculture is nothing more than a big waste of time – better yields can come from smaller, more intensive and ecologically sustainable agriculture. Its them trying to bend reality to fit the system rather than the system fit reality.

The idea of what is best seems to be expressing our dominance over the ‘other’. Whether or not we really need the top of the line technology (despite its tendency to consume increasing amounts of time and money) or the most attractive mate (or lack there of) we as a society seem to drift towards whatever we feel will allow us the greater dominance over the existence that lies outside our bodies. We need to make money by focusing on easily mechanized cash crops. We need to be famous by building our company into a multi-billion dollar corporation. We need to push the threshold of ‘progress’ with genetic engineering. All to prove our worth and express our dominance over those who lack the wits, luck, or patience. Its gold, glory, and God (which seems to be either science or money) driving us again, as always.

In reality, this dominance of what lies outside our bodies must have to do more with maintaining dominance over ourselves within. We all have multiple identities – college student, son, daughter, boyfriend, girlfriend, citizen, consumer – the list can go on and on. Each of these identities is held up by the actions we perform and the beliefs we maintain, and to keep these identities we have to perform these actions lest the identities fall apart.

It might be that we identify with the wrong things. We identify with the myths of progress, fame and fortune. We identify with the artificial rather than the natural. We separate ourselves from the land, sea, and sky as well as all the non-humans that dwell within it. This isn’t a game with an end, but a cycle and a web.

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