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46972Re: [CostaRicaLiving] Re: Move into new life

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  • Sharon & Dick
    Sep 1, 2006
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      Some of what you say is arguable, Barry. Or maybe not, if we're all
      willing to accept the inevitable downside of lower (or lowest)
      technology. To some extent, the burgeoning population is a result of
      humanity's success...success at enabling survival to reproductive age of
      most of our (generic our) progeny...thanks to a safer food supply, but
      especially clean water and vaccination...public health, in other words.
      Nature is wasteful, as is commonly known. Most young die, with only the
      successful living to reproduce. It IS interesting that reproduction
      rates tend to fall when the educational level of women rises. In almost
      every society where contraception is in the hands of women, the birth
      rate falls precipitously. And this is desirable to women because they
      can, with learning and technology, be reasonably sure that the few
      children to whom they give birth will survive childhood. And, with
      learning (I don't like the word education...too passive), women are free
      of the necessity to tolerate unrestrained fertility...the results of
      which are to be seen in the graves of young women all over the world.
      And spoken of in oral tradition.

      I had occasion to attend the International Cultural Forum in Barcelona a
      few years ago, where this was discussed at great length in the setting
      of meetings (some pretty blah blah blah) about reproduction and
      technology. The outcome was the rather depressing conclusion that as
      long as the present political and educational systems persist in the
      world, no serious progress on issues of long-term survival employing
      sustainable technologies could be made.

      Romanticising indigenous culture is counter-productive, but I hear it
      being done almost constantly. Just a small case in point...I worked on
      a medical project, perhaps ill-advised, that went pretty far into the
      interior of the northeast of Brasil to offer whatever help was sensibly
      needed. Goals were modest (good thing!), and we hoped to just identify
      medical emergencies or ongoing problems that could be dealt with on
      site. We found that the indigenous people accepted as normal a level of
      mortality (of all sorts) that would dismay most more technologically
      sophisticated groups, and that life-shortening and life-limiting
      conditions (I'm thinking of high-degree uterine prolapse, miserable
      peripheral vascular status, congenital problems such as cleft lip and
      palate) were accepted as simple "cost of living". Some of the medical
      people were appalled, but others suggested that the tribespeople were
      seemingly "happy", despite a lifespan in the 40s, and discomfort that
      would seem to be incompatible with contentment. Would we consider that
      lifestyle, however natural, acceptable?

      I'm not sure where this takes us, but I know that I've seen a huge
      decrease in the birth rate in Costa Rica since the early 70s, due to
      several factors no doubt, but accompanying more widespread acceptance of
      technology. Most of my Tica friends (I'm 60) have 6 children mas o
      menos. Most of their children have 2 or 3. The difference was
      availability of birth control pills. Maybe years of education as
      well...although most women in both generations didn't finish colegio
      (high school). And the survival of almost all children. Those friends
      of mine almost to a person lost children in infancy...their daughters
      didn't.

      I suppose it comes down to the fact that the wise use of technology
      requires wise people. Those are in short supply, indigenous culture or
      Silicon Valley.. And the computers you make available to the children
      there, and the Depo-Provera I administer to women who request it here,
      are products of technology, not of faith-based or internally generated
      efforts to transmit knowledge or to limit a population. That technology
      is investor-driven (many of us receive pensions invested in the
      industries we're faulting), and consumer driven (many of us depended on
      consumption of goods to generate a paycheck). All of us who sit now in
      Costa Rica running foundations (I have at least 3 friends who do this),
      working for them, or donating to them, need to remember where the money
      and will for this work came from. It came from working for the very
      corporations and governments that we identify as part of the problem. I
      do NOT say this as though it summarises all the variables involved in,
      e.g., planetary survival...but as regards indigenous cultures, at
      least, the dangers seem to be that we either throw the baby out with the
      bathwater (refuse to accept as worthwhile ANY non-technological
      solutions to problems) or we foolishly romaticise them, a la "noble
      savages", who hold the keys to mysteries and spiritual truths
      inaccessible to those from crasser and less "earthy" cultures. And then
      there's the "how do you keep them down on the farm" syndrome. Educated,
      or at least credentialed, people tend to move toward population centers,
      tend to consume more goods, and tend to abandon occupations involving
      manual labor. That would include farming. The numbers of us returning,
      at least part-time, to those activities often pursue them as hobbies the
      "gentleman farmer", the casual gardener, the cross-stitcher. These are
      usually not endeavors that support families or communities...rather,
      they're fed by income from somewhere or something else...often a
      technology-based employment.

      Big problem, small minds working on solution? Dogmas chasing karma?
      And what about CAFTA?:)

      Sharon
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