Basic Human Rights (?)
Basic human rights. The things that each of us needs in order to live — and I do mean JUST LIVE. I’m not talking about Porsches or mansions or designer clothes. I’m talking bottom level of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.
Those needs are physical, or as shown in the graphic, “physiological”. They are the very basic needs that must be met before a person can move on to the next level. In fact, each level of needs has to be met before the next level can be reached. It’s very obvious that if those physical needs are not met, everything suffers, even to the point of actually being absent.
You and I may agree on those needs, but the government and corporations do not. Here’s how:
Governments deny social services funding; propaganda about “welfare queens” and “takers” makes many people believe that those who are requesting services are just lazy. State governments enact laws that essentially make it illegal to be poor, such as no sitting for long periods of time on a park bench. If you don’t have a permanent address? You can’t get a job, a driver’s license, or vote. Any money you might have, you have to hold onto it because you can’t leave it in a bank. No shelter for so many people.
Governments also give land rights to corporations — and not just oil companies. When CA was in a drought, the president of Nestle’s said that “water is NOT a basic human right” — and his company needed to pump MORE water out of the (already depleted) supply. (And his company does not pay for the water they take. Grrr.) He said that people need to stay hydrated, so they are buying those bottles of water his company sells. That’s because you’ve taken the water out of our ground, you ass. Of course we have to buy water.
Other reasons to buy water would include such things as oil spills from companies that only care about profits and not about destroying the land and waters around their oil fields. Talk to anyone from Flint MI to find out about having lead in your water. Talk to the folks who have been able to actually set fire to their running water because it was so contaminated with flammables. Talk to anyone who pays a water bill. Here in Eureka, we pay about $40 per month just for the “luxury” of having running water. Our actual water use, in and out, costs about $10. I’m not mad at the state for making sure there will be water — no, I’m angry that water has become a “for profit” commodity, like oil or chemicals, to the point where ancient aquifers are being emptied, and the water tables are drying up. Those aquifers took thousands of years to fill in the first place. How fast do you think they will recover now?
Let’s talk about food in the grocery stores, or as I call it, “Imitation Food-Like Products” (IFLP). In the last 40 years, corporations have found out that they can make more food by adding non-food items to the recipe. Things like polypropylene glycol, used to maintain the moisture in prepared foods and works to maintain their flavor quality for longer periods of time. It is also the main ingredient in antifreeze. It is also used to flush out the septic lines in RVs. But don’t worry, the FDA considers it “GRAS” — “Generally Recognized As Safe”. (Since 1973.) They also add soy, in many forms. Soy beans are a natural source of progesterone, the female hormone associated with menstruation and pregnancy. If it is in almost everything you eat, don’t you think that it will affect your body? You know, like girls starting their periods at ages 8 or 9 instead of 10–13. Males being “less” masculine looking, aka “metrosexuals”. Progesterone will combat testosterone, the male hormone needed for erections and sperm. Maybe this is why there’s so many men with ED? (And not just because everyone is more comfortable talking about it.)
(Side fact: Hops are another plant progesterone. Drink enough beer and you’re going to have some problems…ahem…getting it up.)
If you really want to know what chemicals are added to foods, here’s a list: http://mphprogramslist.com/50-jawdroppingly-toxic-food-additives-to-avoid/ (and this is only 50 of them!). Chemicals are used to increase shelf life, to add flavor, to maintain freshness/moisture, to give it colors and so on.
(Side fact: strawberry and vanilla flavoring can come from a beaver’s anal gland. I don’t want to know who found that out, or why they were even looking.)
If your great-grandmother went into a grocery store today, she would not recognize most of the things on the shelves. And she certainly wouldn’t understand all the chemical names. “Back in the day”, people ate FOOD. Not something created in a lab. “REAL” food, the kind that only had 5 or 6 ingredients and everything was either from a plant or an animal.
Some foods are *designed* to be addictive. There are chemicals in them that create the same brain response as taking heroin. Aspartame, aka “Nutrasweet”, is an excitotoxin that destroys the brain and body. Literally destroys, as in blows up the cells. And you need the ones in your brains. But before it destroys, it give a rush better than heroin or cocaine. Fast food hamburgers are created to give you a rush of grilled, meaty flavor in the first bite — which pushes your body into eating the rest of it really fast. Which is the point: if you chew the burger slowly and thoroughly, you will discover that it actually tastes pretty terrible. If you don’t believe me, go to the one with the golden arches; order a cheeseburger. Nothing else; no fries, no drink. Take a bite and chew it for 2 minutes. I’ve got money that says you will not finish it.
