The human body is the best picture of the human soul.
Ludwig Wittgenstein

There is more wisdom in your body than in your deepest philosophy.
Friedrich Nietsche

Our body is a machine for living. It is organized for that, it is its nature. Let life go on in it unhindered and let it defend itself.
Leo Tolstoy

Modern medicine, for all its advances, knows less than 10 percent of what your body knows instinctively.
Deepak Chopra

Everything you'll ever need to know is within you; the secrets of the universe are imprinted on the cells of your body.
Dan Millman

Man consists of two parts, his mind and his body, only the body has more fun.
Woody Allen

There are two classes of diseases—bodily and mental. Each arises from the other, and neither can exist without the other. Thus mental disorders arise from physical ones, and likewise physical disorders arise from mental ones.
Mahabharata

Man is an intelligence in servitude to his organs.
Aldous Huxley

L'art est fait pour troubler, la science rassure.
Georges Braque (1882 - 1963)

Le tout se propose la réalisation de l'antique projet épicurien: jouir du pur plaisir d'exister
Onfray (2000)

Je prends mes désirs pour la réalité, car je crois à la réalité de mes désirs.
Graffiti, Sorbonne 1968

Travel is a state of mind. It has nothing to do with distance or the exotic. It is almost entirely an inner-experience.
Paul Theroux

Turn your churches into halls of science, and devote your leisure day to the study of your own bodies, the analysis of your own minds, and the examination of the fair material world which extends around you!
Frances Wright (1829)

Suspend your preconceptions. There may be less to intelligence than meets the eye.
Rodney Brooks

The first law of dietetics seems to be: if it tastes good, it's bad for you.
Isaac Asimov

Lithium prevents my seductive but disastrous highs, diminishes my depressions, clears out the wool and webbing from my disordered thinking, slows me down, gentles me out, keeps me from ruining my career and relationships, keeps me out of a hospital, alive, and makes psychotherapy possible.
Kay Redfield Jamison

The art of medicine consists of keeping the patient amused while nature heals the disease.
Voltaire

From one era to the next, the idea of virtue has never been anything but an invention of vice. Without ecology, how could we justify the existence of two different food regimes, one “healthy and organic” for the rich and their children, and the other notoriously toxic for the plebes, whose offspring are damned to obesity.
Tarnac10

The main purpose of the brain is to be brilliantly uncreative.
Edward de Bono

Nutrition data

A judicious choice of food is necessary but not sufficient for well-being. Avoid packaged ware from the supermarket. If the composition of non-processed food is unknown, find it by consulting data bases such as those of Wolfram or the following:

Nutrition data of USD (or here)
Agricultural data of USDA
Finding food
Drugs from plants
Know what you eat
What compound is that?
Chemical data
Rules for food

 

Food from aquaponics and hydroponics

Warnings
DIY aquaponics
Equipment for aquaponics
A start
Hydroponics
Spirulina

Alternative agriculture

Jalibroken nutrition
Spirulina

Molds and insects

Tempeh and Oncom are marvellous meat replacements that have been developed in Indonesia. They are quite tasty. As substrate for edible fungi, even organic waste can be used. Recently in Sweden a tempeh was developed using barley and oats instead of soy beans as a substrate. Mealworms and crickets are also excellent meat replacements that can be farmed on organic wastes. To produce essential amino acids and vitamins we no longer need bio-industries and large polluting fish farms; everyone who has a little space can grow them for his own consumption.

Rock 'n roll of the martial arts

Who does not harm you is not your enemy. But aggressive instincts of our fellow creatures being what they are, makes self-defence a vital skill; it is the external continuation of our internal immune system with other means. The best defense against attackers is a fast sprint. Being able to act convincingly may also help to impress and repel assailants. Check also:

Tai Ji
Karate
The intoxicated boxer
With words

and for the sedentary:

Pilates
More Pilates
More again pilates
Mat-exercise
Pilates-sites

Drugs from meditation and biofeedback

Read this introduction first
Another introduction
Open EEG do-it-yourself
Inspiration for DIY
From a smartphone
Future Health
Some other commercial sites
Peripherals

Biofeedback is also possible without electronic equipment. First read about body language, for example from The body reveals by Ron Kurtz and Hector Prestera (ignore their metaphysical explanations). Next, act out some made-up problems in front of a mirror and observe yourself. You can also do it without using a mirror, which can be called DIY-psychotherapy as first proposed by Perls, Hefferline and Goodman in their book on gestalt therapy a long time ago. Because almost everyone is a compulsive neurotic owing to a platonic brainwashing in his or her childhood, a psychotherapy is mandatory for all.

