Natural Product Politics: What the hell do I know?

Posted on May 9, 2012


Phew at last, a chance to express myself in the ‘I’ with no qualms.

Ok wanna know what I have been trying to get my head around lately? This issue of natural body products.

I am the kind of person who never assumes anything to be true unless I have questioned the underlying philosphy (i.e. with the whole vitamin suplement hype, how am I to know that stuff really gets absorbed inside my body properly?) which could make me either super intellegent or a self-righteous noob, but that’s besides the point here 😉

Now it goes without saying that the underlying philosophy when it somes to natural body products is that ‘chemical/synthetic’ body products are toxic or in some ways harmful to ones health and the environment. And my question for the last few months has remained: Is this true? What is it based on?

Unfortunately everything appears to be based on circumstantial evidence and, especially with the internet, it is easy to find both sides to every story. In this specific scenario I have had everything from indignant dermatologists tell me off for even suggesting conventional cosmetic products could possibly be harmful to spirtitual nancys whispering conspiracies in my ear –  multi-national coorporate phameciatical companies creating cover ups seems to be a favourite (plus the common ‘heal your body with your mind’ thingy).

Ok so what the hell do I know? I am just some newbie journalist who has experienced a bizarre upbringing of note. Now it seems the whole world is getting caught up in some kind of crazy green revolution, I need to make a living and I am a bit of a word-nerd. Curiousity killed the cat I suppose, and these days I am tormented every second minute by this damn subject. And the reason why is this: it quickly leads me to scrutinise the very fabric of ethics and philosophy in our modern society.

But I digress. Forget my internal dillemna for a moment. The main thing I have been grappling with is ‘How can I find out the TRUTH within all these product politics?’ The fact is, I can’t. There are just way too many things to consider here – who to believe, my general distrust in science making me a biased journalist, my bitterness towards homeopathic methods rendering me negative even about most ‘holistic’ product claims, and a whole pile of reading material to wade through – all the while with the knowledge that everyone has an agenda.

Are businesses the best people to discource with when the fundamental problem behind this whole thing is that money is to be made from people slathering some yum-smelling slop on their faces so they can feel good about themselves? The very essence of this thing is vainity, and no one can be trusted in this regard – especially myself, I am still a fool for great packaging.

At the end of the day, it is a highly psychological topic. Who can I trust? (Back to the internal dillenma..)People think they trust brands, but how could a money making body truly give a damn about my health? Unless I make them scared I will bust their asses. It’s very emotive for people to imagine that businesses may be poisoning them simply to make a quick buck. It seems too melodramatic to me at any rate.

So here’s my angle: I may not be a chemical expert, but I am a potential consumer and I want to know what the deal is. No scientific jargon and alienating for the sake of profit, just pure and simple- What’s the deal here? And if you can’t make me understand then I doubt the vast majority will have time nor flair to get a grip.

Yes, I assume there are companies out there trying to hookwink me into thinking they are fabulous, but I am really on the fence here when it comes to natural products. They have got to do the job ascribed for chrissake (because after all we are living in a self-gratifying society), and most people have a general attitude of disdain for esoteric types that I just can’t ignore. And to turn to natural products out of pure paranoi seems pretty ridiculous.

A personal factor in all this is that we have a grey water system set-up at my home which drains directly onto the garden.  I am faced with this conundrum: Would I really feel cool chowinig veg that had been doused in that brightly coloured, crazily fragranced, shiny slimey stuff that are ‘conventional’ body products? Nah-ah, but that could just be my conditioning  speaking.

I guess I should have paid more attention in chemistry class.

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