Saturday, September 30, 2017

Communion with Nature - Ten Ways

Dr Abe V Rotor

Twin Jaira and Julia on a walk at People's Park, Tagaytay, August 21, 2015

Overlooking nature's majestic caldera*
this twin in a rare experience;
half-sky, half-water, half-land kingdom 
a fairytale of the eighth sense.

A caldera is a cauldron-like volcanic feature usually formed by the collapse of land, following a volcanic eruption. They are sometimes confused with volcanic craters. Tagaytay was formed by this geologic phenomenon.
 Splendor on the Grass, Sky Ranch Park, Tagaytay,
August 21, 2015

Splendor on the grass at twilight
laughing with the stars;
who cares about rain and wind,
time like this is scarce.
 Tagaytay overlooking Taal Volcano,  August 21, 2015

Grand Dad and Marchus the only two in the world,
theirs the time, space and stillness;
let the world go round unceasingly to others,
save this ephemeral togetherness. 

Sunken Pier, Puerto, Sto. Domingo, Ilocos Sur

Behold! a jellyfish as looking glass
unfolds a third world scene:
half terrestrial, half aquatic,
solid and liquid in between,
third matter in colloidal form -
strange the world is ever seen. 

Baby sitting: Fluppy, angora rabbit at home

Here is seeing the world in dreams;
half awake, half asleep,
on two planes -  fantasy and reality,
rather than counting sheep,
to unload life's burden at the end of day -
a heaven sent li'l rabbit.

Tamboili shells, former St. Paul Museum

I'm standing on the world's narrowest isthmus,
among archives and fossils of history,
where I can hold the Pacific and the Atlantic
oceans half the world apart and free;
I cross the time and distance barrier
with these chroniclers singing to me
the unending roars of the tides,
tides on the street, tides of the sea.  

Rare walking stick insects, Museum of Natural History, UPLB Laguna

Dragons in fairy tales and religious fictions -
they are fierce, they're enemies of mankind;
in fossils and movies they scare the children;
little do we think of them friendly and kind,
devouring pests, singing lullaby in dull air;
misjudged, they're harder and harder to find.

Baby orangutan, Avilon Zoo, San Mateo, Rizal

Monkey on my back, that's what people say
when what we say logic we lack;
genes may vary, yet the same to this day,
indeed, a monkey on our back.

Viewing telescope, Mall of Asia, Pasay Metro Manila

Yes, creatures but man, are getting fewer, farther apart;
changing the old game with art of glass and steel;
where you can't get near, when you can't touch and feel,
technology comes to fill, yet empty still. 

Parakeets,  Safari World, Thailand

Lovely, friendly -  kindest words ever be,
whereas their kin are wild and free;
lucky in man's judgment these pair  may be
if only we understand their plea
for freedom to the wild, to their ancestry
and away from the artificial tree.   

Friday, September 29, 2017

GMOs threaten Ecology and Health

We are destroying the balance of our environment, our health and well-being, through genetic pollution (uncontrollable spread) of transgenic or Genetically Modified Organisms (plants, animals and microorganisms).
Dr Abe V Rotor

The planting of BT corn in the country is hotly contested by environmentalists. This is true with many people in their own countries, rejecting genetic modification of plants and animals.The birth of Genetically Modified Organisms resurrected Frankenstein, the monster in Shelly's novel of the same title, who at the end of the story destroyed the peace and order of the world and ultimately killing his creator and master.

BT corn carries genes of the insect-killing bacterium, Bacillus thuringiensis. In the US, genetically modified soybean was developed by borrowing genes from Brazil nut in an attempt to increase the amino acid content. The resulting soybean carried higher amino acid all right, but it churned out also chemicals that can trigger allergies to nut-sensitive consumer.
GMO Corn Linked To Organ Failure
A study released by the International Journal of Biological Sciences 

In the conclusion of the IJBS study, researchers wrote: "Effects were mostly concentrated in kidney and liver function, the two major diet detoxification organs, but in detail differed with each GM type. In addition, some effects on heart, adrenal, spleen and blood cells were also frequently noted. As there normally exists sex differences in liver and kidney metabolism, the highly statistically significant disturbances in the function of these organs, seen between male and female rats, cannot be dismissed as biologically insignificant as has been proposed by others. We therefore conclude that our data strongly suggests that these GM maize varieties induce a state of hepatorenal toxicity....These substances have never before been an integral part of the human or animal diet and therefore their health consequences for those who consume them, especially over long time periods are currently unknown. 
Some estimates say as many as 30,000 different products on grocery store shelves are "modified." That's largely because many processed foods contain soy. Half of North America's soy crop is genetically engineered!

