I’ve thought about this for a while (which shouldn’t surprise any of you who know me,) and my being hooked on the Discovery Channel television show Naked and Afraid is what most recently inspired me to share what I’ve noticed. It dawns on me that although humans are mammals like so many other animals that have lived in the wild for hundreds of millions of years, we are so far removed from being animals that we have become unnatural.
The same primal urges drive us, but we can’t survive without food, shelter, and written laws. Even in “civilized” societies, we often barely survive due to war, famine, and resource depletion. Perhaps part of it is due to evolution. We don’t have hair covering our bodies, (well, at least most of us.) Beyond that though, whether we are herbivores or omnivores, unlike any other creature, we must shape our land, grow plants, capture and raise animals and alter our environment to survive.
Of course we all have to accept it. There’s no going back. But we should fully acknowledge it. We’re not any good at being hunters without weapons. Camping with equipment is not surviving in nature. It’s spending time in nature with lots of artificial assistance.
That’s fine but even though we live in artificial surroundings, they are immersed in the natural world. Yet we still collectively have the audacity to abuse our environment and the planet on which we depend. Last time I checked, it’s the only habitable one we have. Thankfully some societies are realizing that we need to save the planet but too many of us deny the fact that our ecosystem is like a house of cards that can fall down.
We humanize animals as if they should respect our property. As I’ve written before, we should all remind ourselves that animals and nature aren’t evil. Besides, the animals like spiders, birds, snakes and squirrels were in our neighborhoods way before we were. We love nature from afar but don’t want it to get in the way of our artificial lives. If a spider comes in our house, many of us kill it while throwing verbal insults at it as if it personally did something to us. It’s just trying to make a living.
What makes this all worse is that we actively seek out animals to bother them or kill them. There are the educational TV shows which are admirable for increasing awareness of animals but the people on the shows do things like go into dens and bug the hell out of animals. Others hunt just for sport or the thrill of the chase. I don’t care what anybody says but unless the intent is to eat the animal, hunting is wrong. It’s not a sport unless it’s evenly matched hand and teeth to hoof and teeth combat.
Psychologically, humans are rare animals. Things gross us out. We get scared in the dark. We are so far from being animals and so far from being natural. At least we have the heat, air conditioning and the internet.
First of all, sorry that it has
been months since the last blog post.
I’m sure two or three of you are going through withdrawal. I started a new job, moved, and life got
busy. It won’t happen again.. at least
not for a couple of months.
may not realize it but right now, I am with you in a way… thanks to the
internet. I can communicate with you
without being in the same room. Books do
the same thing but the interweb takes it to a whole other level. I’ve said before that I love the internet,
think it’s making us all smarter.
But I’m realizing that it’s making us lazier and less alive in some
ways. It’s replacing many aspects of our
lives. The internet helps us find
information in a second. It entertains
us, allows us to socialize, helps us do things like pay bills, shop and find
recipes, news, and weather. We even
experience events or places through the internet. We can now interact with our homes and cars
through the internet thousands of miles away.
Basically, the internet is allowing us to do more and more of the things
that make us modern-day humans, and it’s kind of sad. Smart phones and tablet computers only
exacerbate the problem. We’re becoming “interbeings.” We live much of our lives through the internet. One day when they develop technology to hook
up our brains to it, we won’t need our bodies.
just as guilty and perhaps more guilty than the next person of living part of
my life through my computer screen and keyboard. I have become adept at getting things done
on-line. It makes my life more efficient. Why write a check, address and stamp an
envelope, put it in the mailbox when I can set up automatic on-line payments
straight from my checking account? Why
go to the mall to buy something if within a few keystrokes and clicks, I can
have it delivered straight to my door?
It doesn’t make sense to go manual when we are all so busy and when the
busyness of so many jobs and family lives gives us barely a second to spare.
there to be birth, there must be death and destruction. That is a basic tenet of Hinduism and
explains the fact that everything can’t exist forever. This holds true for man-made objects as well as things in nature. I have been fortunate
to have visited quite a few amazing places but there are many more to be
seen. We all have a bucket list and I urge
all of you to see and experience what's on your list as soon as you can, before the items are gone. In 2001, the beautiful towering Buddhas of
Bamiyan statues in Afghanistan were dreadfully destroyed by the Taliban. Nobody can see them
now and nobody in 2000 expected them to be gone forever a year later. I visited the World Trade Center
when it was still standing and I’ve been to the Taj Mahal and Niagara
Falls. Who knows what could happen
tomorrow? The 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Honshu,
Japan is proof of the instantantaneous destructive power that nature possesses. But man often destroys nature.
