I read a lot. I always have, but in those two years I gorged myself on books with a voluptuous, almost erotic gluttony. I would go to the local library and take out as many as I could, and then lock myself in the bedsit and read solidly for a week. I went for old books, the older the better--Tolstoy, Poe, Jacobean tragedies, a dusty translation of Laclos--so that when I finally resurfaced, blinking and dazzled, it took me days to stop thinking in their cool, polished, crystalline rhythms.
Do you think it is a vain hope that one day man will find joy in noble deeds of light and mercy, rather than in the coarse pleasures he indulges in today -- gluttony, fornication, ostentation, boasting, and envious vying with his neighbor? I am certain this is not a vain hope and that the day will come soon.
If we are defined by reason and morality, then reason and morality must define our choices, even when animals are concerned. When people say, for example, that they like their veal or hot dogs too much to ever give them up, and yeah it's sad about the farms but that's just the way it is, reason hears in that the voice of gluttony. We can say that what makes a human being human is precisely the ability to understand that the suffering of an animal is more important than the taste of a treat.
Mirrors on the ceiling,The pink champagne on iceAnd she said 'We are all just prisoners here, of our own device'And in the master's chambers,They gathered for the feastThey stab it with their steely knives,But they just can't kill the beastLast thing I remember, I wasRunning for the doorI had to find the passage backTo the place I was before'Relax,' said the night man,'We are programmed to receive.You can check out any time you like,But you can never leave ...
Of all the dangerous ideas that health officials could have embraced while trying to understand why we get fat, they would have been hard-pressed to find one ultimately more damaging than calories-in/calories-out. That it reinforces what appears to be so obvious - obesity as the penalty for gluttony and sloth - is what makes it so alluring. But it's misleading and misconceived on so many levels that it's hard to imagine how it survived unscathed and virtually unchallenged for the last fifty years. It has done incalculable harm. Not only is this thinking at least partly responsible for the ever-growing numbers of obese and overweight in the world - while directing attention away from the real reasons we get fat - but it has served to reinforce the perception that those who get fat have no one to blame but themselves. That eating less invariably fails as a cure for obesity is rarely perceived as the single most important reason to make us question our assumptions, as Hilde Bruch suggested half a century ago. Rather, it is taken as still more evidence that the overweight and obese are incapable of following a diet and eating in moderation. And it put the blame for their physical condition squarely on their behavior, which couldn't be further from the truth.