Note: Several countries in Europe, such as Germany and France, have already banned GM crops. Mandatory Labeling of Genetically Engineered Food is gaining support of many countries. 

Down with the clown!

“Down with the clown!” protested farmers at McDonalds stores in France against GM beef and potato. Although the European Union has blocked importation of some GM products, it now requires foods that contain engineered DNA be labeled as such. US sale of GM seeds by Monsanto (US) and Novartis (Swiss, producer of Gerber baby foods) made a record high in the last ten years, and GM technology has just started.

A third of US corn land (8 million hectares) is grown from genetically changed seeds, so with US soybean crop was grown from seeds that have been genetically engineered. More than a quarter of US dairy cows are injected with the recombinant bovine growth hormone which boosts the production of milk. The hormone is made with genetically engineered bacteria. And three-fourth of all cheese contains chymosin which is produced with bacteria that have been genetically engineered.

Now consider these: Tomato juice from tomatoes containing enzymes from Arctic flounder – an attempt to help crops withstand low temperature. Pork loins from hogs treated with human-growth hormones to help them get bigger and faster. Squash inoculated with watermelon-virus genes to make the squash virus resistant.

Corn which contains a firefly gene, provides a phosphorescent marker even when mixed with other foods. Or another marker, gene carrying green phosphorescence in jellyfish transferred in mice, so that the mice glow in the dark.

The popularity of BT tomato (“FlavrSavr”), the first genetically altered food crop, ignited a chain of other GM crops from high protein beans and grains, caffeine-less coffee beans, potato that soaks up less fat during frying, to strawberry with more natural sugar. And there are dozens of gene-spliced food crops in laboratories and greenhouses ready to the released. These include squash, melon, carrots, onions, peppers, apples, and the like.

Why does it appear easy for governments to allow the production and distribution of genetic engineered plants and animals? In the US for one the government sees GM components as mere additives. That is why, virtually anyone can load a fruit, vegetable, baby food, or any simple meal with DNA engineered tricks. Arroz caldo from GM rice with borrowed chicken gene, anyone?

If you don’t see butterflies in the garden (reminiscent of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring) blame it to the BT in the corn or rice – the bacterium that is a scourge of insects belonging to Order Lepidoptera which includes one of the world’s best-known and most loved insect, the flamboyant orange-and-black monarch butterflies which can travel an incredible distance of 1,600 miles in their migratory flight.

The message of the monarch butterflies is clear: even the most well-intentioned biotechnologies are without any risk.

Welcome, Dolly. Goodbye, Dolly 

Remember Dolly, the sheep which became famous as the first cloned animal? Her rate of aging was faster than that of her parent. It died ahead of her mother. It is because clones live only the remaining years of their parents’ lives. They grow old before their time. And if any human being might like to get cloned, he should think twice. He will end up with the worst of two worlds, which in the words of Thomas Murray of Hasting Center, NY, “are a combination of inexperience of youth with the biology of the aged.”

Well, this is not new. If you see a standing century old mango tree and is still very much at bearing age, it must have come from a seed. A grafted mango tree (which is a clone), on the other hand, lives only for a few years and does not live as big and as long as seed-grown mango. The grafted mango is like Dolly, its scion came from a fruiting tree which naturally must be many years older. It flowers as early as three years after it was transplanted, while its counterpart grown from seed matures very much longer. During this period it matures slowly but surely, its crown is well-spread to catch the sun and rain, its niche established, its roots firm, strong and balance to brace wind and drought and wind. This is not the case of the grafted mango. Poor Dolly, grafted mango - and cloned human in the future. .
EXCERPT from an article on some harmful effects of GMO (Internet) 

Activists are opposed to genetic engineering as with current recombinant technology there is no way to ensure that genetically modified organisms will remain under control, plus the use of this technology outside secure laboratory environments represents multiple unacceptable risks to both farmed and wild ecosystems.

In 1996, Brazil nut genes were spliced into soybeans by a company called Pioneer Hi-Bred. Some individuals, however, are so allergic to this nut, they go into anaphylactic shock (similar to a severe bee sting reaction) which can cause death.

Many opponents of current genetic engineering realize that the increasing use of GM in crops has caused a power shift in agriculture towards Biotechnology companies, which are gaining more control over the production chain of crops and food, and over the farmers that use their products, as well.

In 1989, dozens of Americans died and several thousands were afflicted and impaired by a genetically altered version of the food supplement - L-tryptophan. A settlement of $2 billion dollars was paid by Showa Denko, Japan's third largest chemical company. (Mayeno and Gleich, 1994).

On August 18, 2006, American exports of rice to Europe were interrupted when much of the U.S. crop was confirmed to be contaminated with unapproved engineered genes, possibly due to accidental cross-pollination with conventional crops.

In 1998, 95-98 percent of about 10 km2 planted with canola by Canadian farmer Percy Schmeiser were found to contain Monsanto's patented Roundup Ready gene although Schmeiser had never purchased seed from the Monsanto company. Monsanto then sued Schmeiser for piracy. In the past few years more and more crops have started to cross-pollinate which leaves a problem that is yet to be solved.

In 2005 Environmentalists say Australia faced "the most serious genetic contamination event" in its history, after the West Australian government confirmed low levels of genetically modified canola had been found in non-GM canola. Also in 2005 a decade-long project to develop genetically modified peas with built-in pest-resistance has been abandoned after tests showed they caused allergic lung damage in mice. ~
"History has many records of crimes against humanity, which were also justified by dominant commercial interests and governments of the day. Despite protests from citizens, social justice for the common good was eroded in favor of private profits. Today, patenting of life forms and the genetic engineering which it stimulates, is being justified on the grounds that it will benefit society, especially the poor, by providing better and more food and medicine. But in fact, by monopolizing the 'raw' biological materials, the development of other options is deliberately blocked. Farmers therefore, become totally dependent on the corporations for seeds." 

Professor Wangari Mathai (1940-2011) Internationally renowned Kenyan environmental political activist and Nobel laureate. Recipient of Nobel Peace Prize and Right Livelihood Award. . ~ 

Thursday, September 28, 2017

The Power of STILLNESS

"Soar into the heavens for peace and quiet,
let imagination rule over reason." 
Dr Abe V Rotor

Living with Nature School on Blog 
Stillness and Angelus. Angelus by Jean Francois Millet

1. Stillness and Meditation
Silence, oh elusive silence,.
take me to your realm divine
where good and evil part,
that I may  find a new start, 
that begins in the heart. 

2. Stillness and the Loving Heart
Throb oh heart, throb the magic of love,
lest desire may turn into lust,
blinding the senses in Freudian ido;
Browning, Ben Jonson, come
with your art of love on hand.   

3. Stillness and the Arts
Soar into the heavens for peace and quiet,
let imagination rule over reason,
creativity reigns supreme in stillness,
spawning the great masterpieces.

4. Stillness and Scholarship 
Fishing not for fish but ideas,
the rod bends, the line quivers -
a big fish bites, pulls, rages,
oh stillness, tool of the sages.

Stillness in fishing as a hobby or pastime.

5. Stillness and the Longing Heart
When the heart throbs for someone far away,
of a place you can't go for the moment or nevermore,
of things lost and can no longer be found,
or wishing the good old days were here,
stillness, stillness must reign, 
in fulness and profound. 

6. Stillness and the Weary Heart  
When doubt clouds the mind and shrouds the view,
which road to take of the two,
take the less trodden, more so the fresh path;
stillness – but never the heart to a halt.

7. Stillness and the Grieving Heart  
In the dark hours of life the night is long,
the dawn comes late or seems it never comes,
grief and pain they are inseparable:
the mind, body and spirit;
stillness brings back the joy and wit.

8. Stillness and the Raging Heart
When rages the heart cascading wild,
chartless in a sea of tempest,
seeing the shore no more,
stillness shall give you rest. 

A raging heart is like a raging sky.  

9. Stillness and Nature
Calm is the sea but a sleeping volcano,
the sky is blue, the river meandering to the sea,
a child of creation I'm from the stillness of the womb, 
to the stillness of hereafter. 

10. Stillness and Angelus
The sun sets with the Angelus,
as creatures go to their lair,
stillness reigns in the night
until the return of light. ~

Quotations on teaching and education 

Mt Makiling - Endangered Geo-Ecosystem

The mountain's profile of a reclining deity, Maria Makiling, to whom the mounatin was named, has lost much of her youthful features.

