Everything that happens around you on a daily basis is a lesson to be learned. All you have to do is want to be taught and be prepared for the lesson. Here is an example of a true story.
Six years ago, I was watching the Discovery Channel on cable television; and on the screen, a helicopter was landing in an extremely remote village in the Amazon jungle. The jungle clearing was just large enough to allow for the copter to set down.
Nearby was a native village carved out of the dense foliage, where naked or near naked men, women and children played and moved about.
Some of the partially clothed members of the community wore weathered T-shirts and rubber thongs. I was surprised to see even that concession to western civilization this deep into the primordial jungle.
Back in the day, before the intrusion of the white man, this tribe was the home of the fiercest headhunters in the Amazon rain forest. Just mentioning their name brought fear into the hearts of the opposing tribes.
But that was long ago; they like the rest of the native tribes had given up the practice years ago.
The helicopter contained doctors, a scientist, and a camera-man from the European pharmaceutical giant, Alpine RX (not their real name). If you counted the pilot, there were a total of six men.
Their mission was simple. Because of the encroaching Brazilian farmers, who were clearing the forest for farmland, they knew, in short order, all of the healing herbs and natural medicines would soon be lost forever.
They came to collect as many of these specimens as possible, study along with the local medicine man, and return to Europe and synthesize for distribution an entirely new generation of pharmaceutical products, resulting in untold billions of dollars profit for their company.
They were met by their interpreter, a young man who, although he was native born, was educated in England at one of their finest universities. He greeted the new arrivals with a warm handshake and took them to the center of the compound where, standing on a compacted dirt courtyard, stood a man in his sixties.
He introduced them to the tribe’s chief. He was small, maybe five feet tall, naked with a colorful crown of bird feathers that passed for the symbol of authority for his people.
The chief was also glad to meet the Alpine team because he had been promised new knives, machetes, and an array of pots and pans for the members of his tribe, which represented a treasure for him and his people.
He had been told ahead of time what the Alpine team was looking for, and laughed inwardly about the prospects of their project’s success.
The doctors immediately set up a portable clinic that they had brought with them, and proceeded to give the locals routine physicals to establish a baseline on the condition of their health.
After a couple of hours, they had completed their assessments, and then noticed a middle-aged woman lethargically lying in a hammock strung between two trees. She had been too sick to come to their portable clinic in the middle of the compound.
The doctors soon found out that she was acutely diabetic with a glucose reading of almost six hundred. She was in eminent danger of going into a diabetic coma and dying.
One of the doctors ran to the helicopter, opened the small compact refrigerator, grabbed a vial of insulin, and hurried back to the compound. As he was drawing the solution into a needle for injection, he heard a loud commotion coming from the chief.
He asked his translator, “What is the chief saying?” The young man with an embarrassed look on his face said, “The chief said for you to stop and wait for the doctor.” The chief’s definition of doctor was the medicine man.
A crowd had started to form, and they did not look like they would tolerate the doctors not obeying their chief’s orders. So they stopped, withdrew to the other side of the compound, and sat down on some makeshift stools to await the arrival of the medicine man.
You could hear them saying that if the insulin was not administered immediately, the woman would die. Around two o’clock, a small little man of about fifty emerged from the underbrush, talked briefly with the chief, and ignoring the doctors, went over to the sick woman.
The English doctors took this as a sign that they could also approach the sick woman so they, along with the scientist and cameraman, formed a tight semicircle behind the medicine man as observers.
The little man felt her forehead, had her stick out her tongue, rolled back her eyelids, and reached into the leather-looking bag that hung over his shoulder, which was the size of the average woman’s handbag, drew out a sharp looking little knife and a small green leaf. He made a small incision on her upper arm, drawing just enough blood to cover the small green leaf.
He held the blood-soaked leaf in the palm of his hand for three minutes, gave it a close examination with his eyes, smelled it, and stuck out his tongue and gave it a taste; he instantly smiled and loudly called out to the chief.
`The closest doctor asked, “What did he tell the chief?” The interpreter translated, “She has sugar sickness. Easy to fix!”
The doctors were dumbfounded. How could this primitive little man make the same diagnosis without all of their sophisticated testing devices?
One of the doctors was still not impressed and started to fill a syringe with insulin, saying, “I don’t care what he just did. I am not going to let this woman die on my watch!”
The chief quickly stepped between the syringe-wielding doctor and the ill woman and angrily berated him in his native language. The translation of which was, “Stop right now and let the medicine man do his job or get back on your flying bird and leave now!”
The Alpine team immediately acquiesced and asked the chief and the medicine man if they could follow along and record the little man’s activities. After all, their entire trip was funded to allow them to learn everything that they could from him: his treatments, herbs, and applications.
The little man, quick as a spider, climbed a leaning palm and extracted some moss looking materials from its branches. He went into the jungle searching for a particular plant, found it quickly, dug at its base and cut off three roots the size of his little finger.
He went to an exotic looking plant and cut off a blooming flower. He plucked two more plants from the earth; and placing all of them into his medicine bag, went back to the village with a broad knowing smile on his face that exposed two missing front teeth.
