Perspective 6/15/19

By Richard Bleil

Today on my social media page I reposted a blog with a quote attributed to a comedian saying that herbal supplements are not approved by the FDA, and goes on to point out that Twinkies are.

I thought it was a great post, because I do not believe in herbal supplements. I managed to get myself into trouble at a meeting (with big bad police officers no less) that treating a gold was almost as effective as treating it with phone sex. I’m not sure what offended the police the most; maybe they didn’t realize that phone sex was a thing. Very strange.

Now, understand, I don’t write them off, either. In fact, when I am ill, I like to drink hot tea (the steam for my sinuses) with lemon juice (for vitamin C) and honey (to soothe my throat). Sometimes I’ll suggest it to my friends if they are ill, but I don’t sell it to cure gout and cancer and God knows what else. It makes me feel better, but that doesn’t mean it will help others.

The problem I have with herbal supplements is that until very recently, there has been absolutely no oversight whatsoever. I blogged earlier about a claim that cannabis cured cancer, and argued that there are good things about the holistic movement but that it often goes way too far about its claims and thereby encourages people to avoid legitimate medical treatment.

When I read this post, I thought it was great. I trust Twinkies, I truly enjoy them, and I’m glad to know that there is an agency looking out for me to ensure that they are safe for me to eat. So when I read “to put this into perspective, Twinkies are [approved by the FDA]”, my interpretation was, even something like Twinkies has to undergo FDA approval, so why don’t Herbal supplements? If their claims are real, surely they can stand up to legitimate testing.

The funny thing is that many of my friends who DO believe in holistic medicine are reposting this blog that I interpret to be anti-holistic. So I started to think about it. I believe that they are thinking that this is an anti-FDA oversight comment, since Twinkies are notoriously bad for us (but great for our tummies!) and yet okay by the FDA. So the FDA must be corrupt because it approves Twinkies, but, let’s be fair about this; Twinkies never made a claim that it cures cancer.

I have no idea what this comedian had in mind when he said this, but I find it an intriguing example of who the exact same utterance can mean such completely different things to different people. Previously I had written about the importance of perspective, and that there are always two sides to every story (a bit cliche, but it woks here). This is why it is so important to remember that everybody’s opinion matters, is valid and that disagreements, if approached in a healthy manner, are actually good.

Now we reach the point where I have to decide the point of this post. Should I go off on an anti-holistic healing rant? Naw, like I said, while I don’t believe in it, I’m not exactly against it either, provided it is handled ethically (which it often is not). Should I make this a pro-FDA and oversight blog? Well, I don’t know. There are issues with the FDA, especially with the current director and ties that are clearly biased but I believe in their historical mission and the importance of the work they do.

To be honest, I started writing this just because I think it’s a humorous example of how perspective changes the meaning of things. I could leave it at that, but I think, instead, I will use it as a reminder to everybody to be respectful of each other’s point of view.

It’s also important to recognize that YOUR perspective and opinion is legitimate and fair as well. Most of us were raised to believe in the religion of our parents, and the political party. I’m sure this will offend some people, but blindly following such alignments is intellectual laziness.

It’s all too easy to declare ourselves this political party or that because it makes voting easy. That means we just select the candidates and issues of the party straight down the ballot. We don’t even have to think about it. The political parties (yes, both of them) love this, and encourage it, because if we stop to learn about the candidates and issues, if we actually think about how we feel and believe and vote our own consciousness, then they could lose votes. By blindly voting party line, the voter is not being fair to the legitimacy of their own perspective.

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