May 1, 2017

Issue #16: Food

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Throughout history people have gone hungry, unable to find enough calories to sustain themselves. Thanks to numerous advances, most of us no longer have to fight this daily battle for survival. We live in an age of abundance, boasting such a surplus that $100 billion worth of food is jettisoned each year.

Waste aside, our ‘solution’ to the (Western) hunger problem has given birth to a weighty dilemma: instead of struggling to find calories, most people now struggle to avoid them. Today, the number of obese humans sits at a hefty 1.6 billion – almost double those who are malnourished.

When it comes to production and consumption, it’s clear that greed is in the driver’s seat and gluttony is giving directions. Our challenge then in this time of plenty is to learn to direct our preternatural productive prowess, to rein in our insatiable desire for more.

From Tantalus to Erysichthon, myths abound on the perils of greed and gluttony. We should take heed. As Shakespeare’s Nerissa asserts: “They are as sick that surfeit with too much, as they that starve with nothing.”

Articles Posted on Issue #16: Food
Fad diets
»by Tim Olds

Jean-Paul Sartre refused to eat lobsters because they resembled giant insects. Fresh fruit and vegetables, he felt, were also too