Thursday, September 13, 2012

Going Primal, the Bible, and Freedom

This article on Mark's Daily Apple makes me want to adopt the lifestyle — The Primal Blueprint 8 Key Concepts. My major stumbling block has been the whole "grains are completely and utterly unnecessary" idea. "Bread is the staff of life," the Good Book tells us, no?

But then, let's remember that "Cain is a farmer and Abel's a shepherd," as Yoram Hazony has pointed out — An Individualist Approach To The Hebrew Bible. Noting that "it turns out that this long, long narrative from Genesis to Kings, over and over again, presents people either as shepherds or as farmers," the professor continues,
    And in fact there's a whole history of conflict between them. So, all the greatest heroes in the Bible — Abraham, Jacob, Moses, David and many others — they're all shepherds. And it's not just that they happen to be shepherds, because the Bible emphasizes the time they spent shepherding and what they learned from it. And this is kind of like a code — I mean, not a secret code, but it's a metaphor — the shepherd stands for people who live outside of society, on the hills. They make law for themselves, they seek God for themselves, and they're autonomous. It's almost an anarchical message.

    The farmer represents the great urban agrarian societies on the huge rivers in Egypt, Babylonia, Syria, Persia. And the farming societies are what we would recognize today as kind of a totalitarian society, meaning that the king made the decisions, he spoke for the gods, he paid the priests. And these were societies, of course, that had virtues, but the virtues of farming society, of these great empires, were virtues like piety, submissiveness, obedience, honoring the government, honoring your father and your mother, keeping the system going. The shepherds were people who lived beyond society. And the funny thing is that the Hebrew Bible is one very complicated, sophisticated document which holds up the shepherds as being the heroes.

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Blogger Pints in NYC said...

I actually adopted the primal lifestyle since I guess Lent rolled in, a bit of a self experiment. I kept running into stuff like Mark's Daily Apple, Wheat Belly, and Dr. Joe Mercola around the same time, and it all made sense. I didn't need to lose any weight, really, but I was interested in all the other benefits people were claiming.

Where I'm from, pizza and bagels are staples. I'd dare say you'll find the most authentic bagels and pizza on earth within walking distance of where I type this. So it has been difficult.

I do still consume fermented grains, true to my moniker here. And apparently fermentation is the way to go w/ most foods. Josh, what say you about pints and kimchee if/when you ever come to NYC?

Verdict thus far? I do feel and look better; and I have more energy and can get through a day with less food. I would recommend trying it.

Now, thank you for posting the Hazony piece. Since I began trying it out I've wondered what place our religious history would have in this whole thing.

I keep thinking back to C. S. Lewis, in several places, making beautiful references to the "corn god" dying and being reborn. How would such an allegory play in a primal culture?

September 13, 2012 at 10:50 PM  
Blogger Mark in Spokane said...

"I am the Bread of Life." Thus said Our Lord. He ate bread. He gave his followers bread. He compared himself to bread. He turned bread into his flesh and wine into his blood. Bread and wine are not evil.

Now, how much bread should we eat? Far less than we do. I am all in favor of looking skeptically at the food pyramid and its over-reliance on carbs through grains.

But what God has declared pure, let no man declare impure. God has given his ultimate endorsement of bread. I'm not going to argue with him.

September 14, 2012 at 12:09 AM  
Blogger Pints in NYC said...


Yep, those are pretty important theological points to consider!

What,though, of transubstantiation? For while He took the bread, it becomes His flesh, His body. Would this not point to the superiority of the carnal over the cereal?

(Of course, to say nothing of the spiritual!)

Again, I have been quite moved by C.S. Lewis' musings on the relationship between the Christ and the allegories / myths of the resurrecting "corn king / god" (I've quotes a few below).

Food for thought:

# # #

Writes he, “The metaphor of the seed dropping into the ground in this connection occurs (I think) twice in the New Testament (John 12:24; I Corinthians 15:36), and for the rest hardly any notice is taken; it seemed to me extraordinary. You had a dying God, Who was always representative of the corn: you see Him holding the corn, that is, bread, in His hand, and saying, ‘This is My Body’ (Matthew 26:26; Mark 14:22; Luke 22:19; I Corinthians 11:24), and from my point of view, as I then was, He did not seem to realise what He was saying. Surely there, if anywhere, this connection between the Christian story and the corn must have come out; the whole context is crying out for it. But everything goes on as if the principal actor and still more those about Him, were totally ignorant of what they were doing. It is as if you got very good evidence concerning the sea-serpent, but the men who brought this good evidence seemed never to have heard of sea-serpents. Or to put it another way, why is it that the only case of the ‘dying God’ which might conceivably have been historical occurred among people (and the only people in the whole Mediterranean world) who had not got any trace of this nature religion, and indeed seem to know nothing about it? Why is it among them the thing suddenly appears to happen?”[3]

The absence of this idea is almost incomprehensible, except if we asked, “How if the corn king is not mentioned in that Book, because He is here of whom the corn king was an image? How if the representation is absent because here at last, the thing represented is present? If the shadows are absent because the thing of which they were shadows is here?”[4]

# # #

September 14, 2012 at 8:16 PM  

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