Visiting on the Porch…

The following conversation didn’t initially start out being about freedom:  I was sitting on the porch visiting with family when one person mentioned that they had recently heard that it would be required by law that all food made with Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) be labeled so that the consumer would know.  This family member was somewhat upset that scientists, and especially food producers, would be modifying the genetics of something and then feeding it to people.  Another family member tried to calm her fears by explaining that scientists were just selectively breeding in their labs the same way humans had been selectively breeding in our world for thousands of years.  I stepped in to point out that, though his definition applied to some genetically modified organisms, there were some GMO’s that were resulting from the mixing of the genes of a plant with the genes of an animal or bacteria (https://www.nature.com/scitable/topicpage/genetically-modified-organisms-gmos-transgenic-crops-and-732).  This caused the first family member to be even more upset!

Understanding Terms

We then talked about how the term GMO could be confusing.  The technology could be used to cross breed, say, two species of pea plants to get desired traits expressed.  People can do this in their backyard, it just takes longer to pollinate the plants, grow them out, select for the desired traits, cross the appropriate parents and then grow out the resulting offspring.  The same technology could also be used to cross a plant with an animal or bacteria.  They aren’t even in the same scientific kingdom!  We have yet to see what can happen from such experiments, but we know that this doesn’t happen in nature.

Important Distinctions

I suggested that the reason for not making the distinction between the broad category of GMO and the distinct sub-category of Transgenic Organism (TGO) might be because many people would refuse to purchase anything made from the TGO process.  More truth, the explanation of the distinction between GMO and TGO, would lead to our ability as consumers to be more discerning in our purchases.  We would have the freedom to decide with our money whether or not we thought GMO processes in general and TGO specifically was worthwhile.  Companies would follow our lead instead of the other way around.  Because little of the information on GMO’s has been in the media and most of that has been under the umbrella of “better living through science”, consumers are only recently becoming aware that there might be concerns.

Truth, the Whole Truth, and nothing but the Truth

This example reminds me of an oath someone takes when they testify in a court of law.  They promise to “tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.”  The definition shared of a Genetically Modified Organism was the truth, but it wasn’t the whole truth because it left out what many believe is crucial information about Transgenic Organisms.  While the basic definition can be satisfactory in some instances, when it comes to perceived health and safety, people want more; they want the whole truth.  Truth makes us more able to use our freedom to choose wisely.

Decisions…

As humans, we are faced with decisions every day that require us to know at least some truth.  Think about it, each day we

  • Make purchases
  • Support relationships
  • Perform labor for ourselves, and/or others
  • Make financial decisions
  • Make medical choices
  • Ingest food
  • Commute

Being Informed

Let’s take an example of a vehicle purchase.  I want something reliable and economical.  To me, that means it won’t leave me stranded somewhere and it will get 25-30 miles to the gallon.  That’s as discerning as I get.  And I don’t want it to be yellow.  My husband, who has more experience and knowledge with cars, will look at 8-10 factors that have to do with reliability.  Because he is already tuned in to those factors, he makes good decisions about which vehicle to buy.  He has sought out more truth about vehicles than I have, so I’m glad to have him make decisions about our vehicle purchases.

Principles are the Truth that is Always There

When it comes to gardening, I have sought out truth.  I have learned different methods from different gardeners.  What I have found out is that each method makes sense when it’s explained, but when I apply it in my own growing conditions, I start to see the principles (the whole truth) that run across the different methods.  The principles are the truth that is always there, regardless of the conditions.  Plants need moisture and sunlight to grow, for example.  The methods adapt principles to certain conditions; they are the application of truth.  As I experiment with what I’ve learned, I gain greater understanding of the underlying principles; I get the truth.  As I communicate with and learn from other gardeners in my area who have the same growing conditions, it clarifies and confirms what I know.  As I communicate with and learn from gardeners in other areas, it both challenges what I know and extends it.  Principles are true regardless of the circumstances.  It is our application of the truth that can change to adapt to individual circumstances.  Our freedom to act on the truth we learn and how we apply that truth is really one of the primary benefits of freedom.  Acting on what we learn and know to be true is what empowers us, whether we are purchasing a reliable vehicle or growing a productive garden.

Finding Truth

So how do we find truth?  When we think we have found truth, a principle, we think through how it could apply in our life or our situation.  How could it benefit us?  Has ignoring the principle been holding us back?

We might look for examples of how other people have applied the truth in their lives. Whether it’s eating organic, non-GMO food or choosing a reliable vehicle, how are other people we trust making purchases?  When it comes to lifestyle choices, do we have examples to look to?  Do we have friends who choose to stay up late and other friends who rise early?  What is different about them?  Does one have more success than the other?  Who has better health?  Peace in their life?  Sometimes we can’t see all the factors affecting an individual, but we can observe and learn from others.

Finally, we can apply the principle ourselves.  We can “experiment upon the word,” so to speak, and see if the idea we have heard of or learned about applies for us.  If it does, we can be surer the idea is a truth.

We can all find truth in our lives.  We can learn about the way things work, whether they are physical things, mental things, emotional or spiritual things.  When we learn about something, we can think it through.  How does this apply to me?  What have I seen in my life that supports or refutes this?  We can learn more by looking at the examples of others.  Sometimes we just see their example because they are in our life.  Sometimes we read about them or read their own story.  And finally, we can apply what we think is true in our life.  This is the biggest test of truth there is, application. 

Truth should guide our choices.  Seeking truth is vital to freedom.  We can’t promote freedom without understanding truth.  So, I encourage you to seek out and understand truth.

Take the Challenge:

What truths have you been learning about lately?  Are there principles that you want to apply in your life?  Have you seen another person’s example in which they are finding peace, success, or other good because they have chosen to live by a specific principle or set of principles?  Write down what that principle is and make a plan to let that guide your decisions for the next 2 weeks.  That’s usually long enough for it to begin to work in your life, see the results, and decide whether to make it your own.

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One more thing, the above-linked article seemed unbiased and informative for both sides of the GMO-TGO debate.  Here is another article that seemed balanced, as well.  I don’t want to sway your thinking, but I do want you to be informed and to think.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetically_modified_organism