Wednesday, October 11, 2017

FOOD - ENERGY - HABITS

This is about lunch time. I have not had my breakfast. I feel weak. If something delays my lunch I shall be weaker, tired and angry, and not fit for much work or even for polite conversation.

I hear such talk from persons who have had to miss one meal, and who are in no real financial or other reasons for worrying about their next meal.

This relation between need for food, hunger and, behavioural efficiency requires close examination.

There is evidence to show that persons have fasted for a day to months and longer before they died.

Then there are examples of persons like Sri Aurobindo, explorers like Scott. Some fasted voluntarily or were forced to go without food. During this period some were even without adequate water, others riddled with infections, suffering with fevers and exposure to extremes of heat and cold. Many of them displayed not merely physical endurance but also exceedingly noble qualities of human behaviour. On the other hand, there are records of civilized persons who ate the flesh of their dead friends, and were even prepared to kill a fellow man for food, declaring that hunger an make a man behave like a beast - a sort of certificate for elevating the crudest average animal behaviour possible into a law for all. During famines, I have noticed that while hunger can reduce behaviour to a beastly degree in the majority of persons, it can bring out unparalleled examples of restraint and self sacrifice to the fore in the few.

R. F. Scott, 1911, in polar gear, by Herbert Ponting (1870-1935) [Public domain]

Professors of human physiology declared that about 3,000 calories per day are required by a stone cutter, and about 1,500 calories for the sedentary professor. If this were true, then it should be clear that by now the stonecutters and the professor should have been dead, seeing that in Indian conditions the reverse is the actual calorie intake in real life.

Taking life as it is lived, it does not appear that there is any exact relationship between hunger and a particular person’s intake of food. A man is starving, and yet might refuse food because he is fasting for a cause, or just because he is sulking. Another man has just eaten a meal but the invitation to a dainty dish by a dear friend finds extra space in the stomach.

If the relationship between being hungry and taking food is variable like this, the relation between being hungry, taking food and the actual effective energy output of the body is also highly variable. There are numerous persons who feel hungry, eat well, and are extremely indolent. I have already given examples of persons who voluntary or necessitously had to go without food for long periods and were extremely energetic.

These lines been written, not to prove that food is necessary or unnecessary, nor is it to support any point of view, nor to enter into arguments with social and medical statisticians often styled as social and medical scientists. Statistics arose out of the needs of gambling dens. Utterly failing to answer the needs of these dens excepting as a front to lure poor saps who trust square-roots and cubes, statistics has been taken over by governments and administrations - gambling with the lives of millions lured into paying taxes for lottery tickets for their future benefits on the basis of mathematical illusions.

My point is to show that for the human being there is no natural law connecting the state of his nutrition with the level of his behaviour, and this varies within very wide limits, if there are any. The ancestors of the present Americans could not have created the America we know, if they believed strictly in sterile water, adequate vitamin intake and four protein meals a day. I also wish to draw attention to the question of what constitutes good health and who is a healthy person: Is it the maintenance of the best average carcass with no past and future, or has it anything to do with what the carcass is supposed to do for maintaining and perpetuating itself unrelated to any purpose?

The relation between hunger-food-energy output and level of behaviour maybe examined from another angle. Though hunger, food-intake, energy outputs are at some point undoubtedly related, it can be seen that each of these items tends to form a habit pattern of its own resulting in widely varying behaviour.

We are conditioned to have breakfast at 7 a.m., lunch at 1 p.m. with a coffee break at 11 a.m. and supper at 8 p.m., with snacks at 11 p.m. to prevent night starvation, and bed tea at 6 a.m. lest hypoglycemia should supervene without warning. If a man were to miss one or two of these customary offerings, he tends to feel weak, irritable, tired and angry not because his food reserves are depleted or because his liver has gone on strike, but because of the great annoyance caused to the great Mogul, the basic conditioned reflex called the EGO, which has been thwarted in its assumed omnipotence to arrange the world around its little finger.

A delicious dish attracts hungary-reactions. If denied, it provokes anger, sulking or hyperacidity. Being offered food can be a mark of respect or affection, and its denial an inference of insult or neglect. Your accepting or rejecting the food offered might indicate your affection or disgust for the person offering the food. So, the food which is supposed to meet the energy requirements of your body becomes a means of expressing one’s emotions and attitudes and becomes an independent habit.

