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  • ​American Cynicism


    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
    Thursday, October 17, 2013 9:23 am Email this article

    When I was shopping for vegetables at Whole Foods to please my daughters, an overweight woman walked over and asked whether beets can be eaten raw.

    "Do I know you?" I wondered why she picked me out.

    "No."

    "Well it happens I do know, but why do you want to eat vegetables raw?"

    "I’m on a raw diet. I heard that most vitamins get cooked out in the water."

    "Some vitamins are lost in boiling, but cooked food is absorbed so much better that overall you get more vitamins in. For 200,000 years our species ate almost nothing but cooked meat and fish. Access to fruits & vegetables was sporadic, and we never had grains until we had farms." Then I told the gorilla story. Gorillas look fat, but really aren’t. It’s just that their intestine is twice as long. And they have big teeth and strong jaws--adaptations for eating uncooked food. Humans are different. We evolved eating cooked food.

    The lady was grateful, but as she walked away, I had the sense she would continue the raw diet. She was uninterested in evidence, focusing instead, as so many Americans do, on what to believe. For my part, I am uninterested in what anyone believes; why should I care? You can believe anything! but knowledge, truth and reality are constrained by evidence.

    On a weekend with relatives, I tried to strike up a conversation on America's inability to ever learn anything from other countries. My hosts insisted that there is good and bad in everything--no matter what--so why try? End of story. End of thinking. End of connecting to life. They said I should not get worked up. Apparently, to them the worst thing is to not feel good. 1984 came to America on schedule and stayed here. But poor me. The mental anesthesia wore off.

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