|100 days of Love and Hate - Day 34
||[Oct. 13th, 2006|10:14 am]
A Sanitised Life
In the last 100 years or so, Western society has increasingly catered to the over-sensitive, and business/social ideals of what we should prefer. Everything is being sanitised until there is little left that challenges people or offers variety.
For instance, as a huge example, there's food. Everything has to fit a homogenised norm. You're not allowed to know that this stuff came off a tree or out of the ground. Apples have to be waxed to make them more appealing. Vegies and fruits that fall outside a certain range in the way they look, even if they are perfectly edible, are rejected. Supermarkets sell only the types that fit a look, unconcerned if the nutritional values may be lacking compared to their 'ugly' relatives. They want you trained to only eat their product.
The side effects of this attitude are worrisome. Many farmers grow a particular sort of potato that McDonald's prefers for its fries - it's a confirmed and growing market. That's fine, until Maccas decides it doesn't wish to pay as much for the potatoes, and the farmers who only grow that type find themselves trapped. Either sell at a lower price or be stuck with a product that isn't popular ouside the main market. I'm just using Maccas as an example, there are supermarket chains, airlines, and of course other restaurant franchises just as guilty.
The huge numbers of farmers growing only specific types of potato for the McDonalds and supermarkets naturally reduce the strains of potatoes grown. So you have less variety to buy, and of course genetic diversity is down. Does no-one remember the lessons of the potato famine? That's just a really good example of what relying overly on a single strain can do, it applies to all foods equally, not just the odd spud.
All these extra problems and potential side-effects because someone somewhere has decided that this is what the ideal is. And anything outside that is simply wrong or unattractive.
And meat! Since when was meat not allowed to look like it came from a living thing? Blocks of muscle in polyurethane packages, the actual bodies hidden away so that people don't have to be confronted with the reality of what they are doing - eating another once-living thing. There are people who eat meat but don't want to acknowledge that it was once alive, because if they do, they can't eat it. Since when did not recognising what we need to do to survive become more important than the survival itself?
In a world as vast and overly complex as ours has become, it's not possible for everyone to kill their own food. That's fine. Not everybody is capable of it, not everyone wants to do it, so paying someone else to do the work is acceptable. But at least be prepared to acknowledge where the meat you're eating came from. If you can't do that, you don't deserve to be eating it.
The fact that there are children in today's world that don't realise the meat doesn't just come from supermarkets is both ridiculous and tragic. And it sets the kids up for a fall. It can be a nasty shock to a child to discover the steak they like to tuck into was once Daisy the Cow. But bring them up with that knowledge and you avoid the issue. They also gain a greater appreciation into the work involved in putting a meal on the table.
Human death... homogenised until it's an abstract, hidden away so that people don't have to deal with it. Hospitals where they place the dead on the lower level of a trolley, then put a sheet over the top, so it looks like someone wheeling an empty cart. Don't get me started on how disrespectful I find this attitude, hiding the recently deceased like a dirty secret or so much garbage, out of sight, out of mind.
Dealing with the death is often a major step towards acknowledging your grief. Hiding death away, not allowing people at least the option to say a proper goodbye... sure it's good for now, but does it help in the long run? At least give people the option of a viewing...
Some roses are bred without thorns. Toilet paper should be only be white and/or scented. Orange juice with barely a hint of pulp. All bread should be light and fluffy. Seedless grapes. All flowers should come on twelve-inch stems. There are so many more examples, I could go on for ages, but my point is this - we're not doing ourselves or our children any favours. We're breeding a people who are less and less able to cope with common realities - not everything is a perfect process, things die so that we may live, we and our loved ones die.
And worse than that, we cease to gain access and experience to what is different in the world. If you only ever get the chance to eat Granny Smith apples, how would you find out if you love or hate Golden Delicious, Jonathans, Lady Williams, Pink Lady, Fuji, Braeburn, Sundowner, Firmgolds, Cleo, Russet, Red Delicious, Bonza or Royal Gala?
You wouldn't, and that's the tragedy of the whole situation.
It's funny. Because I like to go bush and drive the Nullarbor and such, people expect me to know about birds. I know sweet F.A. about our feathered friends. There's a handful I can identify by sight a few I know by sound, and that's it. Beyond that it's just 'Ooh pretty!'
But I love their songs, especially in the morning and the evening. I love the variety, love the sound in general. Just generally enjoy it. And of course I have a particular fondness for those that I do recognise. The magpie... the... er... sparrow... Kookaburra! Yep, got that one pegged... um... peacock... chicken... errr... See what I mean?
I may not be able to recognise the types by the sound, but I do recognise the language. Every tweet and twitter.
"I'm a bird and I'm here."
"I'm a bird and I'm over here."
"Predator! It's a Predator! There's a Predator here!"
"I'm a bird, I'm over here."
"Clear off pal! This is my patch!"
"I'm a bird and I'm here."
"OMFG! Something's coming this way! Go away! Go awaygoawaygoaway! AAarrrghhh! Go Away! That's right. Yeah, keep going. Go on... gone... Good. (pause) OMFG! Something's coming this way..."
"I'm a bird and I'm over here."