Macrobiotics & Social Conflict: A Rant

Those of us that have adopted the macro lifestyle, or any other diet mindful of the consequences of our consumption, know what a royal pain in the ass others can make life for us once they know what’s up. I used to be one of these assholes myself during the less socially conscious years of my adolescence. I had little idea as to why I vindicated vegetarians – it probably stemmed from some misguided notion that they were denying themselves enjoyment to satisfy some silly, vain, unfounded social pressure, and I wanted to pull them back to the rebelliously true dark side. “If it’s so great, why isn’t everyone doing it?” I culpably thought. In retrospect, I guess it’s normal to be an insecure asshole when one is 18.

I’m not sure one can apply this perspective to the older folks that express their dietary ignorance via jokes or insult – my feeling these days is that it probably has more to do with them feeling that their worldview is being threatened, which is probably pretty frightening if one hasn’t spent much time/energy fortifying the ideological superstructure. I find that the more I learn about the philosophies I pursue, the less necessary it becomes to say anything about them or what they mean to me. We are only fiercely dedicated to ideas which are in doubt. No one runs around insisting that the sun is going to rise tomorrow.

It bothers me even more when someone seemingly close to me and is presumably familiar with my lifestyle deliberately chooses to ignore it.  When it comes up they assume it’s a temporary habit. “Oh, you’re still doing that?” In one ear and out the other, apparently for years on end.

I haven’t come up with a very satisfactory way of dealing with this nonsense, except great patience, and the avoidance of absolutes & ideology when explaining the why’s behind what I will or won’t consume. You’ll get a much more sympathetic reaction if you say that dairy hurts your stomach, than if you’re waxing philosophical about the cruelty of dairy farms, cow’s milk being intended by Nature for baby cows, or the correlation between breast cancer in the US and fattier diets as compared with Japan. When attending potlucks & dinner parties, I do my best not to show up empty-handed, and in so doing, I ensure there will be something for me to eat, and additionally increase the chances that I might introduce someone to the concept of healthy delectability in the form of one of my recipes. As time goes by, more friendships develop between myself and people that see the world similaly. Conversely, my relationships with friends that prefer the sedentary, mainstream American lifestyle have begun to drift. It saddens me; I want to offer up the gifts that conscious eating and integrated sports have provided me after so many years of depression, fatigue, acne and general malaise about my physical existence, but it would be a contradiction to impose it.

Some years ago I met a rather interesting Buddhist monk while taking a holiday in Madrid. He compared the world religions to everyone looking at the sky through a pinhole. What each one of use sees might be a little different, but we’re all looking at the same sky. He turned out to be rather a prick, but I still like the metaphor. The more pinholes you look through, the better a sense of the sky & it’s variations you receive. Maybe the most important part is that you’re actually looking.

If you haven’t yet read “Zen & The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance,” I highly recommend it.

“The typical situation is that the motorcycle doesn’t work.The facts are there but you don’t see them.You’re looking right at them but they don’t yet have enough value. This is what Phaedrus was talking about. Quality, value, creates the subjects and objects of the world.The facts do not exist until value has created them. If your values are rigid you can’t really learn new facts.”

Leave a Reply