I’ve thought a lot about how to handle this blog post.
Do I lay a lot of information out, beforehand? Do I lay groundwork? Do I risk tipping my hand?
Or do I just dive in?
First off, do you know the term “thought experiment”? Even if you haven’t heard it, you’re likely to be able to tell what it means. But to start, here’s the first paragraph of the “official” definition from the online “Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.”
“Thought experiments are devices of the imagination used to investigate the nature of things. Thought experimenting often takes place when the method of variation is employed in entertaining imaginative suppositions. They are used for diverse reasons in a variety of areas, including economics, history, mathematics, philosophy, and physics. Most often thought experiments are communicated in narrative form, sometimes through media like a diagram. Thought experiments should be distinguished from thinking about experiments, from merely imagining any experiments to be conducted outside the imagination, and from psychological experiments with thoughts. They should also be distinguished from counterfactual reasoning in general, as they seem to require an experimental element.”
Anyway, I think I’ll just dive in….
I have this friend, see. Good friend. Smart friend. Beloved friend.
Pretty. Sensuous. Gentle.
But this friend has an addiction. This friend of mine, smart as she is, lives in a prison because of this addiction. She gets up in the morning, and in very short order the demon of the addiction is on her. She very quickly cannot function if she doesn’t get her hit. She becomes weak, queasy, light-headed, pained, and grumpy.
And no. I am NOT talking about coffee.
Nope. This would be a FAR less interesting thought experiment if I were aiming for easy prey.
Anyway, this friend is CERTAIN that this addiction is healthy, pleasurable, and fundamental to enjoyment of life. It’s not an addiction, she says. It’s just the way things are. It’s just who she is. It’s the sensible way to be, and life would be worse if she challenged her personal status quo.
So I’m all like…
“But I’ve broken this addiction, Babycakes. And I’m much happier, healthier, clearer, stronger, flush with free time, in no danger from missing my fix, and I even smell better because my body’s not dealing with all the chemical reactions of dealing with this drug all the time. And I swear to God I was more addicted than you, and more certain than you that I couldn’t change things.”
So she’s all like….
“Well I’m just different. I’m not you. And this is what I want and who I am.”
And then I’m all like….
“Of course. Your life belongs to you. I’m not trying to change you. I’m just assuming you like to learn and think outside the box and engage in debate about facts while doing the best possible job filtering out judgment.”
And then she’s all like….
“Um, OK. But I still feel like a mother bear with you trying to step between me and my cub.”
Which makes me all like….
“That’s a good analogy. I should write that down….”
So I wrote it down. And then I started pondering this post.
Do you want to be in the position my friend is in? Doesn’t it sound terrible? Would you love to be freed of that?
I suppose I should be honest: I still do this drug once a day. I love it. But… my body handles that small dose better. And while I do need it, the addiction is gone. I can go without with ease, even for multiple days. But I wouldn’t DREAM of going back to the prison she’s in, now that I’m out…
…of being obsessed with it all day long. Too many consequences.
Before I clear up the mystery here, let me describe how I first learned about this device I’m using on you. Some years ago, I remember the process of… putting clothes in the washing machine being described with odd technical language and without reference to clothes or the washing machine. Then I was asked if I could remember this long complicated process. And I couldn’t come close. It sounded impossibly complex.
But then when I was told it was just about washing clothes in the washing machine, I was all like “wow and now it’s easy” and stuff.
What am I talking about?
I’m talking about….
Yup. Good old fashioned food. We gotta eat three meals a day, right? We gotta keep our strength up, right? We gotta do what society says, right, and spend lots of money on food?
Well, I was a bigger food junkie than you. I was FAMOUS (Amos) for how much I could eat, and how fast. I’d inhale appetizers at parties, while others goggled, and then still out eat them at the main meal. Once I ate a whole large Pizza Hut pan pizza in one sitting, though the last 2 slices took me 40 minutes: I wasn’t quitting, though I looked pregnant afterward! Yet because of metabolism and exercise, I never got heavy….
I’m trying to get you to not dismiss me. It’d be very easy to dismiss me. You’re probably violently allergic to the idea of only having one meal a day, or even one meal every other day. But I want you to finish out the thought experiment with an open mind. I’m hoping you can do that. I’m hoping you know that the best learning is often in the most uncomfortable places.
Speaking of allergy, this whole improving alteration reminds me of a great news story I heard on NPR. Every listen to “Radio Lab”? Google it.
Anyway, they did a show once on what it turns out is VERY often the cure for allergies. It turns out that… the elimination of a low level hookworm presence in the intestines very often causes the immune system to rebel, causing allergies. Many, many people, by cultivating a low level of hookworm presence in their gut, find their horrible allergies just vanish.
Scary? Yes. As scary as going against appetite and eating much less than we’re told? Perhaps.
