--RICH nations are building rocket ships to explore Mars and other planets. Yet, in many poor countries millions of residents of remote communities do not have roads for non-existent vehicles while their only means of transport are their bare feet.
--They are also preparing to send robots to mine distant asteroids for minerals that are increasingly getting scarce on earth. But, how many poor countries have they exploited and depleted of minerals and have remained poor? So, what good can poor countries expect from robot-mined asteroid ores?
--Multinational corporations are genetically modifying food plants like corn and rice ostensibly to improve harvests and meet the nutritional needs of an ever growing world population. Yet, how many farmers in poor countries are in debt, unable to continue planting, because genetically modified organisms (GMO) do not produce their own seeds. These are patented for production and sale only by patent-owning corporations.
--Biotech companies will soon be manufacturing biological (not mechanical) replacements for human body parts. Yet what good will expensive bio-technically engineered livers and kidneys do to the poor who even now are selling their organs for money to buy basic necessities?
--And how much are rich (and poor?) nations spending on weapons of war while millions are suffering from hunger and malnutrition?
These are just some of life’s ironies today. They are ironic because the justification for all the expense to come up with all these scientific and technological wonders is to provide for the basic (?) needs of a growing world population. Yet so far these advances have only succeeded in making the rich richer and the poor poorer. It is really all about competing to produce and sell to satisfy corporate greed for profits.
Something is amiss in the world. Something is amiss in the Philippines when it can spend so much for weapons, super-highways, etc. but not enough for self-sufficiency in rice, for schools and teachers for its children and for safe drinking water and sanitary toilets for its remote communities.
An alternative to greed for profits as the driver of progress needs to morph. A counter-culture or counter-set of values sensitive to equal rights of all peoples to the benefits of the earth’s resources needs to be nurtured.
Christianity is essentially that counter-culture. But there lies the ultimate irony. Catholic leaders are generally carrying on as usual with perfunctory exhortations to holiness, casually blaming declining Church attendance on factors outside of the irrelevance of their ways. Some are content to be Good Samaritans taking care of victims. Happily, a few are truly braving to build a new world.
Published in the SunStar Cebu newspaper on April 21, 2017.
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