One of my favourite authors, as anyone who reads my stuff might know, is John Milton. Following the precedent of The Bible; in particular at 1 Corinthians 6.19 which states:
“What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?”
John Milton in a justly famous passage poeticises thus:
“O Spirit, that dost prefer
Before all Temples th’ upright heart and pure,
Instruct me, for Thou know’st; Thou from the first
Wast present, and with mighty wings outspread
Dove-like satst brooding on the vast Abyss
And mad’st it pregnant: What in me is dark
Illumin, what is low raise and support;”
The idea is that The Temple of the body should remain undefiled by sin or by transgressions; so as to allow a person undefiled to do due honour to God, the human body’s Creator, in whose Image the human body is Created.
Now in an age where such an idea is strange, almost comic, we have our Temples of the Body yet; we have those folks who rear up their bodies as Temples, but not to God; instead to health and to cleanliness and to a wish that humans would treat the animals we consume better during their doomed lives with us.
Temples reared then to keeping one’s own body clear of all those additives and medications, processed foods and colourants, fertilisers and pesticides and so on which are used in the production of what we might call today ‘normal’ food.
It’s important to remember that our present industrial and commercial progress, from its beginnings in the mid eigteenth century in Britain; was due in large part to a sine qua non of The Agrarian Revolution having preceeded The Industrial Revolution. The Agrarian Revolution saw inventions like Jethro Tull’s Seed Drill and Horse Hoe (see http://www.history1700s.com/index.php/articles/14-guest-authors/1084-the-inventions-of-18th-century-which-transformed-agriculture.html ) which as a collection of innovations allowed intensive farming of the land to begin in the way we would recognise as being ‘normal’ today.
You may remember that these innovations helped to drive the great rush towards the enclosure of land across the UK; much of this land being ‘commons’ which ordinary and landless persons were beforehand privileged until it became enclosed, to use to graze their animals and to gather firewood.
Thus enclosures were acts of institutionalised vandalism from a landowning class and its rush for greed. The enclosures mark the beginning of a phenomenon known as the ‘landless labourer’, a person who had been dispossessed of a minimal living off the land and force into towns where work was becominjg ever more widely available; initially in cotton mills and in wool mills and also in building infrastructures like railways and roads and canals and ships etc.
The fact I am pointing out here is that The Industrial Revolution, probably wherever the phenomenon has spread across the world, and at its birthplace in Britain, has grown and prospered in the main on the backs of the suffering of lower status peoples. There is a good case for arguing that today those nations benefiting most from having had an Industrial Revolution continue to thrive at a cost to lower status peoples, often who are living in other parts of the world globally, and that richer nations’ wealth and massive consumption are directly attributable to this their economic dominance over poorer nations and peoples.
I wanted to put this in here above as historical and economic background so as to give you a context for the issues which I am going to follow with now. I wanted to show by these issues how bizarre is that contrast, and how blindly self-regarding are that class of persons who raise up Temples of their bodies, not sacred to God, but to their own healths, to their own cleanliness and to their own freedom from the trappings and additions of intensively farmed ‘normal’ foods.
Margaret Wilkinson is a prominent US Jungian psychologist who notes in her writings how it is commonplace in human experience to find point-blank denials even against almost insurmountable burdens of proof that something emphatically is not what people want it to be. She gives as an example, I believe, and concerning what humans ingest, the homeopathic remedy. Her claim is that despite evidence in a great quantity to the contrary; as against more or less no evidence in support, belief and trust and the administration and consumption of homeopathic remedies goes on in the world still on a huge scale.
Not only are these remedies sold and taken in societies where education levels are poor, or by classes of persons without education; but many many persons who take these remedies are well-off and well-educated. Despite the science, in despite of the science in many cases, the peoples of high material wealth continue to believe in them and to take them regardlessly.
Another example of contrary behaviour, but concerning housing and accommodation and not foods or medicines; is the story of asbestos and the bogey of it causing cancers and carcinogens. There are multimillion dollar industries working today who are removing from legacy buildings their asbestos and asbestos cement roofing, piping, lagging insulation etc. The industry is providing services which have such asbestos removed; to have this done is a very expensive task and it is hedged round with much health and safety law and with dwelling place rules, and so on.
