During my recent travels I was struck by how people in the US are getting fat. I do believe I can see a change for the fatter just from last year! One reason I'm sensitive to this issue is that I was a fat kid back when kids were not usually fat. During my freshman year at college in 1965 I weighed 340 pounds (154kg). Though for nearly all my adult life I have weighed about what I should, even today I suffer from my fat years -- hemorrhoids, flat feet, hypoglycemia, erratic heartbeat, flabby, skin-stretched abdomen and tits. And that's not counting the image developed of myself as a kid, and still can't shake.
I'm concerned about the US's fatness because my experience is that being fat makes it harder for a person to believe in himself or herself. When you're fat, there's always this thought riding around inside you: If you can't control what your own hands stuff into your fat body, how can you expect to have the character to change into the dynamic, disciplined person you want to be, and need to be if you're going to contribute what you want to, to the world around you?
This is a good question because to save Life on Earth we all need to acquire enough character and self discipline to change our behaviors. We must begin living in a way that emphasizes quality and sustainability of life, not mere gross consumption. By overeating we are killing ourselves, but by consuming too much of everything else also we are murdering the beautiful planetary ecosystem that sustains us all.
Back in the 60s we had all the food we needed and the food was as good or better as it is now, yet back then average people were much less fat than now. Also back then the media were saturated with food ads, just as now. Therefore, it's not food or the media that has changed, it's us.
I think that what's happened is that we've let our minds slip into a kind of trance in which we are more vulnerable to media suggestion than back then. When you're being hypnotized, it takes a while before your trance is deep enough for the hypnotist's suggestions to take hold. Back in the 60's, our society hadn't yet reached that state of suggestibility, but now we have. Day after day the TV tells us to eat, so we do.
What's really bad about our new vulnerability to mass-media suggestion is that we have succumbed to much more than suggestions to eat and eat. We also have become more vulnerable to mass-disseminated political sophistry.
From what I can see, presently our culture is saying that it's just too much trouble to pay attention to basic nutritional facts, and it's too much trouble to try to grasp the world's complex realities -- such as what inevitably must happen if Iraq is occupied by foreign forces.
In our trancelike condition, nowadays it's much easier to eat whatever the TV says to eat, and to elect whichever politician places the greatest number of smarmy, simple-minded ads on TV.
The result is fat, fat, fat, and George Bush.