Amor fati is the general term for taking a positive view of the inevitable, even if the inevitable appears to be bad. It's an attitude that can be justified on philosophical, religious, and mental health grounds. I don't like to write in Latin (or rather I do, but who would read it?), so I'll just stick with the English phrase here: “Love of fate.”
You're probably more familiar with specific instances where we have a psychological tendency to take a positive view of bad but inevitable things. Those who suffer hardship might reflect: “It builds character.” Starving artists like yours truly might praise the benefits of poverty: “It improves my focus.” And people struggling to come to terms with the brevity of human life win the gold medal for the dumbest way of finding the good in something bad: “If humans lived longer, then evil dictators would live longer too, which would be bad (because . . . they kill people!); therefore I'm glad that everyone I love will die on roughly the same schedule as Marcus Aurelius.” Gag me with a spoon, you moron.
I mean, I like to be nice to idiots as much as the next evil vizier, but there's a limit.
I've got news for you boys. Being sick is bad. Being poor is bad. Being ugly is bad. Dying is bad. Bad things are bad.
The love of fate might be a valid principle when applied on a general level. That is, when considering creation as a whole. This is because the badness of certain parts seems to be a condition of possibility for the existence of our world. A love of being therefore implies a positive attitude regarding elements we dislike.
“This is getting too philosophical and boring. I clicked on this article because I wanted to hear you beat up on fat people!”
Sorry, I already get my rocks off beating up Daoists (they bend but don't break, so the fun never ends); I don't need to come for fat people.
I take a nuanced view of obesity in my infamous beauty article. I am, after all, a noted anti-anorexia advocate. In technical, objective language, fat people have a reduced ability to attract mates because there's currently an oversupply of their body type relative to demand. In colloquial shorthand, of course—which naturally I don't endorse at all—they're ugly.
Fatties feel trapped. Is it their fault? Is it caused by a poor diet? Are they just lacking willpower? Would it all go away if they went full carnivore??!! Many people believe so, but that's neither here nor there. Whatever the case, heaps of fatties feel that their condition is inevitable. And quite naturally, as a psychological defense mechanism, the dreaded “specific application of the love of fate” kicks in. In other words, some of them decide that fat(e) is, after all, beautiful, healthy—good.
Don't be too harsh with them: no one wants to waddle around feeling bad about himself all the time. Personally I set aside an hour every day to brainstorm delusions that will raise my self-esteem and make my continued existence more bearable. It's the evil twin of meditation (which I'll leave to Daoists).
Not everyone is capable of this handy psychological trick; some people don't have an extra hour of the day to devote to fooling themselves. But the media lives to serve. There's no lie that some journalist, somewhere, won't tell. To spare you the time and save you the trouble, they're willing to invent the illusions for you. Yeah, many of you know they're not true, but it still kind of gives you warm fuzzies to hear them. Click click click. Cancel dissenters. Click click click. (Easy to fix your faults: just get oedipal on any eyes connected to tongues that dare speak them. Poke poke. I joke, I joke. Not pretending to justify rudeness here, by any means; I'm a civilized slaver with no wish to ask the navyonmada to train their cannons on my casbah.)
Soft scientists get in on the game too, as willing to rationalize scarcity as excess, no correlation too tenuous to pass up a chance at tenure. I'm only, of course, citing the most frivolous such lies—does anyone believe they'd hesitate to obfuscate the murder rate if it hid the crimes of their allies? But I slide too easily into rhyme . . .
So, to stop chewing the fat and summarize the chain of reasoning while you still have your ears:
1. “Obesity is inevitable.”
2. “Negative evaluations of inevitable things cause pointless psychological pain.”
3. “Pointless psychological pain is bad.”
4. “Therefore obesity is good, or at least mostly good, or at least partly good and I'm going to ignore the other parts.”
Immaculate logic which it would be inhumane to refute.
Ok, thus far everything seems to be going swimmingly. We can't make “inevitable” body types popular on the mating market, but at least we can redefine them as good. (If you don't want a recession—just change the definition! Also works for “mistress.”) But what if . . .
What if we suddenly invent a cheap, easy obesity cure. I'm talking really easy. Easier than taking candy from a baby—and eating it. Easier than failing the marshmallow test. Funner than scarfing a ton of Funyuns! (Occidental is my second language, apologies for any grammatical inaccuracies.)
The entire irrefutable chain of logic outlined above would be threatened, because obesity would no longer be—or be perceived as—inevitable. An apparently rock-solid prior would be shattered just as if a billion fat people jumped up and down on it at exactly the same time!
The great and apocalyptic revelation of preferences would be upon us, and the overweight rate would fall from 60% to <1% almost overnight. Suddenly the tiny fraction of men who prefer fatties would struggle to satisfy their urges. A second sexual revolution of human-shaped fortysomethings would tear up Tinder, and there's no predicting what manner of social chaos it would call forth. Shudder, O mortals, for now only the devil hungers.
Miraculously, this will be a double cure. One of the forces propping up the absurdly elevated status of anorexic fashion models is the optical benefit that comes from playing opposite day with losers. Obesity these days tends to disproportionately afflict the poor. In the glory days of Reubens and Titian, the reverse was true: the poor were starving, the rich could afford to import sugar. (Hm, maybe there's a hint there?)
But once the poor and incapable can be as thin as they want to be (I'm already there), rich folk and strivers won't enjoy any extra status benefit from winning at bodyweight opposite day. Their teeth will have to scratch the floor in some other direction. After a transitional period (could be as long as a few decades), this shift will trigger a collapse in the value of skeletal physiques. Suddenly the truth about feminine beauty will become fashionable again. Girls will be crawling over each other to get that monarchiste look. Heiresses will define themselves by the quality of fat transfer they can afford, not the acid damage they've done to their wisdom teeth. A walk down a crowded street will become a dangerous superstimulus for the male mind!
Well—there are new drugs in the pipeline. This miraculous revelation might be nigh. Maybe they won't turn out to work. But the problem isn't inherently beyond our ability to solve. If the FDA got out of the way and let us skip straight to Phase 8 trials (covert experimentation on unwilling human subjects), it would already be solved! One day, maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon, that great revelation is gonna come.
Go ahead and love fate on a general level. But exercise some caution about seeing the good in bad things. At the very least, don't go so far that you shut the door to fixing them.
Onward and upward, boys. Let's cure everything, all be rich and beautiful, the sky's not the limit but only cause we're going to build a Dyson sphere around Alpha Centauri. We can do it. All we need is evil.
In the meantime, tell fatties you love 'em.
This article was published on July 29, 2022.
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