Shakespeare on greatness


Interesting article in today’s SMH about obesity. Another one.


The author of course takes the very simple view that junk food causes obesity, and that we all have to just control our eating and we’ll solve everything. “Eat less, exercise more“.


That’s it.


Life would be great if all our conundrums could be solved this way.


Be nice to each other“, and we’d do away with the military, all war, the police, courts, and much law.


Work hard, then share” and we no longer need economics, budgets, accountancy, tax, the rest of law, or even money.


Pretty simple.


“Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them”. – Act II, Scene V “Twelfth Night” William Shakespeare


Too many people have a unitary concept of obesity, and this confounds their thinking. It is too trite, and unhelpful, to simply parrot “too much eatin’ not enough exercisin’ ”


Think of obesity as corporeal “greatness” and Shakespeare sets us off helpfully


Yes, some are born “great”. There is a genetic predisposition driving them to require more food than they usually burn. Many grow big and fast, reaching an early menarche if female, becoming fearsome warriers if male. These genes are advantageous – in any species but ours, in any place but here, and at any time but now. Now, they get metabolic syndrome.


Some achieve greatness. But perhaps “achieve” is the wrong word. Despite unremarkable genetics either way, they become fat by slack habits. They are lazy gluttons.


And of course some have greatness thrust upon them. Here we think of those with hypothyroidism & Cushings, those trapped by disability, or ensnared into obesity by imprudent medication prescriptions.


Each of these three contains many subdivisions. And several processes may act in one person: someone genetically predisposed to metabolic syndrome may also be prevented from exercising by osteoarthritis and may also be a lazy glutton to boot.


To every complex problem there is an answer neat, simple, and wrong” Mencken


Obesity is a complex problem, to which neat and simple answers can be seen as gross oversimplification


(Gross oversimplification? Geddit?)

This entry was posted in Blog and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>