If I take this pill, does that make me a wimp?

by phil on Tuesday Feb 17, 2009 4:49 PM
dlog, principles, the body

Have the advancements of psychology in the last 150 years made us a "Nation of Whiners"? That is what Tony Soprano, in the first season of The Sopranos, bugs his therapist about.

I don't agree with him, but here's what I think is correct about it: Any bit of advantage you gain, inevitably raises the bar of the kind of advantage you expect. For example, if you take Advil whenever you feel sore from playing rugby, what happens is you'll play more rugby. Then you'll move onto newer problems, which is when you'll start to seem like a whiner.

So, in a way, becoming a Nation of Whiners means that our problems today are less significant than our problems of before. This is in some ways, a sign of progress.

I have a friend that refuses to take Advil, ever, for anything, even if he gets sick. That's a little unheard of nowadays. My understanding is that doing so would make him feel like a baby. I can say that I've wrestled with that issue before, but I came up with a principle to untie this issue:

If the symptoms of a problem are also a cause for the symptoms, then it's okay to address the symptoms by themselves.

Having a high fever really stresses your body, making you feel weak and full of pain, which can accelerate the fever further. So it's okay to take Advil or Tylenol just to reduce the symptoms.

By extension, and going back to Tony Soprano's complaint, deep levels of depression are very much a cause for further depression. And so I'll agree with the line of thinking that suggests taking anti-depressants to temporarily rehabilitate emotional levels. It helps you get unstuck, and from there you can move forward to fixing whatever caused your depression in the first place.

(For the sake of personal disclosure, I wrestle with deciding whether to take stuff like kava kava, valerian, and St. John's Wort because of these issues).

Cross-posted on drunk-log, which has the keystrokes that made this post.


Squidhelmet said on February 17, 2009 8:57 PM:

I enjoyed watching the Drunk Log on this. I liked how Conservatism entered your consciousness but was ultimately edited out.

Philip Dhingra said on February 17, 2009 9:17 PM:

Haha, yeah. The post was starting to fork out. I may have to delve into that "nation of whiners" viz-a-viz conservatism idea in another post.

Creative Commons License