The Cultured Warrior Newsletter #011
Thoughts to Ponder:
Authority has always attracted the lowest elements in the human race.~ P.J. O'Rourke
Take this for what you will in our current political climate. There’s something about force and coercion that appeals to abusive and / insecure people — I’ll go out on a limb and call them weak. Time and time again, regardless of political (government) alignment authority has shown it’s desperate to control what it doesn’t understand. It is weak people that curtail and dis-empower others. Strong people want others to be strong. Free people want others to be free. The petty and weak… you get the idea.
He is terribly afraid of dying because he hasn’t yet lived.~ Franz Kafka
Following up on a few essays (and newsletters) I’ve written, what’s there to fear when all has been completed? Be that from a religious-spiritual perspective or a more broad spiritual closing. It certainly seems that fearing death is natural, but not inherently a crippling agony. Indeed many religious and spiritual practices were developed specifically to quell such existential threats in my opinion. This is another unifying thread between stoic and existential philosophies. Aversion of such fears isn’t incumbent on an organized belief system, though it may be on a fulfilling and embodied one. So it goes, a happy death requires a good life; and a good life, well that’s up to you.
Things I’m Reading:
“The results revealed that masks hindered the perception of virtually all tested facial dimensions (i.e., emotion, gender, age, and identity), interfering with normal speed and accuracy of categorization… Moreover, we found that the impact of masks is not automatic and that under some contexts observers can control at least part of their detrimental effects.” This goes hand in hand with last week’s article regarding the effects of emotional intelligence on so many other inter/intrapersonal events. The authors do reference that different facial structures are associated with different emotions (i.e. top or bottom of the face); though the underlying message is that facial coverings greatly impair facial recognition — shocker. Of course, we can and have made accommodations and adapted, but we are far from a natural or an equivocal state.
This is one of the many “face palm” studies I’ve covered. The data is good, the results are valid, the cautionary conclusions are worthy of a dramatic eyeroll. The authors conclude, “Intermittent fasting is beneficial for weight management and liver enzyme improvement, but long-term feasibility and safety of intermittent fasting should be conducted in further studies.” They also write; “Diet and exercise are among the most commonly used (interventions) but complicated to maintain due to the ability of each organism to balance the reduced intake of calories with a decrease in resting metabolic rate, thus frustrating the beneficial effect.” The, “duh!” moments here are that 1) you can’t just keep eating less; and 2) there’s a lot more going on here than “calories in vs. calories out.”
This is something many in the (ancestral) health space have speculated on and there have been many anecdotes of. Simply put, when you sleep and eat seems to matter and there are a lot of physiological mechanisms going on here (e.g. body temperature, blood sugar, and blood pressure increase after eating; which is a healthy response though typically we want those things to go down while sleeping). Once again, again-again, there’s much more to this picture of health than “eat less, move more” and more still than “eat whole foods.” Our big brains and short colons imply that we evolved to spend a lot more time thinking (and socializing) than eating. We’ve clearly been removed quite far from our natural state in more ways than we often consider.
Double Feature: The Roles of Salience and Value in Inattention Among Children with ADHD and Hard Work and Hopefulness: A Mixed Methods Study of Music Students’ Status and Beliefs in Relation to Health, Wellbeing, and Success
These studies are quite complimentary of each other. Regarding ADHD, the first study confirms that many of the “problems” associated with ADHD are often (more?) attributable to comorbid Conduct Disorder and / or Oppositional Defiant Disorder. Further, both “normal developing” youths and ADHD-only groups performed poorly on the assigned cognitive tasks. This is confirmation to many (myself included) of the gross over-diagnosis of ADHD. What’s more is that in the later study self-efficacy was predictive of “wellbeing” (as defined by health, safety, vitality, and attitude). Further, the (music) students scored low on both self-efficacy and wellbeing and identified a belief that there was a shared responsibility for this between themselves and their educational institution. If you’re a teacher or have / work with children with ADHD, pay attention to these studies and read deeply between the lines.
Resources to Thrive:
- Breathe: A Life in Flow by Rickson Gracie | Whether you’re a BJJ practitioner or not, this a is a great read from a sports history perspective. If you’re wondering where the inspiration for 90s martial arts movies came from, Rio in the 70s and 80s is a good guess. It’s great to hear Rickson’s characteristically stoic perspective on various family traditions, dramas, and the history of jiu jitsu and MMA.
- The Natural State Podcast | “Dr. Anthony Gustin (founder and CEO of Perfect Keto) believes the natural state of an organism is health. In this podcast he explores how we can reclaim our health. The Natural State features interviews with health and nutrition influencers, world-class thought leaders, and industry experts. With exclusive content that breaks down complex ideas to make them simple and digestible. We cover topics like nutrition, fitness and movement, regenerative agriculture, health, mental and emotional health — anything that a functioning human being needs to thrive.”
- Cold therapies: I promise, I’m working on an article for this, but also assuredly want to do my due diligence. I’ve had to travel unexpectedly this week so am a bit more behind than usual ;-)
- Carbohydrates: I’ll have an Instagram post coming out later today talking about the different glucose load with different macronutrient (carbohydrate, fat, protein) ratios. That is, how much “sugar” you’re actually getting. There will be a longer write up on Medium later this week too. Essentially, this is a prelude to a study I’m planning regarding honey (carbohydrates) and electrolyte retention.
- Breath Work: The past 3 weeks I’ve been collecting follow up data to my pilot study on breath work (and blood pressure). Aside from mental health benefits, there’s a lot tied in here regarding recovery and thereby performance as well (i.e. resting heart rate, respiration rate, and heart rate variability). So stay tuned while I process the data and results!