The arts

Performative arts
Creative commons

 

Open boek

Read the biopunk manifesto

 

Keyboard

Email us at:

info AT epistylion DOT org

Replace AT by @ and DOT by .

A body users manual

Synthesis of the soul

A machine is a solidified set of hard rules that does things. If it is to be used by someone who is not that machine, the user needs a manual. Useful and reliable manuals are not possible for chaotic systems and critical processes. The body is a complex set of chemical processes that runs itself and cannot have a manual because it has no user and it is chaotic. Societies of social primates are complex systems and unpredictable. However consciousness thinks it must understand what cannot be understood and manuals are made up with directives to optimize the state of the body (usually called state of mind) and the state of the society. All ideologies have such manuals inspired by relations believed to be relevant even in the absence of supporting evidence. Beliefs determine ethics although ethics do not need any ideology. Materialistic manuals for the body are pragmatic, they mention boundary conditions rather than sacred rules.

A materialist body manual might suggest to supply the body with chemicals for repair and fuel and to do things with it that have agreeable consequences. These are truisms. Obviously, access to proper food is an important factor for well-being because it is vital for functioning of the individual and of its offspring. However, western consumption is physiologically deficient and generates what are called western diseases: obesitiy, type 2 diabetes, heart failure, some cancer types, infarcts, hypertension,, and varicose veins, all conditions that do not stimulate the joys of living. The state of the body ultimately results from the action of neurotransmitters and hormones that we get out of food. Suitable amounts of those compounds make us feel well and invigorate the immune system. Endorphines are self-made analgesics, oxygen, iron, and phosphates in food make us creative. Surveillance of the proper course of physiological processes in our organs is impossible because there is no surveyor and no suitable user interface; our body produces the compounds that it needs from the food we eat. Proper nutrition may even cure chronic illnesses. To stimulate the subconscious to do its work properly, additional actions help, like sex, sport, massage, meditation, other types of do-it-yourself psychotherapy, and play. Those takes time and effort but the ancient remark that they are better for felicity than collecting property to impress others, still holds.

Nutrition

The mixture of nutritional compounds that the body needs in order to work properly has been established during prehistory from what our ancestors could find: nuts, fruits, roots, vegetables, sea animals, and carrion. In other words, amino acids, lipids, some carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins. Food is an important epigenetic modulator, it builds our "soul". We need these chemicals to run our brain and the other organs in our body. Jack Kerouac lived for years exclusively on ice cream because it contained all he needed. We steal and scavenge food from other organisms as all animals do. Agriculture came too late to have affected our physiology a great deal (small things like digestion of lactose excluded) so the food we need now has still roughly the same composition as in prehistory. But now we have to deal with commercial and other platonic restrictions that ensure that access to food is not for everyone and that processed food is not optimized for the body but for financial yield to benefit the producer and trader. Food is a commodity for speculation and a political weapon which means that a minority determines what agriculture produces: jatropha and palm oil for cars and soybeans for cattle. One eats what one can buy and if one is what one eats, people clearly are not equal. We even have to pay to remove commercially added dirt from the oxygen we need to breathe.

Atoms and molecules for ataraxia and eudaimonia

Philosophers and psychologists have two different names for well-being, eudaimonia and hedonia, but physiologically these are similar. Well-being depends on the availability of key compounds such as minerals, vitamins, essential fatty acids, and amino acids. The essential amino acid phenylalanine is a precursor necessary for the production of the neurotransmitters dopamine and noradrenaline; the essential amino acid tryptophane is a precursor for the neurotransmitter serotonine; the neurotransmitter acetylcholine is made from lecitin; the almost essential amino acid, arginine, produces the neurotransmitter NO. For fanning the right mood-enhancing body chemistry it is not sufficient to eat a diet of quinoa and chickpeas with a sardine but a low supply of essentials generates depression, neuroses, and other illnesses.

Besides for the seven essential amino acids, this holds in particular for the two essential omega-3 fatty acids, DHA and EPA. The minerals zinc, magnesium, calcium, and iron are also crucial as well as the B-vitamins, C, E, and lipoic acid. The psychological effects of these nutraceuticals on victims of western style nutrition are very clear. A sufficient consumption of these molecules and ions also reduces heart disease, some types of cancers, ADHD, depression and dementia. They may replace drugs for treatment of those conditions.