Dr Abe V Rotor
 Living with Nature School on Blog []
Satelite image of Mt Makiling and southeastern shore of Laguna Bay. Mt Makiling has lost much of its original vegetative cover to encroaching human settlements, swiden (kaingin) farming, commerce and tourism. In fact the mountain's profile of a reclining deity, Maria Makiling for which the mountain is named, has lost much of her youthful 
Statue of Maria Makiling protector of Mt Makiling, UPLB Laguna.
On the trail to the Mudspring with the author's family

Mudspring Crater, author with his children.

A Trek to Mt Makiling's Mystical Crater - Mudspring
It's a long trail if you start at the foot of Mt Makiling,
take the road with a four-wheel drive,
then stop where the road ends and from here starts
a long trek you really have to strive.

Among the huge towering trees you're but a dwarf
among creatures crawling or flying,
searching far beyond of what they are looking for;
theirs for living, yours for meaning.

Incessantly the crater pops scalding mud
and gases that boggle the mind,
a mystic shroud where mist and cloud meet,
a spectacle of a different kind.

Everybody loves this legendary mountain,
though fiery inside to be free;
Lofty is her majestic pose be near or far
reclining in peace and beauty.

Wonder the young mind thinks of this world,
a hybrid of fantasy and reality,
where spirits live and mortals dare to tread,
in a lifetime journey to infinity. ~

NOTE: Mount Makiling, or Mount Maquiling, is a dormant volcano in Laguna province on the island of Luzon, Philippines. The mountain rises to an elevation of 1,090 m (3,580 ft) above mean sea level and is the highest feature of the Laguna Volcanic Field. The volcano has no recorded historic eruption but volcanism is still evident through geothermal features like mud spring and hot springs. South of the mountain is the Makiling-Banahaw Geothermal Plant. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) classify the volcano as potentially active.

Mount Makiling is a state-owned forest reserve administered by the University of the Philippines, Los Baños. Prior its transfer to the university, the mountain was the first national park of the Philippines. Mount Makiling National Park was established on February 23, 1933 by Proc. No. 552. However, it was decommissioned as a national park on June 20, 1963 by Republic Act no. 3523 when it was transferred to the University for use in forestry education and information.

Now known as Mount Makiling Forest Reserve, it was declared an ASEAN Heritage Park in 2013.
 "Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves."
—John Muir, Our National Parks
                            "This grand show is eternal. It is always sunrise somewhere; the dew is never all dried at once; a shower is forever falling; vapor is ever rising. Eternal sunrise, eternal sunset, eternal dawn and gloaming, on sea and continents and islands, each in its turn, as the round earth rolls."
—John Muir, John of the Mountains: The Unpublished Journals of John Muir

"There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep Sea, and music in its roar:
I love not Man the less, but Nature more."

—Lord Byron "Childe Harold's Pilgrimage"

"Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. ... There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature — the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter."
—Rachel Carson, Silent Spring
"If we surrendered
to earth's intelligence
we could rise up rooted, like trees."

—Rainer Maria Rilke, Rilke's Book of Hours: Love Poems to God

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Dr Romualdo M Del Rosario: Builder of Beautiful Gardens

"The Garden is a microcosm of the Lost Paradise here on earth." AVR 

By Dr Abe V Rotor
Living with Nature School on Blog

Dr Romualdo R del Rosario left, the country's leading builder of gardens pose with the author, his former student and co-professor at the UST Graduate School. Among Dr Del Rosario's obra maestra  are the internationally known La Union Botanical Garden (Cadaclan, San Fernando,La Union), the UST Botanical Garden (formerly Pharmacy garden), and the De La Salle University garden at Dasmariñas, Cavite. As a scientist and former assistant director of the National Museum he is keen at giving importance to natural history, and aesthetic and functional beauty of parks and gardens as integral part of homes, establishment, offices, in fact, whole communities.   

Think of a living gene bank. 

No, it's not the IRRI's germplasm bank of rice varieties and cultivars.  Or CIMMYT 's similar bank for wheat and corn where seeds are kept under strict controlled conditions away from the natural environment. It's not the commercial plant collection of Manila Seedling Bank either.

Dr Romualdo del Rosario's concept is one that is natural -  plants of different species living together and arranged into a garden.  

