Sometimes logic comes to the rescue; sometimes not. The assertion that ‘everything is connected to everything’ is pretty meaningless as logic. A tautology always fails to advance an argument. Still the phrase seems to mean something. If ‘a’ is connected to ‘b’ and ‘b’ is connected to ‘c’ and ‘c’ is connected to…and so on ad infinitum: this seems to be telling us something useful and in defiance of logic I will assert and appeal to your intuition to prove that the phrase ‘everything is connected to everything’ does advance our understanding; at least of what I want to talk about here. By the way, if it is not obvious that the phrase is trivially tautological I will short handedly show you how that becomes so: you say ‘no, it is not, not everything is connected to everything’ and I say, well this atom, no this quark, no this flavor of quark, no this… is connected to this one and so on and there are no gaps or holes or disruptions in the strings or the super-strings or n-dimensional enfolded manifolds or…well you get the idea. Everything is connected to everything becomes, on its face without all that work is, a tautology.
Now I want to talk about health, fitness, diet, spirituality, rhythm, movement, breathing and silence; and everything is connected to everything becomes a very important way to understand or even care about such things.
Some of you will suffer, or be blessed with, a particular curse of mine. When someone starts talking about eating in a certain way or training in a certain way you stop and say to yourself, self is such an approach compatible with Kant’s moral imperative? Is it universalizable? You know you ask yourself this; it’s just natural to do so.
Now if I start eating like a caveman, if I go Paleo, can all of the Somalis eat the same way for a sustainable future for every one? Can one-legged Grandmothers in nursing homes perfect their power clean and reap its benefits? For me, if the answer is no, then I am suspicious of the admonition to follow some new or old regimen of diet and exercise. I think, more feel in some precognitive place in my ‘soul,’ that there is something wrong, in fact unhealthy, about the advice. Some of you may think you are simply looking for a set of instructions that will get you, the personal you, healthy, fast and strong: unblinking, unthinking about the broader issues. For now, let me contradict you. I believe you are wrong. Not merely morally wrong; factually wrong. You actually need and want more than a list; you want a world view that makes sense of getting healthy for you and everyone else as well.
You actually want to give up in the face of logic, in the face of demonstrable fact, you want to give up the cynical, sardonic, nihilistic idea that someone must die so that others might live, that others might prosper, thrive, grow strong and have hope. Don’t believe me? Hold on.
We can’t all live on soy products: men would have breasts and women would not have menses. Some good, some bad there but not universalizable. The Grapefruit Diet? Well that won’t work. Kip ups, sprint intervals and handclap push ups for everyone? Not for my paraplegic friend.
What’s the core, what’s the essence, what’s the central idea in a universalizable, everything connected to everything kind of health regimen?
As if this wasn’t enough of a detour let me take another detour to make my point.
When I was a kid, high plains West Texas, for much of the year all of our vegetables came from cans. Frozen food was a big advance; the corn tasted more like that from my Father’s Summer garden. Now if you went back to the same part of the world a hundred years before you didn’t eat any kind of vegetable 6 months of the year or if you did it was as chowders and preserves ‘canned’ the summer before on a shelf on the back of the house and kept in a cellar hand dug in hard, dry earth.
Before the golden ocean of wheat all across the Mid West and the power planters, reapers and threshing machines; before Pillsbury and General Mills people didn’t eat bread or pasta or nan or tortillas or rice with every meal. They actually lived, this is little more than a hundred years ago, in a country already well on its way to being the wealthiest, most technologically advanced in the world, they lived on the land and depended on the land and survived or thrived on the land from scavenging, hunting, preserving and working the land. They didn’t get diabetes or fat for that matter. Then a wonderful thing happened: commercial planting, reaping, canning and long distance transportation brought prepackaged diabetes straight to the local food market. Economy of scale and the desire for the surcease from labor, surely universalizable things, brought death. Most people get this one right away; right away after they quit believing the foolish food myths of high carb/low fat, which no sentient hominid ever ate, evolved to eat, or even really wants to eat, right after you give up the low fat death cult you get this part of the story.
Well, is a true hunter/gatherer diet universalizable? Does it even make sense? Is there a viable way to hunt and gather on such a scale? Is there arable land enough and game enough to feed 7+ billion people?
Who cares, you might say? You only want to find the space, the interstices, where you can weave and dodge your way through the unlighted alleys of the dying metropolis to your own private health and hope. Nay, you don’t; you really want everyone to live and thrive and smile and not starve on dusty wind blown plains or in nursing homes smelling of urine; you don’t really want that.
What is more you, the personal you, won’t make lifelong health changes and teach them and share them with your children and neighbors unless the message of the behavior is that there is hope; universalizable hope. You won’t do it if you don’t believe it is universalizable. your gut will know; your head will stop you. You will train in a way that entails concentric, compound, closed-chain, whole body ballistic exercise when you know it is right, it is universalizable; when you know it is your biology, when you believe it is not only your destiny but the destiny of your species, when you quit believing as every medical and engineering student does as he studies until he is fat and weak and pasty, when you quit believing we will ‘evolve’ away from such squalid ideas as ‘exercise’ and ‘sunlight’ and ‘healthy food’
Now, I’ve actually done the math. I didn’t take anyone’s word for dystopic Malthusian limits, or someone else’s claim of an unlimited perfect future. How many people per square mile of habitable, then arable land? How does the life cycle of even-toed and odd-toed ungulates, range lands needed for free living and feeding of smaller game and rarer game all fit into feeding the world’s population? Interestingly, trying to answer these questions by this exercise teaches why the current world’s population had to go through the, for now destructive, industrialization of food production and distribution; why the wrong foods, wheat and corn for example, first reaped the benefits of technology though they are the wrong foods for our long term biological and species specific well being. Enough of this for now: do your own math.
For me the viability of a primitive diet, for we are primitive beings, on such a world scale is only now, now in the era of rapid transportation, refrigeration, and cultivation, possible. We are finally, as a species, advanced enough to be as primitive as we need to be to eat like our ancestors, train and work like our ancestors, breathe deeply as we feel the fading warmth of the sun on our faces as we watch the close of the day; we have the leisure to meditate, not just the Monks and Priests, to clear our minds and enrich our souls or free our Chi. It is all connected. Everything is connected to everything. And you care, you must because you want to be healthy; you want your children and your neighbors to be healthy.
We are egalitarians as everything is connected to everything: human kind, we can share this, will be healthy when we eat like our remote ancestors, become strong and sleek from our choosing the labor of ballistic whole body training and take the time to breathe and dream, for no one is well who does not dream.
Clearly there are narrative gaps in my telling of this story; I don’t have time to here fill them in. Still my odd little detour through strange ideas can become compelling proof that you will be healthy when you see how ‘everything is connected to everything’ and that what you do matters and that this path, the one detailed on this website in pieces here and there, is the viable path, the universalizable one that leads to a good, a desirable future for us all. An old way that is new here and now if you embrace it.
Happy New Year! Have fun, smile and God Speed,