Satisfied that he had everything that he needed, he placed the materials from his bag on a communal grinding stone; with a flat-faced rock, ground them into a thick red-looking paste. Paying little attention to the western doctors, after five minutes, he gave himself an approving smile for a job well done.
Next, he built a small fire from some sticks and twigs; placed his ground materials in an abandoned two pound coffee can along with a coconut cup of water; and sitting on his haunches, carefully attending his fire, allowed his concoction to simmer for an hour.
He waited for the liquid to cool, poured it into a cup, and presented it to the sick woman to drink. She was so sick that it took her ten minutes to drain the contents of the cup. Upon which, he announced in his language, “All done. She will be fine.” He then packed up his meager belongings and walked off into the twilight jungle.
The western doctors were stunned. Inside their large tent that they had brought along, they angrily discussed the actions that they should have taken; they were all in total agreement that the poor woman would be dead by morning.
That next morning at dawn with a rooster loudly crowing in the background, the expedition members wiped the sleep from their eyes and unzipped the tent door, prepared to bury the ailing woman.
They were astonished to see her busily sweeping down the dirt floor of the compound. She smiled, waved her hand at them, and gave them a toothy grin.
They could not believe their eyes. How was this possible? They asked for the chief’s permission to check her glucose reading and were amazed — it was a normal 97.
They remained in the village for six months. Every day they took a blood sugar reading from the little woman, and every day the results were normal. The little medicine man had not only treated her diabetes, but he had cured her!
The Alpine team contacted their home base, and eagerly reported back that they had found a cure for diabetes. This now became the focus of the expedition; they were going to bring this new cure to the world.
But they had one small problem; there was no profit in selling a natural herbal cure. The law did not allow them to patent a bag full of plants! In order for their company to make money, they had to find a synthetic version of the treatment which was patentable.
The time came for them to depart. They had become members of the tribe; and they knew that they would miss the little brown people, especially the chief and the little medicine man.
As they approached the helicopter with its rotary blades spinning, the chief and the little medicine man broke out laughing. One of the doctors asked, “What are they laughing at?”
Their translator said, “They are laughing at you and your team. They know what you are going to try to do. They are laughing because they know that you won’t be successful.”
The team went back to Europe; and in a greenhouse filled with Amazon soil that they had returned with, set up row after row of the jungle plants. With the same humidity, soil, and growing conditions, they soon had a building full of the precious plants.
After years of trying and spending over 50 million dollars, they were unable to produce anything close to a synthetic version of the herbal cure. They could follow the little man’s recipe, and treat lab animals with amazing results.
The plants by themselves continued to cure just like they did in the jungle setting. Frustrated and unable to achieve any marketable results, after a few years, they abandoned the project and destroyed all of the plants.
Meanwhile back in the Amazon jungle, the encroaching farmers eventually wiped out the little village along with the little medicine man and his thousands of years old ancient herbal treatments.
I am saddened every time I am reminded of this story. The giant pharmaceutical company could have sold the life-saving herbs as a cure for diabetes; but because they could not gain a monopolizing patent, they chose to let millions die.
Their desire for profits trumped their desire to help mankind. Yet, they advertise worldwide how helpful they are to humanity by providing prescription medicine to promote a healthier longer life style.
Let us play a game. Assume that you have just been made Chief Executive Officer of the Alpine RX Company. You find yourself sitting at the head of the table in the seat of power, surrounded by your board of directors.
You are making your quarterly report; as usual, your company is doing quite well. Your industry alone can produce 30% profits; no other industry can do better with the exception of cigarettes and the illegal drug trade.
But no matter how much profit you produce, it is never enough; your stockholders and board always want more. You consider yourself a good Christian; you attend church weekly and tithe according to your income.
You are a pillar in your community and have received two honorary degrees from two of the largest institutions of higher learning in your country; you are on a first name basis with all of the important power elites.
Your life could not be better. Neither you nor your friends consider you to be a bad person. You have given generously of your fortune and time to needy people worldwide.
The secretary announces to the board that the next item up for discussion is the Amazon diabetic program. In unison, all of the board members seem to lean forward in their luxurious leather chairs, anticipating an announcement, which will generate billions of dollars in future profits.
You clear your throat and announce to the assembled directors that the project is not doing well and appears to be doomed to failure.
You further inform them that, working in conjunction with their company, the finest private scientific labs have had no better results; they cannot come up with a synthetic version of the herbs either.
One of the female directors, who inherited a 9 percent ownership in company stock from her deceased husband, snaps, “How much time and money have we invested in this failed project?”
You, somewhat sadly, announce, “Three years and fifty million dollars.” At the end of the table, someone says, “Don’t you think that we have spent too much money on it already?”
You know they know that Alpine receives over 65 billion dollars per year in revenues and 50 million dollars is just a pittance. But, you also know that if you brought this little fact to their attention, you would have to find employment elsewhere.
You would love to ask these too-rich-for-their-own-good people why not just package the herbs and sell the product; or better yet, give it away as a public relations act to enhance Alpine’s standing in the community. You would love to tell them how many millions of lives could be saved; but you don’t.
