We are all influenced, to some degree or another, by each other, our cultures and societies, by the press and the media and governments and the modes of recreation (most notably television and movies) in which we participate. But we must break out of the influences thrust upon us and become the critical thinkers we are really meant to be. We must think -really and truly think- about the messages our news and media are giving us and those things put before us which serve to condition us into thinking and feeling a certain way or to believe a certain “party line”. We must listen to our hearts, think with our heads, and evaluate the legitimacy of each thing for ourselves, as objectively and critically as possible.
As an example, let’s look at an ongoing drug controversy which has once more gained my attention through an article published recently by BBC news. First, controversy is good in that at least alternative ideas and opinions are being voiced and information shared on a given topic. But, the controversy also tends to have the end result of promoting the product or situation or belief/understanding in that it gets a lot of attention and the details of the controversy tend to get muddled and lost (or overwritten with new controversy/results) in people’s minds over time. Or is creating confusion while simultaneously promoting a specific product name the whole idea of the controversy and discussion? Or is the end-result promotion purely coincidental? Where does the controversy originate and who does it benefit in the long-run? Are the statistics touted by either side of the controversy skewed in their favor, and if so, by how much? Are the details of the statistics revealed or just glossed over and the information given in graphs and charts portrayed as “undeniable fact”? Can we find out more information? Who is disclosing the information we may be able to find on a given topic?
The specific example for this blog entry is the Gardasil controversy. It’s been in our news for a while now, personal judgments and even legislation have been passed concerning this drug and it’s a “hot topic” still, even after years of being in the media. (Who does this constant public reminder of the brand benefit?).
Gardasil is created and marketed by Merck & Co., Inc. (pharmaceuticals) and is supposed to provide a certain protection against four (4) of the more than seventy (70+) strains of the Human Papillomavirus (HPV). The vaccination requires a series of 3 shots within a six month period, and “is recommended for 11-12 year-old girls, and can be given to girls as young as 9… also recommended for 13-26 year-old girls/women”. According to the CDC, this vaccine “… protects against four HPV types, which together cause 70% of cervical cancers and 90% of genital warts”. But what they don’t tell you is how many little girls participated in the clinical trial before having the drug released for general consumption, that serious side-effects have been reported shortly after receiving a vaccine (including paralysis and death, and which so far are being dismissed as “coincidence”), whether it’s been tested in conjunction with other common vaccinations, or that most strains of HPV do not cause cervical cancer. According to their own 2003 documentation, the FDA writes that
“Up to 20 percent of the sexually active U.S. population is believed to be infected with HPV at any one time. Most women who become infected with HPV are able to eradicate the virus and suffer no apparent long-term consequences to their health”
and that HPV testing
“…is not intended to substitute for regular Pap screening. Nor is it intended to screen women under 30 who have normal Pap tests. Although the rate of HPV infection in this group is high, most infections are short-lived and not associated with cervical cancer.”
They also don’t want you to know that this vaccine may actually increase the risk of precancerous lesions by 44.6% with no reduction in cancer risk if this drug is administered to those who are currently sexually active. By the way, the price for the series of three vaccines is $360 USD ($120 per dose) – it’s not cheap.
But this information aside, the article on this topic which caught my attention was posted by BBC News, “STDs rife among US teenage girls“: The first paragraph says “One in four teenage girls in the United States has a sexually-transmitted disease, a study has indicated” and the text under the little graphic says “HPV, which can cause cancer, was found to be the most common STD”. My first reaction to this was that it was absolutely no surprise that HPV is listed here as the top STD in this study of teenage girls – teenage girls who are the intended market and focus of this drug to begin with. Is there another legal battle coming for the HPV vaccine, perhaps? What strains of HPV were included in this “study”? A virus that can cause cancer? – in what percentage of those infected, and what strains of the virus? Under what conditions does the cancer appear? This is also “a study”… sponsored by whom, and made with what segment of what population? Beyond a couple meaningless “percentages” mentioned in the article, the actual information is nowhere to be found. If you did not do your own research into the topic and made yourself aware of some of the points mentioned above in this article, what would your reaction to that “news story” be? Right. So was the objective of the article achieved? Are you now fearful and ready to believe the marketing put out by the drug manufacturer?
By the way, this article is a whopping twelve (12) sentences long and concludes by touting the rhetoric by the CDC on screening and vaccination for this virus and even goes a step or two further: “…screenings are underused because teenagers often do not think they are at risk. Analysts say some doctors are also reluctant to discuss screening with teenage patients because of confidentiality concerns, knowing parents would have to be told of the results.” I’d like to know which analysts (and for whom they work) came up with this all-encompassing conclusion. This opinion, portrayed as a fact in the article, also seems to be setting things up for a legal decision soon to be made to eliminate this “concern of confidentiality” by removing the requirement of informing the parents about the health and safety of their teenage daughters as is revealed during whatever physical (& psychological) exams are being carried out privately (which is in and of itself a great opportunity for abuse on a variety of levels). Whether or not there is actually a legal decision on the table or in the courts on this specific sub-issue, I’m not sure, but would not be surprised to see it appear in the news soon…
This also does not bode well for the teenage girls… our children… for whom this drug is intended. Should something like parental information and parental consent be removed from the table of legal obligation and responsibility, who will look out for our children? The doctors, who generally have their own interests and careers in mind? The drug companies? The state and country? Consider that actual legislation has been passed on this untried, largely ineffective, and personally invasive drug to make it mandatory for girls as young as nine (9) years old be vaccinated in order to attend public school… Who holds the reins of responsibility and decision-making concerning our children in this scenario? It does not appear to be the parents who brought the children into the world and who should truly hold the reins of responsibility… Are we being coaxed into giving up our children to the state? To meet what agenda? Who is making the decisions here? Who should be making the decisions? What are the messages actually being sent to our children with this drug and with the legal rulings concerning it? Among other things, messages of “dumb, uninformed parents”, encouragement to trust in the state agencies, and the concept that promiscuity is “ok” – especially once vaccinated- are among those messages being broadcast to what is among the most easily influenced segment of society. And oh by the way, they’re looking at using this on our male children now as well…
Is this really what we want for our world… for our children? For our species?
This is merely one example, randomly chosen, of how and why we need to evaluate all things critically and to push through the illusions of our world. We are being overwhelmed with these illusions and agendas and propaganda, and the impact is (or can be) quite extensive. In order to overcome the influences of illusion, we must ask questions, think critically, and communicate with each other. We must listen to our hearts but think with our heads, and awareness must occur on all levels to be truly effective: the personal spiritual, the personal physical, the greater world – environmental, political, humanitarian- in order for us to shift the paradigms which so desperately need replacing. We must work together as a conscientious whole to make manifest an alternate, healthier and happier world than what has been allowed to take hold. Fortunately for us, it’s happening. But we must pursue this path and persevere…
May the Light be with you on your Journey…
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