The other day I posted an article on The Link Between Aspartame and ISIS. The link was Donald Rumsfeld, the former U.S. Secretary of Defense from 2000 – 2006, and the architect of the Iraq War.
As I pointed out in the article, Rumsfeld was the person most responsible for unleashing aspartame onto the world, when he was CEO of the pharmaceutical company G.D. Searle, and the person most responsible for unleashing ISIS onto the world, by virtue of his wrong-headed Iraq adventure.
I started thinking about the link between the two right after reading an article in The Atlantic magazine entitled What ISIS Really Wants. As part of the article, the author, Graeme Wood, interviewed some ISIS sympathizers, one in England and one in Australia. Wood made note that one of the interview subjects drank Red Bull while they talked.
I decided to look at the ingredients of Red Bull, and then was curious about the ingredients of the sugar-free variety of Red Bull. The sugar-free version had aspartame and acesulfame-K, which is a deadly duo of artificial sweeteners. I continued following the threads on these poisons, and next thing I know I learned of the Rumsfeld-aspartame connection.
But you know, here’s the thing: although Rumsfeld is guilty as charged, the link between aspartame and ISIS goes far beyond him. The real link is the way we think – especially in the West, and especially in the U.S.
This is a way of thinking that is fragmented, disconnected, and narrow-minded in scope. This way of thinking negates the ability to think long-term and to see and understand how all of life is so very much interconnected.
This way of thinking is not connected to nature, and also not connected to the heart. It is rooted in Descartes’ famous mantra – I think therefore I am – but leaves out the second part of that equation – I feel therefore I am.
When this is our operating system, of not integrating our analytical capabilities with our heart, we tend to forget the implications of our behaviors and actions. We then make decisions based on short-term thinking, and short-term thinking is driven by the primal urges of survival.
And from these primal urges of survival comes thinking that is based on a self-absorbed drive that fuels greed, narcissism, destructive and addictive behaviors, aggression, and a belief that you need to get yours before someone else gets it.
For example, let’s look at the field of medicine and how this way of thinking impacts it. Modern medicine, and especially how it is practiced in the U.S., is a sick care system, not a health care system. The money is in people staying sick and not being well.
A lot of money flows through the pipeline of modern medicine, and a lot of doctors, hospitals and insurance companies have become enriched by maintaining a system that is oriented towards tests, procedures and drugs, but not on approaches that cultivate true health.
To orient a medical system that focused on true health would take a more holistic way of seeing the world, as opposed to a fragmented and disconnected way of seeing the world.
How can we gain the ability to think more long-term and get away from the destructive nature of short-term thinking? It takes a certain degree of evolved thinking to do so, in which you become aware of your behaviors and see and understand how your behaviors may be hurting others.
But without it, we become just a carbon copy of Donald Rumsfeld: thinking about short-term profits and short-term gains, as opposed to thinking about how our actions affect the future, and affect other people who may be quite unlike us.
Ultimately, the gift of reconciling different world views is for each of us to understand one another. In terms of what the West, and especially the U.S., can do to help this happen, it’s to realize how our short-term thinking plays a part in the root causes of unrest around the world.
We created aspartame, and non-Western cultures are drinking and eating its poison. The only winner in this case is the beast of short-term thinking – profits for the company, shareholders and investors.
And with ISIS, we also created it, and it is now spreading its poison as far as it can. The people in ISIS are also guilty of short-term thinking, as they adhere to their religious dogmas and believe that they are the true believers and only through terror can they achieve their goals.
The approach of short-term thinking is predicated on thinking that is fragmented, disconnected and narrow-minded. It’s a zero-sum game, in which a few win while the rest of us lose big-time.
And we’re all paying the price for this.
But there is hope, just by fixing the root cause: the thinking that created this turbulence.