Dieting

I think one thing nobody is told is that dieting to lose weight results in a war between your mind and your body. The conflict occurs because your mind thinks you should lose some weight while your body reacts as if you were trying to starve it to death. Guess who is going to win in this struggle for survival. The battle is waged for six weeks to six months and then your body is victorious because it perceived it had the larger stake in the outcome.

I think you are also not told that your body does not like to be fooled. When it wants calories it wants real nourishment. I once saw a woman at the end of a half marathon given a can of diet pop. Do you think her body ever stopped giving her cravings for high-fructose corn syrup? I expect not.

We are at this point to the connection between diet and exercise. Exercise is good for us and can serve to keep our minds off food. The problem with it in connection with weight loss is that exercise increases our appetite. If our objective is to lose weight then exercise works at cross purposes with our intentions.

One thing you are told that you should not be told is that you can lose weight without being hungry. This is supposedly done by trying to fool your body into thinking that eating lots of cellulose (always called healthy vegetables) will keep your body satisfied. Again this is a way of trying to cheat your body and your body will have its revenge. In hunger pangs and edginess.

The usual diet starts you off with eating foods you don’t normally eat. There is a reason you don’t eat these foods, you don’t like them. Naturally you are going to have little resistance in going back to your usual patterns of eating when your body starts complaining. The other bad thing about the “different-food” diet is that you have to think about food: buying it, preparing it, eating it, and pretending all this is something that is good for you. Of course, what you should be thinking about if you have any hope of winning your struggle with your body is anything besides food.

One thing you might think about in regard to dieting was what a vegetarian I once knew said when asked how she could be (in not quite these words) “so pleasingly rounded.” Her reply was, “cookies and ice cream are vegetarian.” So perhaps we should be kind to our bodies and they will allow us to get and keep our bodies at a weight that works for both our mind and our body.

About the Inward Speaking of Christ to a Faithful Soul

The following is from The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis (Book III, Chapter 1).

I will hear, says a devout soul, what God the Lord will speak.

Blessed is that person who hears Jesus speaking in his soul, and takes of His mouth some word of comfort. Blessed are the ears that hear the secret whisperings of Jesus, and heed not the deceitful words of this world. And blessed indeed be the ears that heed not the outward speech, but rather take heed what God speaks and teaches inwardly in the soul. Blessed also are the eyes that are shut to the sight of outward vanities, and that take heed of the inward movings of God. Blessed are they that get themselves virtues, and prepare themselves by good outward and inward works to receive daily more and more the secret inspirations and inward teaching of God, and for His service set aside all the hindrances of the world.

You my soul take heed of that which has been said, and shut the doors of your body, which are your five senses, that you may hear inwardly what our Lord Jesus speaks in your soul.

Let’s Hear a Cheer for Metaphysics

The rather immodest aim of metaphysics is the comprehension and unification of all understanding. However, we have passed the point where any one mind or even any one system can encompass all of our expanding knowledge of the wonders surrounding us. Nevertheless, there is something from metaphysics we need to retain and this is its search for the reality underlying all appearances. It was the goal and the hope of the metaphysician to find a unifying concept of reality that would invest all things with value. Today we lack a recognized and agreed upon set of values and therefore we need the return of the metaphysical ideal.

Some time ago metaphysical studies were divided, and by the division reduced, into theology, philosophy and science. Contemporary theology is chaos, and even if it were not most of it is unrecognized and unheeded in a secular world. Philosophy, instead of studying our minds, studies words and what is left of the noble pursuit is mostly historical studies of past philosophers and critiques of their systems. As for science as a guide for humanity, the magic has mostly departed. Few think today that science is the road to peace and prosperity. Science is good with facts but poor about values.

Politics, the art and practice of government, has much to do with facts, but its ultimate choices have to do with values. And it is in making choices that our political system is floundering. A quick contrast can be made between the current politician, who tends to obtain his or her value system from public opinion polls, and the founders of our country.

The politicians then generally believed in a transcendent deity who was the source of political values and human dignity, and who was the judge of their actions. The judge of contemporary politicians is the election. And their highest aim is reelection.

This decay in the political value system is not the entire fault of the politicians. It is the result of a declining metaphysic. Instead of a nation with a common set of shared values, our culture has allowed values to become so privatized that it is impossible to reach anything approaching a consensus on any given issue. In fact, many people would argue against the possibility or even the desirability of a shared value system.

Governing, though, is an exercise in reality. Real choices have real consequences in real lives. Political actions based either on wishful thinking, or arbitrary or non-existent values, will in the end be destructive. What we need is a politics based on reality. And knowledge of reality comes from a search for truth. And the search for truth leads us back to metaphysics. Therefore, let’s hear a cheer for metaphysics.