Here the plants form a wide range of diversity, and with other organisms, from protist to vertebrate, form a community.  And through time, an ecosystem - a microcosm of a forest, grassland, desert, the upland and lowland, in varying combinations and designs. This garden is indeed a living gene bank.

Visit the La Union Botanical Garden perched on a gentle hillside covering several hectares, with the fringe of Cordillera on the east and a panoramic view of the San Fernando Bay on the west. 

Here you will find a piece of the biblical Garden, where Nature and man in cooperation and harmony try to restore the beautiful scenarios of that garden imagined in the writings of Milton and Emerson, in the paintings of Rousseau and our own Amorsolo, and the scientific pursuits of Darwin and Linnaeus.

As trail blazer, Doc Del as he is fondly called, pioneered with the support of the local government to set up a garden not so many people appreciate.  I am a witness to its tedious step-by-step development until after ten years or so, the garden became a center for field lectures, thesis, hiking, or simply a place of solace and peace.  To the creative, arts; the religious, reflection.  

The garden is an answer to our dwindling bio-diversity. It is a sanctuary where man's respect for Creation, in Dr Albert Schweitzer's term "reverence for life," becomes the neo-gospel of prayer and faith. 

The garden is a workshop with the Creator.  It is one roof that shelters the threatened and endangered. It is a sanctuary for recovery before setting foot outside again.

Here is the living quarter of organisms, countless of them, that miss the eye, yet are discreet vital links to our existence and the biological order. 

A single acacia tree as shown In this painting is a whole world of millions of organisms - from the Rhizobium bacrteria that live on its roots to birds nesting on its branch. And beetles under the bark, goats feeding on ripe pods, people resting in its shade or promenading.  

On-the-spot painting at the La Union Botanical Garden (AVR) 

These make but one small spot in the garden that speaks of the philosophy of  naturalism of Schweitzer, EO Wilson, Attenborough, Tabbada, Cabigan, and the late botanist Co. One aspect of the garden opens to the scholar an adventure of a lifetime: Edwin Tadiosa's research of mushrooms earned for him a doctoral degree. 

One consideration a garden is a living gene bank is its ethnicity. Doc Del is the leading authority on ethnobotany of the country today. It is a less familiar field although it is among the earliest, tracing back to Aristotle's Natural History as the guiding force in keeping the integrity of Nature-Man relationship, even to the present time.   

Ethnobotany is the mother of pharmacology. Medicinal plants are part of Doc Del's formula of a garden. Not that familiarity is his aim, but accessibility - that by being familiar with a particular plant, one can have access to it wherever it may be found growing. Any place then is a potential source of home remedy of common ailments.  

Go to the garden and you will find lagundi, sambong, bayabas, makahiya, okra, pitogo, takip-kuhol, oregano, and 101 other medicinal plants, domesticated or wild. It is nature's pharmacy house. 

It is E Quisumbing's source of materials for his Medicinal Plants of the Philippines. the rich three-volume Useful Plants of the Philipines by WH Brown. It is this field that Dr Juan M Flavier as senator sponsored a law in promoting Alternative Medicine which now benefits millions of Filipinos particularly at the grassroots.       

Go to the garden and you will find flowering and ornamental plants that constitute the main attraction of any garden. Here botany is transformed into the science of flowers, the secret of green thumb, colors and fragrance speak more than words, silence rides on butterflies fluttering, and music is hummed by bees, and fiddled by crickets and cicada.     

Go to the garden and relive life on the countryside. The song Bahay Kubo enumerates some two dozen vegetables, and speaks of simple, happy and healthy lifestyle.
A residence without a garden is akin to city living condition. With almost fifty percent of the population ensconced in big towns and cities. we can only imagine how much they have lost such a pleasant niche.    

Go to the garden with magnifying glass, not with the aim of Sherlock Holmes but with the clinical eye of Leeuwenhoek, father of microscopy. Start with the moss, the lowly earliest plant occupying the lowest rung of the evolutionary ladder. They are living fossils in austere existence on rocks and trunks of tree. Doc Del wrote a whole chapter about the Byrophytes - the moss and its relatives in the Flora and Fauna of the Philippine book series.     

Have you seen a field of moss under the lens? It's a setting of Honey, I Shrunk the Kids movie. See the movie if you haven't.  Everything is so big you are a pygmy in the like of Gulliver in the land of Brobdingnag, a sequel to Gulliver in the Land of  Lilliput. Imagine yourself either in one of Jonathan Swift's novels. 

