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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A Society of Over-Indulgence

Here is another controversial article, that moves from obesity to prescription drug addiction to politics:

While you may disagree with his political conclusions, what is hard to deny is the problem of over-indulgence and our loss as a society of the ability to suffer any kind of self-denial.

We have made comfort our master, and it is killing us.  I am saying this as someone who could stand to lose a few pounds and skip an afternoon snack (or two).  I know what it is to eat because I am stressed rather than really hungry.

But, there are plenty of people who are killing themselves with those same things, and our cultural narrative encourages excessive consumption.  We are told to 'supersize' everything, then take on a radical diet or, even worse, pop a magic pill that 'burns fat.'  Yeah, right... that'll work.

The truth is that we have lost our expectations of struggle, and so the hard work of denying ourselves has become an anathema to our culture.  Our heroes in the media and entertainment are not people of accomplishment, but people of indulgence.  They have more money, fame, and sex than they can handle.  When it catches up with them and the records don't sell like they did, and the drugs stop taking the edge off but rather just barely keep you functional, then you do like the latest rock star with an on-stage melt-down and head off to 'rehab.'

We are not getting at the real problem: our society must once again embrace the ideas that hard work and self-control are virtuous.

In the first generations of AA, members were often sponsoring other newer members after only six month of sobriety.  Now, we have meetings full of people who have years of abstinence who have not fully worked through the steps for the first time.  What has changed?

Those with real sobriety have to spend years discovering what it is to embrace hard work that society now rejects.  Responsibility, that cornerstone of adulthood and a clean-conscience, is always passed off to someone else.  The modern narrative is to blame someone else: the rich, the poor, the whites, the blacks... someone who is 'other.'

We never hear anyone say, "This is my fault."

So, I can even blame my 'spare tire' on the food companies... and have we not seen this already?

We will continue to have exploding rates of dependency until our society returns to more traditional views of self-control, hard work, and acceptance of suffering as part of life.  To be honest, we all need to toughen up a little bit.

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