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On Fasting
Crackpot Mailbox: Michaël the Exile
Dear James,
I am currently reading Under the God of Things. As I was pondering over the content, a question popped in my head - what about fasting?
You see, as I understand just how much of me has been smothered and spat on by my upbringing, my schooling and my work environment, I now strive to invert the process by any means necessary.
Following the same line of thought that drives me through my boxing and stick-fighting sessions - that self-discipline is the key and that discomfort and pain are great teachers - I am wondering if periodical fasting could be used to enhance my faculties, both mental and physical.
What is your opinion on the subject? Were our common ancestors using fasting in their religious and spiritual practices to better themselves, or would such a thing be a waste of my time and drive?
Kind regards,
- Mike, a French Canadian in Exile
Congrats on boxing and sick-fighting. Few people take both of those paths.
Mike, you will find the science discussed on this in bodybuilding literature on "intermittent fasting." You want to have nothing but water for 18 hours and do all of your eating in 6 hours, which is not that bad when you consider you're sleeping 8 of the 18 hours. I have used this to arrest my runway weight gain after my much abused metabolism finally broke. Make sure your last bit of food goes down atleast 4 hours before you sleep.
True fasting is something that I used to make weight when I was young, but resulted in me gaining weight when I got old. It is not something I can get away with now without getting dizzy and mentally foggy.
The best thing about using food restrictions to separate yourself from the soft world, in my mind, is the ability to tune your body and mind up by staying hungry. This is not fasting. You don't want to be starving your brain of fat or dehydrating yourself and going stupid. The best thing to do is stay active enough so that you're always burning energy and always eating short of what it would take to satiate your hunger.
Many warrior cultures commonly used fasting as a means of deprivation in vision quests in the wild, meditations in close austere settings and other means of separating themselves from our sick man of a society. Recently I pushed myself to the point of passing out from a combination of high altitude, exertion and dehydration, and, when I looked into the sun and decided to keep going, although I may have looked a slave to a passerby, I felt wonderfully free pushing beyond the limits that every human voice had told me not to step beyond. One day, maybe this kills my rotting body, but in the interim such moments have permitted my soul to hover just beyond the sissy limits of our systemic invalidation.
Masculine Axis: A Meditation on Manhood and Heroism
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the gods of boxing
winter of a fighting life
riding the nightmare
behind the sunset veil
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