Conventional Wisdom Not Necessarily the Truth
Friday, November 27, 2009 at 12:00PM
Mike Dillman in Freakonomics, Galbraith, Raw perspectives and outlooks, blog, conventional, diet, health, nutrition, raw, raw-vegan, truth, vegan, wisdom

This morning, I was listening to an audiobook (Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner) and was smacked in the face with an excellent point about conventional wisdom.

The authors note a quote by, the prolific author and economist, John Kenneth Galbraith:

We associate truth with convenience.  With what most closely accords with self-interest and personal wellbeing, or promises best to avoid awkward effort or unwelcome dislocation of life.  We also find highly acceptable what contributes most to self-esteem. ...we adhere, as though to a raft, to those ideas which represent our understanding.

Levitt and Dubner then go on to analyze Galbraith's statement:

So, the conventional wisdom, in Galbraith's view, must be simple, convenient, comfortable and comforting, though not necessarily true. ...noticing where the conventional wisdom may be false; noticing perhaps the the contrails of sloppy or self-interested thinking; is a nice place to start asking questions.

These words are exceptionally wise, and we can certainly apply these thoughts to the matters of health, nutrition and the way we eat.

There's a reason why the raw-vegan diet hasn't become mainstream. 

It's the same reason why most people continue to live the same unhealthy lifestyles that have made them sick.

People don't want to have to think or expend any extra effort.  It's easier for them to keep doing what they've always done than to learn to live another way.

If that means being sick, so be it.  They'll just convince themselves that what they're doing is normal.  That everyone does it.  That it's okay.

Unfortunately for many peoples' health, just because the general population believes eating a diet of refined, cooked and processed food products is alright, that doesn't make it true.

As you and I know, the reality is very much the opposite.

My hope is that, as time goes by and the sharing of information and ideas becomes increasingly easy, more people will come to question all forms of conventional wisdom.  

Take a moment to pause and reflect on the things you do every day without thinking -- the deeply ingrained habits and social norms. 

Do you do them because they're in line with what you really believe, or do you just do them because everyone else does it too?

Remember, conventional wisdom is the byproduct of public opinion.  It's doesn't necessarily have anything to do with the truth.

I wouldn't take lifestyle advice from a population of sick, fat people -- no matter how many millions of them parrot the same false ideas. 

At the end of the day, you're responsible for your own decisions.  Make sure you're the one making them, not someone else.


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Mike Dillman is a self-taught raw-vegan who began his journey nearly five years ago.   Having worked his way through all the challenges firsthand, he wants to save you from making the same mistakes yourself.  You can visit Mike's blog at to learn how easy it can be to make a raw-vegan diet fit your busy lifestyle.

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