Sunday, January 6, 2013

I Eat, Therefore I Am

"Cogito ergo sum", Latin for "I think, therefore I am", always pops into the minds of those in the midst of metaphysical introspection. The ponderings of Descartes speak very much to the "keep it simple, stupid" doctrine that we try to emulate as a New Year's Resolution, but then fail miserably as soon as we hit the first traffic jam of the year. His conclusion was that if you are even considering your existence as a cognizant being, then you must be as such. Piece of cake. So let's give thought to a different one today - "Comedam ergo sum". "I eat, therefore I am". Yeah, I like this one better for today. Obviously there is the physical act of ingesting food in order to provide nutrients to your body for its survival. Not that I expect you to remember back that far, but that was the original reason for food. Fortunately, we now live in a society where we don't have to worry about where the next meal is coming from. An abused privilege in overweight America? Maybe we'll talk about national obesity statistics another day.  For now, I've got a point to make.

Here's the question of the day- How much conscious thought goes into what you choose for breakfast?
What goes through your mind to help you make your decision?
Your heritage?
Your calorie conscience?
Your refrigerator leftover inventory?

Congratulations, you've made a choice. Do you feel good about your choice?
Do you eat every little bite of scrambled egg because it was drilled into you that, even though you're not particularly enjoying it, you need to clean your plate or be punished?
Does your packet of oatmeal bring memories of Dad making you breakfast when you had a snow delay?
Perhaps its easy and tastes good and anything beyond that makes your head hurt.

Be honest with yourself- were you even hungry this morning, or did you just eat because you felt like it was the right thing to do?
"Dr. Oz says I have to eat breakfast".
"I have to take my pills with food".
"I'm really not hungry, but I need to mindlessly cram something in because the morning meeting might go long and I'll miss my lunch break!"
"The stress of making lunches and getting the kids dressed and fed and out the door is unbearable!  Give me something sweet!".

Private Conversation:
Me: Oh, darling handsome husband of mine (I really do say that), why do you eat rice everyday for breakfast?
Hub: Because I like it.
Me: That's it? Just because you like it?
Hub: Yeah. But its not just the rice. The rice is just the vehicle for other ingredients. You can add anything to it, and make something interesting everyday. That's why I never get bored with it.

Eat THAT, Descartes.

Our physical bodies are our vehicle through life. Through the ages, every "human vehicle" has had the shared experiences- birth, bearing children, hunting for food, death, in the "keep it simple, stupid" mindset. I suppose it's every individual's mindset that steers the vehicle. Some do it because Grandma told them to. Or maybe God. Time-honored tradition. Special memories.

And that's kind of the whole point here. Who's driving, where are we going, and why are we going there?  Just like the person, the journey is individual, totally unique, hopefully fun on the most-part, but sometimes lonely and scary.  The fuel that goes into the car is different for everyone. What distance are you willing to go and how hard are you willing to work to get your fuel?  How far do you expect that fuel to take you?  Will the fuel I chose for breakfast this morning and every morning for the rest of my life get me to my destination?

I'll chew on that.

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