Waxingandwayneing’s Weblog

June 10, 2008

Hungry No More

Filed under: The Meaning of Life — waxingandwayneing @ 9:14 pm

When I am really hungry, it is difficult to concentrate on anything else. My stomach growls, my head hurts, and almost anything sounds appetizing. I seem to only be able to focus on finding food, on satiating my hunger. I am truly on a single mission to find something to eat.

Besides the hunger caused by not eating, when is the last time you were truly hungry for something? When you were driven by a strong, single force to do something? When you were driven to accomplish something where nothing else mattered?

If you are like most of us, you have probably never experienced that type of hunger. Never driven to focus on one single goal at the expense of everything else. To be truly hungry for something.

I know that people used to be more hungry. Not just in the food sense, but in other things, such as building towns, plowing fields, discovering new lands, inventing useful items, struggling for a noble cause, fighting against what they truly felt to be wrong.

These days, we are consumed with such superficial activities because we are hungry no more. You can look around and easily conclude that we do not need to be hungry for anything. Everything we seem to need (or, more correctly, think we need) is right in front of us: Theaters with 36 screens, cars that park themselves, airplanes that let us actually sleep, medications that sooth and sometimes cure problems, digital-high density television with almost a million channels, cellphones that truly untether us, shopping centers that sell virtually anything, an Internet that virtually offers anything. It is so easy to just sit back and consume. To be consumed by all of it.

As a society, we truly are hungry no more. We are complacent, lazy, ordinary, and fat. Yes, fat. The presence of so many comforts, the readily-available existence of all these things has enabled us to not just be hungry no more, but to also become an obese society.

According to the Obesity Action Coalition,

  • In the United States, it is estimated that 93 million Americans are obese.
  • Almost 112,000 annual deaths are attributable to obesity.
  • In the United States, 40 percent of adults do not participate in any leisure-time physical activity.

So, in a country of about 304 million total people, nearly 31% are considered obese. The CDC defines “obese” as anyone having a Body Mass Index (“BMI”) of 30 or higher. The BMI figure takes into account height and weight, and correlates to body fat. To calculate your BMI, click on this link AFTER YOU FINISH READING AND POSITIVELY COMMENTING ON THIS BLOG ENTRY: http://www.cdc.gov/NCCdphp/dnpa/bmi/index.htm.

I know there are some people who are obese due to medical conditions. But I am guessing that most obese people are fat because they are undisciplined about what they eat, how much they eat, and when they eat, as well as because they don’t exercise. (See the stat above that 40% of adults don’t have any leisure-time physical activity.) As a society, this problem is the responsibility of everyone. With no sign in sight that the trend of obesity will abate, we will face increasing health care costs for the many medical issues caused directly and indirectly to being fat. If for no other reason, we need to trim down to use less fuel!

Let’s stop accepting the fact that so many of us are fat and that’s just how it is. Let’s stop thinking it’s OK to be fat. It’s not. Screw being politically correct and so accepting of so many overweight people who just choose to be supersized. Enough is enough. Put the turkey leg down and nobody will get hurt! Perhaps if the 40% of Americans who get no leisure time activity got off their butts and exercised (walking to the refrigerator doesn’t count), they would have an interest (and maybe the energy to “get hungry” about a good cause.

Please don’t assume that I am saying that only obese people are lazy. Plenty of normal sized people lack the hunger also. We all need to fight this complacency in society and start to get more hungry.

Certainly it would be wrong to state that everyone lacks this drives to achieve something special. There are those people who are not satiated, who are driven by the hunger of a cause. Everyday, people invent new things, do great things. Unfortunately, most of us are not those kind of people. And you may ask, “How many of us can truly do great things?” A lot of us can. You don’t have to invent a computer that performs 1,000 trillion instructions per second (oh shit, IBM just did that: http://www.crn.com/hardware/208403186) to make a difference.

What I am really trying to suggest is that we get hungry about something important. Not about a new sale at Nordstrom, or a new video game, or new BMW M6. I am talking about getting up off your ass and asking yourself, “What difference am I making in this world? What will it matter when I am gone? Will anyone truly miss me?”

What also concerns me about this lack of hunger is that it is causing a shift of world economies. Where America once was a country of citizens who were hungry to better themselves, we are now watching other, more hungry countries, innovate and create at a faster pace, shifting resources and wealth away from America. Our complacency has enabled these countries to excel. I am not suggesting that these countries have no right to shine..they do. But, it’s important to be aware of this shift and realize that it will have consequences. Perhaps one day, we will really be hungry again.


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