To be or not to be, that is NOT the question
When we lived in caverns thousands of years ago, before we became modern humans, life was about the only concern we had then: survival. Survival has two ways to be achieved, the long term survival that requires reproduction of the species via sexual pairing, and the short term survival that requires daily ingestion of food via cooking (or eating raw food). The issue of sexual reproduction, being so complex and lengthy won’t be addressed here. In this writing I will talk about the other issue, the need to eat to live and how this has changed due to the abundance of food. In fact, nowadays we can divide humanity into two groups, those who eat to live, and those who live to eat. So, the pseudo-Shakespearean question is actually “To live to eat, or to eat to live?”
These people live in rich societies where food is abundant, cheap, generally not so healthy (think fast food), and even wasted in restaurants and supermarkets. Often, but not always, these are the overweight people that suffer of modern diseases like type-2 diabetes. For them, eating is something they are thinking about all day long, even just after finishing a meal.
These people live in the other less affluent part of the society, often coexisting with the live-to-eat people, and have so low monetary resources that they are basically living like our cavern-era cousins. They tend not to be overweight, although there are exceptions. For them, eating is of course important, but more important is to get out of their modus vivendi, to improve their standard of living.
Happy and Unhappy People
It turns out that those who live to eat, and who think about eating all day long (consciously or unconsciously) are generally the happy people we know. They tend to be more present on the moment, to live intensely every instance of life, and enjoy the process of eating and sharing the meal with friends and family. On the other hand, those who eat to live, and who think about the future strategic moves they need to take to get out of poverty are less happy, more concern about tomorrow, about how to succeed, and eating is almost an inconvenient break in their daily activities that prevent them from achieving high productivity.
Many great authors have written about the purpose of life, but in my opinion there is only one: to be happy. So, it is our responsibility in this life to define what we want to do to achieve happiness.
The Golden Mean
Life is not easy, especially because we live it once, with no chance for a second try with the gained experience of the first time. Finding the right balance between living to eat and eating to live is an extra burden we will struggle with. If you choose to live to eat, you will live happy, but temporarily so. If you choose to eat to live, you will be unhappy, and eternally so. Therefore, it is our choice of when to live one way or the other, until we find the so much searched golden mean in life.
C.A. Soto Aguirre®