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The WMail Newsletter Essays
Volume I - Issue #2: August/September 2000

"The Culture Structure vs. Granola"
(from WM Chapter 22)

        Another observed Distinction is the way that the Culture-Structure is designed to keep the citizenry 'fat and happy'. I think the latest statistic is that half of the population in America is ten or more pounds [five kilograms] overweight.
        Is this intentional? Maybe: All those pudgy people have to buy gym clothes and gym memberships and home exercise machines that don't get used, and also buy book after book on diets that never work because they don't address the actual problem, which is Values. The three most popular non-fiction genres are: 1) general self-improvement; 2) cookbooks; and 3) diet books. Weight Watchers and Overeaters Anonymous certainly depend on there being lots of chubby folk.
        But I do not think that there is some unholy conspiracy here either. There was no meeting on a yacht in some obscure corner of the Caribbean where 'They' decided that armies of obese people were a benefit to the Culture-Structure. Didn't happen.
        Not a conspiracy: Just a bunch of individual corporate executives making dis-empowering decisions under the advice of their personal False Minds, as designed and implemented over time by the Culture-Structure.
        Case in point: Back in the 1960's, hippies and health freaks and fellow travelers discovered the [supposed] benefits of wheat germ and unsalted nuts and soy anything, so that the use and availability of 'trail mix' – varying mixtures of oats and nuts and dried fruit for the use of back-packers; also called 'gorp' – became all the rage.
        Then corporate America saw a new product that they could take control of. The health food industry produced and packaged 'power bars' made of granola, which are still available. But what was noticeable to the objective observation of the itinerant Working Mind was the following progression: simple granola bars had more options added – almonds, walnuts, coconut; then chocolate chips were added; then caramel, then marshmallows; then chocolate and carob or strawberry candy on the outside. Still called granola bars. But with three times the calories and lots of added fat. And the latest 'improvement' is Butterfinger™ and Snickers™ branded granola 'health' bars.
        The Culture-Structure blurs the Distinction between health food and candy, pandering to the fat and sweet-tooth fixations of America and of developing countries influenced by us and our media. The intention is that healthy citizens are of no benefit, you can't charge people for being healthy, only for being unhealthy – by providing some worthless solution, and if that doesn't work you should try another.
        Sugar-blissed and overweight couch potatoes present no threat to the Culture-Structure. The same kind of process occurs in education and in entertainment and in politics: sugar-coated material displaces the fitness – mental, physical, medical, organizational, societal – that is absolutely necessary for the fulfillment of Mankind's potential, and without which Mankind will revert to its worst: uneducated, uncommitted, self-destructive, complacent sheep tippy-toeing to the slaughter.
        Mankind will ascend the proverbial mountain and fulfill Higher Values, or hedonism, greed, gratification, sloth, and violence will triumph.

*          *          *          *

        You owe it to yourself, to your children and grandchildren, and to future generations to Will into existence the Values that counteract the Culture-Structure-led slide into the abyss.
        The Distinction that is here presented is 'Direction'. There is a Here and a There; there is movement from Here to There [the future] or from There to Here [the past]. Part of your job as a Working Mind is to detect the Direction of things that occur in the Objective World. The movement from health food into candy is visible, if you are looking; the movement from actual learning to status quo education to dubious child care (as the official purpose of our school systems) is visible, if you are looking; the movement from heroes in our culture to celebrities is visible, again, only if you are looking. And yet so very few of us see these Directions, and even less do anything about it.
        When the Working Mind Distinguishes the Direction of cultural movement, the aware individual – the individual with a Working Mind – can then determine whether his/her participation in such activity will Empower or dis-empower. This never-ending existential and objective Choice is necessary for the fulfillment of Mankind's Highest Value.

[copyright 1999 by Gary Edward Nordell, all rights reserved]

        The preceding is an excerpt from Chapter 22 of my forthcoming book, "Working Minds: A Philosophy of Empowerment".

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