WESTERN CIVILIZATION HAS MADE US SICK, POOR, FAT AND STUPID: ‘WHERE DO WE GO NOW’ FROM HERE SWEET CHILD OF MINE?
David Lee Roth had a song in 1987 off of his ‘Skyscraper’ album called ‘two fools born a minute’, which was the last song on side two. It was sort of a ‘summing up’ of the whole album’s overall tone and a kind of commentary on Roth’s own personal life’s journey to date as it pertained to his then profligate lifestyle of sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll.
In the opening lyrics of the song he laments, somewhat sardonically, ‘It seems like everything I like is going to make me sick or poor or fat….’ I would go so far as to add ‘stupid’ to that list, as we now find ourselves within a postmodern and post-industrial context whereby the agro-industrial agri-food business is now in such an entrenched position of pre-eminence in North America, that essentially, what we eat is mostly fat, sugar and salt. You really have to go looking for nutritious food such as fruits and vegetables and lean meats, legumes and other healthy forms of food which derogate from the seemingly omnipresent moral wasteland of agro-industrial comestibles which are all heavily laden with added sugar, salt and loaded with saturated fat.
As I write these words, I cannot help consider the fact that the world agro-industrial complex is now increasingly dovetailing its pattern of ownership, through mergers and acquisitions and cross pollinations such as joint ventures with Big Pharma and the global bio-chemical and bio-medical industry to be able to soon dominate the world market for not only food but for the ownership of the means of production and consumption of all living things on this planet as a whole.
The potential for human achievements are almost unlimited as is the potential for almost unlimited and unbridled egregious corporate malfeasance, and I fear that we shall soon have much of both, and more of the latter and less of the former than can be reasonably hoped for.
Having the global agro-industrial complex producing food which makes humans constitutionally sick, poor, fat and stupid, sets us all up for the exploitative debacle of being used as guinea pigs for Big Pharma, so that they can then make even more money, as corporations which are owned in part or in whole by the same interests as agri-business, selling us their medications to ‘cure’ us or to help us ‘manage’ or ‘cope’ with the illnesses which they themselves have been in large part responsible for enabling to become ubiquitous within the North American and western landscape since the end of WWII.
I speak particularly of Type II Diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, sundry gastro-intestinal issues such as acid reflux disease and so on, and a whole host of other medications which could be dispensed with, meaning we could do without them, if only we ate right, did not drink to excess, did not smoke, and got enough sleep and exercise and drank enough water, like we are supposed to!
Our ‘civilization’, such as it is, seems to be oriented towards putting so much stress on people, by the dubious virtue of extolling the virtues of mass production and mass consumption of everything, including food and drink, that it appears to have produced the distinctly ‘uncivilized’ result of having its citizens become infirm, impoverished, gluttonous, and uncultured ignoramuses who sit on their loathsome spotty behinds most of their time either in front of their television sets, eating and drinking, in front of their computer screens either manually and/or psycho-socially defiling themselves in front of pornography, video games, online gambling, conspiracy websites, or occult worship sites of some sort, or in their cars or gargantuan trucks or SUVs going through the drive through, waiting endlessly in line like sheep, inhaling each other’s exhaust fumes as they wait their turn to purchase yet more junk food to eat or drink in their vehicle instead of going into the restaurant and buying the stuff at the counter, where there is NO lineup, and eating at a table and not having to try and drive a 4000lbs piece of Detroit iron while eating or sucking on their Ice Cap from Timmy’s!
No, seriously, I think that we’ve gone too far. Something has to change in the way we think and the way we do. The current dominant hegemonic discourse of the current Pax Americana just won’t do. We have to turn ourselves around otherwise we will literally start to explode. I’m serious. If you did the research on the internet, I’m sure you could find news reports, probably from the USA, of people actually starting to explode from being so fat! Really. There are 300, 400 and even 500 lbs. people in America and Canada! At some point, somebody’s stomach is literally going to explode! That or their heart, their kidneys, or their liver will just not be able to take so much food and drink and they will literally begin to explode. Quite a fitting metaphor I should say for such a military and militarized civilization. That their own people should become ticking time bombs. Sort of like puff pastries ready to blow up, because they’ve been baked in the oven for too long.
The American people and their Canadian neighbours are rapidly becoming the Holy Hand Grenades of their own self-immolation. They shall all eventually explode in a cacophony of gluttonous and gargantuan gastro-intestinal orgasmatronic overdoses of agro-industrial comestibles, like fireworks at a Fourth of July celebration, symbolising the ultimate concupiscent paroxysm of perdition of a civilization gone very much awry in its deviation from God’s divine plan for salvation.
Then and only then shall the bondage of corporate peonage be broken over the citizens of Columbia and of the Great White North. An eschatological outcome most certainly worthy of some Hollywood maven’s machinations to sell buttered popcorn, chocolate and soda pop, I’m sure.
Well, David Lee Roth has hopefully cleaned up his act 38 years after releasing his first album with Van Halen in 1978 at the age of 22. Hopefully the sands of time have tempered his inborn tendency to want to go ‘running with the devil’, and to ‘live my life like there is no tomorrow.’ We all have to live in the moment and to live with the possibility that there indeed will be no tomorrow, that the angel of death shall come stealthily like a thief in the night as the Bible says, or that the end may come like the Bridegroom in the middle of the night, so that we should not be like the foolish bridesmaids and not bring enough lamp oil to get us through the night, in case the bridegroom shows up unexpectedly in the middle of the night and we need to trim our lamps to greet him.
