In the last couple of weeks, on various occasions I heard from different people, remarks like: ‘Herbalism is the medicine of the poor.’, ‘Spinach is poor man’s food.’ and ‘Thank god that I have never been so hungry that I had to eat purslane.’.

All of these comments left me astounded and perplexed at the western way of thinking where the use of highly refined and processed food, devoid of nutritional value and highly detrimental to personal health, is seen as preferable by most, otherwise as a privilege of the rich or even regarded as an indicator of economic and career success, while consuming that which is naturally available, of high nutritional value and with preventive health benefits, is regarded as the food of the poor. Is this not a contradiction?

People choose to spend most of their days locked up in tiny cubicles or noisy work environments, to earn enough money to go to the local supermarket and stock up on loads and loads of artificial food. That, while there is a bounty of healthy, natural food available for free or at relative low cost, to those who recognize the real thing when they see them. Does this seem logical?

We live in an environment where we daily face the deadly hazards of air, water, soil and noise pollution. Our bodies are bombarded from all sides by these byproducts of so called development and prosperity forcing us in combative mode in order to live a modicum of a healthy live. Vast amounts of money, time and effort is spend every month individually and corporately in an attempt the correct the corrosive effects of modern, prosperous western life. Does this make sense?

The cultural mindset where the use of chemicals in the form of prescription drugs is endorsed and encouraged by GP’s, health workers and medical aids, while the use of plant-based products is scoffed at and even regarded as illegal or socially unacceptable, still eludes me. I am just totally clueless in this regard, because to me this sounds completely insane.

I find it hard to understand why we would succumb to a system that is poisoning us on multiple levels and then strive to keep that system in place. Where did we lose the plot as a society? How do we pray on the one hand ‘…give us our daily bread’ and then scoff at what nature offers us? How do we consult the one after the other health expert to help us cure or manage our chronic diseases and on the other we reject the help and answers that nature presents us with?

The CONUNDRUM of human life on this planet. We were born into an environment that had everything that we ever could need and yet we felt the need to set out to destroy that very storehouse and replace it with something that could never measure up to the original. Daily we bow down to the creation of our own hands, worshipping our achievements and our genius, failing to see that we are destroying ourselves from the inside out by a system that has only one culmination and that is self-destruction.

And still we want more, we want better, we want faster, despite of what we are doing to ourselves and our environment.

Will there ever be an answer to this absurd riddle?

©Micelle Coetsee 2016



  1. The conundrum of how so called ‘civilized’ humans choose to live, indeed. I have a feeling though that it is being solved as these societies become unsustainable and people have to start reassessing lifestyle, traditions, perceptions and perspectives. Even though many are confused and unprepared, posts like yours provide the stimulus to start reassessing and choosing a different way!
    Well done! You have my support, as you know! 🙂

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