A Skull in a Rocky Field (detail), Taddeo Crivelli, c. 1469. The J. Paul Getty Museum. Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program.
Barbara Ehrenreich thought there was something strange going on with the smart middle-aged people she knew. They seemed to be obsessed with their bodies in a novel and unexpected way, exercising frequently, assessing the value of every bite they considered, and obeying every preventive measure offered by doctors. “I did not share this obsession, I will admit,” she says on this episode of The World in Time. Annual visits to the doctor, constant medical tests—it all felt futile, or at least unnecessary. “It's in my nature to question everything,” she explains, “so in each case…I would do some research, and see if this indeed did any good.” Her new book, Natural Causes: An Epidemic of Wellness, the Certainty of Dying, and Killing Ourselves to Live Longer, is a result of that research, and she discussed her findings, scientific and philosophical and cultural, with Lewis Lapham. And yes, Gwyneth Paltrow does come up.
Lewis H. Lapham talks with Barbara Ehrenreich, author of Natural Causes: An Epidemic of Wellness, the Certainty of Dying, and Killing Ourselves to Live Longer.
Thanks to our generous donors. Lead support for this podcast has been provided by Elizabeth “Lisette” Prince. Additional support was provided by James J. “Jimmy” Coleman Jr.