For this post, I’m musing about several things I’ve learned and re-learned. Someone said “everything that needs to be said has already been said, but it must be said again because people have forgotten.” I agree, so here you go.
- There are valid studies showing that diets consisting of red meat and other types of meat can be healthy. What we don’t know and can’t control for are the other variables: What do the meat eaters eat as side orders? What are the lifestyle factors like smoking, exercise, and stress for meat eaters? Is there a protective effect from vegetables eaten with meat? In general, moderate meat consumption is healthy and fine, especially if it’s organic and lean.
- Plant-based diets appear to be healthier in general than animal-product diets. This has been studied extensively and seems to be true. If you eat a diet based around plants, in general this is a better way to eat. That being said, you can still be healthy if you eat meat. Again, it’s hard to control for all of the factors in these long-term studies. For example, the Asian populations that live longer, have less cancer and heart disease eat much less meat than we do. But they also have different cultures when it comes to dealing with stress, they drink a lot of green tea, and they are rarely overweight like Americans.
- Dietary Bottom Line: The best way to eat is vegetables, slow digesting unprocessed carbs, whole fruits, lean organic or less preserved meats (no nitrates), low or moderate alcohol, and low or moderate dairy. Every now and then, at least once a week, eat whatever you want to.
- The US presidential election and US politics as a whole, are incoherent from a moral and philosophical framework. Both Clinton and Trump are Nietzchean (every man can decide his own morality) actors. Trump, despite his nauseating flaws, was at least man of the West- protector of free speech. Expect more of the same in the future as our culture balkanizes and veers towards tribalism even more. Hopefully the US can stay together, but the right / conservatives are trying to hold on to a Judeo -Christian framework while the left / liberals are trying to say any moral system the individual picks is fine, as long as you agree with them. See the contradiction? The essential problem the left has come up against is this: They are saying that there’s no absolute truth or right or wrong, but then turn right around and try to take some supposed moral high ground that they just said doesn’t exist. You can’t say someone or something is “wrong” or “evil” if you have already said those two things don’t even exist. Conservatives often don’t live up to their own standards, but are saying that standards or moral truth exist. It is interesting to watch all this incoherent gnashing of teeth!
- Skin in the Game is the Next Big Thing. It is actually already here, but people are not aware of it. Ask yourself, what does this person have at risk? What are they putting up, or is it just big talk? Pascal’s wager (that you might as well believe in God, what do you have to lose?) is not going to be enough anymore, because real belief requires action, courage, sticking your neck out. In other words, people can’t hide anymore, with technology. Hypocrites are called out quite frequently. Our entire culture is based around hypocrisy. Our “leaders” promote one thing and do another. Why do we have statues of politicians, but not entrepreneurs? Entrepreneurs have skin in the game.
- Pain is affected significantly and positively by movement. In my estimation, and this is just a ballpark figure, I would say that 75% of all physical pain could be eliminated with the right type of corrective exercise or therapy. Most surgeries can be avoided. Asking a doctor if you should have surgery is like asking a car salesman if you should buy a car, literally.
- Stress is relative. Some people can handle debt, sleeplessness, divorce, etc. and some people will be brought to their knees for the same things. The way to handle stress is to have resources- friends, family, exercise, faith, mental and physical relaxation skills, music, good personal finance.
