Modernity has a very bad reputation. It’s probably due to the complexity of life and pollution. On the other hand, there is no reason to chuck the baby out with the bath water, just because you are dissatisfied with the pace and byproducts of life as the rest of us.
You know the scene. Something just doesn’t want to go your way, or something spectacularly embarrassing happens, and inevitably, someone says, “It’s only natural.” Your dog attempts to mate with an aged neighbour’s Zimmer frame. The fuel price hikes a dollar or two. A good friend gets caught pocketing something in a supermarket. A couple of half-hearted words are spoken in justification or mitigation and, “It’s only natural.”
Natural is a four letter word hiding somewhere amongst a few other consonants and vowels. I’m not a cryptographer or a Scrabble boffin, so I don’t know which four letters constitute the dirty word, but I know they are in there, somewhere.
But natural is more than just a euphemism. It has also become a catchphrase for the word ‘good’. Notice the inverted commas, on that word.
According to health experts, naturally grown vegetables are good. Apparently they have more vitamins. And here I was thinking that the natural form of vitamins was a large, effervescent tablet that comes out of a tube and goes straight into water, imparting a slightly invigorating ‘real orange’ taste.
Perhaps I am wrong though. Perhaps a wilted tomato containing a six legged surprise protein enhancement really is good for you, especially if you are deprived of protein by your natural diet, but I really don’t want to think too hard about it. Actually I’m quite happy with the stuff that comes out of tubes. You don’t have to peel the tablets or squeeze them and clean the kitchen before getting to that ‘real orange’ taste. And I like my tomatoes, large, red, bug-free and unnaturally fresh, even if it does mean genetic modification and pesticides.
And come to think of it, germs are a natural phenomenon. Anyone out there want to give their inoculations a miss?
I have nothing against natural, other than having to eat it, drink it, live with it or try and avoid it. But at heart, I am one of those perverse beings who really gets a huge, twisted kick out of things unnatural.
Humanity has spent thousands of years trying to get to the point where the food is bug free and stays fresh longer. Why turn our backs on the wishes of our ancestors, now that we have attained that lofty goal?
Then there is the phenomenon of natural fiber. What exactly is natural fiber? Does it mean that the fiber actually grows on trees in a ready-woven form? As far as I can make out, if the natural form of fibers are plants or the knotted, curly stuff found on the surface of a sheep, then anything that involves that fiber not being part of a shrub or a sheep must be unnatural.
What about natural medicine? Perhaps the bark of some or other tree holds the secret of the cure for the common cold? Would you feel safer munching down on a platter of tree bark? Or would you prefer the comfort of knowing that some giant chemical conglomerate has spent years synthesizing the bark’s properties, and now produces the cure daily, in millions of overpriced doses?
Modernity has a very bad reputation. It’s probably due to the complexity of life and pollution. On the other hand, there is no reason to chuck the baby out with the bath water, just because you are dissatisfied with the pace and byproducts of life as the rest of us
now it. Instead, consider turning off the television in the evenings and throwing litter in a bin, not out of the window. Neither television nor litter are natural.
Unnatural has its drawbacks, but probably because it is misused or overused. Frozen food never tastes as good as food made from an assemblage of ingredients. But unless you have a full time chef, who can actually avoid the frozen meal after coming home late from the office and ready for bed just as soon as some food can be produced and swallowed?
It appears as if the choice between ‘natural’ and ‘unnatural’ is a toss-up, but note this… If you find a bug in your fast food, you have the option of litigation. If it appears in your natural, organically grown vegetable, you don’t stand a chance.