During the past week or so I have been entertaining the thought that if something requires industrial or chemical processing to make it edible, it simply will not be healthy nor nutritious. It is easy to say this of packaged foods, sweets, cookies, soft drinks etc. and it also applies well with things like soy products, cereal and margarine. So far I have not been able to think of anything that would contradict this “rule.” Can you?
On another note, I have been very eager to start reading more philosophy of late. I am currently finishing The Code of the Samurai with works of Seneca coming up next. I also happen to have a book called Less Is More which made it to my Best Books of 2009 list and contains hundreds of quotations and thoughts about simplicity, minimalism, and conscious living. I was leafing through it earlier today and discovered the following piece from 1972 called The Supermarket Meditation by Theodore Roszak. I think it rings very much true even today.
Those who anguish over a starving mankind on the easy assumption that there just is not enough land and resources to feed the hungry might do well to pay a special kind of visit to their local supermarket. Not to shop, but to observe and to meditate on what they see before them and have always taken for granted. How much of the world’s land and labor was wasted producing the tobacco, the coffee, the tea, the refined cane sugars, the polished rice, the ice creams, the candies, the cookies, the soft drinks, the thousand and one non-nutritional luxuries one finds there? The grains that become liquor, the fruits and vegetables that lost all their food value going into cans and jars full of syrups and condiments, the potatoes and corn that became various kinds of chips, crackles, crunchies, and yum-yums, the cereals that became breakfast novelties less nourishing (as a matter of scientific fact) than the boxes they are packed in, the wheat that became white breads and pastry flours… How many forests perished to package these non-foods? How many resources went into transporting and processing them? (And the less nutrition, the more processing.) How much skilled energy went into advertising and merchandising them? There they stand in our markets, row upon row, aisle upon aisle of nutritional zero, gaily boxed and packed, and costing those fancy prices we then gripe about as the high cost of living.
It is out of such routine extravagances that the technocracy weaves its spell over our allegiance… and then assures us we are the hope of the world.
What do you think? Having to live without coffee and tea would make me a sad boy, but other than that I have to agree with Mr. Roszak. It is extremely ironic how much effort humankind has put into destroying itself. We do not call them diseases of civilization for no reason.