Lately I have found myself increasingly contemplating, what defines health?
In today's modern, fast paced world, health and wellbeing is rapidly growing to become one of the largest markets; and health promoting products, ranging from isolated synthetic nutrients, chemical constituents isolated from plants, through to various herbal preparations, nutritionally dense superfoods, and organic and ethically sourced wholefoods, are increasing in popularity and demand everyday.
And for good reason, as nature has an almost unfathomable amount of incredible sustenance and medicines to offer us, and as a collective it seems we are finally starting to realise the value of health and well-being.
Yet, I find myself questioning.
If we are all connected, whether you perceive this in a spiritual manner, or one grounded in the science of our incredible interconnectedness as part of a symbiotic biosphere, sometimes referred to as the Gaia hypothesis; Is it truly healthy, if in the process it harms our planet and it's ecosystems?
All these minerals, vitamins, superfoods, herbs, wholefoods, and whatever else, come from somewhere, whether they are grown, mined, created or refined in a lab or factory. They then need to be packaged, and then they journey, sometimes across the world, in some requiring constant refrigeration, before they finally arrive on a shelf, at which point they are hopefully purchased before ending their shelf life.
Health and wellbeing are undoubtedly important, both for each individual, and also for the community around them and ultimately the planet, as with increased health, so too our capacity to contribute and positively effect those around us may increase.
But, as with all things, balance is key. As we prioritise and pursue health, is it possible for another type of sickness to slowly grow in the shadows? One that chases the promises of health blindly, not seeing that it's own desperation is itself feeding another manifestation of toxicity and reaffirming it's lack of health?
Is our pursuit of health simply another expression of our culture of consumerism and capitalism?..
Artwork by Mario Sánchez Nevado