Friday, May 16, 2008


The first posting is always the most difficult--do I write about why I'm blogging, or jump right in? What do I mean by "mysticism", and what the hell is "natural living", anyway?

Science is great. It's given us penicillin, cotton, the Holstein cow, hydroelectricity, and the Internet. Unfortunately, it's also given us plastic, the atomic bomb, organ transplants, and the automobile. We could spend forever and a day debating the relative merits of all of these things, and whether I put them in the right or wrong categories, but that's irrelevant to the point: that modern life, for all its perks, doesn't need to be so "modern"--that there are a lot of natural and "old-fashioned" things that are simple, and work very well.

For instance, that bottle of all-purpose cleaner (409, or Fantastik) under your kitchen sink. Sure, it works great--and plus it's anti-bacterial, so you know it's got all those germs beat.

Would it surprise you to know that washing soda and dish detergent work just as well?

There's an increasing body of evidence to suggest that plastics are related to male infertility, that the overuse of cleansers is somehow related to the explosive increase in the numbers of children with asthma, and diet sodas actually cause obesity. These questions can take years to answer, and if the plastics industry is anywhere near as powerful as Big Tobacco, they'll fight to the death to keep the answers unknown. In the meantime, there's no harm in not using as much plastic, potentially toxic cleaners, or diet sodas. So why not?

Which brings us back to the question of what exactly is "natural living"? After all, I now live in a country that is, for all intents and purposes, man-made. I am writing on a device that was originally built to make calculations. My livelihood depends on a mode of transportation that carries people faster than Nature ever intended them to go. Yet I don't exactly fancy living in a cave and hunting for dinner, either. Nor would it be possible, really, to do that. It's hard to say exactly what "natural living" means any more, and if you think about it, it almost wouldn't make sense to try to pin down a definition any more precise than "to live in accordance with your circumstances", because after all, a cave man in a modern city is as much out of place as I would be in the Neolithic age--we'd both be hopelessly lost and out of place. The problem with modern life is that our circumstances and our biology are hopelessly out of sync with each other--or so it woud seem. I would argue that it's not. And the rest of this blog will be devoted to how.

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