Drugs react with receptors of neurotransmitters and hormones and therefore affect our mood. Applied orally or with a needle they are not only active at the intended sites but they flush the whole system and therefore have unwanted side effects, alcohol, tobacco, and heroin more so than cannabis and MDMA. They are best avoided. That is not to say that we can do without them, on the contrary. Drugs work because we have receptors for them built on our neurons; those receptors are there for a purpose. Everyone needs drugs, they can be made internally, applied at sites in the body where they are needed and effective, and have little risk of addiction. The law and our pathetic "war on drugs" cannot prevent us to make our own dose of marihuana in the form of endocannabinoids to feel fine. It is easily done with play and sex. Dionysos was the god of dance, music, chanting, ecstasy, and drugs; not an arbitrary combination. A very positive function of using endogeneous and to a less degree exogenenous drugs is not the passive feeling of well-being that it produces but the liberation and expansion that it offers which create creativity and remove restraints to having fun. Such effects that some drugs have make their users less aggressive.

Junk food, which is known to have lots of calories and antinutrients such as partially hydrogenated fats and carbohydrates having a high glycemic index, is best avoided: excess carbohydrates are converted into abdominal fat which produces lugubrious hormones and trans fats are for blood vessels (and therefore for the brain) what Alzheimer is for the central nervous system. Yet sweet and fat are yummy. So, is eating cream pie and bacon morally good or evil? Give four arguments for each possibility and make a choice. Anyway, consuming calories at least 30% (meat 80%) less than the present average in the west would strongly improve health.

Some traditional diets:

Vegetarian
Vegan
Macrobiotic
Mediterranean
Okinawan

Synthesis of the body

The body developed in order to be able to move and it degenerates if kept immobile. Who moves sufficiently lives longer and better, has a more pleasant mood and keeps in better form than those who don't. That is an effect of evolution because the mobile had more offspring than the sedentary for several reasons. Moving well is a very efficient way to generate eudaimonia, it tickles the nervous system which then starts to produce lustful juices.

Dance is the art of the moving body which was practiced long before history. In the East Kung Fu, Yoga, Tantric techniques, and Vipassana were developed to improve neural capacities. More passive ways to activate the nervous system are massage and a medical variant Shiatzu. A sauna visit stimulates the blood vessels and since the blood vessels are the continuation of nerves with other means, a sauna visit is a continuation of meditation with other means. Almost all sports boost body chemistry (boxing, weight lifting, and ball games have many disagreeable side effects as well) but the most effective ones exercise primarily the nervous system and improve body functions. People who have a somatic job such as professional dancers, musicians, circus artists, and stage actors, practice Pilates for body integration. To exercise body control, stance, and equilibrium, Tai Ji is eminently suitable as well; the early tai ji creators discovered that improving style of moving is the best way to stimulate body capacities. Eye-hand coordination is best developed by juggling and acrobatics. Dancing and making music integrate many body functions. The martial arts are the continuation of paleolithical methods of defense against predators by conscious means; examples such as fencing, aikido, ninjitsu, and escrima, in kata and competition forms, combine all the advantages of the other sports and in addition increase the survival rate of the adept in emergencies. The endocrine organs are kept in shape with sex that produces beneficial concentrations of immune cells and critical neurotransmitters. Relaxed erotic activity is the most underestimated panacea. Who makes love becomes someone else. Hunger, pain, fear, depression, aggression, and boredom are suddely replaced by affection, love, felicity, creativity, and ataraxia. Sex prevents and even cures ills like asthma, migraine, ménière, many neuroses, and those that are said to have a "mental" component (that means all of them with the exception of infections). Other methods to deal with "psychosomatic" conditions, such as biohacking, neurofeedback, orgasmic meditation, mindfulness meditation, hypnosis, other placebos, even homeopathy, are effective as well because the brain is an accessible endocrine gland that can be stimulated to produce invaluable compounds by merely thinking. In contrast to these techniques, sex has rarely been used as part of a formalized technique to exercise the endocrine organs (as most other sports maintain muscles and nerves), at least in western psychotherapies. Erobics is not part of work-out programmes, probably because of cultural taboos, ideological disfavour, or common platonic body hatred. Even the ancient Epicureans avoided erotics for its less salutary social by-effects (at the time lust was considered a curse from Cupid). Lucretius, who was not a monk, warned against it; he knew that natural erotic drives could lead to oppression.

Usually people spend most of their time to maintain and increase their exosomatic part which involves tools, work, hobby, social contacts, play, and making things. No general advice on what to choose and what not is useful since everyone is unique and all situations and conditions differ too much to justify generalizations. The only recommendation that makes sense for all is to avoid or reject any commercial, patriotic, or religious seduction, command, or advice: "what is being marketed is necessarily inferior, otherwise it would not be advertised."