I’ve written two posts this week on things that are purportedly “natural:” first food, then beauty. A few months ago I poked fun at the notion that my new hydrogen peroxide-based contact lens cleaner was somehow not “chemical-based” (I also mistakenly created the impression that I store my contacts in water, which I do not.)
It occurs to me that words like “natural” and “chemical-free” are really just shorthand for something to the effect of “not things we don’t like.” Of course my contact lens cleaner, with all of its bright-red, large-print warnings not to put it directly into my eyes, is not free of “chemicals.” Of course those bits of “shredded” “wheat” are not “natural.” We just tell ourselves this to feel better about an overly technological, strangely alienating world that has nonetheless done a pretty good job of keeping us from dying of smallpox.
There’s no real point to this post, other than to point out other things that are clearly natural, and juxtapose them with things that are not at all free from chemicals.
Chemical-based: Dihydrogen oxide.
Chemical-based: Epicatechin gallate.
Natural: Bathynomus giganteus.
Chemical-based: N-acetylmuramide glycanhydrolase.
Natural: Gamma-Ray Bursts.
Natural: Lophius americanus.
Chemical-based: delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (for the potheads in the audience).
Natural: Plasmodium falciparum.
Chemical-based: Homeopathic remedies.
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