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The latest obsessions

San Luis Obispo

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There’s an old zen joke that asks why a dog licks his own testicles and the answer is because he can. The theme of this joke seems applicable to the use of cell phones and psychotropic drugs. Considering the number of people who constantly make cell-phone calls in front of others, it’s fair to say that if these calls were necessary, there would have been long lines at every public telephone in San Luis Obispo before cell phones came along. Of course there were no such lines. Calling from the privacy of home or office was the common practice. Most of us went for weeks without making a call from a public phone booth. Students refrained for entire semesters.

Today, swarms of people make calls all the time from anywhere, including public toilets and funerals. Why? Because they can.

The same justification applies to the hordes of people ingesting antidepressants. Certainly there are people for whom doctors legitimately prescribe such medications but what about the rest of the indulgers? Do they hope to avoid all feelings of anxiety at any cost? Society’s mentality seems to have become, why should anyone feel even the slightest emotional discomfort when all they have to do is pop a pill? Because after all, they can.

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