Monday, February 27, 2006

Naturally Ridiculous - 100%

Natural, man-made,
advertising, promotion,

For quite some time I've been ruminating about why we have become so fixated on things which are "natural".

Yesterday, at the Music Festival in ViƱa del Mar in Chile, Tonka Tomicic was selected as the festival's queen on a platform of being a 100% Natural Model.

Now, I'm not in the least bit criticising her, and even find what I've seen of her personality most appealing but 100% Natural is ridiculous!

Like almost all uses of this phrase that we see today, it is liberally interpreted to apply to the subject in the way which the promoter finds convenient, but other aspects are completely ignored or considered irrelevant.

However attractive and delightful this woman is I would not be the least bit surprized if she had had orthodontic work done sometime in her life, if she had died, tinted or colored her hair (it certainly was cut by someone), had depilated her body, and either performed or been subjected to any number of processes or practices in her lifetime that are anything but "natural" in the purest sense of the word.

In fact, I'd dare to guess that if any person, man or woman, were to be presented to the public who was truely and completly natural in every possible way the result would not be pleasing at all.

The other day I noticed on a packge of peanuts and raisins the sticker "Oil-free, 100% Natural" and had to ask myself, what is natural about finding salt on raisins and peanuts wrapped in a plastic container?

Why are natural shampoos supposedly better? In nature, cavemen washed their hair with nothing more than water -- if they washed it at all!

I think we can find in our daily lives many examples of things, from foods to medicines and various practices where not only do we prefer a man-modified version but might even find that the result we desire from it is better in the artificial, synthetic version that the natural one.

Why have we fixated on this idea that anything man-made is less desireable than what is found in nature?

In practice, I think that many combinations of man-made and natural things end up producing the most desired and attractive result. Man has a capacity to "improve" on what nature provides. Sometimes, perhaps too often, he errs or doesn't notice his incomplete understanding of some natural phenomena, but that doesn't mean that it is better to drop everything that he has done and return to a natural state.

We have the capability to learn from our mistakes, so if we discover some instance where a natural version seems better than a fabricated one, let's use that as a opportunity to learn more about what we might improve on, instead of rejecting the natural intelligence which we have been given.

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