Self-Control in an Age of Excess

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Daniel Akst discusses why a lack of self-control is a central problem of our time—temptations have multiplied and social constraints have eroded. In We Have Met the Enemy: Self-Control in an Age of Excess he shows the ways freedom can be dangerous: Half of all deaths in America are due to overeating, smoking, drinking too much, failing to exercise, and other bad habits. He also looks at ways to save ourselves from overindulgence.


Daniel Akst

Comments [5]

Paul from NYC

Self-control is the concern of those in positions of power. Self-control is what kings and emperors wanted from their subjects, what the bourgeois wanted from their servants, what landlords wanted from their serfs, what plantation men wanted from their slaves, what presidents want from their citizens, what generals want from their troops, what parents want from their children, and what the haves want from the have-nots.

Jan. 13 2011 01:21 PM
Fafa from Harlem

Discussion long overdue and way too rare today!!! Technology is having huge potentially negative effects on our behavior - self-control, effort exertion, focus, the effect of these on our ability to keep up with technology - and we have failed to take stock, with serious potential consequences.

Jan. 13 2011 01:20 PM
Chet from Hillsdale, NJ

If as a culture we move further and further away from broad acceptance of the Biblical values of self-denial and personal sin isn't it natural that we would see a growth in the "lack of self-control" and a lack of concern for the impact my choices have on myself or others?

Jan. 13 2011 12:56 PM
Meredith from Manhattan

Please mention this aspect: In Manhattan compared to suburbs or other cities, there is more food temptation per square foot that anywhere, because of our density on this narrow island. We have food service for millions of pedestrians. When I go out, I'm constantly walking by hundreds even thousands of restaurants, pizza places, food carts, salad bars, delis, grocery stores, bakeries. In other cities you’re in cars, but here the city is one big food court, just waiting for you to buy as you walk by.

Jan. 13 2011 11:45 AM
George from Bay Ridge

Should soda be covered under food stamps?

How has self-control fit into the political realm? Conservatives rail against the "nanny state" and feeds into selfishness and excess.

Jan. 13 2011 04:27 AM

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