We have already seen that food intake is not directly related to the energy requirements by the examples cited. Under nearly similar circumstances of food intake, especially at very critical levels of lack of food some persons have shown the capacity to draw upon sources of energy not yet elucidated by the professors of human physiology, and all humanity must first await their pronouncements before they lift their little fingers. It does appear that such resources seem to become operative in the presence of intense aspiration towards a goal. One has to experiment with one's own body to experience these statements. The role of the so-called sciences of human physiology in the maintenance of humanity in its present state requires a fuller appraisal.

Meanwhile, it can be noted that lack of food (or lack of any other so-called average man's supposed needs - lack of electricity, of money, lack of opportunities to boss over others) leads to a lower level of behaviour.

“Oh, I am so irritable. Just now, excuse me. I still have not had my lunch!” In actual fact, this great hero saying this is likely to become irritable under many other circumstances also whenever something he expects does not happen. But now he gives the delay in food intake as the reason: He is proud of that and will go on to say, “Oh, what to do! Servants are lazy, and I don’t get a minute to eat my lunch. What will any normal man do! It is my body’s needs. I am not a sadhu! A minute’s examination will show the hollowness of this claim that it is the body’s need, or at least the great exacerbation of this claim. The habit of making the body the scapegoat of one’s stupidities is the most difficult to eradicate, supported as the habit is by a whole edifice of religion calling attention to the evils of the flesh, and a whole swarm of medical scientists declaring the averages of behaviour they measure as the acme to which one should rise or rather sink to.

It can be seen that the word, ‘I’ is merely a signature for a bundle of habits; and these habits once formed seek their own satisfaction and perpetuation; and that something called, ‘I’ or personal ego merely uses the body for its own satisfaction, and the most entrenched habit is for the ‘ego’ to treat the body as if it and the body are identical, that their needs and purposes are identical; and when pressed for argument, the ‘ego’ always speaks of the body’s needs for its alibi.

The personal ego is a parasitic excrescence of the body seen in its true perspective.

This false foundation has to be repeatedly looked into by a man who is interested in his own health, undeterred by the so-called normal behaviour possibilities postulated by the so-called human-sciences. First, we are brainwashed systematically to acquire some habits consistent with the present barbarous ideal average behaviour of the average man’s society, and these habits are then elevated to being the laws of human nature, providing additional support to the perpetuation of the very habits they deplore.

As with food, sex also can be seen to be largely a conditioned habit, a series of chain-reflexes which can be formed and dissolved. Similar is the case with other requirements including air and water within differing possibilities, though still undetermined and which will become exposed by some adventurous man untied to the textbook of human physiology, 1984 edition as the God-given foundation for his behaviour.

At a certain point of deprivation of these elements large number of human beings can be shown to die. All we can say is that it is generally the case. The point, however, is that under similar conditions of deprivation, while the response pattern of animals is fairly limited, in man the range is quite wide, and always awaits further widening.

Behaviour, then can be seen to be a set of habits, habitual patterns of response to situations, reinforced by prolonged brainwashing by powerful agencies with heavy investments in keeping human behaviour at its lowest and cleverest biological level. These habit patterns can be made and unmade and remade, and are certainly not unalterable laws of nature. These habits, once formed, tend to acquire a seeming autonomy and seem to exist for their own purpose irrespective of the realities of the moment.

The word, ‘I’ is the label, the tag, the conditioned habit, the foundation for other conditioned-habits that are acquired around it. This ‘I’, this ‘EGO’ is in reality, the frontal image, the sales-representative for the present man and his profit-oriented and backward-looking attitudes, the preserver of the past, the preserver of man as he is, with no future. The first pretence and deception practiced by the ego is to pretend that its interests are identical with the body needs. A few minutes serious consideration will show that almost all its so-called pleasures are highly destructive to the body - and some bearded professor comes up with the idea that there is a basic instant called, ‘Death Instinct or Thanatos’. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_drive Philosophies researches and arts I didn't proliferated, and propagated to maintain this death-oriented delusion.

However, the person aware of himself as the owner of the body, will begin to feel the presence of this other spurious ‘I’ the ‘EGO’ that has come up within him, begins to examine things for himself, begins to set his bodily resources to recast the habit-patterns  that fetter his body, and will do all he can to liberate his body into patterns of behaviour chosen by himself, to a more harmonious relationship with the world around himself.

When you are extremely hungry you can eat your friend and say that it is but natural since man is proved to be descended from animals and some animals are known to eat one another. If you are hungry and dying, you may give the last morsel you have to save your friend and say that it is your ideal of what a man should do. You have the right to make a choice. Only do not talk twaddle about laws of human behaviour. The moment you say ‘I’, you are responsible for saying so, and not a glossy bundle of bound books and philosophies, sciences, and religions.

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