Nietzsche and Red Bull

Nietzsche predicted that European / Western culture was on the verge of losing its energy and dynamism because of the way that it related to pain and to the experience of life. He predicted a wide-ranging decline in the politics, art, and leadership of european life due to the acceptance of pleasure as the leading principle guiding society combined with a stultifying egalitarianism.

Given this prediction, I think it’s interesting to think about energy drinks. Coffee has existed since time immemorial, but a more recent phenomenon is energy drinks. Looking at this short update shows that the market for highly caffeinated beverages is growing by a lot each year.

But why do people need so much energy though? Historically, it seems very out of place. Think about the brutality of medieval europe or the industrial revolution. People sometime worked 20 hour shifts in cramped conditions with little light or air and of course no safety regulations. Shouldn’t it be the case that THOSE people needed “energy” more than the modern person.

What this leads me to wonder is a conjecture that I think fits with some other transitions in modern life, which is that perhaps we are just becoming more bored with things. Our search for more wealth, more luxury, and more entertainment…does it betray that in a deep sense we might be boring our collective culture to death. How many times will Hollywood reboot the same movie franchise before we start to seriously consider the possibility that as life becomes more easier, healthier, and more secure, it also becomes more boring? Do we need energy to get through our days because though we have easily available water, air conditioning, and cars, we are fatter, less focused, and more easily distracted?

Is it fair to think of our time in history as one in which we need energy, quite literally, just to get through our days. 


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