There is an argument known as Appeal to Nature and the basic concept is simple, “That which is natural is good and that which is unnatural is bad.”
The problem with the appeal to nature is that it is not true.
People tend to romanticize things. Sometimes that is ancient Chinese medicine or the words of people who have long since past or in this case, the concept of all natural.
My girlfriend and I recently spend some time watching the first season of the new show Naked and Afraid. If there is anything this show confirmed to me, it is that nature is equally our enemy as it is our friend.
Nature doesn’t often give you something free of charge. Sure there could be a lot of stuff around you. Maybe some fresh berries and some dry sticks, but you’re going to have to work for a lot of it. You need shelter, fresh water, a balanced diet, clothing to keep you warm or at least keep the sun off you when it’s blisteringly hot out. Good footwear is a must. It’s also best to have some kind of weapon to use against predators should they come lurking. Last but certainly not least, you need fire so you can cook your food, boil your water and stay warm. Nature will provide you the raw materials for these things, but it’s your job to figure out who to make it all happen. That’s technology.
If you obtain all of that, you still have to hunt or farm for a steady supply of food and you have all types of other possible calamities that can arise. Anything from viruses to broken bones or infections. It is as if nature wants to continually try to kill you unless you work your butt off to survive. But we forget that in our modern world.
We complain about taxes, driving in the snow, internet outages, genetically modified foods, you name it. But very few of us would trade any of those problems for the kind of problems we would face going all natural. Our modern struggle is not nearly the same kind of struggle as having to go find and kill your food whenever you get hungry. Very few of us have to deal with poisonous snakes, bears, lions, alligators, scorpions or any other small or large predator. In our modern world, the term “watch your step” typically applies to a piece of uneven ground, not a predator below your feet that wants to kill you.
We have it pretty good today. The reason we have it good is because of our technology and the efforts of people that came before us. But there is a problem. We’ve separated our daily lives so far from living in the wild that we’re now romanticizing the wild. We now have people running around preaching the virtues of all natural and damning anything that we’ve created using technology. Come on now… we need to look at this logically.
Nothing is perfect. Are some of these things we’ve created bad for us? Sure, maybe they are. But we must not suddenly turn our back on technoogy as a whole, like it’s some evil thing. It is technology that has helped us survive and live the relatively comfy lives we’re now used to. We’re still figuring a lot of it out. We have to keep a balanced perspective. We’ve already stated that nature itself is not all good. Generally speaking it wants of kill us. But we’re all survivors, at least for a time until nature finally catches up to us and does find a way to kill us. Maybe it’s a virus or maybe it’s our heart giving out at 75 years old. We’ve learned to surivive infections with antibiotics. We’ve learned to survive predators by building better weapons and better shelter. We’ve learned to survive starvation by finding ways to get more food on a regular basis. Eventually we will learn to live longer by modifying our bodies to slow down aging. It has all taken trial and error to get there and it will continue to take some trial and error. Are genetically modified crops bad for us? Maybe some of them all, but maybe some of them aren’t. Just because it’s modified doesn’t suddenly make it bad. That’s just one example. There are countless others. Let’s just not fall into a trap of black and white thinking where we label everything natural as good and everything created as bad.
It’s all a game of survival where our obstacle course is nature. So remember that. Nature is not your best buddy. It is not to be romanticized. It is an obstacle course you must battle through for as long as your can.