You may wonder why primitive plants are so small, you may miss them in the garden. If you were on top of Mt Pulog second highest mountain in the Philippines after Mt Apo where Doc Del, my classmates and I, climbed in the late eighties, you'll be amazed at the giant bryophytes forming beards of gnarled trees and curtains hanging on rocks, and spongy layers cushioning your steps.  

Thus, the garden is a representation of much bigger models.  The Sequoia or Redwoods of California for example cannot be duplicated anywhere, but at the UST botanical garden where Doc Del served as supervising scientist and curator, you will find yourself dwarfed by the towering dita (Alstonia scholaris) the same way you would feel under the redwoods, or the emergent trees on Mt Makiling.  

Go to a garden and feel you are part of creation in Eden's finest time. The garden has a humbling effect, it has the touch of TLC -  tender, loving care, it is the womb of Mother Nature, its nursery, in her own life cycle in which each and every thing, living or non-living, undergoes a continuous and unending series of birth and death - and perhaps even re-encarnation.  ~    
Fern Garden, a specialized section of the UST Botanical garden. 
 Weird trees at UST: Acacia strangled by balete; bare deciduous trees with the main building as backdrop. 

 Outdoor life of students among camphor trees, UST. 
 "These people have learned not from books, but in the fields, in the wood, on the river bank. Their teachers have been the birds themselves, when they sang to them, the sun when it left a glow of crimson behind it at setting, the very trees, and wild herbs."
―Anton Chekhov, "A Day in the Country"
On-the-spot painting at the UST Botanical garden by the author, with the tallest tree Alstonia scholaris,  locally known as dita. as principal subject.

Morning at the UST Botanical Garden
-      An On-the-Spot Painting

                   Dr Abe V Rotor 

It is misty, it is foggy, here at the garden,
     or it must be smog in the city air;
and the early rays pierce through like spears,
     yet this is the best place for a lair.

But the artist must be provoked, challenged;
     for peace can't make a masterpiece;
only a troubled soul do rise where others fall,
     where ease and good life often miss.

This lair is where the action is, the battlefield,
     where pure and polluted air meet,
where a garden in a concrete jungle reigns,
     where nature's trail ends in a street.

Art, where is art, when the message is unclear,
     colors, colors, what color is blind faith?
what color is rage, what color is change?
     colors be humble - black is your fate. ~


A spray of red and pink in the tree top,
either it is autumn's onset,
or the season had just passed us in slumber,
yet too early to hibernate

Catch the sun, borrow its colors and shine
that you may be filled with grace divine;
for your life is short and your flowers ephemeral,
that makes you a mythical vine.

There is no such thing as emptiness, for  memories linger;
the bench is warm, whispers hang in the glen;
spirits roam, the past comes around in them to haunt,
to scare a bit to remember them, now and then. 

 Golden Coconut 
 Lobster's claws, ornamental asparagus 
Golden shower
Here lies the Pierian spring  - the secret of long, healthy and happy life. Why don't you build a garden yourself? Better still with your family or community.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

10 Frankenstein monsters roaming in our postmodern world

10 Frankenstein monsters roaming in our postmodern world
Anyone who has read Frankenstein cannot forget the frightful scenario of a monster created in the laboratory that eventually turned against his master and terrorized the world - a reminder of the unpredictable consequences of science-on-the-loose.
Dr Abe V Rotor


Hiroshima, aftermath of the first atomic bomb.  
Holocaust, Nazi Concentration Camp in Auschwitz
Anyone who has read Frankenstein cannot forget the frightful scenario of a monster created in the laboratory that eventually turned against his master and terrorized the world - a reminder of the unpredictable consequences of science-on-the-loose.

Invariably we have revived the Frankenstein monster in many forms, such as these.

1. The invention of the atomic bomb and its subsequent progeny - hydrogen bomb, neutron bomb and cobalt bomb - that are far more deadly and destructive, and their stockpiling into a power keg that still exist today even after the Cold War has ended in 1989.

2. Medical breakthroughs in saving lives and extending life span contribute to the population explosion and demographic imbalance where societies are burdened by too many young who are unproductive and highly dependent, and elderly group, with increasing healthcare-dependent members.

