100% Natural

David Musick (David_Musick@msn.com)
Thu, 12 Sep 96 23:36:05 UT

There is a meme going around now that has infected huge numbers of people.
The meme is completely irrational, and it is a meme which blocks many
Extropian and Transhuman memes. The basic core of the meme is: "natural
things are superior to artificial things." It is quite common for an
advertisement to claim that it's product's greatest advantage is that it is
100% natural. Not that it necessarily works better than artificial products,
but that its naturalness somehow makes it a better product.
There are several ways of rationally approaching and destroying this meme.
The first is very direct: the realization that EVERYTHING is natural,
including humans and their technology. This rips out the basic heart of the
meme which is that there is a distinction between humans and nature. However,
that idea is very ingrained in our culture; the idea that humans are
super-natural; that we and our technology are somehow not part of the process
of nature. So, more subversive disinfectants should be used as well.
These methods involve granting (temporarily) that the basic premise is true;
that humans are in fact different from nature and thus so is our technology.
Then you bring up lots of things that are 100% natural, but are seen as very
bad, like malarya and other horrible diseases. Starving to death in horrible
agony is perfectly natural; it happens all the time in the wild, along with
horribly painful injuries and death. A high infant mortality rate is 100%
natural! Poisonous gasses being emmitted in the atmosphere and wiping out
nearly all living species is a perfectly natural type of event; it happened
when certain types of life started producing that horrible poison, oxygen as a
waste product. These things are brought up to show that just because
something's natural, that doesn't mean that it's pleasant or desireable, and
in fact, most often it isn't. Most things that are 100% natural are actually
quite dangerous to humans.
It's funny to see food products in the supermarket that advertise themselves
as being 100% natural, because I always think to myself, "Dog shit is 100%
natural too, but I'm not gonna eat it!" Poisonous mushrooms are also 100%
natural, and since they're all-natural, they must be okay to eat, right? And
of course, we don't want any artificial preservatives in our food; botulism
(food poisoning) is much better, because at least it's natural to have food go
bad and be overrun by all kinds of poisonous bacteria.
And then there's the advertisements for medicines which claim to be 100%
natural. Yeah, right! Like those pills grew on trees! But the raw
ingredients came from the natural world, one might argue, so even though it's
processed beyond all recognition of what it originally was, it's still
natural. A little thinking would show that ALL medicines are 100% natural by
that logic, since all the chemicals originally came from the natural world.
And again, a lot of things that are 100% natural can kill you, and so can a
lot of synthetic things, so the real criteria for a medicine is how well it
actually works; whether it's natural or artificial is irrelevant (and this is
the basic core of the counter-meme; that all things must be evaluated by their
*actual properties*; their source is irrelevant). Just because a plant made
the chemical, that doesn't necessarily make it more effective than a chemical
that a human makes. It's a matter for scientific investigation to decide.
Nature's pharmacy is mostly poison.
Well, these are just some of the vaccemes to help wipe out the irrational
meme that "Natural is better." The basic idea is to make statements or ask
questions that reveal the blatant ludicrousness of the meme that says, "Nature
is better." This type of thinking prevents people from accepting many of the
life-improving technologies that Extropians generally endorse. Any type of
bio-enhancements are looked at as tampering with nature. Of course, the
mindless mutations caused by cosmic rays are 100% natural, so they're okay.
No, they're more than okay, they're better than the genetic engineers could
ever do, even if they made the exact same mutations, because they're 100%

All the electrons used to transmit this message are 100% natural and
completely recyclable. Just doing my part to help the environment. Have a
nice, 100% natural day!

- David Musick

By the way...

Does the Second Coming have anything to do with multiple orgasms?