Friday, February 10, 2006
Last night Hecate and I went to a screening of Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap Box, a wonderful documentary Bathory edited about the eccentric soap shaman.
While I have bought Dr. Bronner's soap over the years, taken by its delightful scent and cryptically verbose label, watching the film, I was gripped by the notion that a label only goes so far in representing what can be a far greater and more complicated vision behind it.
And, as the film shows, Dr. Bronner's vision is as clear as it is opaque; as simple as it is grandiose.
Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap Box depicts a humanitarian whose life is stricken with mental illness while being graced by an idiosyncratic genius.
Losing his parents to the Nazis, Dr. Bronner left Germany for the States where for years, he was in and out of mental hospitals before he finally escaped.
His tragedy continued into the lives of his three children who, after losing their mother early in life, were basically orphaned.
What saw Dr. Bronner and his family through their respective tragedies was a shared spirit of social change and a plight to overthrow those aspects of religion which oppress and divide men.
As a child, when his father told him that "soap and politics don't mix," Dr. Bronner defied him by mixing soap and politics for his livelihood.
His story celebrates the individual, and the strength one must find in order to transcend a life of tragic circumstance.
The next time I wash with the Dr. Bronner's Magic Lavender soap I received last night from the Bronner family, I will gladly enter "spaceship earth," so long as I don't have to pick any flowers or hug anyone on board.