3. Organ transplantation and replacement which is leading us farther and farther to a new frontier called bionics; a combination of the rational being and the robot, natural and artificial intelligence.

Image result for Frankenfood pictures

4. Genetically modified organisms (GMO) whereby it is possible to combine genes of organisms outside their kind, irrespective of species - or kingdom, for that matter. Bt Corn carries the gene protein of a bacterium - Bacillius thuringiensis - that parasitizes caterpillars that feed on corn crop. New strange life variations are sprouting defying identity and classification.  They are nameless like the monster created by Frankenstein.   

5. Mega-industrialization that has resulted not only to the demise of natural environments (ecosystems) and many species of organisms, but the destruction of the ozone layer and the gradual and steady buildup of atmospheric gases and temperature known as global warming. Global warming has alarming effects in changing climate patterns worldwide, spawning more frequent and more destructive force majeure from drought to f
lood to  typhoons and tornadoes.  

6. Urbanization leading to the growth of megacities which continue to destroy the homeostasis of rural-urban relationship, spawning poverty and leading to the degradation of human life at the source of migration on one hand, and at the burgeoning centers on the other.

7. Population explosion setting a record of 7.7 billion people today and doubling in less than fifty years if left unchecked - indeed a grim reminder of the ghost of Malthus two hundred years ago (Malthusian Theory), and a proof that the natural laws that govern survival has been radically changed.

8. Consumerism on which capitalism flourishes in the guise of progress and the good life, but in effect creates imbalance of the economy of nations, dividing them into power-wealth categories, and have and have-not, loss of values, and abusive exploitation of resources at the expense of Planet Earth.

9. Gold rush syndrome resulting in the Tragedy of the Commons, a principle that is based on Chaucer's Pardoner's Tale, a story that illustrates that greediness and wanton destruction has always a tragic end, as evidenced today by the declining fish catch in the ocean, dwindling freshwater supply, logged over forests, spent farms and  pastures, near exhaustion of fossil fuels, and the like.

10. While ecumenism bridges religions, cultism is divisive and segregative. There is a rise of the so-called hybrid religions which have lost their dogmatic identities, and are gaining popularity as a kind of religious liberation. On the other hand, more and more people around the world are drawn into the world of nones (people who have lost faith in organized religions) - if not the atheism, particularly those overwhelmed by the influence of postmodern living.~

These ten attributes of a modern Frankenstein haunt modern man and his society today exacerbated by his aim at globalization. The shrinking of the planet into a global village so to speak, through scientific breakthroughs, expansion of commerce and industry, opening of new frontiers of human settlement and habitation which sooner or later include the building of cities under the sea and in space, and the proliferation of multimedia making information accessible anywhere in any place of the globe - all these make the avenging monster closer to his creator, and therefore making him vulnerable to its evil intent. 

Such is the story of Mary Shelley's fiction that has a tragic ending - the destruction of both monster which never bore a name, and its creator - the young genius, Frankenstein.

But what really triggered the monster to take revenge against his creator - and the whole world for that matter?  Here are excerpts from an abridged version.

"... in the whole world there was no one  who would pity me and no one would help me."

Sadly the creature (monster) turned his eyes on Victor.
Scene of Dr Frankenstein and the monster he created based on the celebrated novel by Mary Shelly in the 19th century  (Wikipedia photo),
"My thoughts turned to you, Frankenstein: my creator...  I am alone and miserable.  You must create another being: a woman as deformed and ugly as I am, who will live with me and love me and be my wife.  Only you can do that."

"I refuse.  Never again will I create wickedness."

"You are wrong, Frankenstein," replied the fiend.  "I would live in kindness with people but they will not let me.  If I cannot have love I will cause fear."

His face wrinkled in agony.

Make a creature who loves me, who does not run away from me, and I will make peace with you.  Make me happy.  Do not deny me! We will go away together and will never see us again.  I swear it.  Please!"

(Frankenstein did not accede to the plea. Instead he pledge to destroy the monster,  but he failed. )

When he saw Victor's frozen body, in the falling darkness, the monster was almost moved to tears.

"Forgive me, Frankenstein, I destroyed everything you loved.  But I have suffered great misery myself.  You cannot hear me this, but I did not want to kill them.  It is all ended now.  You are my last victim.

So saying the creature bowed his head in wretchedness. "What is there left for me, but death?"

The monster turned and disappeared into the darkness. 

Frankenstein, Ladybird Horror Classics.