klewlis wrote:Anyway, I was thinking more about the "natural is good" thing and it seems to me that it may be a postmodern reaction to the so-called age of enlightenment, wherein everything was about progress, technology, etc., and people like to react against that with things that are older, more traditional, and more comfortable. what think ye?
Well, I hesitate to call this postmodern. There were people reacting to the Enlightenment before it even got off the ground. (I will elide for the moment the question of whether it is appropriate to speak of The Englightenment as a single or even coherent thing.) Emma took a jab at Rousseau earlier, and certainly it's popular to pin some of this on him, but I don't know enough about the Romantic period to say if he originated these ideas or of he was simply the spokesman for a Zeitgeist.
I think the whole process of modernization - increased population density, heavy industry, completely different working and social arrangements - is the ultimate source for a lot of this. But I think there are several strains of thought leading to the "natural is good" popularity.
We can all probably agree (yes, yes, except the Ayn Rand fanatics) that a iron smelting factory is an unlovely thing. Or, to misquote Douglas Adams, "there is no language that has the phrase 'as lovely as an airport.'" So all these changes and, frankly, the ugliness of the modern industrial process alienates people. People who have probably never farmed, never had their meals destroyed by pests, but who might get the idea that whatever came before the stinking factory must have been better.
The current natural health movement is pushed partly along by nasty, invasive medical procedures. I suspect also that medicine is in part a victim of its own success. So much progress has been made that when modern medicine fails people sometimes get the idea the whole thing is falling apart. And an herbalist is usually much cheaper than an M.D.
I could go on. A lot of philosophies claim to be natural (Daoism, Stoicism, Epicureanism), but when you look closer you see that the definition of nature they're working with is already construed in the image they want. You learn special tricks to make sure you get the correct interpretation of Nature necessary for the philosophy to keep working.
But I have a go game shortly (or, as mingshey would call it, baduk
), so I'll cut it short for now.