Author Archives: Eric Wulff

Closed for Renovations

(Note: See here for a more elaborated version of the same argument.)

When you consume nothing but water for several days, you get tired. It’s natural to interpret this fatigue as a sign that the fast is harming your health, but I believe that this subjective sensation of fatigue is just the body’s way of asking you to rest. While eating a meal and then drinking a cup of coffee is like an upshift, a meditative water fast is like a downshift. Coffee is a great tool if used in moderation, but overdoing it can lead to burning the candle at both ends. A rested water fast, on the other hand, is like burning the candle at neither end. It’s the opposite of a stimulant. Your body gets a chance to put all its effort into recovery.

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A Radical Form of Rest

(Note: See here for a shorter version of the same argument.)

Water fasting promotes a deep form of rest. When people go longer than they’re used to without food, they tend to crash. They get exhausted, and they generally interpret this fatigue as a bad sign. How could it be heathy to do something that makes you feel like your body is falling apart? Aren’t you just starving your body of nutrients? But I would argue that this is a misinterpretation of the body’s signals. When you fast, it’s not that your entire being loses vitality. It’s that your energy is allocated away from conscious behavior and toward your body’s healing-related systems, which operate at a high level of complexity despite being unconscious. Although as conscious entities we feel like our consciousness is our whole self, this isn’t true. There are a lot of systems that we don’t consciously control, such as our immune system. Fasting feels like it shuts us down, but in doing so it actually wakes up a different part of us.

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Criticism Disguised as Compliments

Any Western foreigner who’s spent a while in Japan will be familiar with the phenomenon of 日本語上手. For those who are just starting out on the long journey to master the Japanese language, it can feel good to hear a Japanese person tell you 日本語上手. Any glimmer of understanding can feel fun, so it’s nice to decipher this polite phrase in real time. Wow, Japanese people are so friendly! I love this country! But once you get better at Japanese and you hear it for the hundredth time, it starts to grate on you.

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Jordan Peterson’s Red Pill

Those beholden to social justice criticize Peterson for supposedly being a darling of the alt right, while the alt right criticizes Peterson for being a lightning rod that neutralizes people who would otherwise join the alt right. In other words, the left accuses him of being far right, and the far right accuses him of pushing people to the center. To the SJWs Peterson is a right-wing radical, and to the alt right he’s a cowardly centrist.

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From Ethnonationalism to Multiculturalism

Most people engage in extensive compartmentalization. They have certain beliefs in one part of their mind, and they don’t allow those beliefs to propagate to other parts of their mind. A classic example is a person who’s able to think scientifically, but refuses to apply their scientific patterns of thought to their religious beliefs. If you try to dissect their religious beliefs with logic and show them they’re irrational, they’ll put up a wall. Your arguments will do nothing to them.

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A Double-Edged Sword

Unable to grapple with his arguments on religion, culture, and society, many of Jordan Peterson’s detractors turn their attention to his diet. Searching for a way to swiftly discredit him, they make fun of his strict program of beef, salt, and water. Surely a man following such a strange diet is a lunatic! Peterson’s pseudoscientific worldview goes far past a mere obsession with rekindling toxic masculinity, they argue. It embraces a fad diet which rejects well-established science in its reckless promotion of red meat.

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Jordan Peterson’s Descent into Chaos

(Note: See here for discussion on this post.)

With Peterson’s personal disaster comes a horde of vicious haters using it as an opportunity to tear him down. When he was well, they twisted his words. And now that he’s sick, they’re using it as a chance to launch a new type of offensive. They rejoice in his suffering, and ask what they consider to be a slam-dunk question: “If Peterson can’t keep his own life together, then why should we listen to his life advice?”

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A Not-So-Paradoxical Reaction

(Note: See here for discussion on this post.)

Mikhaila Peterson just came out with a video where she gives an update on Jordan Peterson’s health. He almost died, in large part due to a “paradoxical reaction” he got from a particular anti-anxiety medication. When I watched the video, I immediately remembered something that Peterson said long before any of this happened: “I’m surfing a 100-foot wave, and generally what happens if you do that is that you drown.”

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The Aesthetic Landscape of Culinary Tradition

When deciding what to eat, aesthetics should hold no less important of a place than nutrition, even for the utilitarian. The artistic presentation of food not only provides the connoisseur with an outlet for pleasure, but also provides the dryly practical individual with valuable information. The presentation paints on the outside an aesthetic which reveals to the cultured mind what exists within the internal substance.

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The Neolithic Harnessing of Psychoactives

We have programmed into us a system where consuming certain substances changes our neurological settings in one way or another. People take for granted the fact that you can take an anti-depressant to improve your mood, but there’s no reason an organism must be built that way. Why can you swallow a pill and have it change your emotions? If all your digestive system does is take plant parts and animal flesh, and break them down into building blocks for the body and usable energy, then why can you put a small object containing certain chemicals in your stomach, and have it change your mental parameters? Why do mind-altering drugs work? Clearly there’s something more involved going on in your digestive system.

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