I am assured that in fact only blue asbestos presents any real harm to human life; and I believe that blue asbestos is by far less commonly used in legacy buildings than is white asbestos. I am assured that most of the asbestos removal industry is working upon a false premise. Only blue asbestos disintegrates as it erodes into fine dusts and fibres which carry angular and jagged ‘hooks’ which cling onto a lung lining or an alveola and thus causes problems for ta body by its natural means being unable to remove such dust from inside it. White asbestos crumbles into flakes and dusts and fibres which are not jagged or ‘hooked’ and so the body is able to deal with such dusts in the same way as it deals with dusts inhaled in the home from furnishings fragments, human skin, and so on.
The situation appears to be that when a belief has taken a hold on a sufficient group of adherents, any amount of science or reasoning to the contrary, even when such is present in abundance, finds it hard to move people from their first positions.
We can see this happening almost everywhere when we see how people will behave and disallow and dismiss anything to the contrary, wholly as if there were no good and sound reasons for them to believe that the world and Creation are at bottom astounding mysteries and wonders. That people will not accept, ‘even though someone were to be sent from the dead to tell them’ that there is without doubt more to life than merely the material world and its things; their earthy delights. The ascendancy of materialist outlooks and of disbelief in any immaterial or metaphysical content being present in existence, is our common scourge and misconception.
Science can be good; it has helped us a lot; but it is not the whole answer to life. Nor is science sustainable without a common acknowledgement of the fact of its limitations, vulnerabilities and falibilities. Science as Saviour is a sure route to a collapse of human systems, social and economic.
Now to my specified topic. In Britain today farmers are being offered by government large subsidies and startup grants, hundreds of thousands of pounds per farmer is being offered over a course of a few years, for farmers to ‘switch over’ from what I have termed ‘normal’ farming (intensive) to what is strangely termed ‘organic’ farming. More and more farmers are forsaking pesticides from Monsanto and fertilisers from John Innes, ditching GM crops and antibiotics and all sorts of now-claimed-to-be ‘adulterations’ as practices for growing our food.
The Department of Food and Farming here is shelling out huge amounts of money which are intended to ‘tide over’ farmers from ‘normal’ to ‘organic’ in a space of around two years. Subsidies running into tens of thousands per farmer continue as long as they remain ‘organic’.
‘Organic’ is a strange, strange word in its use to denominate food. It’s opposite ‘inorganic’ is never used of food because in essence no food is inorganic (barring perhaps salts and minerals). But ‘organic’ has come to mean here in UK ‘something healthier’ for the consumer than is ‘normal’ food; which is food as we have normally done it since Jethro Tull’s revolution.
In this case of farmers switching to ‘organic’ the word ‘organic’ has been given by government a set of written conditions which have to apply to it and to its growth so as for it to qualify as ‘organic’ food and able to be sold as such in the marketplace. This set of conditions is based on what consumers for some decades here have been looking for in foods labelled ‘organic’ in the shops. This is generally foods grown using traditional items of fertiliser, and healthcare, and environment, and production in general; a Rousseauian ‘return to nature’ – no doubt!
Now another department of government here, The Food Standards Agency when interviewed about this trend towards ‘organic’ farming claimed that the evidence overwhelmingly says that such ‘organically grown’ foods offer no significant advantage in nutrition, or in health to the eater, than do ‘normal’ foods as now grown. Thus we have a ‘House Divided against itself’; where one part of government is ploughing millions of tax revenue money into farmers plans to go ‘organic’ and yet another part of government is pooh-poohing the idea and setting its face hard against the excepted benefits to the consumer. Or have we?
I don’t think so.
One farmer interviewed said he was shifting to ‘organic’ because a) of a thing called ‘black grass’ which had been ‘infecting’ his crops of ‘normal’ cereal and so reducing yields, in some cases by up to two thirds; and b) because the grant monies were ‘generous’ and available long term for him to go ‘organic’; and c) because ‘organic’ crops and meats are liable to bring in for him ‘greater profits than did ‘normal’ farming, even at a time before the ‘black grasses’ were destroying his yields.
