I’m going to start this one off with a disclaimer: I don’t really know what I’m talking about. I haven’t researched all this stuff in depth personally. I may very well be wrong about some of the examples I’ll give, but I still think the main idea is solid. Now on to the show.

I think we have a problem in our society today. In our abundance and modern society, we are often too far removed from the “natural” world. It seems like many out there feel that this is a bad thing. Me–well, I think it’s bad insofar as we’ve forgotten some reasons why we have removed ourselves from the natural world. There is plenty of beauty and wonderful things to find in the natural world. We certainly should be seeking those things out far more than we are. But on the other hand, there’s a lot of stuff that’s dangerous out there, too.

So what are the things that I see going on that bug me? A list is a handy way to answer that!

  1. Organic produce/Opposition to genetically modified produce

    In some ways, I can see how organic can be better. Some foods have been specifically bred/genetically engineered to have certain qualities that make them more appealing on the selves of the supermarket. Cool, the apple’s shiny, but if the texture is grainy and bland, I’m not going to eat it. It’s just like how manufacturers pump up the brightness, contrast, saturation, sharpening, and pseudo-framerates in order to make their televisions look better than the competition’s when you’re buying a TV at Best Buy. It’s not very helpful there, nor do you typically want to keep all that enabled when you get the TV home (unless you believe that the professionals that master your DVDs, Blurays, and TV programs haven’t done a good job mastering the videos you watch–which does happen occasionally). The unfortunate thing about the apple, though, is that you can’t change it after it’s grown. If they can make the apple red and delicious, then that’s cool with me.

    In other ways, though, I don’t really understand organic produce. A lot of things really don’t taste any different either way (and then do look less appetizing when they’re organic).

    Anyway, that’s really all beside my main point here. One of the reasons given for eating organic produce is that it’s not covered in pesticides and all the other “bad things” that the non-organic produce is covered in. Well, I think that other stuff was created and used for a reason. Just wash your fruits and vegetables. You need to do that to not get E. coli from organic produce, too. Pesticides are the reason we can feed as many people as we do today. Genetically modified food is the reason we’ll be able to feed even more tomorrow (and not fill our rivers with pesticides). Let’s not stop progress and go back to the days of lower yields just because that’s how it used to be.

  2. Essential Oils

    Just because it comes out of a plant doesn’t make it good for you (or mean that it’ll do anything at all). Opium comes from a plant. Tobacco comes from a plant. Etc. Not a lot of research has been done on the benefits/risks essential oils provide. Even if they are beneficial, they’re not essential in the sense of “you need this to survive”, but essential in the sense of “essence of something else.” Happy coincidence for the marketers, of course. Unfortunately, this friendly-sounding name hides the fact that some of those things are dangerous in quantities above just a few drops. “Keep out of reach of children” is the rule here.

    Really, I’m just tired of the mentality that there’s something out there that cures all ills/makes you slim without effort/has magical effects. I do think there’s plenty to be discovered out there that can provide us with medical breakthroughs (how do those starfish really do that thing they do?), but I think it requires more effort on our part to figure those things out and apply it for our benefit than just extracting the oils and marketing them around in little vials. Omega 3, Açaí berry, HCG, etc., etc. It’s all really just about balance and being wise. If someone in ancient China really did find a way to erase wrinkles and stretch marks in an effective way, we’d already be using it. You probably wouldn’t be finding out about it on a Saturday morning infomercial.

  3. Barefoot running

    We invented shoes for a reason. Then again, we have toes for a reason. Toe shoes? Those are creepy, but I’ll give them a pass. Personally, however, I’ll stick to my shoes.

That’s a bit of a shorter list than I was anticipating, but that’s okay. Really, I just think we need to realize that we should think and pay attention to things. Technology can be used to make something actually better, and it can also be used to just make something more appealing (but perhaps worse).