Instead, you say, “Ladies and gentlemen of the Board, as is our custom, I placed this matter on the agenda for your consideration.” You already know what the answer will be; the project will be ended and all of the healing plants destroyed.
Not a very pretty picture, is it? So, now that you understand the other side, what would you do? Would you stand for what is right, lose your job, try to confiscate enough of the remaining plants, and start your own greenhouse?
Remember, there are no more plants or medicine men to show the way; the Brazilian farmers took care of that. I know some of you are saying that you would have kept the project alive even if it meant losing your job. I am sorry; but I don’t think so. Let me tell you why.
On a nationally syndicated talk show, hosted by a very famous personality, they presented three women who had each won over 50 million dollars in their individual state’s lottery.
The topic of discussion was how much had this newly acquired wealth affected their lives. They all tried to give the audience the impression that they had not changed until one of the ladies started to speak about how her family members tried to borrow money from her.
She spoke specifically about her brother asking for a loan of ten thousand dollars; and she told the studio as well as the national viewing audiences, “Of course, I couldn’t give him the money.”
Even though after paying her taxes, she had 20 million dollars, she would not lend him the money. The talk show host, who had a reputation for generosity, was taken aback. The host asked the studio audience, “If you agree with her, raise your hand.” Every hand, but three, was raised out of over two hundred people.
I can understand the selfishness of the lady that had won the fortune. Obviously, she only cares about herself and no one else; and worst of all, she will never care about anyone but herself in her lifetime. With her newfound wealth, her irrational selfish thinking will be re-enforced by every dollar that she has in the bank.
But, even to this day, I cannot understand the motivation of the studio audience, mostly women, agreeing with her. They had no stake in her behavior; they would never win the lottery; they would never have a rich relative leave them a fortune; and they would never realize the American dream of becoming fabulously rich because it is just that, a dream.
There are a few who would try to save the diabetic cure. I hope you are one of the few; but in life, greed always seems to trump justice. We are made of stardust, the same particles, atoms, molecules that form our universe, form us.
A benevolent non-intrusive Creator being, through Its Super Consciousness, has given us life; but we choose to ignore Its guidance and establish an earthly set of rules and religions that are an affront to Its true nature.
We piously attend Sunday services or Friday prayers; we proclaim our faith and allegiance through song and prayer to a God created in the mirror image of ourselves. Then, on Monday of the following week, go back to our same sinful ways.
In order to further understand our malignant nature, take the issue of capital punishment in Texas, where I live. Texans are the most bloodthirsty people on earth, all in the name of Jesus.
We had a county prosecutor, who wore a bracelet with in inscription proclaiming, “What would Jesus do?” All the while he and his staff sent every capital murderer to death row with a total disregard for their guilt or innocence.
He and his assistants were worse than the legendary Judge Roy Bean, who sent every man who came before his bench to the gallows, irrespective of the degree of their crime, because he did not have a jail to put them in. It was easier to kill them than keep them. And, the people of his time called that justice.
My current day prosecutor had the full support of the people in his county because they continued to elect him year after year. I say to you that the people who elected him were just as complicit in his criminal, unjust behavior.
A poll was taken of Texas citizens, and the question asked, “Do you believe that innocent people have been put to death in Texas?” Sixty-nine percent of the people responded with a “yes.”
When further polled, seventy percent agreed with keeping the death penalty. I guess, in Texas, it is okay to kill an innocent person, as long as they are not you or one of your loved ones.
You may be thinking what has this got to do with the decision of Alpine RX to sentence millions of people to their deaths? It is the power elites’ decision to put the value of money and profits ahead of the value of human life.
You have been taught that a human life is more valuable than any commodity on earth. Yet, when given the opportunity to kill, we do it with reckless abandonment.
Our conflicts, as a nation, prove that we are not a respecter of the lives of women, men or children; all are fair game in the name of destroying the enemy, whether he is real or imaginary.
You have been taught this lesson from the first time that you suckled milk from your mother’s breast, reinforced daily by your schools, governments, media, and most importantly, your religious teaching. Remember that every nation goes to war with God on their side.
In order for you to save “the rain forest cure,” you would have had to set aside all of the false doctrines that you have been taught, which is almost impossible.
Understand, that this was not a piece of fiction; I did not make this story up to entertain you. This cure did exist; and now, it is gone forever. One has to wonder how many other treatments and cures have met this same fate.
You have an opportunity to say to yourself that you will no longer believe the lies, forever. You were shown a small bit of what makes most of you who you are.
I can only hope that you can become better than what you are. You are given choices in your life to save “the rain forest cures”; I can only hope that you make the right decisions. Upon your death, the path you are destined to travel depends on it.
Bill Maher, an HBO television personality, once made a very true statement saying, “You people support the Republicans, the party of the rich and powerful, because you think that in America, you, too, can become rich.
That is the lie that they tell you. Now, I am rich, and you must understand that you will never be!” Needless to say, this comment did not go over well with his audience, which responded to this pontification with total silence.
Do you still think Gordon Gekko was right that greed is good?