Thursday, June 4, 2015

UnSouled, Neal Shushterman

Ahhh! To saga continues. There are twists and turns that are pretty crazy. Excellent split narratives again. Starkey is the guy who makes you understand WHY people think Unwinding is a good idea. Nelson is there to make your skin crawl. More back story. More with Cam. A glimpse into Lev's time before he ended up at the graveyard.

And the political undertones. WOW. All signs point to the same organization playing BOTH sides of the Unwinding issue. They pay for pro and con ads. All under different names of course. Really makes you think. Oh, and there was a DEFINITE stab at the pharmaceutical industry. At least I think so. Part of what keeps Unwinding alive is the profitability. This has been an accusation of the pharmaceutical industry for years. My father-in-law works for a government national laboratory (he does project management not experiments) and he's told us that they've discovered a sound and fairly solid cure against cancer. But that the results are being suppressed or belittled because the pharmaceutical industry does not want to lose money on what they make with cancer treatments. He's even gone so far as the accuse that the American Cancer Society doesn't really want a cure. Because a cure would mean they'd become obsolete. Now, I don't know anyone personally who is on the ACS board or anything, but I know people in my personal life would be THRILLED to have no reason to have Relay's for Life, or Race for the Cure, or the Susan G Komen (sp?) Foundation around anymore. Because honestly, there are still other things we don't understand or are close to finding cures for that they could all just totally shift their focus if they needed a cause. But it's true, the one word that puts fear into any industry at all is: obsolescence. And so it is with the industry of Unwinding. There was a poignant part, where the book talks about how the industry first created want, which then turns into a need.

I think this a very prominent thing in our society. How many times do we let advertising affect us. Let's take gluten intolerance for example. Let me say upfront that this is NOT to marginalize anyone with Celiac Disease or gluten allergy, or any diagnosed issues with the substance. There was a guy (Gibson, I believe his name is) who did a study that basically showed that gluten sensitivity existed. BOOM goes the GF market. He followed up about year ago with a study done where he grouped self-diagnosed gluten sensitive people into 3 groups and exposed them to 3 types of gluten exposure. High, moderate/low, and no. ALL groups reported the SAME amount of GI distress, although none of them knew what level of exposure they were given. He has several ideas of what COULD be causing GI issues other than gluten. And wouldn't we want to know the REAL culprit? So we could eliminate that? But science "proves" both sides

Maybe the problem is the people involved? Maybe one study used self proclaimed sensitivity vs. a sensitivity by blood test result? I have no doubt that there are people sensitive to gluten, just as there are those who are lactose intolerant, etc. But I think for a majority of people, there is no reason to avoid something. Unless you want to support the multi-billion dollar GF industry. Just for fun. Or to be a food martyr (I've met people like that). But I've found blogs where people (who I have no way of verifying credentials if they even HAVE any other than quoting what someone else said) who basically tell you why Gluten is basically a poison for our systems. Then WHY has wheat been used as a staple in many diets from the earliest records of man without it causing HUGE population issues? I'd find it more plausible that a pesticide or certain genetic interference was the problem rather than gluten itself. But anyway, it was just an example of people just feeding into what they THINK they need. Since I believe a LOT of people do self-diagnosis online and don't always check their sources instead of going to a medical professional (or maybe with the "affordable" care act, they simply can't afford to seek medical advice on the subject, that's definitely the case with some people I know, OR the medical professionals they go to can't be bothered to find the root of their problems, as was the case with another friend who found a physician who would REALLY look at her symptoms and what do you know? She's got a thyroid disease after all). So all these conflicting stories and "proofs" are doing no one any good. It's taking credibility away from people with REAL issues on one side and pushing an otherwise corner market into the limelight and straining people's budgets. GF stuff is NOT cheap. One reason why I think a lot of people are self-diagnosed is the evidence of EVERYTHING UNDER THE SUN being labeled as GF. Milk-it's GF! Fruit-GF!! Veggies-GF!! Boneless, skinless chicken breast-GF!!! And seriously, companies who slap that label on it feel justified to charge MORE to "prove" to buyers that it's GF. But guess what? Milk, produce and meat never contained gluten-EVER! But how would you know that if you were just kinda doing your own thing? I have friends who have serious gluten issues, including a friend who was diagnosed with Celiac. I've done a TON of research into what does and doesn't contain gluten as well as things that tend to contain trace amounts or items that are frequently processed on the same equipment as items with gluten. People with Celiac are nearly as sensitive to gluten as someone with an allergy to peanuts, so you've got to be really careful about things like that. If someone TRULY had issues, they wouldn't need signs on produce and dairy to know it's safe.

Anyway, I digress. UnSouled takes more real life creepy accounts of things to further push home the point that our society is SO primed for Unwinding it's scary. All we're short of it is the neuro-grafting technology....and I hope we NEVER achieve it. I've often thought in the recent past that if necessity is the mother of all invention, an author's imagination is the father. So many things started as an imaginary idea and then became truth because someone decided to see if they could make that imaginary idea a reality.  A few things are duplicated between those two links.

I'm anxiously awaiting reading the last book. I have several others that I need to read first to satifsy my adult summer reading program, so it's on the back burner for a little bit, but I'm SO hoping that Unwinding becomes a thing of the past and that Proactive Citizenry gets what's coming to them!

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