(now available to all readers)
It is only natural for a civilization and culture such as the European one which we have inherited so much from to view history as linear. It was the Europeans and their desire to know everything that propelled them to explore and dig into the past. No other people gathered so many ch information if only to see it from their perspective. The linearity is our way of putting it in order and your desire to know how people could live in their eternal present is part of that.
Beside that, isn’t the very bacteria that forms on the skin nature’s way of keeping it ‘clean’ much as the bacteria in the gut digests? We don’t need soap to survive. Soap is an aesthetic choice.
I shower daily by the way.
Just want to hop in and say that this article probably did make me see soap in a new light, because a few weeks after I read it, I started ordering Nabulsi soap from palestiniansoap.com (not an ad! I just like them and recommend them). I also think more about the saponification process. The chemistry and physics of it that result in the "magic" feeling of your dirt combining with oil and ash and then washing away. Always cool when you read a cool article to get your day started, and then realize it's really influenced you.