Research in collective intelligence, as you know, connects to every aspect of social life. One of them I like very much: food. Indeed, what lands in our plate comes from a collective process that involves ecosystems, animals, plants, many humans, and a lot of technology.
First, collective intelligence in the nutrient: from its birth to our plate, food carries a super complex thread of life, death, actions, experiences. Collective intelligence in the cuisine, one of the pillars of every culture. Collective intelligence in the very fact of eating. From time immemorial, a meal represents a universal space of sharing and togetherness, present in every civilization. What happens in our psyche when we eat? What does our species and our planet experience during the billions of meals that happen every day? Collective intelligence, in the beliefs and ignorance that haunt every society and every human in regards to food. Everything tells me that this ignorance plays an active role in the genesis and homeostasis of every culture. Once more, it raises the question of truth in the collective.
I had to start from somewhere in order to open this long inquiry. So I began with this very simple question that I use as a guiding thread:
What food makes us healthy while doing good to the living in general?
A first quick answer: certainly not the food that lands in our plate today.
I have explored this single question for years, both at the theoretical level –health, nutrition, environment– and at the personal level, observing the changes that happen in me when I shift my diet (I also speak about it in the about page).
What do we call health? I often hear people reply “not having any disease“. An answer somehow superficial and automatic, that focuses only on the individual. A person may have no biological disease and yet have a calamitous health due to an unhealthy lifestyle or a poor psychological, social and spiritual life. It doesn’t matter whether we talk about the body, the mental or the spirit, we quickly come to realize that health operates as much in the individual as in the collective, and that we build our connection with health with culture and unconscious assumptions.
What would happen if…
… humans began to eat consciously?
I like to contemplate this latter question. Of course we can expect quite positive consequences on health and ecology, somehow easy to extrapolate. Inner transformation catches my attention even more, as consciousness walks hand in hand with the way we feed ourselves.
As for my personal journey, the call for a healthy and conscious eating lead me to become a vegetarian first, a vegan next. Then I got rid of fat and gluten, and evolved towards raw food. People call it live food, and in this more precise case, I love to stick to the 80-10-10 diet. It seems that this way of feeding myself addresses each and every question I raised earlier:
- At the ecological level, this diet supports ecosystems, as we need to plant trees. It highly reduces the ecological footprint (water, carbon, pollution, etc) ;
- At the individual level, after I explored many different diets and cuisines, I have never experience something better than live food healthwise. My body works better, it has a more robust defence system (I rarely get sick), it gains energy, liveliness, endurance, sleep, sexual capacities, you name it! My ideas and thoughts become clearer, I need less hours of sleep, my consciousness keeps expanded. Body, mental, spirit… every plane enjoys the ride;
- At the societal level, the live food cuisine builds a harmonious relationship with our environment, and with ourselves.
However I don’t say that humanity should move towards this specific diet. The question of food has an infinite number of parameters which we cannot corner in a simplistic answer. I don’t believe in the ultimate diet. Furthermore, I don’t cope with systems that want to enclose every human being in a unique behavioral model that everyone should follow so that society can work. All the “isms” of industrial society have their root in this idea of homogenization. We know the consequences. So here I just try to unveil some principles that may have interesting consequence in a vaster and more diverse landscape of parameters and behaviors.
Ignorance as an active principle
Food offers an extraordinary space of observation for my research on the active principles that provoke and maintain ignorance and beliefs in the society. By “active principles” I make a distinction from “passive principles” of ignorance that come from a simple lack of knowledge.
For instance, people often explain to me that we can hardly survive without animal proteins. They assure with an absolute certainty that we have a carnivore metabolism, and that fruits don’t contain proteins. Have they seriously explored other perspectives than what the doxa imposes to them? Rarely.
Ontological obscurantism adds itself to these false beliefs, I mean the use of words and semantic categories that separate us from the way reality works, and from the empathy we can have with other living beings. Let’s take the word meat for instance. This word “thingyfies” the living by downgrading it to the level of inert and mineral matter. The same happens when we say we eat chicken or fish, of when we raise cattle. These words don’t connect us to the web of life. Thingyfication belongs to ontological mechanisms which purpose consists in maintaining a separation with a vaster and more evolved reality.
Even more interesting: although many people know their diet doesn’t do good to them, how many decide to change? A tiny minority. The majority perpetuates its usual addictions, saturated with certainty. Rather than radical change, this majority prefers drugs, cardiovascular diseases, hospital and all the related victimhood. What kind of dependency and belief maintains people trapped in their own jail at the expense of their own life? The discipline of collective intelligence gives us a profound understanding of this equation. I will write more about it in the future.
Meanwhile humanity dips in its own obscurantist juice and its crass ignorance. I see the signature of a collective consciousness not quite yet awaken, driven by the insatiable and anguished pulls of crowds in need of fat, sugar, salt and blood. The massacre of an unprecedented barbary perpetrated every second on other non-human beings proves it. On top of it, a disaster in the human community in which junk food became the best Grim Reaper’s ally in industrialized countries. Our descendents will likely see our societies as extremely violent and archaic.
The evolution of our species will not happen without the evolution of the way we eat, which invites us to exploring every possible direction, then share the experience. Exactly what I intend to do here.
In the end, don’t you think the true question consists in learning which energetic flow keeps us alive, happy and healthy? Physical food provides energy contained in the matter that the body harvests through chemical reactions. However the matter does not compose us, it goes through us. Like cresting waves, we keep a shape for a certain time. This shape erects, transforms and melts itself back in the Great Ocean.
Therefore I focus on the very way we can manifest and keep our vital energy without narrowing it to physical food, just like we cannot confuse “travel” with “car”. Let’s not confuse the end and the means. Direct experience again has shown me that no simple correlation exists between the quantity of calories we absorb and the energy present in the body. Many other emotional, psychological and spiritual factors play in the equation. We can control and regulate our energetical state not just through the sole food, but also through meditation and breathing techniques. People usually mention pranic food. I don’t cope well with this naming since no eating process happens here. An inner autonomous process takes place in the very center of the body, very different from the “filling” from an external source. Indeed, in this precise state of consciousness, the words outer and inner don’t mean very much anymore. How can we separate the wave from the ocean?
I already hear the “impossible!” shouting and other miffed arguing: how can a scientific mind like mine consider other options than physical food? Precisely, science consists in exploring the unknown and integrate what comes from observation, without judgment, and not to reject things that don’t fit in our current map of reality.
I have already tasted enough of the energetical approach to make it a privileged direction of my research. I’ll keep you posted.
- 30 bananas a day: an international community site for those who want to evolve towards 80-10-10 diet
- The 80/10/10 diet, by Doug Graham
- The experience of a young woman shifting to 80/10/10 diet
- Earthlings: aurez-vous le courage de voir ce film jusqu’au bout ?