Wednesday, March 19, 2014


3 months ago, I couldn't have anticipated the colossal yield of learning that would come from quitting KFC and then subsequently, just about everything else.

I don't think I (and hopefully won't ever) understand what it's like to quit something with serious highs, and serious withdrawal symptoms. But I do believe, in a broad stroke, even with trivial addiction the principles must be the same.

After Christopher Hitchen's death, Sam Harris changed a speech he was going to deliver, to one called 'Death & the Present Moment' which you can watch on Youtube if you got the bandwidth-download limit left, where he proposes that lacking the consolation of the afterlife, all we really have to console us is the present moment, that if we can stop worrying about a future we may not experience and simply be present this can bring you peace if but for a moment.

The catch is, that when you stop believing in an eternal afterlife, and immortal soul, there is nothing to replace that comforting thought. A material view of the universe, if adopted deprives you of that, with no real compensation.

Same to, he has made the point that all of us (in western tradition) live with such deprivation anyway, when we cease to believe in Santa Claus, we simply cease to believe and there is nothing to replace the idea of Santa that is as fun or as good.

So having now gone, I dunno, almost a month without refined sugar, which basically eliminates all dessert, I sat down with a custard apple at my friends place and discovered that a custard apple does not taste anything like custard.

I also saw some comedian on a Conan clip called Arty talk about quitting heroin and getting in shape with a personal trainer who asked him what was wrong and Arty said 'I can still remember the high of heroin and I miss it.' and the trainer said 'a running high is just as good as a heroin high' of which Arty builds a hilarious bit, but not being a fan of trying to reproduce entertainment in written blog form, lets say boils down to - there is no replacement for a heroin high.

And as good as that high sounds, we simply have to face the fact that our lives appear to work much better without it. There I am deprived of a potential experience.

I'm deprived of a lot of actual joy that I have experienced in the past, and in the point of the whole exercise, have to believe I will never experience again.

This form of self deprivation though, I've discovered is a highly useful and transferable skill. Perhaps (though I can't know) a step down the path to that amazing energy bona fide addiction beaters give off.

It's the skill to say to oneself 'that would feel good, really good, really really good then and there, but cause problems down the track. Much as I want to do it, I won't because the price I'd pay is higher.'

Easy to follow, when you are talking about heroin or something. But I believe you can apply this, to not saying 'I told you so.' to a body. You could be right, completely right, you could have been hurt by people doubting and not listening to you, and then fortune has it that you are validated. You have this opportunity to stand up and bask in that validation and you instead deprive yourself, because keeping on your current track is long term better than diverting to a brief moment of self-righteousness.

Can you see? The diet I've adopted in the absence of KFC, McDonalds, Caffeine and refined sugar is pretty unexciting, unstimulating. I'm now pretty much eating to live, not living to eat. On any given day, I could go and get me some biochemical stimulation from Zinger Box meal upgraded to bacon and cheese and upsized with Pepsi or Mountain Dew, and it would probably taste even more amazing for the months I've been deprived, and yet the disruption to my current diet, and chemistry could throw me all out of wack, reset me, I could wind up pretty much alternating between KFC and McDonalds again.

I have to abstain. I won't stoop to the indignity of pretending a Custard Apple is anything like a Custard Tart. And I won't pretend that I don't want to yell 'In your fucking face' when I succeed despite my haters, but I can go with out. There's dignity to be maintained, and the price of validating my own emotions is in many cases to the detriment of someone else's, potentially harming them.

I had no idea, nor could have foreseen such insight. I guess the moral is, try new things, new ways of living regularly, mix it up because you have no idea what will pay off where.

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