Big picture aside, most of what afflicts us today – cancer, obesity, mental illness, diabetes, stress, auto-immune disorders, heart disease, along with those slow killers: meaninglessness, clock-watching and loneliness – are industrial ailments. We create stressful, toxic, unhealthy lifestyles fuelled by sugar, caffeine, tobacco, antidepressants, adrenaline, discontent, energy drinks and fast food, and then defend the political ideology that got us hooked on these things in the first place. Our sedentary jobs further deplete our physical, emotional and mental wellbeing, but instead of honestly addressing the root cause of the illness we exert ever more effort, energy, genius and money trying to treat the symptoms and contain the epidemics.
Which is to entirely miss the point. We get all these diseases because that very industrial capitalism means that we don’t all die of smallpox, diarrhea, dystenry, whopping cough, scralett fever and the rest before we are 5. And we tend to live past the 35 at which those who lived wild and ate only organic lived.
And no, it’s not just conquering those killer childhood diseases which has expanded lifespans. Expected lifespan at 15, at 30, is very much higher now than it was 300 or 1000 years ago.