Roland Dürre
Saturday March 10th, 2012

On Gene Technology

A short time ago, I again heard someone speaking in favour of gene technology. Well, maybe some of it was not to be dismissed lightly, since it sounded quite plausible.

But still:
The future sounded too beautiful and clinical. Too many simple problem solutions were promised. The strategies looked too easy. Consequently, the number of “abstract” reservations I already had are now more than before – and my personal discomfort grew.

Reservation No 1
Gene technology accelerates the development – whereas what we really need is some “deceleration”.

The longer I live, the more I come to the conclusion that we would really benefit from a “deceleration process”. Because “haste makes waste”. Consequently, I feel sceptical with everything that increases complexity or even speeds up the process. It would be better to “de-complicate” and to simplify our lives.    
We live in the “here and now” to an extremely huge degree. But we should also accept that there is no “today without yesterday” and no “tomorrow without today”. And that you have to be patient with the “tomorrow”.

Reservation No 2
Food is subjected to patent and licence regulations.

There are already concerns who announce that it is their entrepreneurial goal to dominate the sector “food production”. Will there be a “Foodle” after “Google”? Mind you, when I mention Google, I also include Amazon, Facebook and the other firms that want to rule the world.

Reservation No 3
Top quality is no longer the most important issue about food.

I get more and more horrified when I see the things we serve. And then I hear about retro tomatoes as the last hope for the return of sensible food.    
When I was young, Brussels sprouts still tasted bitter. Where did it go, the soft bitterness of Brussels sprouts? And there is much more of the same …    
In my opinion, there is a general trend towards a rapid increase of negative trends such as superficiality when it comes to taste through gene technology. It is also quite sad that quality will eventually be beaten by quantity.

Reservation No 4

It is dangerous to excuse negative effects by saying “they already happened, anyway”.

It reminds me of what was said about: “antibiotics are already in the soil because of the excrements from the cows raised with antibiotics”. Since this is already the case, why not let the soil be contaminated by plants that have been mutated with gene technology? Of course, I oppose this, as well. I believe first and foremost we should reverse the original wrong-doing.
Reservation No 5    
We get more and more remote from a life appropriate to our species.

Gene technology is one of the developments called progress that create a more and more functional and efficient world. A simplified cultural world substitutes a natural world appropriate to the species. And it happens to a larger extent than ever before. Metaphorically spoken we are approaching some sort of modern “Resopal World”. It promises all kinds of things: longer life, improved health, …
But what is so nice about getting even older by using new medication while all we get is more time for suffering from lingering illnesses and dementia?

In this article, I consciously refrained from using “sturdy” arguments against gene technology. Instead, I focussed on the more “moral” issues.

(Translated by EG)

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