We’re so Unhealthy: WHY? Part #2

Yesterday I covered briefly a number of reasons why Health might have escaped us — do please look back at that blog. Most of the reasons were to do with TIME and how that dictates to us, if we let it. I promised that today I’d cover WHAT RULES US and PROFIT.

Before I add to yesterday’s blog I’ll pop in a reminder regarding the increasingly higher incidence of illness this century, in direct proportion to the more sophisticated and technological lifestyle, the number of gadgets we simply must have, and the hectic pace of life. What got me thinking about true Health some years back, was a battle I had against a cancer that I’m convinced was a result of stress. At the time, what particularly impressed me was a term used: “Diseases of Affluence”. It included diabetes, cancer and heart disease in particular. The more we can afford, the more we demand, the more we take on board unquestioningly, the more we fall under any toxic effects of the same.  Hooray for those who have maintained a simpler lifestyle!

Now to follow on — logically, I hope — from Part One…

Most of us can easily find evidence that we’re ruled by our SENSES (plural!). Sites like Facebook and YouTube, and many television channels, give us just so much in the way of blaring sound, flashing lights, images of delicious new foods or new ways to present the old. So sight, taste, and sound grab a huge part of our day. Then we only have to walk a downtown street to notice the enticement of smell. Very little of this contributes to our health, since despite appeal to the senses the food on offer is now generally of lesser nutritional value.

Why let our health be decided by the seller of delicacies and fast foods, if we can’t know what’s in those foods or haven’t bothered to find out? Why let food producers use so much in the way of chemical additives that our children in consequence become distractible, unable to concentrate, and targets for medical intervention, when a little healthy discernment shows us that not all that appeals to the senses is “sensible”?

It’s all part of a sensualized world. We no longer appreciate the label “fleshly lusts” but that was the old-fashioned way to acknowledge that our senses can lead us astray, badly — with effects on our health, hearing, eyesight, spirit, emotions and thinking abilities to name just a few.

It seems too that we respond to drama — the louder and faster-moving the better. On the visual media rapidly changing viewpoints of camera angles have the effect of leaving me feeling unsettled, annoyed at having been bombarded… Obviously that approach sells to others! though if we want something deeper, more measured, more thoughtful, wiser, we will find those deeper things of more value to our health when we overcome that other hindrance (TIME) and go look.

We are often ruled by the Self ethos: do we feel personally fulfilled? Have we got what advertising so often tells us we “deserve”? Do we now expect that any product for sale will offer such an assortment of possibilities that we’re absolutely suited? Yes, admittedly it’s very important for those getting a new house built: but if we always expect everything to be on our terms or to our measure, that can be an expression of selfism in a wider sense — and children growing up with that expectation will take that on board with such wide-apart expression as becoming extremely ambitious (so as to burn the candle at all ends in a high-powered job) or feeling “entitled” (which leads some who are dependent upon the state to expect every possible benefit without the effort of work). Either extremity can be unhealthy, depending on personal choices made. But that is not addressing my main point, which is that letting Self rule is not encouraging charity, sharing, and the ability to ‘make do’.

Often the culprit is Peer Pressure — “keeping up with the Joneses” — where we acquire status items regardless of the cost to our purse or health. Then there are political and religious agendas where Power is at stake. Behind that is frequently GREED — for position, recognition, profit, fame, success… I’m sure you could add to the list.

That sort of greed can affect the health of the masses, as it does to the degree that food producers over-process food, adding what is necessary to lengthen the shelf-life of the packet, make the product appeal visually and to the touch, smell nice, be easiest to handle… mostly done by using chemicals with no food value and with a toxic effect on the human organism, whether it be by clogging arteries, dulling the sensory system, causing a painful rash, etc. All done for their PROFIT, not necessarily ours!

Closely allied to that is Vanity or whatever prompts us to use numerous beauty aids that likewise contain chemicals of no value to any person other than the manufacturer, distributor and retailer. Thus we may endanger our health for the apparently harmless reason of ensuring we are ‘nice to be near’.

Desire for PROFIT has seen pharmaceutical companies buying up patents for drugs copied from nature (not always a bad thing, but not as good as the natural) and purchasing some natural therapies only to patent them and remove them from sight in order to protect their sources of greater profit (drugs). Desire for profit sees them influence the very institutions which ought to protect our health, resulting in natural health and therapies being vilified,  in favour of medical prescriptions and services.

