Saturday, 21 November 2009

Greatness of mind

The other day at shapely, someone a woman called Kathryn made this comment.
No wonder I gave up trying to make any sense out of “diet rules”–as my Harvard and University of Chicago educated husband put it, “great minds don’t go into dietary science.”
I agreed with the underlying point that great minds don't go into dietary science, I added obesity science to that. Kate took unexpected exception to this, stating a couple of examples of people who clearly have functioning brain in their head who are involved in each of those, fields.

She felt that it was a snobbish generalization to start with 'great minds don't....' Thing is, the original commenter started from the product, in this case diet rules.  Whilst there may well be intelligent people involved in nutrition, if there was any serious contingent of greatness, it would show in the way that subject developed. I can think of ways off the top of my head and I don't consider my mind to be great.

Even long before I stopped trying to lose weight, this was so glaringly evident, that I actually felt like I must be missing something.

No way could any branch of science that was not derided and ridiculed by other scientists or other thoughtful people survive such base and low standards of intellect, curiosity above all, rationalism. I was naively wrong, it was that bad. Nor did I realise just how much of the reverence in which we non-scientists hold science in could rub off on a field so currently devoid of most, if not all of it's merits.

The way I saw it was the refusal to accept the failure of calorie manipulation is an outrage against logic, so much so that it is wildly intriguing and clearly far more complex than presumed. Therefore great minds will rush in, any minute now, to take it by the scruff of the neck and impose the usual intellectual ferocity-sometimes seemingly to the point of amorality- we associate with science. 

Not forgetting the potential for glory in the widespread conviction of a coming adipocalypse. But no, apparently not. The people involved mostly don't seem to be all that bright, or particularly ambitious. If you are bright, how could you stand it, apart from just not giving a shit?

I find the latter most compelling.

There's no pressure on you whatsoever, none. No one's asking you why you have produced jack shit that has any affect on weight. The blame falls squarely on the people themselves-whether they are fat or not.

If you are thin and you re-gain 5 pounds, you're just as much as fault as someone who re-gains more. Having expected an emphatic victory over my metabolism; "I'm the boss around here and what I say goes", I've gotten over much of the upset about that not working out. I am left in awe, yes, awe, of our metabolism. It's so damn clever and sneaky, and if I'd known no one would be interested.....

Greatness of mind is available to us all. It does not necessarily depend on how many exams you've passed, or what exclusive school you went to. It's about reaching for the highest that you can, digging deep from within. Pushing yourself on when you feel like giving up because you've got an overriding desire for something more or other than what you have now.

She left school at 16 years old with no qualifications. She had a child soon after and it was born with a chronic and exceptionally rare condition. She found out all she could about it and discovered from this and observing her child, that the knowledge that was taken for granted wasn't right. Although it was difficult and she encountered resistance from those who were thought to know better, she didn't and couldn't give up on her child, because she just knew that they were looking at things the wrong way.

The reason why I heard about her, was because her greatness of mind, eventually forced the professionals to take note of her, to their credit. From the most unpromising of circumstances, she achieved something amazing.  Even I with my little mind, can easily conceive of ways, both fields could show some spark of intellectual ambition. I don't even see that, nor much else in it's place. As I see it from this angle, I can't pretend a greatness that's absent. 

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