organic cereals and london burning

tuesday 9 aug 2011, fire on property, surrey (lewis whyld/PA) 
when i first went off to live on my own, i remember being rather surprised that many people of my age (late teens) didnt know manage practical aspects of life.  never mind cooking actually, they were clueless to go to a real shop, where unprocessed vegetables (with dirts) and meats (with head and feet, etc) sit on the shelves and fridges, waiting to come home and celebrate their lives by becoming beautiful and nourishing food.  many of my friends flocked to the conventional north american supermarkets, where everything has been packaged in plastics and boxes, with many stickers and labels to qualify themselves as food items.  often they talked of buying a plastic tray of (biologically engineered, massive) chicken breasts, however being still bit queasy about the idea of touching dead flesh and eating 'meat' whilst munching on frozen organic dinners.  somehow, their food wasnt related to food matters, furthermore, their food also consisted of food that claimed to be something different than what they are.

i remember being completely confused by people who would bring their coats and jackets with missing buttons, asking for 'alterations,' to reattach the buttons.  or friends who didnt realize that putting more laundry detergent does not give you cleaner clothes but rather suddy ones.  

almost religious stance with buying organic cotton clothings that traveled across the oceans several times rather than buying a second hand clothing because it created less damage to the world.

replacing still-working televisions and fridges (though dated) to brand-new energy saving models and calling the removal service to trash their old things.

insisting on driving to organic farm to get the 'clean, pollution-free ' steaks, not realizing that dinner of a good beef steak just doubled their crude oil consumption.  

buying fresh organic 'wild' green mix instead of local fiddly lowly cabbage? very often one picks up the pkg without realizing that it couldve traveled across the continent to get to the consumer.  which is worse? no one knows.

recently i was rather amused by a very strongly positive comment on organic certified breakfast cereal.  gluten-free and certified organic! must be great and tasty! i wondered if one have taken a look at 'who' these organic companies are operated by, as often they are subsidiary of larger industry giants.  not to mention the amo of processing that went into compensate for loss of gluten (would you rather have naturally occuring wheat protein or added xanthan gum and cornstarch? i think it's a tough one, unless you actually have gluten allergy, not you 'think' you do...) about the industry costs of processing and refining gum and cornstarch? ouch, head...

getting coached to wash clothes often with enviro-friendly soap by an enviro-nazi is another funny one.  bit of dirt never killed anyone but have they looked into how much resources are required for each washing and drying?  i think repeating a shirt couple times is really alright, unless you sweated self through the shirt. a common sense would dictate a good test with someone else's nose (if you can find a willing dude)...

of being confronted by PETA as they chew on silently screaming, still-live carrots, which i find hilarious.

looking for organic stuff while nearby shop stocks things directly from local farms- though they still cannot afford to pay the organic-certification governing body (it could cost up to 2000 USD/yr for independent producers) also creates an interesting issue: what does one buy with what kinds of decision making?

i am splitting hairs, really. i have no rights or status to criticize or condemn others of their actions.  at certain point, i tell myself: well, at least they are making efforts.

but does it really add up to something that is better, at the final sum? i am not so sure.

with all these things in mind, i wonder where we have slipped as a society. we now have citizens who holds rigid value system, often mashed and interwoven with artificial frame of moral values- as result of confusion of two similar-looking yet different words: co-existence and co-dependence.

uk is burning at the moment with silly riots. silly in a sense that the rioters are mainly into causing mayhem rather than proving a point (if any).  it's bunch of angry children out having a 'good time' by smashing shops and taking things.  of course, the seed of it all was supposedly well-intended and violence-free, organized protest.  but once the windows broke, the flame spread. from london to everywhere- liverpool, manchester, birmingham, you name it.

i think these things are all quite closely related.  with very simple explanation.  we are forgetting to contextualize and see the 'real value' of things. the rioters are looting, grinning with their five new pairs of new runners, though making a gross stereotypical judgement, none of them are likely to go for a run for health reasons.  because they arent able to see any value in their lives or themselves, it does make it a 'good time' to go smash windows and take things, which adds instant values (which are then just as easily lost within couple weeks).  we are convinced by the 'media' to look for labels and qualifiers, to rely heavily on some private governing bodies to provide us with 'quality' products (hence give us 'quality) and easily associate feelings of superiority with our actions (though in real life, all we are doing is to buy more exclusive, expensive products with not much difference, unless, of course, one had taken a good look at the value of the product where one can be happy with- which is a bit different than buying the 'happiness' and 'satisfaction.')  

it is so easy to adopt labels and values presented by others. there simply isnt enough time or mental power to set a contextualized values for every aspects of life. one would simply not be able to get on with anything. so we all pick a few important points, so it would make enough sense, to give oneself enough satisfaction and self-worth to continue on a bit further.  and to remember that for every single decisions that took efforts, one have decided to forego other issues. even if just for now.  

a life that is worth the time requires time. and a satisfaction is usually not restricted to a tight boundaries, which is amusing and amazing at the same time.  and no, i dont know of anyone who would become genuinely happy with new free television.  i do understand that i tend to be surrounded by particular breeds of people (ie. university educated, arts-sympathetic, etc.) and that there are loads of people who are so far from who i am.  and i chew on the fact that by the end of the day, i am nothing better or worse. we all strive for the same sets of emotions, though the context of those emotions may vary greatly and the means to achieve them in even greater variations- whether it is through looting or consuming globally traded organic food.  

and boy it is a lucky thing that everyone can be so different, as there could be nothing left to enjoy if we were all the same.  though, today, i feel rather mixed bag of emotions for the people whose lives have became cheap and/or simple (cheap enough to be reprimanded through simple action of purchase or looting) and wonder how one may restructure one's value systems and ethics to be at peace.

for what it's worth, here's bits and pieces of monkey love to the world.  as a poor monkey with minimal material possession, i think offering of affection is pretty kick-ass. unless, of course, you can buy me stuff. especially if it is carbon neutral and organic.

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