“Sealed for Your Protection”

I opened a new bottle of probiotics this morning, and it had one of those circular seals on the top. You know, the one that reads, “Sealed for your protection.”

And that seal got me thinking… how much protection do we need? How much security is enough?

How much homogenization, pasteurization, disinfection, national security, etc…. do we need before we stop or at least slow down and allow nature (and our own individual and collaborative thoughts) to do the rest?

How many wars (not just abroad, I’m afraid), surveillance methods, widespread data gathering efforts, etc. do we need before we say we have ENOUGH?

(In my opinion, the idea of world peace will never happen if we keep fighting and finding more reasons to fight.)

Don’t get me wrong…

I respect our soldiers for what they do. My best friend was a Marine. I respect the good intentions of all the people involved in trying to make our lives safer and more comfortable (with fewer diseases, safer food processes, etc.).

My intention here isn’t really “against” anything, like in a protest  style of mindset. Nope. (I also wonder why we always have to be “for” or “against” something.)

But I just think we have to start asking some serious questions as a whole (in addition to the ones I’ve already pointed out).

For example…

This past summer, whistle-blower Edward Snowden revealed the NSA has been abusing their stated mission. As usually happens in these situations, politicians and officials are lying to cover their tracks. They don’t like the fact that they got caught with their pants down. (It is the Information Age. Duh.)

They say they are doing all of this in the interest of “national security.” But I have to ask how much national security do we need before we reach a point of diminishing returns?

How many times are we going to keep going to the well of referencing the tragic events of Sept. 11 to justify deepening security while we continue sacrificing more of our privacy?

Why do the feds feel the need to violate everything we hold dear in this country to do their jobs at the NSA (and FBI and CIA, etc.)?

To the people at the NSA, I get it. Your job is to secure the nation. But as experts in national security, you have to know when enough is enough. Especially since most of the information about what you do is classified and we’ll never get a chance to make sure you don’t abuse your power.

But let’s continue. In addition to our “sealed for your own protection” national situation, let’s pose another series of questions…

Remember when you used to play in the dirt as a child (or watch as other kids did)?

Remember when you got a cold, which may have (in a few cases) turned into a sinus infection, and you just “rode it out,” instead of going to your doctor and lighting up another round of antibiotics?

You developed natural immunity (always the best kind)… and moved on.

Not every disease is a “cold.” I get that… but…

Are we striving to create some sort of “clean room society” where nothing can infect us? Is that really beneficial?

Can we relax a bit on the “This soap kills 99% of all germs!” mentality?

There isn’t, nor will there ever be, a 100% secure, disease-proof, clean room-quality, fluffy, perfect world, folks. In fact, when it comes to viruses and bacteria, it seems the harder we try to make it that way, the more nature kicks our ass.

For more on the security idea, I recommend you read from an expert on the subject.

In the end, I think we have a choice to make. Do we do the impossible task of striving for an “airtight” society? Do we attempt to block out all invaders (natural and otherwise)? If we want to proceed this way, here are some things you need to consider.

Or… do we relax a bit and just keep our heads about us? Can we calmly accept the fact that “sealed for your protection” might not always be the best course of action?

I’m obviously thinking deeply about the latter.

Sincerely,

Joe Ratliff
This article originally appeared here.