This is a passion post I’ve wanted to dig into and write about for some time.
My wife has been buying Dr. Bronner’s organic, fair trade soaps for years. And, almost exactly a year ago, we watched the documentary Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soapbox. Since then, I’ve wanted to take the time to read the full product label. I finally made time to do it this week.
Who is Dr. Bronner?
Emanuel Bronner (born Emanuel Heilbronner) was born in 1908 in Heilbronn, Germany. He was a third generation German-Jewish soapmaker who founded Dr. Bronner’s in 1948. Bronner lived to be 89, and as you’ll see, he was a lover of the exclamation point!!
Oftentimes, enlightened human beings end up being ridiculed, outcast, or worse—especially awakened people of the past. I believe Bronner was one of these people.
When you really think about his life purpose, it wasn’t making soap—it was sharing his life philosophy and mission through his soap:
My grandad used the soap as a vehicle for his message. — David Bronner, current CEO (Cosmic Engagement Officer) of Dr. Bronner’s
He used the labels on his ecological soaps to spread his message that we must realize our transcendent unity across religious and ethnic divides or perish. — DrBronner.com
His authentic message resonates today more than ever. In his own words:
We have a peace plan where we unite the spaceship, where we unite all mankind. — Emanuel Bronner
DrBronner.com maintains his spirit in fabulous fashion. The footer of the site shows an image of Earth from space encouraging the overview effect. Throughout the site, you read things like:
Our cosmic principles define our most important relationships and guide us in everything we do, from soapmaking to peacemaking.
In all we do, let us be generous, fair & loving to Spaceship Earth and all its inhabitants. For we’re All-One or None! All-One!
Dr. Bronner’s Label Summary & Moral ABCs
At first glance, you may not think much has changed with the label in decades. And, in terms of content, you would be right. The Bronner family that continues to run the business today has made a commitment to continue sharing Emanuel Bronner’s message.
So, what exactly do the thousands of words in minuscule type say? I took the time to read 3 full-size bottles (Peppermint, Lavender, Eucalyptus) and 1 travel-size bottle (Citrus)—turns out the words are a little different on each one.
The first thing to note is that Dr. Bronner is often remembered for his Moral ABCs, or more specifically, “The Moral ABC of Astonomy’s Eternal All-One-God-Faith Unites the Human Race!”
Here are the highlights that jumped out at me when reading the Dr. Bronner’s labels:
- “When we teach the Moral ABC all mankind is united brave-strong-just-free! For the future will be better when we are better; times will change when we change; conditions will improve when we improve if you & I cooperate by full truth to accomplish them!”
- “We’re all sisters & brothers!”
- “You & I, Here & Now, Today! Not them nor they! You & I Today!”
- “1st: If I’m not for me, who am I? Nobody!”
- “2nd: Yet if I’m only for me, what am I? Nothing!”
- “3rd: If not now, when???!!!”
- “Unite we must!”
- “Have courage and smile, my friend. Think and act 10 years ahead!”
- “Teach the Moral ABC that unites all mankind free, instantly 6 billion strong & we’re All-One.”
- “Balanced food for body-mind-soul-spirit is our medicine!”
- “Self-discipline the key to freedom.”
- “Breathe deeply!”
- “Repetition is the key to knowledge!”
Interestingly, the Lavender label includes “Life’s Goal”:
- “To keep my health, to do my work, to love, to live. To see to it, I gain and grow and give and give. Never to look behind me for an hour. Never to wait in weakness nor walk in power. Always working, searching for more truth, more light. Always speaking, fighting for what I found good and right!” (it goes on…)
Personally, I believe there’s a lot of good that’s being preached on these labels. I think Dr. Bronner was ahead of his time and likely highly misunderstood during his day. I do believe that humanity will evolve through simplicity.
The Bronner family also recently released a special, limited edition “Heal Earth!” label:
The website says, “The product label is part of a larger initiative by the company to widely promote regenerative organic agriculture throughout its spheres of influence to combat climate change, and promote social and ecological alternatives to industrial agriculture…The label temporarily replaces the iconic Moral ABC label written by company founder Emanuel Bronner, with messaging that introduces the new Regenerative Organic Certification standard, educates consumers about the pillars of this standard and explains why the shift to this form of agriculture and food production is imperative to improving and ensuring soil health, animal welfare and fair labor, and is necessary to holistically replace factory farming and mitigate climate change.”
Have you used Dr. Bronner’s products? What do you think about the message on the labels? Do you believe we are all one or none? Let me know in the comments!
Also published on Medium.