June 17, 2019
August 1969, nearly half a million young people made a spiritual
journey to a rustic upstate New York farm, there to participate in an
Aquarian exposition of peace and music.
Joni Mitchell sang
that we need to return to our Edenic origins.
Caught in the devil's bargain.
we've got to get ourselves
Back to the Garden.
are carbon! Just do it! Or, as Eve said to Adam, Werg!"
no, she probably didn't. However, linguists have deduced that
there must have been a Proto-Indo-European root *werg- that did mean
to do. From *werg- sprouted a branching
etymological tree. In modern times, we have words like work and erg.
ancient Greeks had organon, literally meaning that with
which one works. They used the word to refer to a tool, a
musical instrument, or a part of the body like an eye.
from the Greek organon comes the modern adjective organic.
played organic music in church.
that is not usual sense of the word. There are more than a
dozen other definitions. In general they arise from
the observation that our bodies are composed of many parts, and
these organs are organized to form
a living being. For example:
Part of the basic structure.
Developing analogously to the growth of a living thing.
(Corporate Development) Growing continuously and
naturally rather than by acquisition.
(Philosophy) Complex, like the organization of living
Pertaining to the essential constitution of a
(Psychology) Caused by physical change.
Affecting the structure of an organ.
Having an irregular shape suggesting forms
found in nature.
Having a structure perfectly filling
the functional requirements for the building and
forming an integrated whole, like a plant or animal.
Lloyd Wright described his architecture as organic, but he struggled
all his life to define the term. In 1908 he wrote that an
organic building should be filled with integrity, appearing to
grow easily from its site with natural colors and freely-expressed
materials, and it should be simple, sincere, true, gracious, and
loving. In 1953 he explained further: Organic means Part-to-Whole-as-Whole-is-to-Part.
are six more definitions of a technical nature:
10. or·gan·ic (adj.)
(Science) Of living organisms.
(Biology) Of the organs of an animal or plant.
(Pathology) Of living tissue.
(Material Science) Derived from living matter.
14. (Chemistry) Containing
the element carbon.
(Agriculture) Grown with fertilizers or pesticides of
animal or vegetable origin, not manufactured chemicals.
I went to college, I studied introductory chemistry, but not the
higher-level organic chemistry. Organic was more
complicated because it dealt with carbon-containing compounds.
Its title comes from definition #14. By this definition, everything
we eat is organic, except for a few inorganic compounds like
grocery stores prefer to use definition #15. They label some
food products as organic but not others.
Vallaeys of Consumer Reports explains,
Organic has strong, comprehensive federal standards
that address how foods are farmed and processed. Organic
foods may not be produced with most synthetic pesticides or with any
artificial flavors or colors, antibiotics, or growth hormones.
are organic red potatoes? Yes, by #15. But by #14, so
are the less expensive potatoes in that bin over there!
you learn in your chemistry class that starches are polymeric carbohydrates?
are mostly starch. Therefore potatoes contain carbon.
Therefore, says the chemist, all potatoes are organic just
like you and me. So there!