Superficial Solutions

“Sometimes we divert our mind with public shows or gladiatorial contests, but in the very midst of the distractions of the spectacles it is undermined by some little reminder of its loss. Therefore it is better to conquer our grief than to deceive it. For if it has withdrawn, being merely beguiled by pleasures and preoccupations, it starts up again and from its very respite gains force to savage us. But the grief that has been conquered by reason is calmed forever.”                                                                                                                                                                                             – Seneca, On the Shortness of Life

This passage resonated with me. Using superficial remedies to feel better won’t work long term. It will never solve your problem. Treating symptoms rather than identifying (and eliminating) the cause is all too common. In some cases the cause is difficult to find, other times it’s too painful to confront. So, instead of “conquering” our ailment, we seek to “deceive” it, by covering up our symptoms. Medications are taken—prescribed and unprescribed—while the underlying issue goes unaddressed. Tragically, these medications often make the problem worse, by adding complexity to an already difficult situation.

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