The Quest for Sanity
(In Progress - Started 9/28/03)
Since I was a child, I have been amazed at the human condition. It has puzzled me why we do many of the things we do. Why it appears we act against our own self interests, not just as a group but individually.
And if I cannot look outside for reliable direction, how will I know if my own internal path is a sane one? So to guide me, I developed some questions to use as tools of inquiry to help me gauge my own personal level of sanity.
1) Do My Actions Enhance My Physical Health?
At the most basic level, it seems that a marker for sanity of any animal would be the question of if that animal is acting to preserve and enhance his own basic physical capacity for life. Any animal that acted in a manner that was self destructive could not possibly be said to be either healthy or sane. That measure alone told me that probably 80% of western society was not even exhibiting the most basic and rudimentary measure of sanity I could come up with.
In the quest for reasons for this state of affairs, my study of human history and evolution gave many clues. The environment we evolved under was a vastly different environment than we find ourselves today. A strong appetite was a necessary motivator to search for food. There were no "junk foods".... everything you could possibly eat was in it's natural whole form. The quest for food alone was your most natural and significant form of exercise.
So, it seems to me that in today's world acting in one's own best "self interest" with regards to physical health involves Wholesale Overriding of our Basic Survival drives. It also takes being informed of exactly what appears to be a healthy or unhealthy dietary choice. Will Power is something no natural animal needs. Our Natural Desires, Cravings, Appetites, and Inclination are all we need in a Natural Environment. Indeed they are exactly the forces which act to guide us towards our highest health interests in that particular environment.
Today's environment is the most reasonable explanation for the adverse effects of our decisions which adversely impact our health. This perspective gave me a far more compassionate way to view my own shortcomings in this area as well as those of my fellow man.