#Idea – Fear Of Death Vs. Fear Of Not Having Lived / 28.09.17

Maybe it’s not death that scares you
But the thought of not having really lived.

Death takes us all in the end;
Once you truly accept this ultimate truth
It’s more a question about what to do with your life.

Or put another way;
You accept that you’re not here forever
So are you really living whilst you can?

Or, reiterated yet again,
Are you living in such a way
That you’re more afraid of not living
Than dying?

Photo by Marco_DSM (Pixabay)

#Idea – Remember to thank the dead and the unborn / 27.09.17

You built your accomplishments
And your life
On the works of countless people who came before you.

And when you are dead
Perhaps you will be awarded the honour
Of others building their achievements on your work.

It is not a matter of standing on the shoulders of giants
It’s a matter of standing on the shoulders of thousands upon thousands of people
Over thousands of thousands of years.

Culture and science,
That is to say human achievements,
Are ‘additive’.

No one can really claim credit for doing a thing on their own
Because they built upon the achievements and groundwork
Of the people who came before them;
All the way back to the first monkey to link cause and effect
Or the first caveman to scrawl simple arithmetic on the floor.

For example, anyone who creates a billion dollar app
Leverages hundreds of years of physics, and decades of computer science
(Amongst other things)
Going all the way back from the people who invented the coding language used to build the app
And the first folks to lay down the formal mathematics we use to build a computer.

black white circuit photo
Photo by Darron Birgenheier

The same with music;
The now famous musician who writes a hit song
Has to give credit to the countless number of people
Who developed the linguistic structure in which he or she has written the lyrics
The musical structure in which harmonic, melodic and rhythmic parts of the music combine
And the recording technology in which he or she was able to capture his or her work.

In your achievements
Perhaps you can acknowledge that
You are a link in a great chain
And that you are helping to build this great thing
That we call human knowledge (or human culture) together.

“If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?”Albert Einstein

Photo by jason-sh

#Idea – Reframing minimalism / 17.09.17

Having trouble embracing the idea of ‘less’?
It may be down to how you think about less.

An emphasis on less should focus on less of the bad, as a means to get more of the good.

Less stress,
Less time spent on the unnecessary,
Less money spent on stuff you don’t really need.

In return, more time to spend on the activities and people you love
More energy to devote to the people and things you love.

Photo by 8moments (Pixabay)

#Idea – Should ‘body positivity’ come with a caveat? / 11.08.17

Some studies of anorexics show that the media’s use of size 0 models has helped ‘normalise’ the idea of being dangerously skinny.

Basically; these ultra-thin (and often unhealthy) people are presented as ‘models’ – defined literally as “a standard or example for imitation or comparison.” (dictionary.com definition).

You know what comes next: emotional and physical suffering to the many who try to follow this example. Some people even die from consequences related to underweight.

Which means that the fashion industry has something else to answer for (…asides from overpriced merchandise and what is arguably a wasteful approach to the use of clothing).

The flip side of the ‘cult of size 0’ is the ‘body positivity’ movement – which, in reaction to these ads implying that we are ’not thin enough’, tells people that they are fine – no matter how big or small they are. Which seems reasonable.

However, while fat may be fine on a cosmetic level (after all, it’s your body and you get to make the aesthetic choices), there’s no disputing that that the more overweight you are, the worse it is for your health.

Article about weight - black and white model photo
Photo by Engin_Akyurt (Pixabay)

Caveat: I’m not saying that there are not ‘healthy fat people’, but I am saying that statistically, the more overweight you are, the more likely you are to suffer from (and die of) complications related to your health. Most of us agree with this – and there is an enormous volume of medical literature that agrees.

Which brings us back to body positivity…

Isn’t it equally as reckless to promote the idea that being seriously overweight is ‘OK’? To normalise overweight and the ill-health that often accompanies it?

Put another way, is this a moving of the ‘aspirational’ needle from one extreme to another?

People don’t usually talk about this because we are so afraid of offending people who take commentary on overweight as attacks on them, personally.

We know that overweight people are bullied, purely for their weight (‘fat shaming’). And we know that the same thing happens to thin people (‘thin shaming’), so we can see where they are coming from.

Yet, it is important to draw the distinction between the use of empirical data to inform people about something, and criticism/bullying. Put another way, it is important to be mature enough to accept feedback as feedback, not an opportunity to take offence.

black and white model photo
Photo by Engin_Akyurt (Pixabay)

For those on the other side, it is important not to roll over and allow people to use political correctness as a metaphorical sledgehammer; a means to ignore data and quash healthy debate.

Being very overweight may be increasingly normal in what many are calling our ‘gradually fattening’ society – but ‘normal’ is not a synonym for ‘good’.

That’s not to say that I am suggesting people should ‘be thinner’ or ‘be fatter’. I’m not suggesting anything – given the opportunity, people tend to do what people will want to do.

This is my perspective, informed by my experiences. As other people will have lead different lives and had different experiences, their perspectives will differ. However, data does not care about differences of perspective or opinion – though we may interpret it differently.