The state of the global weight loss industry can speak volumes of how people view the bigger issues of life. Human beings have a deep and profound need for meaning. When you ask a person right of the street if they need meaning and purpose in their lives, they probably would not be able to articulate this need in those terms.
Still, they tell you stories or you learn more about them. The connections become clear. It doesn’t really matter where people come from, how educated they are or how they look like. All of us need meaning. In fact, the classical great philosopher Aristotle said that human beings are teleological beings.
To simply put it, the sense of purpose and meaning drives us. That’s what gives life and what makes it worth living. Again, people of the street may not be able to articulate this but it all goes back to this reality.
Unfortunately, we have a particularly warped view of how to attain meaning and purpose. If you’ve been watching how the global weight loss industry works, it is quite phenomenal at some level. Why? Year after year, new diet books come out and people invariably fail.
They may lose a few pounds here but eventually, the pounds keep coming back and once they stop the diet, they get the risk of getting fatter. So, they buy other diet books, supplements and other products and on it goes. This goes year after year and generates billions of dollars on a global scale.
If you are to take out weight loss supplements and put an antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications or indirectly anti-hypertension medication, you can see where people are in their search for meaning. It’s not a very encouraging picture. Last time I check, you cannot buy a sense of meaning in the form of a capsule or a tablet.
Multi-national pharmaceutical companies are raking in billions of dollars every year because of this unstated assumption. We have reached the point that when we have any kind of personal problem, we’d just throw chemicals at it. Your kid is hyperactive, give him some Ritalin. You’re feeling a little bit down or uneasy or you just don’t feel content, take antidepressant.
The sad reality is that we are over medicated, stressed out, buried to our necks in debt and we’re nowhere closer to contentment. Antidepressant and their approach to essentially a spiritual problem fail time and time to address deep and fundamental issues.
The reason for this is because we look at people as material creatures. Your moods can be traced to biochemical signals. Flood your system with the right cocktail of chemicals and according to this theory, you will be okay. You and I know that this is not the case.
It’s only recently that the medical establishment realize that maybe your mood, your mindset, your attitude and your lifestyle can impact your physical health and your psychological state. That’s a fairly recent development. But many people are still stuck in taking antidepressants when faced with problems.
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