It comes as no surprise the human race has been searching for magical cures for centuries. The ancient Chinese, Persians and Egyptians, along with the medieval seers, witches and exorcists, right up to today’s users of prescription drugs, illegal drugs and binge drinking.
But have you ever heard of the existential curative powers of Tylenol……?
The manufacturer has pitched its pills in all kinds of ways as the better-than-aspirin cure, but never the way some researchers have this month from the University of British Columbia. Their work suggests, “acetaminophen not only eases physical pain, but relieves existential anxieties as well.”
Notice lately everyone throws in this word ‘existential?’ It sounds so profound. So now. So kinda important. In the case of Tylenol, I guess the researchers were referring to our everyday dread of existing in a permanently unpredictable state. Popping these pills may be a cheap way to get the relief from more expensive prescription drugs like Prozac and Xanax.
If you know your Genesis you know the Judaic-Christian narrative is based on the premise that our species was given the gift of life in Eden only to botch it in our first test with it. This ‘fall of man’ or ‘original sin’ is why you and I are so screwed up; so in need of whatever cures we can get from whatever sources we can find.
I suppose if we look at in this way, most of human history has been one long grinding search for cures to our current existence. Looking for whatever we feel at the moment can relieve our problems and fulfill our needs. More land, more gold, more labor, more status, more and more and more. Even if it happens to belong at the moment to someone else!
No, I’m not working for Tylenol. In fact I’m not sure these guys in British Columbia know what the hell they’re talking about. But if a $5 bottle of these little white pills can relieve some of my stress — call it psychological, psychosomatic, or existential — count me in. Only now that I think of it, I’ve taken Tylenol a time or two, and I’m still as screwed up as ever.
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