During my ten-year gig at The Big Corporation up north, I took part in a Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test. In the late 80’s and early 90’s, it was a trendy tool for “team building.” My teammates and I found out what our “type” was and then we posted the letters outside our cubicles so there would be less friction and better team work. I liked most of my teammates, but there were one or two people who provoked skeptical thoughts. I just had a “sense” that these one or two people weren’t cut out to be my best friends in or out of the office.
I was an INFJ.
I haven’t thought about Myers-Briggs testing in a while and we haven’t done any testing at the current Big Corporation. I may very well be a person who functions primarily by my intuition and that’s why I’ve had a sense, for the last twenty-five years, that something was wrong with our food here in America. I’m sure my mother had something to do with it, too. Helen got “into” health food during the 70’s when she and her sister read Let’s Get Well by Adelle Davis.
Being an INFJ and having a sense that something is wrong sometimes keeps me from doing academic-style research on issues. Lettuce traveling in a bag from California just seems odd to me. When one of my co-workers continually asked me “Have you seen Food, Inc.?” or “Have you read “The Omnivore’s Dilemma?” I would say “No” and “thanks for the suggestion?” I had no plans to watch or read information I knew intuitively. Thanks to the magic of the internet, I can now confirm my intuitions about these books and movies by doing a quick Bing search. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a Dark Ages Luddite. I’ve also learned that it’s important to read and research things because it’s a much more powerful argument to say “I THINK” instead of “I FEEL.” I read books, articles, and blogs; I use different news aggregators to find information to support or refute the different things I might be feeling.
But enough about me and my INFJ ways.
Yesterday, this article came over the transom. The picture of a Dorito caught my attention and I started skimming the text. Why do Doritos always capture my attention?
It was a long article; too much to read on an i-phone, so I printed it off and read it carefully when I got home. Then I tossed and turned all night, trying to figure out what was the most important thing about the article and what I needed to say about it. It disturbed me to read that scientists in the employ of giant food conglomerates used their knowledge to tinker with food and make it into a dangerous and uncontrollable commodity. One market researcher, trained in mathematics and experimental psychology, was asked if he had any qualms about the work he had done to create the “crave” factor in processed food. He said “I did the best science I could. I was struggling to survive and didn’t have the luxury of being a moral creature. As a researcher, I was ahead of my time.”
This is a strange kind of Friday Pillow Talk; my face was uncomfortably mashed into my pillow all night and I slept fitfully. Although I try to avoid pontificating on this blog, I think there is something gravely flawed with our food. Much of it really isn’t even food; it’s a science experiment. Conversely, I think people have the right to eat what they want and I’m not interested in a government czar to supervise my snacks. I am not a lab rat and I am not a consumer. I am a human being and so are you.
The truth is out there and it’s still free. Find it.
I am an ENTP. We rely on intuition, but ideas are really important. We LOVE generating possibilities and ideas; following through on them, not so much. Actually, much of my early life struggles were related to not being able to complete and ship. The last 10 years have been much better on the follow-through.
No doubt there are many things wrong with the world. Our food, our politics, we’re geared to Happy Motoring rather than train travel. The challenge becomes, what can I do to change the dynamics on any issue? Can I make a positive contribution, or am I just allowing myself to take on the byproducts of fear-fogging?
As we’ve spoken about, working on our own little corner is always the best solution.
Yes, it’s wonderful to go back and focus on hunters and gatherers living 4,000 years ago, but what about my milk today–at my supermarket? Well, now that I know that UHT pasteurization isn’t the way to go (thanks to Kirk Kardashian’s book, “Milk Money”) and I have raw milk available, I’m going to buy that instead. What about lettuce or carrots trucked 3,000 miles? Not a problem–I have farmers within a 10-20 mile radius that come to the Brunswick Winter Farmers’ Market and I can buy from them.
Don’t like Doritos, but I do like Cheez-its (or Jeez-its, as I call them, as in “Jee-zus”; little in joke between me and Miss Mary).
You are doing well on your little corner you are occupying. All of it will bear abundant fruit, I’m sure of it!
Thanks, Jim, for making regular “drive-bys” and leaving encouraging crumbs. I’m not sure about carrots, but I I’m planning for at least peas, lettuce, kale, and tomatoes in Uncle Bob’s garden this summer. We’ve got O’Pa’s rhubarb, too.
You were tossing and turning all night because your ego, which will do anything to protect you including lie to you (don’t trust it), was fighting to quiet something your subconscious already knows. Cognitive dissonance. You already know what it is your ego wants to suppress, now you have to quiet your ego long enough to hear it.
Julie, you repeatedly show me the most frightening information about where our industrialized food product comes from. If it’s your intuition that’s leading you there, then keep following it. Following your leads, I find myself saying, “Wait, wait, they did what?” I, too, felt something was wrong, but didn’t know what it was.
Growing food is one big theme of your blog. Maybe a second running theme should be the importance of knowing what we are actually eating. Maybe you should be echoing that theme of Joel Salatin’s, “Folks, this just ain’t right.”
With a Yankee twang, of course.
By Jingo, LP, I was thinking of ending the post with that Salatin quote. He came to Portsmouth a year or so ago and I went to see him speak. The small theatre venue was filled with an interesting mix of young farmers, freeze-dried hippies, and one-offs like me. Salatin seems like the real deal; I think there is a danger in putting people on a pedestal, though. It takes the focus off the task at hand and creates celebrities who aren’t really about the task at hand. Knowing and growing food, in my very humble opinion, is good work and it’s part of the bigger work of growing liberty. Thanks, as always, for stopping by. Ayuh.
I would caution that there are likely a lot of people who think that Salatin is the real deal, the cat’s meow, the man with the plan, but they aren’t likely to actually take up farming because of it. I am one of them. I stood in a building last week with a hundred 4H chickens in it, all prime and healthy and on display, and realized I couldn’t tell the difference between a one of them and didn’t care to learn how, either. What I do know, however, is that it matters, critically, that there are people who do know the differences and do care about them. It matters. Keep pounding that drum.
At least you’re honest, LP. I think I’ve said before, we don’t all have to be farmers but we’ve got to see the work of farming, animal husbandry, and land owning and stewardship as something of greater importance in the long arc of civilization. At some point, “walking the talk” means more than just writing a check for a Land Trust fundraiser. Community Sponsored Agriculture is a first step in supporting the work of agricultural history. Your eggs might cost a little bit more because of malfeasance in the industrial food market, so you eat one or two fewer eggs. Buy them anyway.
Take heart…in spite of the false picture painted by reality Tee Vee shows, the Amish haven’t diminished in number and they’ve come to Maine.