The Independent Daily
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An Online Journal of Independent Views & Discussion
June 7, 2013
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Published in Northern Arizona, USAhttp://www.TheIndependentDaily.commailto:editor@TheIndependentDaily.comshapeimage_2_link_0shapeimage_2_link_1

Sartre vs. Tylenol

Editor recently featured an article based on some very bad research correlating a reduced Fear of Death to Tylenol Use. Flawed desperately, the research did serve to remind me of my research at the University of San Francisco in the late 1970s studying what correlation, if any, existed between Death Anxiety and Achievement Motivation. In other words, and very simply, Did varying levels of individual fear of death cause us to a varying individual extent, to get up off our asses and do those things we might not otherwise do in our lives, recognizing that the Grim Reaper loiters nearby for us all?

In the MSN article, for those experiencing what they termed, “Existential Angst” Tylenol apparently had some assuaging effect. But, Existential Angst, from an Existentialist’s perspective far transcends only the angst associated with life’s quick passage.

In America we have lost the edge associated with what I believe is a healthy level of Woe necessary to Achievement, and we are thus a fairly useless collective of non-go-getters. Here are some of the creative measures we take in America to avoid life’s noetic realities for our population Aged 12 and over:

Illicit Drug Use: About 9% of our population uses Illicit Drugs regularly, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Illicit Drugs means, marijuana/hashish, cocaine (including crack), heroin, hallucinogens, inhalants, or prescription-type psychotherapeutics used non-medically (meaning not prescribed and used just for the hell of it). Obviously, the number far exceeds the above for all those who use Illicit Drugs on a less-than-regular basis.

Anti-Depressant Drugs: About 13% of our population regularly uses prescribed Anti-Depressant drugs to combat sensations of discordance regularly associated with feelings of helplessness, uselessness, and a lack of definition of one’s self, or any of the other various conditions described by Sartre in Being and Nothingness, Nausea, or Troubled Sleep.

Alcohol: At the very minimum 67% of Americans consume alcohol, many far below the legal drinking age. Fully at least 15% of Americans are recognized alcoholics dependent on alcohol on a daily basis, thus the CDC spends vast amounts of money investigating tobacco use and suggesting courses of action, but does not take on the far more devastating issue of alcohol.

Television: In America only 5% of households Do Not watch television. Conversely, 95% of households do. The average household watches 42 hours of TV per week saturating themselves with mindless drivel and opinions not of their own construction. TV does, however, take the edge of one’s finite existence capturing the mind’s complete attention both obviously and subliminally and replaces healthy angst with contrived feelings of wholeness achievable through the acquisition of clothes, cars, sexual conquests, and the promise of ever-lasting health and happiness (see Anti-Depressant addictions, above).

Religion: According to the PEW Forum on Religion and Public Life, 71% of us are “Absolutely Certain” of God. 70% believe that our Religion will lead to an “Eternal After Life”, or about the same as those who use alcohol regularly. So, why bother with this life…

Where does this leave America? Plainly, nearly 100% of the population is medicated to avoid the issue of life’s finality. Some use drugs, prescribed or otherwise, while the vast majority of us use the unassailable and, unfortunately, not subject to online after-purchase consumer reviews of Religion to justify both our actions and inactions.

In retrospect, Tylenol doesn’t seem so bad.