Something that I like to do, when I feel my motivation to eat healthy and lose weight waning, is to skip on over to YouTube and look up videos created by raw foodists. For some reason, raw foodists are one of the most cheerful, motivational, inspiring groups of people out there. I always feel better (and rejuvenated to continue on with my weight loss goals) after watching a few videos of raw foodists speaking energetically and animatedly about how to keep yourself on track and how great life is.
There's no doubt about it: as a general rule, raw foodists have high amounts of energy and are often very happy with their lot in life.
The question is, do people with a specific personality and set of characteristics (such as over-exuberance and excitement for life) gravitate towards raw food diets, or is it the food itself that leads to these changes in a person, or is it the corresponding lifestyle of most raw foodists (such as meditation, yoga, and a strong support group) that often accompanies the diet? In essence... which comes first?
We can ask this of any group of peoples. And it's highly unlikely that we'll ever get to the bottom of it. Perhaps it is a combination of all three options, or something else entirely. It's something to think about, anyways!
About 11 years ago, my family and I put together a time capsule, which we planned on opening on New Year's Eve, 2009. However, due to the father dear and sistertraveller being out of the country, we had to postpone opening our time capsule until New Year's Eve 2010.
When we opened it, most of it was rather disappointing, to be honest. The letters that the sistertraveller and I had written to our future selves were decidedly dull (although, to be fair, we were only 11 and 13 years old, respectively), and we had included an odd assortment of trinkets in the time capsule packet (including a random tooth. Ew?). But even though the letters we had written were on the boring side, there was still something very important about them: the rhetoric within them represented much of who we were at that period in our lives.
My letter revolved around talking about the gifts I'd received for Christmas, a list of my friends' names, and mentions of how much I enjoyed playing Harry Potter. It may have been a naive, innocent, very cheery letter, but that reflects who I was at that stage of my life, and that's what's important.
We evolve and grow rapidly as the days, weeks, months, and years go by. Keeping a diary or constructing a time capsule can be a way to preserve that and to remember how far we have come, and to give us hope for where we will be in the future. The rhetoric of a time capsule speaks volumes and can be fascinating to both put together (and thus imparting a piece of your present self) and to "take apart" (and thus extracting a piece of your past self).
After opening the time capsule, my family and I decided to put together another one to open in five years. This time, our time capsule is only consisting of a letter that each of us wrote (with predictions on where we will all be in the next five years) and a series of photographs... as well as a bottle of wine, so that it can "age" in the next five years and be cracked open to drink a toast to our past, present, and future.
I'm certainly not as naive and innocent as I was at age 11 (although I think a large part of me is still equally as cheery), but I wouldn't trade the last 11 years for anything. There's been bad times and good, and all of them have contributed to building me into who I am today. We can't grow without experience to guide us. There is much value in the rhetoric of re-aquainting ourselves with the past, being comfortable with the present, and making plans for the future.
I've cross-country skied since around the time that I could walk. Every winter, my parents would pack my sister and I up and take us nearly every weekend to go skiing. It was fantastic.
It's been several years since I was last out on the trails, so it was with much excitement (and a little apprehension) that I went cross-country skiing earlier this week. I didn't know if I'd like it as much as I used to, or if I would even remember how to ski. And then we got on the trail.
Everything came back to me as soon as the swish, swish of ski sweeping snow filled the air. I remembered exactly how to do it all, and I sincerely loved every moment of being back out there.
One of the things I liked best about it was the rhetoric between skiers. When you're going out cross-country skiing - just like when you're going out hiking - you're not exactly in a big rush. You aren't hurrying to get somewhere, you're not anxiously worried that you'll be late, you aren't fretting about what other people are thinking. You're just outside, enjoying nature, getting a little exercise. Because everyone else is of the same mindset, everyone is incredibly friendly.
It's rare that skiers won't say something to each other when passing, or to at least smile in acknowledgment. "Beautiful day!", "Isn't it lovely out?" and "Thanks for letting me pass!" are some of the most common phrases heard on the ski trail. I don't believe I've ever heard someone say anything nasty or even remotely negative when skiing. It's as though, as soon as you start skiing, all negativity flies out the window.
Much of this is likely because of the shared interest that brings you together with the other skiers. You don't know anything about them except that they are interested in either nature or health, or both, and somehow that's enough to feel a solid connection. We build these kinds of connections all the time. When we find out that someone has an interest similar to our own, there's an instant bond, which usually leads to wanting to get to know the person better or at least to act in a friendly manner towards them.
It is through these connections, these small shared interests, that communities are built.
After reading Postman, I figured I should probably read Huxley. And what an excellent author he is!
From Aldous Huxley's Brave New World (page 194):
You've got to choose between happiness and what people used to call high art. We've sacrificed the high art. We have the feelies and the scent organ instead.
In Brave New World, society focuses on pleasure over knowledge. They choose to live in happiness than to live in truth. Because of that, they are very limited in what they can learn and understand, and how much they can progress.
We need to bridge the gap between entertainment and high art in order to have a balance for learning - otherwise, we miss out on too much (rhetoric).
George Lakoff is an interesting character. As an expert in cognitive linguistics with strong political views, his work makes for a fascinating read. I've been reading his book Don't think of an elephant! Know your values and frame the debate: the essential guide for progressives and he certainly makes his readers re-think the rhetorical strategies of politicians.
One paragraph towards the end of the book especially jumped out at me:
Conservatives who are "pro-life" are mostly, as we have seen, against prenatal care, postnatal care, and health care for children, all of which have major causal effects on the life of a child. Thus they are not really pro-life in any broad sense.
I had never quite thought of it in that way before. I like reading authors who give a new perspective on a concept. Lakoff is a controversial fellow, but he is unafraid to express his beliefs and to explain the logic behind his values, even as he analyzes in detail the beliefs and values of his opposition.