Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Does History Really Repeat Itself?

The turkeys are being thawed and the preparations are ramping to a fevered pitch as we anxiously await the convergence of family and friends to celebrate Thanksgiving Day!  A great American tradition of gathering together and giving thanks for all that we have. If there is one thing that has remained the same since the first Thanksgiving in 1621, I think it is this. While we are excited to be with the family that will gather and celebrate, we are reminded of those who cannot be with us, those who are unable to travel or those we have lost.  Of those who originally departed on the Mayflower less than 50% were around to celebrate the following year.  This year some people will celebrate great successes while others will celebrate simply surviving.  The real cause for celebration that first Thanksgiving was the second, not only had they survived a tremendously difficult year but they had new hope of a better life that came from a more stable food source.  The most basic of human needs was restored to them.  While most people know the story of  the pilgrims leaving England to escape religious persecution, I think there is more we can learn from their story and the history of Europe leading up to 1620.  The "Act of Uniformity" was actually passed in 1559 by the English Government making it illegal to not attend services at the Church of England with fines for missing each service and more severe punishments for practicing any other faiths.  A group known as the 'separatists' wanted to practice their own version separate from the churches  teachings and two of their early founders were executed in 1593 for their 'crimes.'  But notice the time frames, it was 34 years before the founders were executed and another 27 years after that before the pilgrims sailed. And all of this transpired 128 years after Columbus discovered America.  So, if things were so bad why the delay?  Two of your founders are executed for trying to set up a new religion, which by the way was still based in Christianity, and that isn't enough to cause urgent action instead you choose to wait 27 years then finally figure out you have to leave?  I don't think it took 27 years of planning to get 100 people on a single boat.  There were a various excursions to the new world, so there were multiple chances to escape this unbearable oppression.  But, maybe that isn't the point.

Let's look at another astounding historical example of the human response to unbearable circumstances and the response.  The "Black Plague" or "Black Death" was a pandemic that spread across Asia and Europe reaching its peak between 1346-1353.  The estimates range from 75-200 Million deaths which equates to 30-60% of the European Population falling prey to this disease.  These are astounding numbers and yet the real story of the plague is really more about what happened before to even make it possible and the lack of response.  The events prior to massive outbreak created the perfect environment for this deadly pandemic.  The combination of malnutrition due to famine of various causes coupled with a lack of sanitation in large cities allowed for the rapid spread of a disease.  I know, not exactly Thanksgiving dinner conversation but the point is just like the pilgrims what seems to be missing is the sense of urgency.  In both cases, I wonder what the discussions were, "well, we've lost 20% of the population, I wonder how much worse it can get?"  then a year later, "well, we've lost 30% of the population, maybe this is serious?"  For some reason, we human beings tend to disregard the warning signs and take early action instead deciding to see if it will get any worse before we act.  So why is this important? 

As George Santayana famous quote says  “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."  When is it time for alarm or to take action?  How many millions of people need to become ill with a disease before we decide to take action?  How bad to things need to get before we decide to sail to a new world?  Will history really repeat itself?  Consider this, it is now estimated that 24 Million Americans have type 2 Diabetes.  It is a slow insidious disease that is spreading across the world.  But, maybe 24 Million people isn't enough to really worry about.  Then let's add in the 78 Million American's who are in the pre-Diabetic category and without changes will become Diabetic in the next few years that gets us to over 100 Million Americans who will have Diabetes or about 1 in every 3-4 Americans.  The good news is that more than 80% is preventable with lifestyle changes.  So, as you celebrate the Thanksgiving Holiday and give thanks for everything you have remember to also think about your ability to make choices.  We are seeing the warning signs of bad nutrition leading to the next pandemic but will we take early action or wait to see if things get better? 

Change will only come with accepting the responsibility for our circumstances and deciding that taking action is more important than the comfort of staying in the world we've created. 

Product Details

Life Pioneers: The Edge of Possibility! by Tim Terrio (Oct 18, 2013)    

Available on Amazon and at All TERRIO Physical Therapy-Fitness locations.  www.myTERRIO.com

No comments:

Post a Comment