The Ultimate Paradox?

The nature of material reality is uncertainty. The more you demand and hunger for certainty, the more elusive it is. How can it not be? You don’t know what the next minute will bring, let alone next year, or five years hence. One evening I was glorying in how my life finally seemed to be on the right track, one minute later I was on the floor, unable to move, felled by a stroke.

Your senses can apprehend only a tiny fraction of what is happening right in front of you, let alone above or below or beyond you, yet you can be affected by what you aren’t able to see, hear, taste, smell or feel. The amount of what there is to know about everything, from the people in your life to the vast reaches beyond this planet, is inconceivably more than what you are capable of knowing. Get used to it, uncertainty is your lifelong companion. You know this, so what drives you to seek certainty about things of which you can never be certain?

The futile search for certainty creates anxiety, which is good for the pharmaceutical industry but terrible for you. We’ve all heard about the opioid crisis, but the trend is down for opioid prescriptions and up for benzodiazepines, or benzos, anxiety drugs.

  • Approximately 16 million people in the United States abuse prescription medications. In general, men abuse prescription drugs more than women – with the exception of people ages 12 to 17. In this group, females abuse more than males. More than 1,600 teens begin abusing prescription drugs every day. After marijuana and alcohol, the most common drugs teens are using/misusing are prescription medications. Approximately 1 in 4 teens reported abusing or misusing a prescription drug.

The Most Commonly Abused Prescription Drugs

  • Opioids

  • Central Nervous System (CNS) Depressants

  • Stimulants

  • Anti anxiety benzodiazepines

Does anyone notice a pattern in what’s getting abused? Something to bring you up, something to bring you back down, something to dull the pain, and especially, trendwise, something to suppress anxiety. Is all this an indication that we are more enlightened, smarter, healthier than ever before? Nah, I don’t think so. These days, dystopian fiction is all the rage, in movies, TV and books, including the resurrection of 1984 and it’s associated Orwellian themes. But I don’t hear much about a more apropos dystopian novel, Brave New World! I bet you can’t name the author, unless you’re as old as me. Aldous Huxley, yeah!

Brave New World is a dystopian novel written in 1931. Largely set in a futuristic World State of genetically modified citizens and an intelligence-based social hierarchy, the novel anticipates huge scientific developments in reproductive technology, sleep-learning, psychological manipulation, and classical conditioning that are combined to make a utopian society that goes challenged only by a single outsider. Citizens are engineered through artificial wombs and childhood indoctrination programs into predetermined classes (or castes) based on intelligence and labor. The World State is built upon the principles of Henry Ford’s assembly line: mass production, homogeneity, predictability, and consumption of disposable consumer goods. From birth, members of every class are indoctrinated by recorded voices repeating slogans while they sleep to believe their own class is superior, but that the other classes perform needed functions. Any residual unhappiness is resolved by an antidepressant and hallucinogenic drug called soma.

That brief summary makes Huxley sound very prophetic, in that his imagined world sounds uncomfortably like our own. Note the term “residual unhappiness.” A loving and omnipotent God is in control, what’s to be unhappy about? Uh oh, you don’t believe that? No way would you anesthetize yourself with such a fantasy? At least about that, you have achieved certainty. What a comfort! So why all the pharmaceuticals?

Author: iamcurmudgeon

When I began this blog, I was a 70 year old man, with a young mind and a body trying to recover from a stroke, and my purpose for this whole blog thing is to provoke thinking, to ridicule reflex reaction, and provide a legacy to my children.

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