And IFLP is what our government has said is “nutritious” and “meets the body’s nutritional needs”. Remember, these are the same people that said ketchup was a vegetable. Corporate money has bought the silence and complicity of the FDA in order to generate maximum profit on minimum outlay. “Real” food is expensive; if you need a dozen eggs to make 6 cakes, that means you can’t make a ton of cakes without a “dozen” ton of eggs. But what if you can “stretch” the eggs by using chemicals to mimic the function of the eggs in the recipe? Or maybe not even need eggs at all? And so it goes, in almost everything in our modern food stores.
We need rest, sleep, relaxation. Our bodies can only heal themselves while we are asleep. Our brains use that time to organize and file thoughts and memories (part of why we dream). Our muscles are given a reprieve from being used. Most of us are not getting nearly enough sleep.
The reasons for this are many. We work at jobs to meet the bills; we may not actually enjoy our job. Hello, stress. We have to interact with other people in this world and most of them are also hurried, hassled and stressed out. Hello, more stress. We can have stress about money and paying bills, the normal stress of a dynamic relationship which then becomes compounded when put on top of the “baseline” of stress we have. Life situations change; illness occurs. It’s important to note here that there are actually two kinds of stress: dis-stress and eu-stress. Distress is bad: lose a job, get divorced, have someone die, natural catastrophe. Eustress is good: getting married, getting that good job, having a birthday, going on a cruise. BUT. Both of them cause exactly the *same* effects in your body! So both can contribute to both physical and mental disease.
The way our world functions these days, we are living in an almost constant “flight or fight” mode. That was a great protector back when we had to escape from predatory animals or warring tribes. In today’s society, it becomes a source of illness. When you are in that “fight or flight” state, your body doesn’t bother with healing (you might die); adrenaline flows, causing changes in heart rate and breathing; there is no sexual desire because there’s no time for that if you’re in fear for your life. And we are in this condition continually, so it becomes an ingrained (literally, written chemical trails in the brain) habitual behavior.
So between the lack of rest and the constant stress of fight or flight, our bodies lose nutrition. If we feed it IFLP instead of “real” aka organic, no chemicals food, we are not replacing that nutrition with the things the body really needs. This is a main part of overeating — you eat what should be sufficient, but because there’s no real nutrition in what you’ve had, the body demands more. Incidentally, the stomach removes toxins/poisons from your food, wraps them in fat and places them close to the stomach…hello beer belly, even if you don’t drink beer.
Most of the citizens of the USA are affected by all of this. Only the very wealthy can afford the food that will nourish them, the money which removes a great deal of stress, and the knowledge that they have all of the basic needs.
So basic human needs should be considered the same as basic human rights. We should have the right to water, without having to buy the local water in a plastic bottle. We should have the right to food that will maintain our health. We should have the right to the proper rest. We should have the right to some kind of shelter. These are things that EVERYONE must have to even live and since we all deserve the right to live, we deserve the right to these things.
Our government (state and Federal) and corporations have instituted and continue to keep conditions that deny those very things to the majority of the citizens. We are no longer considered to be as equal and as important as those in power; we are just nameless, faceless cogs in their machines. We manufacture the items, no matter whether it’s actual tangible product like a car, or a creative one like a movie or record album. We are the ants that slave and work — and if one dies, who cares? There are other ants, other cogs to take its place. “Aren’t you glad that you have a job in these difficult economic times?”
It will not change on its own. Governments and corporations will continue to devalue and demean everyone else as long as there is a profit to be made. We can’t march and protest “women’s” rights, “Black” rights, “LGBTQ” rights and every other type of rights that are needed — not until we march and protest and resist the loss of our basic human rights. Everyone has the RIGHT to eat, to sleep, to be sheltered, to be safe. They can make laws that will punish the execution of those rights, but they can’t actually take those rights away. We have them, just be being born. And it’s time to stand up and demand that the government — and its Corporate Overlords — acknowledge that fact and ensure that those needs are met.
Our lives, the economy, the nation, can only improve if we can get each person to a place where they are not scrambling for the basic requirements of life. Trying to find food and shelter doesn’t leave much time for anything else. We must get beyond that bottom level in order to effect the changes we want for each person who is marginalized, disenfranchised, or demeaned. If we don’t, we deserve to be ants.