Ancient Greeks On Managing Obesity

For the people of ancient Greece, fatness was the result of a lazy lifestyle and as proud people, ancients didn’t want to be associated with such a life.   For Socrates, who took a stern line on the problem, being obese was the result of not knowing what the right thing is. “If we knew,” he said, “we would not fail to do it, because it would have been so obviously in our interests to do it.” To the objection that a person often knew what was right but did not do it, in fear of e.g. losing pleasure, the ancient Greek philosopher replied that such a person didn’t really know what was right after all. The person simply had an opinion about it, which was prone to be perverted by passing whims. Hence the Socratic paradox according to which no one does wrong willingly, but only ignorantly. Therefore, curing ignorance is the only solution. The doctor Hippocrates, well aware that sudden death was associated with obesity, knew that “dieting which causes excessive loss of weight, as well as the feeding-up of an emaciated person, is beset with difficulties.” Read More

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