Thursday, April 20, 2006

Layers of Irony

Something occurred to me in my reading recently. Many of the symptoms or outcomes of the root defects in our culture today involve things like - plastic. So much of what we own is made of plastic because it's just cheaper to mass-manufacture plastic than to pay artisans who work with wood, clay, or stone, or to raise plants or animals for their fibers. We also use plastic in place of ivory, because it's just so mean to kill animals for their bones (instead of encouraging people to be good stewards of the animals that God has placed here), and many fine woods, like mohogany, because it's just Not Nice to cut down big virgin trees in the rain forests (again, instead of encouraging good stewardship of the resources God has given us).

We use lots of almost-plastic ingredients, like propylene glycol and methylparaben in cosmetics and other personal care products as emulsifiers and preservatives, again because it's either too expensive to use animal and plant based products or because of mass-manufacturing we need to preserve shelf life.

Then there's the whole slew of plastics that are used for convenience food storage, and for inexpensive household supplies. Don't get me wrong, now, I love my Rubbermaid stuff. I don't know where I'd put all my stuff if I didn't have plenty of Rubbermaid, or the even-cheaper Sterlite, to contain everything in. I much prefer real baskets, but they're pretty expensive, too, and if I'm buying something from China, I don't know whether I should spend less money and buy something ugly, or more money to get something beautiful. It's a quandary.

And then there's all the products that were created to facilitate factory farming and its attendant problems - the pesticides and herbicides, the antibiotics and hormones that practically all of us are exposed to, and all the products that were originally created to make keeping commercial kitchens and hospitals and such clean, and have trickled down to the household consumer, because really, they do make life much easier in a way. I love my Swiffer, and my Clorox bathroom cleaning wipes.

But the thing that really struck me was the irony... the poetic justice of all this. These things are all toxic to one degree or another and are probably responsible in a big way for the huge jump in various forms of cancer and autoimmune diseases and things like that that we're seeing so much of nowadays.

What's so poetic about that, you ask? Just this, that in our feminist society, the bulk of exposure to toxicity, most of which is practically unavoidable for most of us, comes from various forms of estrogen. That's right. Female hormones.

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