For most of my adult life, I struggled with how eating often seemed to make me feel worse. I loved the food and the taste, but I’m very attentive to my body, and I felt a drop off, a distortion, a heaviness, unless I ate perfectly light and healthy stuff. The sound I always imagined my body making, after eating like that (like I felt I had to), was the sound you hear so often in the film “The Empire Strikes Back.” It’s the sound the hyperdrive makes when Han and Chewy try to activate it, but it’s broken.
I could tell certain foods were worse for me. Pigging out on, say, cheddar cheese and Wheat Thins was a dynamite that made me feel comatose for hours, for example.
Oh all right. I’ll show you the Wheat Thins too.
So I ate better, but the problem didn’t go away. My body kept hinting I should be going against the, uh, grain. But it made no sense.
Anyway, over the course of years, I started eating less often. I cut out lunch. Then I had just a smoothie for breakfast. Then I had just a bite of hummus for breakfast. Then I had just the contents of an herbal tea bag for breakfast.
Then I had nothing.
And you know what? My body got used to it. I didn’t suffer terribly. My body was all like “OK. So this is the deal? Well OK then. I guess it’s like exercise. I’ll adapt and learn to like it.”
I admit that part of my problem turned out to be sensitivities to sugar, wheat and dairy (not yogurt, which is awesome because of the beneficial bacteria), but not all of it. And BOY did I not want to admit wheat was a problem. I mean… it’s EVERYwhere. And so tasty! I mean… pizza? Sure I can cook my own using awesome white spelt flour, but who doesn’t love Pizza Hut?
I suspect that pretty much everyone has sensitivities to these things. Research is pointing that way. But MANY people, like me, refuse to consider them as culprits for physical and mental issues.
Fatigue. Digestion. Cloudy mind.
We tell ourselves “That’s just life,” or “That’s just how my body works.”
Side note: I’m wondering if I should vary where I put the images. Is it repetitive for them to be centered all the time? Let’s try a military march!
How was that?
Actually, it makes sense to me to use the military analogy. I look back on that “every four hours” craving for food, which I couldn’t function well through unless I was obsessed with something, like a hard time in the military. The relief at being free is so immense. I tell you. I just drink water all day, feeling clear, clean, great and never tired. I still love food, and the “fast” of the day helps me enjoy dinner more. It builds appreciation. And again, it’s so much cheaper, and there’s no danger of going off the rails if food isn’t available. Life get’s a lot simpler.
I suppose I really dove into i more when I happened to find some new research online about how maybe we’re evolved to eat just one meal a day, and for dinner. It makes evolutionary sense, after all. Think about it. Before “Civilization,” what creature could survive if, when hungry, it couldn’t function? Actually, what makes sense is HIGHER functionality when hungry. That’s how you’d survive hunger. And that’s just how I feel.
I don’t get tired in the afternoon. I don’t need coffee to function. And I know it’s safer to be conventionally wrong than unconventionally right, but I just want to give these facts about my experience. At least others, who have the right to live however they want, can maybe learn about new possibilities.
There are a lot of books about “the fasting state” and how good it is for you. Your body goes into a sort of defensive posture, more resistant to disease, and clearer. There’s a lot of evidence to suggest that people who live like this live longer.
Let me see if I can find some books for you….
Now, I’m not out to sell anything. I just want to help.
And I didn’t come to where I am by following some fad. As much as I love food and to eat lots and often… my body, which I pay VERY close attention to… just kept telling me this was what it wanted.
And it was right. It took me years to believe it, but it was right.
Did I mention that body odor is much less of a problem? With much less chemical reactions going on in the body, there’s a lot less smell. It’s striking, really. My body being in that clear, defensive state just helps prevent odor. Strange.
I suppose I’ll wrap it up. You probably already think I’m nuts, but that’s OK as long as you go with walnuts. Walnuts are AWESOME and make my body feel so good. Tasty dry roasted peanuts? Ugh….
Hopefully you’ve at least learned of some interesting new possibilities. Have you?
Follow my lead! Wipe that all-too-common, sad, tragic “I can’t stop doing what I feel like doing even if it’s all negative….” look off your face! People usually wear that look when they know they should exercise more, not just for their benefit, but for the benefit of EVERYone who cares about them. Alas….
Then go out and find some hookworm larvae to rub on your feet and cure those allergies.
I’m gonna write a post about something spicy.
Part of the reason is because it’s been on my mind. But the other part of the reason is that, as any media-savvy person knows, is that it’s good for business to “stir the pot.” So, even though it’ll stir men’s pots in very different ways than it’ll stir women’s pots, I’ll whip out my stirrer and stir away.
They have a different mindset than regular women. Life teaches them to have a different one. They have different standards. They, having so many men at their fingertips, can afford to be cavalier with the men that come their way. They can discard any man at a moment’s notice, vanishing without a trace, confident in the knowledge that a flock (or gaggle) of other men will be waiting around the corner, from which they can choose another prime slice of fowl.
It’s an interesting mindset to run into. Normal people have learned that, to understand a person, one needs to get to know them and not jump to conclusions. Normal people don’t have infinite choices for mates. So, unlike the way we all can be when it comes to which restaurant to eat at, we benefit from… cutting people a little slack.
Have you run into a beautiful woman who, at the first whiff of imperfection in you, immediately began to treat you as invisible, or worse, like a mosquito buzzing around her ear if you did not obligingly vanish in an instant and forever?
It’s not just about restaurants, for normal people.
Normal people have this problem with many things. Think of movies. Think of television. Think of games. Think of books. Think of music. Think of all the things that we have so many choices to choose from that we have to be LOOKING for ways to judge and discard.
But then imagine what it would be like if it were that way with romance? Imagine, fellow “Normies,” what it would be like to walk down the street and find that every member of the opposite sex, and ten percent of the same sex, just can’t take their eyes off you? Think about how you would have to handle that, and how you would choose?
It reminds me of the few interactions I’ve had with famous-for-intellectual-reasons people. Me? I don’t get much attention, so I assume that giving my intelligent attention to, say, an author with a famous book, would be of value to them.
But, alas, no. My attention means nothing. And if I take up one more second of their time than they feel like giving, they will (while perhaps wishing me well), proceed as though I do not exist.
You see what I did there?
I added two photos of the books by the two “famous” people I’m talking about. One quickly ignored me… while the other treated me like an asshole the moment I phrased something imperfectly. You know: instead of taking a moment to see if there was a misunderstanding.
Which there was.
I’ll leave you to guess which author was which (both interactions happened by email). Guessing games are fun!
Anyway. Wasn’t I talking about beautiful women?
While I am willing to “put on a mask” and stir the pot, I am UNwilling to give the impression that I have a narrow view of beauty. A great many things, women included, are beautiful. And, if you’ve read “Ishmael,” you’ll have already suspected that I might swoon over “primitive” beauty.
Note the quotation marks!
But I should get back onto the topic of intolerance.
It’s not so bad to be intolerant of things that aren’t alive. Movies like “One Hour Photo” with Robin Williams don’t care if we dismiss them unjustly. Videogames like “Just Cause 2” don’t mind if we never buy them. And books like “Winter’s Bone” don’t feel hurt if we never lay our fingers on their textures or even our eyes on their film version’s greatness.
The people behind those artistic projects may mind, may fail to gather the income necessary to make more great art, but the art itself is not offended if we turn away at the box office, game shop, or book store. So we are not… bad people.
Time makes criminals of us all.
I like to think that. If we all had infinite time, wouldn’t we give our time to everything deserving? Every movie? Every book? Every game? Every song? Every person?
But since we don’t have infinite time, nor even enough, don’t we daily battle with personal injustice in the euphemistic name of “following our heart,” or “living our life,” or “doing what we have to do,” or “taking care of our family,” or “keeping our job”? And don’t we have to suppress a great deal of guilt because of it?
I know that when I’m on a dating site and manage to start an interaction with a “beautiful” woman, it’s only a matter of time before the other shoe drops. I’m too much of an odd duck. I’ll trip over one or the other of their million tripwires that’ll make their voices go dead, their communication go silent, and their interest go to the Moon where it’ll asphyxiate in the vacuum. So I just laugh, reciting “The Universe, Man. Hilarious.” to myself, just so that I’m ready.
I know I’m being shortchanged, or that I will be. I know I deserve better. And I know it might be a wonderful learning experience for many people to get to know me, if only they weren’t in such a hurry to discard me.
But it’s not going to happen.
It just isn’t.
There just isn’t enough time for justice to be done to me.
So, instead, I focus on how to do justice to others. Of course, in this sense, it’s impossible. I don’t have infinite time either. Sometimes I fool myself into thinking I can do justice to everyone by sealing myself away from so many people, so much of the World, that I find all of a sudden that I just DO have all the time anyone who wants a piece of me needs. It’s a little pleasure, in the short term.
And, luckily, the “beautiful” things out there, be they women or whatever, are not necessarily where the (or any unusual) value lies. As a monk might say, beauty is everywhere, if only we know where to look.
And where is that?
Why, everywhere. Not just at the beautiful women. Even garbage can be beautiful, as Ricky Fitz taught us in the film “American Beauty.”,
And it doesn’t require beer goggles to see beauty where many can’t.
Why? Perhaps because you’re not seeing the real beauty? Just booze’s beauty?
Can money do it too?
Lemme see if I can find a picture of a beautiful woman kissing an ugly rich man….
Well, “fat” doesn’t equal “ugly,” but sometimes even a Google image search can let a man down.
I’m off track again.
Beauty is everywhere. Being thankful is good for the soul. The World is like a banquet, and we are like starving people. If only we can learn that food is what we need.
But… I do have to admit that, just as when I gaze into the abyss and the abyss gazes back at me, I can’t help but wish that, sometimes, when I stare at a beautiful women, she would stare back at me.
And see me.
Really see me.
A man can only fight Evolution so hard.