So, the word "natural" gets thrown around a lot, particularly in the context of food or medicine. Merriam-Webster gives it this beast of a definition:
Main Entry: 1nat·u·ral
Pronunciation: \ˈna-chə-rəl, ˈnach-rəl\
Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French naturel, from Latin naturalis of nature, from natura nature
Date: 14th century
1 : based on an inherent sense of right and wrong <natural justice>
2 a : being in accordance with or determined by nature b : having or constituting a classification based on features existing in nature
3 a (1) : begotten as distinguished from adopted; also : legitimate (2) : being a relation by actual consanguinity as distinguished from adoption <natural parents> b : illegitimate <a natural child>
4 : having an essential relation with someone or something : following from the nature of the one in question <his guilt is a natural deduction from the evidence>
5 : implanted or being as if implanted by nature : seemingly inborn <a natural talent for art>
6 : of or relating to nature as an object of study and research
7 : having a specified character by nature <a natural athlete>
8 a : occurring in conformity with the ordinary course of nature : not marvelous or supernatural <natural causes> b : formulated by human reason alone rather than revelation <natural religion> <natural rights> c : having a normal or usual character <events followed their natural course>
9 : possessing or exhibiting the higher qualities (as kindliness and affection) of human nature <a noble…brother…ever most kind and natural — Shakespeare>
10 a : growing without human care; also : not cultivated <natural prairie unbroken by the plow> b : existing in or produced by nature : not artificial <natural turf> <natural curiosities> c : relating to or being natural food
11 a : being in a state of nature without spiritual enlightenment : unregenerate <natural man> b : living in or as if in a state of nature untouched by the influences of civilization and society
12 a : having a physical or real existence as contrasted with one that is spiritual, intellectual, or fictitious <a corporation is a legal but not a natural person> b : of, relating to, or operating in the physical as opposed to the spiritual world <natural laws describe phenomena of the physical universe>
13 a : closely resembling an original : true to nature b : marked by easy simplicity and freedom from artificiality, affectation, or constraint c : having a form or appearance found in nature
14 a : having neither flats nor sharps <the natural scale of C major> b : being neither sharp nor flat c : having the pitch modified by the natural sign
15 : of an off-white or beige color
Obviously, they have no idea what the fuck it means either. But most people seem to think it means "something that appears in nature, unaltered by human beings," usually with the inference that anything nature produces is superior to that of mankind.
I find it interesting that, of everything on Earth, humans are the only unnatural creatures. If a beaver builds a dam, it is natural. If a dude builds a skyscraper, it's either "unnatural" or "artificial" (the two arch nemeses of Nature). The original ingredients
of the skyscraper are natural-- that much is for sure-- but somewhere in between the time they are collected and the time they are put together in the form of a completed building, they exit this ambiguous realm. Only humans have this power to remove things from the natural world.
Similarly, medicine that is created by man through once-natural ingredients, through chemical processes (debatable in their naturalness, but nonetheless permitted by nature), is unnatural. And naturally, they are bad for you because Prozac is nowhere to be seen growing amongst the trees. Bears don't take Klonopin, to my best knowledge. No, much better are the natural gifts of Mother Nature, such as the lovely Belladonna plant. Oh, sweet deadly nightshade, I love how you let me talk to ghosts!
But I digress. On to food, which nowadays are loaded with artificial colors artificial flavors. Remember, artificial means bad. Why are they bad? Because I haven't been able to find any in my local woods, and I've been looking for weeks
. These days I only buy 7Up because it contains natural flavors, just like the 7Up my grandmother used to get from the old well.
....Basically, the idea is that "natural" products are better for you than something that has been made 'artificially' or 'processed'. I see it all the time, increasingly so-- "New blankety-blank, now with all natural ingredients, the way that nature intended it." I call bullshit
, and postulate that everything
is natural. Humans came from it, and therefore everything they do is natural as well. Something found in 'nature' has an equal chance of being bad for you as something created or altered by people. Your body can't tell the fucking difference. An example of something unnatural would be defying physics by floating a pen with your mind (please don't hesitate to try this). To review: