More is Less, and Less is just right?

This whole diet thing has apparently been firing nearby brain cells, and I think i’m starting to narrow in on what the epicenter of this neuro-party is.  Forgive me, my oh so wise bible teachers who i ignored growing up, but I think they were on to something with the concept that Less is More… although i’m wondering is “less” isn’t necessarily “more”, as the “more” we can come to think of as normal is just “too much”, and “less” would actually be “just right”.  I like lists, so the following are the examples from totally different walks of life that seem to be surfacing the same central theme:

  1. Diet
  2. Footwear
  3. Bedding
  4. Possessions

Now each of these topics actually corresponds to a book, or several, that I’ reading. So I’ll expound.

1.  Diet.

I’ve stumbled upon the Paleolithic Diet (The Paleo Diet, The Primal Blueprint, The Atkins Diet?).  The basic philosophy of this diet is as follows:  If human beings evolved to live on hunted game and gathered fruits/veg, and then thived for around 2 million years, then that is the diet under which the human being will perform optimally. Flipped around, the agricultural revolution and all of its spawn (seed-eating, grain-eating, sugar-eating) are the cause of many of modern mans ailments.  But wait! You say.  Wasn’t the agricultural revolution an improvement?  Didn’t it free us from the burden of hunting and gathering?  Well… yes… but it probably is what gave rise to diabetes,heart disease,obesity, 80 work weeks on a farm and 40 work weeks in a grey cubicle.  Sounds like out of the frying pan and into the fire to me.  Or maybe more-so out of the garden of Eden and into the fields to toil and sweat and die of a heart attack.

2. Footwear?

Yes.  Footwear.  Came across this when I thought I should buy new running shoes… thought about Nike Frees, and then ran across a Tim Ferris review of the Vibram FiveFingers.  Bought a pair immediately.  Again, the premise, if human beings evolved to walk on their two bare feet, and then thrived for 2 million years (without plantar fasciitis or heel spurs), then might the modern running shoe be the cause (not the solution) to our modern running injuries?  Then I read Born to Run and was blown away.  Yes… yes it appears that you come out of the womb with the most high tech running suspension system ever created.

3. Bedding

Actually, i haven’t found more than a sentence or two on the whole internet (yes… the whole googlenet, and i fancy myself a pretty quick on the draw googler) regarding simple bedding. [*Update 🙂  Found this link from MDA] But this is more of a personal experiment, taking the less is more idea and trying to apply to other places.  And actually, I’ve had this knot in my back that recurrs whenever I become active over the last 5 years… and after 1 month of sleeping on a futon on the floor, its gone!  Could be a result of diet + exercise change, but who knows!  Anyways, my hypothesis in this area is the same as the others,  if people slept on minimal bedding for two million years… yeah you get the point.

4.  Possessions.

I just cracked open Walden the other day, and I wager to think that it would have been fascinating to discuss a Paleo diet and barefoot running with him.  The man is dead on.  I’m not very far into this book, but already he is comparing the “modern” man of his time to the “savages” he actually had the great pleasure of being able to interact with and observe (at the very least through second person). So far he has spoken to the issues of clothing and housing and how modern man has become a slave to those things which in reality are supposed to liberate him.  “But lo! Men have become the tools of their tools.”  So again I wonder… if man lived and thrived for 2 million years with minimal clothing/possessions (no tvs,bikes,football,sports cars,books)/lodging, did we perhaps take a wrong turn somewhere.  Is it possible that like the carbs, and like the shoes, many/all of the other experiments on improving the human “condition” are also failing/failed?

So thats the question to ponder now.  What other things in my life are  just like the carbs and the shoes in that CV (conventional wisdom) has told me I cannot live without, but reality has demonstrated that not only can I live without, but I can live better without?

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2 thoughts on “More is Less, and Less is just right?

  1. Good questions, Patrick, and I’ve pondered them often over the years. You sound like an evolutionary. Get Michael Dowd’s book, Thank God for Evoution, and read it!! It is amazing and transformative, a Sacred Story that makes sense scientifically whole respecting and building bridges to more traditional stories. Let me know what you think!

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