- Striving to be happy has replaced striving to be good, but the problem is that fewer people are happy as a result. Researching mental health and exercise led me down one heck of a rabit hole! The great decision of our time is “Do I want to live completely in my own head, in my own moral, physical, and philosophical universe in my effort to be happy, or do I want to be part of a larger story with limitations on my ego?” I am going to put out another post soon containing book reviews, and I read many great books this year, but this was something fascinating I stumbled on by accident. I have always been fascinated by what it means “to be healthy” but the definitions I was getting in the mainstream were lacking. Health from what I came to know and understand meant feeling like your life meant something, which often meant religion and community and family. But modern human life has moved from being religious and community-oriented to being therapy oriented. Health is now seen as living a long time and not having a disease, not about being a good person. That’s not to say people are not religious or good any more, because they are at times, and they worship different gods with “health” being one of them, as defined by various quantifiable numbers like blood pressure, BMI, number of wrinkles, body fat percent, cholesterol, etc. Human life has also moved from a focus on being good, to being happy. Our new gods are all about being happy in the moment. I’m not altogether convinced that this has been a good thing. We enjoy our “freedoms”, sure, but what are our new gods? “Health”, money, “success”, experiences, love, fame, sex, politics, attention? These things are not necessarily bad and are often very good, but are these worthy of worship? It is an interesting thing to ponder, but these don’t seem to me like healthy gods, worthy of religious worship. Most research on human happiness would show that focusing on being a good person is ironically a better way to be happy than to focus on being happy. Check out "Triumph of the Therapeutic" if this topic interests you.
- Man is an inherently religious, or worshipping creature. The therapeutic lifestyle has it’s own “dogmas” or “liturgies” or “rituals” which replace or compete with traditional religion. I am not saying these things are all bad, but they are lacking in that they are focused on the self, not on character development.
- Instead of fasting for a season, we go to rehab.
- Instead of praying, or memorizing prayers, or doing a receptive prayer, we do meditation.
- Instead of trying to be good, we try to be happy.
- Instead of confessing what we did wrong, we go to a psychiatrist.
- Instead of worshiping a dogmatically defined deity in a communal setting, we get together and worship one of these other gods.
- Instead of going to kneel, dance, sing, bow, cross, prostrate, etc., we now go to Yoga, Comic Con, or to concerts or sporting events.
- Fasting can build willpower for those who have little. This is self-explanatory.
- It is really hard to burn bodyfat, and the big battle is with food. I’ve noticed I put on fat around the middle easier every year. 70-80% of the effort for fat loss, needs to be with food, particularly sugar and processed carbs, and alcohol reduction. Any type of diet can work for fat loss and the easiest formula is to multiply your weight by 10 and eat this number of calories per day to lose. It works 90% of the time. For example 200 pounds times 10 equals 2000 calories per day.
- Fitness fads will always come and go, but hard work will always be the key to getting in shape.
- A good goal or standard for fitness could always be how you look in a swim suit. Ok this is politically incorrect, but go for it. Try to look good, or as good as you can. It’s ok to want to look good and being fit enough to be in a swim suit is a good motivator. If you feel comfortable and confident going to the beach, or for that matter if you could care less, that’s probably good too!
- Community is hard, and easy to avoid, but so worth it. It is so easy in our world to be anonymous. We are all looking for ways to avoid “skin in the game”. Someone the other day was complaining about the mayor of a certain town, and I said “Why don’t you run for mayor?!?” Of course he won’t. I’ve done it at times and maybe you have too. It is really hard to make commitments and stick to them and build community, but it’s worth it. I made some significant commitments this year to a community and it’s really paid off. Close friendships and community take effort and even courage. Go for it. You’ll be healthier.
- Fat is not bad for you in moderation. Fat is high in calories, and can make you fat, but the fat itself is ok if you don’t overdo it.
- There is an all-out war on beauty, tradition, individuality, family life, and even the sovereign person going on, and you would have to have your head in the sand not to notice it. The forces of transhumanism, technology, neoliberalism, globalism, cultural marxism, capitalism, and political correctness are all joining (without realizing it) to push us all towards a one-world mono-culture of consumers. Ironically, in an effort to “liberate the self”, they are pushing cultural and personal self-destruction and groupthink. These forces are even trying to blur the distinctions between men / women, child / adult, boy / girl. Sadly, just last week the extremist and dystopian publishers of National Geographic Magazine, now apparently part of this cabal, printed sexually - suggestive images of a “transitioning” child on the cover. In any other age or epoch, and by any other people, this would have been met with outrage, but from mainstream America- silence. There is a reason suicide is increasing, be it in the form of “transhumanist” surgeries, or actual suicides. I’d call it spiritual warfare, and these are the casualties. Tragic sorrow is all that is left. All I can say, is watch out. Be vigilant. Be kind but confront people with reality. Be aware. Build community. Know what story you’re living in. Set boundaries and be willing to fight for the truth and protect the ones you love. I’m all for capitalism with limits, but it’s interesting how “Popeyes” restaurants in the middle east, which I saw this summer, are part of the same monoculture . They want us all to be a noone from nowhere- no hometown, no home nation, no family, no community, no past, no future, no community, no religion (see John Lennon). Instead of being "in the world, but not of it" they want us to be "of the world but not in it".