Thanks to the literally growing residents of the United States of which 67% are overweight and 34% are obese, diets have become a way of life. Or have they? We try popular diets which are meant to be quick fixes and even though by definition we only intend to stay on them for a certain amount of time, we often don’t even stick with them long enough to benefit from them. They become temporary fad diets without staying power. Diets in the traditional sense just don’t work. They involve unsettling drastic changes to our lives. I would argue that diets generally don’t work because they aren’t easy or pleasant.
In order to lose weight, we need to find diets that are convenient and tasty. There are many delivery diets out there which send food right to our door. No cooking or decision making (except for picking from a menu) is involved and presumably the food tastes good. If we were all as wealthy as Oprah Winfrey, we could have our food cooked for us and use our own personal chef diets. On a side note, I have no idea how Oprah can’t keep her weight down if she has personal chefs who can cook the tastiest healthiest food on earth every day. She could even hire people to stop her from eating junk food 24/7. There are diets that are convenient and I haven’t tried any of them. The popular fad diets can be expensive or downright impractical and delivery diets can be tough to follow when one is traveling. A personal chef really can’t be taken on a trip with you (unless you have free companion fares for life.) I would argue that diets are often a mindset and have to eventually become a way of life. Most people need to go on diets because their prior way of thinking was one of eating unhealthily. A short diet only improves matters for a short period of time and then the normal bad diet causes the person to gain weight again. Only a permanent mind shift in eating helps keep one healthy. It is possible that a popular diet might get one going down the right path so that the results are encouraging enough to keep one eating healthy for life. It happens, but rarely. Most people end up yo-yo dieting, going from one fad diet to another until they end up on the TV show The Biggest Loser. Delivery diets can get expensive but some are cheaper than others. It’s difficult to find a practical diet that one can live with but it can be done.
Of course, one should exercise as well as watch what they eat. I wrote about working out in a prior post. But there are other more fun ways to get exercise besides working out. Having lost 20 lbs myself in the last 5 years, I’ve found that eating more home-cooked meals and slowly reducing my portions was most effective. As I wrote in a quote, “The more I eat the more I eat.” I continue to find that to be true. To be honest though, the only reason I significantly reduced my eating portions was not a delivery diet or a personal chef. Rather, it was a stressful time in my life that made me not want to eat. I don’t advocate self-induced stress but gradually cutting back on portions is the key to losing weight. I believe that this is a major factor that makes diets successful. The trick is making the diet meals satisfying. I’ll leave that to the scientists and doctors who create these diets. You can always make your own healthy diet food but it’s it takes a lot of effort for somebody who is overweight to begin with.
I’m tired of experts giving rules and guidelines for everybody to follow. They seem to ignore the fact that I’m not everybody. I’m me. And you are you. And we are all different. Health advice is the worst offender. Why should we all drink 8 glasses of water a day when some of us weigh 300 pounds and others weigh 95 pounds? The “experts” tell all of us not to eat after 8:00 even though they have no idea when we go to sleep. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and it supposedly boosts your metabolism to help you lose weight but when I eat a full breakfast, I eat more the rest of the day and I gain weight. Some fitness trainers think that we should do cardio before weights but how do they know what’s right for each individual person?
People talk all the time about how Facebook makes people narcissistic or whether or not heavy users tend to be happier than the general public. Then I often hear on the news discussions about research questioning whether Facebook friends are really friends at all. That's old news that I'm not going to write about. What I have noticed and find very interesting now that I have around 650 “friends” is that it gives me a peek into what’s going on in each of their lives. It’s not just what they’re doing at any given moment but the things they like, their political beliefs, which friends they associate with the most, their photography skills or lack thereof and many other things that I would never have known about them. But what makes it all crazy to me is that it comes up in chronological order at the exact moment that anything happens. I know for instance that John went to the Corner Bar 3 minutes before Julie took a picture of her baby. Of course, if you have a lot of friends that post often, some posts get pushed off your screen by others' more recent posts. It's hard to keep up with so many people anyway.
Since I think too much, I expand from that and I realize that instead of 650 people, there are 6 billion to consider. All of them are not on Facebook, but they all have thoughts, interests, activities that are happening almost simultaneously. It boggles my mind almost as much as the size of the universe does. Facebook is fun but it is powerful stuff when thought about from a philosophical perspective. (Perhaps God had the original Facebook account.) It’s beyond human comprehension, even if there is only one planet in the universe with life on it. (And we all know the chances of that are astronomically small.) I think I’ll go post a status update on Faceook that I need to take a nap to rest my mind. And you'll know exactly when I do it and what happened right before and right after I do it because... you need to know this.