Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Killing Ourselves in the Name of Happiness

My daughter was watching an episode of “Sam and Cat” on the Disney channel. Sam and Cat's favorite soft drink, Blue Dog, was declared illegal in the state of California because it had too much sugar in it and "some people drink too much of it." Folks from the Federal Bureau of Interference came to confiscate all the Blue Dog soda out of the store they were in.

The Federal Bureau of Interference. Yes, the producers had a statement to make here.
Interestingly, my daughter thought this was a spoof on Prohibition. Glad to see she's been paying attention in history class. But her dad and I filled her in on the current issues this was about.
Here's the thing, folks. Is there anybody out there who doesn't know that drinking too much pop is bad for you? Really – anyone?
Okay, maybe there are a few clueless folks. Eliminate them from the discussion here. The bulk of us are well aware that drinking too much pop is bad for you. Too much sugar. Leads to obesity and diabetes. Rots your teeth. Messes with your blood sugar. We know this.
So, why do we keep drinking so much pop?
Indeed, why do we continue to consume all the crap out there that's bad for us? Coffee, candy bars, refined sugar, transfats, red dyes, beer . . . how many times do we have to hear this stuff? How many dress sizes do we have to increase . . . how many illnesses do we have do endure . . . how many drugs do we have to be prescribed . . . how many premature deaths of the one we love do we need to witness before we understand that we are literally killing ourselves with the way we eat?
Those aren't really rhetorical questions, either. As I've mentioned before here, I am a hopeless carb and sugar addict. I'm well aware of how bad this is for me, but I continue to eat this way. A few weeks ago in BSF, the teaching leader said something on a completely different topic, but the Lord turned the words around to say to me, in my heart, how many times do you need to hear that all the sugar you eat is keeping you from the life I have for you?
Uh . . five more?
The unfortunate answer is that hearing the truth and knowing the truth doesn't always result in acting on the truth. We eat crap (and smoke, and watch trash on TV, and gossip, and . . . and . . . ) because it makes us feel good. And feeling good has become the purpose of existence in our modern times, the thing that gives meaning to life. A book I'm reading talks about how in past cultures, people found meaning in life through honor, or community, or "leaving a legacy", or even through enduring suffering well. In this age of technological advancement, comfort and happiness is our idol of choice.

Which, as this book discusses, gives us no "spiritual" resources for dealing with the inevitable suffering of life. The only salve our god can give us is escape through more overdose of comfort and happiness . . . and thus we have a nation of addicts.
It's crazy, isn't it? We know that doing this stuff in excess is bad for us. We know that continuing in this path will ruin us.  We know that what gives us pleasure today will eventually take us captive and end all real pleasure in our lives. But we keep doing it.
What pitiful saps we are that we require laws to force us to do what we know will make us truly happy. Sad.

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