Profit has seen food producer groups also place financial return above nutritional levels and safety, using chemicals that improve yield but endanger the health of the consumer. Advertising supports these companies, creating a public demand for food and other consumables which, too often, are not in the interest of our health.

PROFIT drives even that which we trust, to urge us into buying services and goods which are of questionable value to our health. I watched a video recently of a pediatrician with thousands of children under his clinic’s care, who took the time to question the ever-growing list of vaccines offered to his young clients. So he divided up his clientel according to the parents’ choice: full vaccination, reduced vaccination (he suggested which were most helpful) and vaccine-free. Some time later he analysed the levels of health, possibly thinking that what he’d advised would be best… only to discover that he saw very little of the vaccine-free brigade, their natural immunity being longer-lasting and such that they didn’t need the doctor. The next healthiest were those with reduced vaccines. Noticeably the least healthy were those who returned with multiple side-effects from their more numerous shots, and with generally poorer health. At that stage he started noticing things: the profit to be made from unnecessary interventions, the very few safety studies ever done for vaccine ingredients, and the paucity of information passed on to the dispensing doctors by any means other than via drug reps.

So here comes one of my favourite quotes — “To the hand that holds the hammer, everything is a nail.” Those who’ve spent many years training, and who have the skills, instruments and technology to intervene in our health problems, understandably wish to do so — whether for altruistic reasons or to fill up their appointments timetable for the week. In using these services however, we may find the profit may be more on their side than ours — unless we take time to look into each service that is offered and weigh up the choices. And that issue is affected by…

WHOEVER WE BELIEVE IN AND HAVE BEEN TRAINED TO TRUST. We trust those who have, after all, studied for many years and perhaps specialized (though medical specialization is unlikely to keep our health picture sufficiently holistic). How can doctors possibly keep abreast of the plethora of medical reading available, when they, like us, battle that problem of TIME?

So we place our BELIEF in the refined, the sophisticated, the entertaining, the technological, the spectacular. We believe in fitness and food, celebrities and sex, ‘data’ and the Cloud, PC speak and moral tolerance, advertising and social media. All these things are thrust on us in the “developed world” (we make that term sound so much superior, don’t we!) when in truth there are as-yet-undeveloped societies where health is at a much higher level. The fact that people enticed out of those communities into Western society then become subject to diseases they never knew previously, is a judgment on Western society. We simply don’t believe in “old wives’ tales”, and too few of us look into using naturally-grown food as our medicine.

Mostly, I think, what we believe in is OURSELVES. Nobody wants to deprive our children the opportunity for feeling confident, but where do we draw the line? I’ve come across teens who find study and other skills come easily, and who become what I’d call ‘cock-sure’ and fully expectant of success. I fear for them however, if it’s a different experience when they hit the more intense and competitive demands of university and the workplace.

Yes I fear for those who BELIEVE IN HUMANKIND implicitly. We celebrate human achievement and feel we must, just must, be smarter than homo sapiens from a few thousand years back. Yet we cannot explain the technology evident in so many geographical and historical discoveries. We are sure we’ve outgrown God, and so much modern thought demonstrates that we don’t wish to depend upon, or even acknowledge, any other agency than ourselves.

I remember watching the movie HYSTERIA, set in Victorian times. It began with a scene of a doctor washing his hands and I couldn’t help but comment “That was not yet the model in hospitals!” and indeed the doctor was disciplined for going to such lengths. It took a few decades for it to become regular practice. Perhaps this doctor was familiar with the Bible’s Old Testament and had seen what the hygiene rules were a couple of thousand years previously. Humankind was yet to discover germs, the discovery that prompted the development of the pharmaceutical industry!

How had humankind known health routines “way back when”? These rules were supplied by a God who claimed to be the creator, the best source of guidance regarding health as well at morals and social organization. That he is little regarded these days is, in my opinion a big potential problem, and we’ve paid the price… and continue to pay. The final reason I offer, for why we are unhealthy, is that we’ve overlooked God. 

Comments are welcome. This second part of my blog is much longer than I intended. You’ll probably have some opinions to add. You may know of some things you consider replace “natural wisdom” or “holistic health” or even know something within those areas which I’ve not mentioned. Go ahead!

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