- Though modern times are confusing and some would say dark, for those who can see what’s going on, it is an exciting time to be alive. In another age, life would have been harder physically and economically, but it would have made more sense. Our path would have been clear and probably laid out for us the day we were born. Nowadays, the possibilities seem endless. It’s an exciting time to be alive because as individuals, if we don’t succumb to self-destruction with various gods or let the culture’s narcissism overtake us, we can achieve great things and life a life of love and courage, giving what we can to our loved ones and communities. The key is to set boundaries, and have healthy limits. Human nature has never changed and never will. There have always been challenges in every age. Technology is one of the big things we have to learn to use in a healthy way.
- Some will make it, many will be left behind. I was talking to a good friend of mine, Todd Fernandez, about this earlier today. Todd has a great number of talents and is doing some cool stuff (Www.myfriendbull.com) For those with wealth, or talent, or intelligence, or connections, or good looks, or luck, grit, or courage, or a combination of some or all of these things, life can be incredibly fun and rewarding nowadays. These people are “transcending” or “self-actualizing" through creations, experiences, art, wealth, or pleasure, and navigating through a complex and incoherent world without self-destructing. For many others, the majority of people, who maybe don’t have one of these things going for them, what then? Freedom can destroy without limits. What’s exciting for some is a path to nowhere for many because they don’t know what story they’re living in or what they’re supposed to do and in many cases they are being left behind, looked down on, are addicted to various things, or forgotten.
- The transhuman movement has just begun, but how we deal with it will determine the future of the human race. Human nature pushes us to make things more advanced and technological, from the wheel to the internet. “Progress” though is ill-defined. Progress for some may be hell for others. The great irony is this: It is part of human nature to want to “transcend” our limits, but if we have no limits to “transcend”, then are we still human? If not, then what are we?
- Democracy is the best form of government if done right. After visiting Israel, the only democracy in the middle east, I can say this is without a doubt the truth. It is a wonderful country to visit.
― Winston S. Churchill
- Walking, stretching on the floor, not smoking, having friends and something to live for, and lifting weights (a little) will keep you alive. I’ve seen it time and time and time again. These are the most important factors in health to me.
- Islamic society is not set up well for democracy and muslims are not going to assimilate to American and European values. I like Muslims. I spent a month in the middle east this year. This is where our civilization started. I am pro Jordan, Pro Morocco, Pro Turkey and pro Islam in many ways. But I’m also Pro America. I’ve been to 3 muslim countries and have several muslim friends. The Islamic religion and Christianity are different but they have quite a bit in common. That being said there are some big differences. They do not have a history of democracy in Islamic countries and do not share Western values. Islamic societies are religious societies. They are based on the religion of Islam. Secular liberals here in America, having no experience with closely held religion in their own lives, are naive about how serious muslims are about their religion. They don’t understand because they can’t relate. The large majority of Muslims are good people, but it is not going to be easy for them to assimilate into western society because as we are seeing, Islamic beliefs are not compatible with American and European values.
- The older you get, the more you need to stretch. Over time, some muscles get weaker, while others get tighter. Again, stretch and lift.
- A good friendship, or relationship, is like a tennis match warm-up. You volley back and forth and it’s fun. If you’re hitting the ball over and they aren’t, or vice versa, it’s not going to work. People staring at their phones don’t make good volley partners.
- Our parents were right about most things after all. We should listen to our remaining elders, because they are often wiser than we are. As Chesterton said, “Tradition is the democracy of the dead.” Our ancestors should get a vote about what we do and how we live.
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Happy New Year !