You Can't Fool Mother Nature For Long: Profiting from Sickcare   (January 20, 2012)

Sickcare, the fast-food/packaged food industries, the entertainment industry and the Marketing/Mainstream Media complex are all facets of one system.

In America, the implicit belief system promoted by marketing is that you can eat anything you want in whatever quantity you want, and if anything goes wrong with your body or mind, there is a pill or procedure to fix it. In other words, your diet and fitness level is given lip service, but what really counts is access to all the medications that are constantly touted and pushed by the Marketing/Mainstream Media complex.

It would be comical if it wasn't so tragic: if you've seen one advert pushing a med, you've seen them all: the description of the disorder, the fear and pain it inflicts, the solution in a pill, and then a voice-over, spoken at a manic pace to fit all the possible side-effects in the waning moments of a 60-second spot: suicidal thoughts, symptoms of heart attack, heart attack, itchy skin, dizziness, bizarre dreams, and on and on. Good golly, all these side-effects from one med? What happens when they're combined with 7 or 8 or 11 other meds with their own swarms of nasty side effects?

The core of sickcare is this: creating and treating illness is highly profitable. For creating illness, we have the packaged food, Big Food and fast food industries. Does anyone seriously believe that human beings can function healthily for decades on a diet of sugar water, fried potatoes, white-bread buns and fat-larded hamburgers?

Large family gatherings during the holidays are often interesting opportunities to witness the consequences of corporate brainwashing via the Marketing/Mainstream Media complex. For example, I heard more than once that So-and-So dislikes fish and vegetables, and only like burgers and fries or equivalents such as hamburger "steak."

In a surreal divergence of entertainment and reality, our society broadcasts popular food shows in which chefs routinely assemble impossibly complex dishes while our schools produce students who cannot identify a healthy home-cooked meal, much less actually prepare one.

In a similar fashion, fitness has been marginalized in much of American education; in our rush to raise math and science to "must haves," we have neglected finance and the science of nutrition and fitness--applications of math and science that really count.

In fitness, another surreal divergence has opened between the entertainment provided by "extreme sports" touting superhuman endurance and daring, and the average American's ability and desire to run a mile (or even a kilometer). We have been brainwashed into a nation of spectator/consumers who know very little about living a nutritious and fit life. We are content to watch extreme sports training on TV but are averse to becoming even marginally fit ourselves.

Preparing programming and food for spectator/consumers is highly profitable; teaching people how to prepare healthy meals at home and becoming fit on their own is not.

The food industry is the tangible analog of the entertainment industry. Both have access to reams of data about what activates the reward centers of the human brain--what tastes, sights and smells bypass the conscious mind and go directly to the primitive brain centers that control appetite and response to high-value, rare-in-Nature triggers such as sugar, fat and salt.

Fast food and packaged food are specifically engineered to trigger these reward centers. No wonder they "taste good"--they are super-saturated with tastes that are sparing and rare in natural food.

In a similar fashion, newscasters speak with an unnatural urgency and tone that we instinctively respond to as evidence of danger or threat.

The entire sickcare system that includes the food/diet industries and "entertainment" is engineered to maximize profit by triggering instincts wired to reward sensitivity to danger/threat and sugar, fat and salt. In addition to these instinctive triggers, corporate cartels and their handmaidens, the Marketing/Mainstream Media complex, have actively embedded the craving for sugar, salt, fat and "excitement" (of the profitable, corporate kind) in American culture. Consumption of these triggers is viewed as "cool," "hip," "elite" activities, or as culturally sanctioned expressions of self-reward, i.e. of "treating yourself because you deserve it" and self-indulgence, i.e. spontaneity as instant gratification.

Then there's over-treatment. If we test 1,000 people for cancer and treat 50 and end up with one person who received treatment that extended their life while 49 others suffered early deaths or negative consequences of needless treatment, then American sickcare calls it good.

Those statistics come from studies of treatment of prostate cancer, as detailed in a Scientific American report (February 2012 issue): The Great Prostate Debate: Evidence shows that screening does more harm than good. (Subscription required, or find the issue at a library)

These are difficult issues in any caregiving system, but the downside of overtreatment and overtesting is rarely addressed in American sickcare because somebody's making big money from administering the tests and treatment, and from suing anyone who "withholds" treatment-- even if the treatment helps one in a thousand and demonstrably harms 49 others.

Mother Nature cannot be fooled for long. A sedentary lifestyle and a diet heavy with sugar, empty carbs, salt and unhealthy fats derived from factory-farm animals cannot sustain a human body selected for an omnivorous, active hunting-gathering lifestyle. Health is simply impossible when the body is destroyed by this sort of diet and inactive life.

Infectious diseases can be miraculously cured by a pill--an antibiotic. But cancer and other "lifestyle" diseases are not caused by single-source infections; in these diseases and chronic conditions, health is rarely restored with a pill or even a handful of pills.

How can anyone be healthy in a culture whose most powerful industries are actively and ceaselessly promoting consumption of products and "entertainments" that derange the mind and body because they are unnatural super-doses designed to "hit" natural triggers so hard that resistance is futile?

Our caregivers are tasked with "giving lifestyle advice" to their patients, each of whom gets a few moments a month at best with their doctor/nurse, and then the patient goes home and absorbs 4-8 hours a day of Marketing/Mainstream Media pushing of illness-producing consumables and a fear-based desire for an endless array of costly "magic pills" to fix all the diseases which mysteriously ail us--for what we eat and our fitness levels are never mentioned as causal factors.

There are never enough tests and treatments--more can be added every year-- and of course there can never be enough money spent on healthcare. We just need to leave enough money to consume the food and lifestyle that spawns many of the illnesses, and then we can spend the rest on treating these diseases.

Mother Nature is not amused by the destruction of her systems for profit. Sadly, it isn't the corporate cartels who suffer the consequences of what they push for profit, it's the people who absorbed the marketing and consumed the fantasy.

"Without health there is no happiness. An attention to health, then, should take the place of every other object." (Thomas Jefferson, 1787)

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