In starting, let me make it very clear that I’m a very judgmental person. Moreover, I don’t think it’s a bad thing in and of itself. If anything, the world is suffering greatly by a general reluctance to judge things. When I speak my mind, people often think I’m a jerk. I hate laziness, I hate sloppiness, I hate indecision, I hate the entitlement mentality, liberalism, degeneracy, etc. There are all kinds of people, things, ideologies, and lifestyles that I disapprove of and revile in the strongest possible terms. For most of my adult life I’ve been an absolutely steel-hearted, compassionless libertarian in matters of legal theory, personal responsibility, and so on. When I hear people whining about mortgages and school loans that they can’t pay off, I’m the person who feels absolutely zero compassion. In fact, I’m the guy that thinks these people should be punched in the face; once for taking on irresponsible expenses and a second time for whining about the consequences.
So why do I bring this up? I want to give some context to what I’m about to say about the state of physical unfitness in our society.
The surprising thing is, notwithstanding my general proclivity to judge, I’ve become convinced that obesity is a virtually inevitable outcome for a significant number of us. To be more clear, in our techno-industrial society it is virtually inevitable. Mind you, I’m not saying this so as to excuse myself of obesity. Frankly, I’m in really good shape (something I am very grateful for). I really enjoy weightlifting and partake of it regularly. Based on things like deadlifts-to-bodyweight or benchpress-to-bodyweight or pull-ups, I’m surely in the elite of the general population, but honestly, I’ve come to think a lot of it is just dumb luck – the luck of having a personality that derives enjoyment from these activities in and of themselves.
Being overweight is not a simple matter of lack of willpower. It’s a big deal for me to say that. If you took me back in time 3 years, I would have derided such an idea as this. But the more I think about what people are made of and the more I think about what makes people tick and what they might reasonably be expected to do in their circumstances, the more convinced I am that the majority of moderns being fat and in overall bad physical health is completely “normal” and cannot necessarily be interpreted as a moral failure. Most of the overweight/obese people that I know personally are high-level achievers. They don’t seem to be the slaves of whim that my old prejudices would have supposed.
We are not sick from within. But, thanks to the techno-industrial system, we are living in a really, really sick world and we are simply reflecting the grotesque disorder of our lately disordered environment.
We were not engineered for this.
No other creatures in their proper environments exhibit these symptoms. Fat humans, fat dogs, fat cats, etc, are what you get when you put these things in the techno-industrial system. We were engineered for physical rigor, for labor, for cold and heat, for a life that burns a solid 3000+ calories per day (and permits, in turn, the eating of 3000+ calories per day). We should all be hale and hearty just from living life.
This is as good a place as any to bring up an important axiom about tech:
As an iron rule, tech always introduces new problems to humanity at a faster rate than it can provide solutions to problems, that is, if an attempt is even made. The reason for this is that, even in the hypothetical absence of bad intentions, tech evolves incomparably faster than humanity and always ends up introducing secondary and tertiary problems usually unforeseen by innovators. For example, a pharmaceutical company will produce some pill to deal with, say, pain. The chemists realize that the pill under consideration produces many immediate and harmful side-effects and issue legally-mandated warnings to consumers. The consumers in turn, use the pill for both its intended and unintended purpose. Often an entire secondary (and illegal) market springs up to resell the pill to customers desiring the use of the pill’s unintended purpose. This new industry, in turn, can have a really tremendous effect on everything from roadway safety, to factory safety, to family life, to medical practice and even real estate values! In turn, entire industries arise to try dealing with these issues (and genuinely fail). It doesn’t stop there; these tertiary industries also produce effects which cannot be totally foreseen, and on and on it goes.
What I can tell you is that “more science” and “more innovation” is exactly what won’t stop this evil clown-world. Not for drug abuse and not for obesity and not for a thousand other plagues of modernity. Put no faith in diet pills, liposuction, gastric bypass, gene therapy, etc. These are just crappy attempts at dealing with the symptoms. The answer lies precisely in arresting this gimmick-peddler – this conman – “Science” and hanging it on the gallows. In truth, making people fat is one of the milder offences to human dignity to have come from the hand of progress…
In closing, I want to remark that it is actually the fit these days who are the oddballs. Through the good fortune of having elite-tier willpower, well devised goals, and being well disposed toward physical exercise, they are able to commit to a lifelong routine of fitness. Several times per week, they visit buildings specially furnished with heavy weights, and lift them repeatedly. It’s sort of like cubicles but geared towards fitness – designed to save you from the curse of modern ill-health. Hm, fitness cubicles…
Joking aside, much as I enjoy working out, I’ve often thought that there is something distinctly strange and artificial about it. I’m not above my own criticism. I do go to the gym with the exact intention of pushing myself beyond my perceived limits, and in this, I find a kind of spiritual exercise, but it is weird that for most of us moderns, the salvation of our health involves regularly spending time in buildings with weights in them.