(‘Black grass’ by the way is a ‘weed infestation’ which has arisen because a) other ‘weeds’ than itself have been killed off by scientific pesticides, thus leaving the field open and without competition from any other ‘weed’; and thus b) ‘black grass’ has prevailed and has proven resistant to the scientific pesticides. What a mess eh?)
The venture into ‘organic’ farming then, because I believe this farmer interviewed gives a testimony which is typical of so many UK farmers’ thoughts, and who are going ‘organic ’, I have a shrewd idea that farmers are merely seeking after ‘the main chance’. Following the money. The farmers are not much interested in health and in cleanliness of the body; not much concerned about environment, pollution, or the purity of a natural world, not interested in ditching scientific chemicals and all the paraphernalia of our commonplace, ‘normal’ farming. And here we come to the heart of the matter; and it is that farmers have been sold an idea from some wiseacre person or organisation linked to government, that here is a Branding opportunity; a consumerist venture which is within their grasp.
Their ‘organic’ produce, having the ‘organic’ label on it as approved by the set of rules laid down by government thus becomes ‘officially organic’ – even more absurd!!
The push of farmers into ‘organic’ foods here in UK then is purely a marketing stratagem and belongs properly to consumerism and to consumerist marketing techniques. Its aim is to Brand high-end market produce as being desirable, healthy, clean and ‘greenly’ environmentally-friendly; when nothing of the kind is in fact the case about this food, excepting in certain persons’, its consumers’, stubborn apprehensions that it is so.
I suspect it will be sold mostly abroad, in expensive restaurants, at home and abroad, and will be available as uncooked produce in only the most prestigious food halls of Britain. The ordinary Joe and Josephine will see none of it. The government, and in tow with it, the farmers will call this going’organic’ a meeting of demand and a giving the consumer what the consumer wants; yet in plain language it is another bordering-on fraudulent consumerist push of something once called here ‘mutton dressed up as lamb’.
What the consumer of ‘organic’ foods wants is what all right thinking people want. A clean, or a cleaner environment, less pollution and less use of science’s chemicals, better food, healthier, more nutritious, tastier, less interfered with. What the consumer of ‘organic’ foods gets that the consumer of ‘normal’ food gets is almost nothing excepting a hefty price tag and a government stamp of approval. The farm tractors and machinery will not be using bio fuels; nor belching out purificants into the earth’s atmosphere, nor are eco-friendly those lorries bringing it to town, and nor are the chefs and assistants using renewables and non-pollutants to cook it and serve it
And I say with some anger – serves the ‘organic’ consumer right; for wanting to be able to buy for him/herself a cleaner body; and to obtain a more flavoursome, healthier, more nutritious meal.
I say this because the same consumer set’s clothing, their mobile phones, their electronics and nearly all of their undoubted untold luxuries of life; all are being made by peoples far less privileged, upon whose backs our wealth is being maintained. Yet these ‘organic’ eaters in the main will put up with rare earths for their phones being the labour of gangs of youngsters supervised by gun wielding militias in Central Africa; will put up with clothing from sweatshops where people work all hours at minimal wages; and will bear with their electronics being made in factory lockups with dreadful working conditions.
All this these people will protest about, even feel about maybe, but probably will not act to try to stop it; yet for their inner organs and circulations and hearts and lungs and general well-being, they will opt for the outrageously luxurious choice of ‘organic’ that is no ‘organic’ any more than is ‘normal’’ food.
Hardly, Not In My Back Yard stuff; but rather Not Inside My Body. Such narrow self-regard is bordering upon obscene. Were it not a joke, a cynical shift by government, and a wheeze for fellow travelling farmers after making more money, it would be outright criminal.
But God works in mysterious ways and thus ‘as ye mete out so shall ye be meted out to; in full measure to overflowing “.
This article is also posted at our metanomalies blog: http://metanomalies.com/organic-food-the-body-as-temple/
You can also find this article at my linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/organic-food-body-temple-matthew-raymer