What Ails Thee?

Once in a while you’ll come across a man who’s worked for pharma for a while and has a few tales to spin. I say man because you’ll virtually never meet a woman with the self-awareness. A few drinks in and with a little probing, he slips into confessional mode. You find that most of the drugs in production are not life-saving or even quality-of-life-improving, but merely allow people to self-medicate the pain of their meaningless lives away.

Over-eat and partake in too many difficult-to-digest processed foods? Antacids. Want to be thin without exercise and dieting? Fat-loss pills. Want to banish the anxiety and desperation in your mind? White-21. Need a reason to get up tomorrow? SSRIs. Need to ride off into that sunset on an engorged purple pogo-stick? Penis pills. There’s a chemical fix to all life’s ailments, it seems. Except the serious ones.

Like most pain in your body, the pain in your mind is to tell you something is drastically wrong. Mr. Marx was incorrect. As it turns out, the opiate of the masses is…opium. Virtually all people must medicate to survive modernity. Some self-medicate with cannabis, alcohol, virtual reality, food, or various other indulgences. The cool night air, the first sight of the sun on the horizon, or the sight of leaves changing no longer hold any wonder or joy for most, at least not without chemical aid. We’re closer than ever to utopia but we require more upkeep than ever to find life meaningful.

The drug industry affects all of us, but like entertainment, it’s a compact group that’s pulling the levers. Virtually all pharmaceutical development in the US happens between Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, and Kenilworth, New Jersey. It should be noted that this swathe of land used to be thoroughly Cavalier clay. Now it hatches up every chemical symptom-squasher you can think of. The symptoms come from the dreary modernity we live in.

Of course, we’d all be better off if pharma was at work trying to end cystic fibrosis, melanoma, or progeria, but that’s still missing the real problem. We’re rapidly seeking our own demise through self-indulgence because we live in a hellscape we are told is the closest thing to perfection mankind has ever created. And, we’re told the more hellish it gets, the more perfect it becomes. We must confront this first.

But pharma insists on keeping us from the hangover we deserve and, frankly, need. Wake up and smell the ashes. We live in a dying society. An entire generation is incapable of relating to anything as adults because they’ve internally realized the world is cruel, barbaric, and not the magical place it was in their young adult literature.

Harridans like Mary Ruwart agitate for the full loosing of the cash-hungry beast of “medicine” on the commoner, but unlike what she promises, the cure for cancer is not around the corner. Instead, there is an unlimited supply of “substance x” which will reduce your friends, your family, and possibly even you into a slumped mass of flesh that does the bare minimum to keep buying a distraction from the chaos of life until you gracelessly expire. The commons of medicine is as thoroughly perverted as the commons of law, if not more at this point. The free market in medicine has spoken. More opiates, more penis pills, more mood-fixers.

We don’t understand what’s wrong. We did what we were told. We built the utopia, but still it hasn’t come. We feel more empty, alone, and hopeless the more we go along with this great experiment. Worse, the medicine barely does anything. It fades and soon we’re back in the prison cell of our own body staring out the window of our eyes into the bleak abyss of 21st century life.

We stare into the wasteland waiting for a traveler, pure of heart, to ask, “what ails thee?


  1. Until you start breaking out of the cycle you dont realize it either. They had me on all kinds of junk for this very reason. I put on weight because of the medications was drinking every day and ended up doing xanax by the boatload by the end.

    Pulling myself out of that tailspin was hard but it was a lesson on solving these problems yourself if you can. A change in job normally helps or even a move. Having a supportive real family makes all the difference as well.

  2. I am fortunate, I feel, because I’ve never had insurance that was good enough for long enough periods of time to get me used to going to the “doctor” any more than absolutely necessary, which usually, for me, at any rate, involves stitches or some such foolishness.