"Immersion in the life of the world, a willingness to be inhabited by and to speak for others, including those beyond the realm of the human, these are the practices not just of the bodhisattva but of the writer." --Jane Hirshfield

Friday, January 19, 2007

God's Dietary Will?

Fascinating how eating and being vegetarian (or not) has been so heavily influenced by religion, and the belief that you are what you eat (eat meat to be like a lion? Really? What does cappuccino signify? That I'll be illustrating the Book of Hours soon?*). See Steven Shapin's review of The Bloodless Revolution by Tristram Stuart. I suppose it's mainly a reflection of the power the Catholic church used to have, that religion influenced every thought, from food to sex to work, etc. Now at our secular remove such religion-infused society seems a bit strange, but we use other authorities to condemn the same old sins, e.g., Obesity used to be condemned as Gluttony, and there were quite the number of required fasts.

*This is a joke. Capuchin monks are largely missionaries, who historically followed a very ascetic lifestyle. Don't know if they were also manuscript copyists. They were an offshoot of the Franciscans, whose second most famous member was William of Ockham (or, Occam), of Ockham's Razor fame. This principle of favoring the simplest solution also described the Franciscan lifestyle.

No comments: