Health, happiness, and the body

Where we should look for our well-being, and why where we look matters.

One wonders whether all the information saturating our society—especially information about the body—can really significantly improve the quality of our lives. So much of the world's thinking today is centered on the body—its health, its beauty, its weight, its physical condition, what we should eat and what we shouldn't eat.

An article in a recent Forbes magazine concludes "We are thinking thin and getting fat." James Ring Adams and Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg, "Losing the battle of the bulge," Forbes, November 17, 1986, p. 172 . The article brings out that despite the relentless urging of health professionals and despite all the advertising that would push people to be more lean and fit, Americans are, on the whole, not finding the task easy.

And there's so much about exercise. We shouldn't get too little exercise—or too much. And then there's the verdict that certain kinds of exercise could be dangerous. Perhaps the lesson in all this is that the real answers to questions about fitness are not to be found where we're being instructed to look for them— in the body.

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Second Thought
April 18, 1988

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