What is natural?

Imagine you are standing out in the countryside on a wonderful beautiful day. You are standing by a field of corn (or maize depending on how you look at things). The heads of corn wave in the breeze. Isn’t it lovely to get back to nature? Except what is natural about the scene? Man created this situation – corn can’t self propagate. It didn’t exist until man bred it into being a foodstuff. And it can’t now survive without us. It has helped our population grow. It’s in almost everything (including a can of Coke). And if it disappeared overnight we wouldn’t be able to support our population. We created something that we now depend on.

Let’s leave that field in the countryside and head to ancient Greece. Socrates is upset by the modern kids of today.

Why do children waste all of their time today playing dice and writing poetry?

Everybody, and I mean everybody, forever, has been pessimistic about the next generation and everybody, and I mean everybody, forgets that what is man-made would have seemed totally unnatural to previous generations. People want things to return to, “how they always were”, when what they usually mean is, “return to how they fleetingly were when I was young”.

It’s a fools errand to predict the future, but I’m optimistic. The more the world connects the more the it understands. The more the world connects the more educated people get and that can only help.

Lots of people are scared about the next generation of technologies. Will artificial technology take over and rule us? What about genetically modified food? Well, if you didn’t know that corn was man-made by breeding and essentially is not natural (it is the way it is for our benefit, making it so has made it sterile), then maybe we need to learn more about it rather than just being scared of it?

What do you think people are scared of now, but which soon will feel perfectly natural?

2 thoughts on “What is natural?

  1. Pat W says:

    Interesting stuff. I really do agree that the ‘children in my day weren’t wastrels’, except for the fact they were!
    I didn’t know that about corn and it makes you think about GM. I think as long as ALL food isn’t GM then it’s fine, as with all things it is having the right balance.

  2. […] also reminded me of a post by Alex, where he pondered each generation thinking the next is going to the dogs. It’s easy to look at Kids TV these […]

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