The Kingdom of God shall indeed come unexpectedly either for us individually, or collectively as an entire planet, so we must live well, not like wastrels, as some purport we should do. I have heard many times growing up as well as reading history, not to mention during my own dalliances with addictions, that all we have is now, so we might as well burn the candle at both ends, because we know not if and when the end shall come for us.
I feel now, with hindsight borne of much experience and pain, that it is quite the opposite that is true. I am of the opinion that we should instead be living lives which are pleasing to God and which are becoming of us as Children of the Light. The Bible says ‘Be ye perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.’ I don’t see this as something impossibly difficult to live up to, but rather a great honour and a privilege to be able to dwell in the presence and Grace of the perfection of the Almighty and to do His bidding so as to aspire to all that is good and great in this world and the next.
I don’t think that includes being sick, poor, fat, or stupid. I think the agro-industrial complex and Big Pharma should ‘take that one to heart’, so to speak, and examine their conscience thoroughly and to see how they can work towards helping North Americans eat and drink less so as to live not only more but truly better. Because I feel we have mistakenly grown to associate ‘better’ and ‘improved’ with ‘more’ and ‘increased quantity’, as well as ‘increased size’, ‘increased production’, and ‘increased consumption’, not to mention ‘increased sales’, and ‘increased earnings.’
What I grew up with was that ‘less is more’ and that ‘good things come in small packages.’ I’m sure many of us had parents or grandparents who taught their young ones a lesson around the Christmas tree by putting a large box with Christmas wrapping under the tree. The young ones arrive in due form on Christmas morning and see the large present and are all excited at the prospect of a ‘big present.’ They are told by Mom and Dad or Grandma and Grandpa to ‘keep the best for last.’ They then attack the box and find that it is stuffed with newspapers. They start getting upset as they fling the newspaper out of the box, looking for the ‘big present’ inside. They subsequently find a small package with something precious inside, either a gift card, or something else which is suitably precious but small, thereby teaching them the lesson that ‘good things come in small packages’ and that ‘all is not what it appears.’
Whatever happened to ‘reduce, re-use and recycle?’ If we eat less, there will be more people in better shape physically and mentally, not to mention spiritually who can engage in a lot more productive and fruitful forms of consumerism such as travel and outdoor recreational activities. As it stands now, all I see getting off the motor coaches in various cities in North America are old, sick, and fat people with walkers, canes and wheelchairs. That’s not the way to go!
It seems to me that ‘everything I like should NOT make me sick or poor or fat’, much less stupid. I think we have enabled Corporate America to sell us a bill of goods both physically and ideologically which is not becoming of us as God’s Children, as Children of the Light. The book of Mathew says that a City on a Hill cannot be hid, meaning that it shines forth like a beacon for all to see. The people who founded America used that passage as a foundational idea to symbolize America and all that she had the potential to stand for.
How then, can America and her cousins in Canada deign to even hope to act as a shining example of a City on a Hill or of Peace, Order and Good Government, if we persist in continuing to think and behave the way we are now? David Lee Roth’s fervour in his seemingly hell-bent desire to ensure that ‘The cradle will rock’ and that the manifestation of his generation’s lifestyle was ‘more than just an aggravation’, seems to have been quelled somewhat by the sands of time, not to mention his bandmates going through rehab on more than one occasion, which is a ‘good thing’, as Martha Stewart would say.
We can only hope that what drives the emotions and the glandulo-hormonal impulses of the citizens of the west to engage in such massive amounts of profligate and riotous behaviour, which now appears to be a ubiquitous and structurally entrenched pattern of thought and behaviour within the social fabric of western civilization, shall one day be attenuated by a spiritual ‘re-awakening’ of the soul within the people of the west.
This can only take place if the structural underpinnings of western civilization are re-affirmed in a more sustainable and morally upstanding manner. Because a civilization which purports to be the Biblical ‘City on a Hill’, but yet which has structurally deviated from these high-minded principles in its misbeguided quest for temporal power both at home and abroad, and for the equally misbeguided chimera of ‘economic growth’ through the constitutionally flawed notion that ‘bigger is better’ and that ‘quantity trumps quality’, and that ‘increased sales and earnings’ and the increased accumulation of temporal wealth and material possessions, is necessarily equated with the virtue of ‘rising to new heights and the attainment of perfection’, then surely this civilization hath no hope whatsoever of fulfilling the high-minded moral and theological objectives of its Founding Fathers.
I feel like the proverbial voice crying out in the wilderness as St. John the Baptist was described as in the Bible. Nevertheless I still feel that we should be ‘putting on sack cloth and ashes’ in a manner of speaking, in that as Canadians and Americans, we should be practicing some form of daily mortification. We most certainly should be living lives of self-sacrifice and self-denial. The Bible teaches us that we should ‘die to self and so to live’ which is one of the main foundational principles underpinning Christianity. We as Christians are literally to be ‘like Christ’ which is what the word ‘Christian’ means.
Not that we should starve ourselves of food and drink. Our Lord was invited to many banquets and weddings and was well-known to be one who enjoyed having a good time eating and drinking. But he was not known for living riotously or to overindulge. And he knew how to resist temptation. He was like us in all was except sin.
Let us therefore attempt to emulate our Lord in all ways and to make our lives into pleasant offerings in his name to the greater glory of his father in Heaven. For surely David Lee Roth and Van Halen shall one day pass away, and so too shall the global agro-industrial complex. But the word of God holds the key to everlasting life and that it is the ‘true food’ that we should be focusing on eating. And this food, we can never have too much of it, for it shall surely never make us sick, poor, fat, nor stupid. Amen.