I gotta have my orange juice.

Jesu, Juva

Rhythm and shock

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Organic life must be lived rhythmically. It must get its fulfillment by being treated in the way life must be treated, and life must be treated organically. And that’s what is the main problem of metabolism is rhythm: when to sleep, when to breathe, when to eat. Once you give this to the organism, it is satisfied. Can you see this? Rhythm, gentlemen, is the treatment for the first [sphere] of your own individual existence. If you treat your own body rhythmically, he will get accustomed to everything. A man can live by four hours of sleep. But he has to get the four hours of sleep regularly. Then you can train your body to be satisfied with four hours of sleep, you see. You can eat very little. As you know, the hermits or the ascetics, they can live on next to nothing, if it is given rhythmically, you see. Then you can even train your body through such a thing. But you can’t forget a body. There is even the hermit in the desert; he would go seven miles or eight miles for one cup of water. But he had to stagger along every morning to get this cup of water. That’s the law of his life. He cannot forget this cup of water, even if you reduce all you take in to one cup of water. Because rhythm in our organic existence, gentlemen, is the law. What you put into this rhythm—five meals a day or three meals a day, or one meal a day—that’s up to your training. There you can stretch very much one way or the other.

And you see it with Winston Churchill. I mean, he had to have his cigars. As long as he had his cigars rhythmically, he lives up to 80. It makes no difference, all the stuff with the cigarette and lung cancer. Don’t believe a word of it, I mean.

You know the story of the Scotchman who was famous because he was 95 and still going so strong. So a prohibitionist went to see him and inquire what made him live so long. Of course, it had to be Prohibition. He’d never touched whiskey, you see, a drop of firewater. So the prohibitionist took down notes and said, “No, I never drank — milk and goat milk, specially, and I feel very good.”

“Well, how about your family? Are there other people who live so long in your family?”

“Oh,” he said, “Oh, oh yes. I have a brother who’s 97.”

“Oh, I must see him.”

“You can’t. He’s drunk all the time.”

Don’t believe for one moment gentlemen, that it makes the slightest difference how you live in all these respects, if you live rhythmically. You can be abstemious. And you can be voracious. I don’t believe in any of these stuffs. Once you have seen the freedom of man to move into these five spheres, an organism is mistreated once it is treated mechanically. . . You get a shock each time you cross the red light in New York as a jaywalker. There are too many shocks in modern life. That’s why all these people get cancer. Your whole system is, of course, completely disorganized. Cancer has nothing to do with Mr. Pasteur, and with bacteria, and what all these cancer doctors say and spend money on, gentlemen, you know very well why a person gets cancer: because we live a constantly mechanized life. You think how many times a person today has a slight shock to its physical, very delicate structure. Then you can see that these cells get out of control. Of course they do. Because there are demands made on a person in the modern world which weren’t made on a farmer in the back hills a hundred years ago, you see. There was no constant telephone call and no constant car crossing the road, and no truck pulling up right in front of your own car while you were going at 60, and such things. I don’t see why doctors never consider the difference in the way we live today. We have embraced as worshipers of the Devil, of the iron calf, the steel machine. And the steel machine—as all gods whom we worship, all idols—make their believers suffer. You can take that down, gentlemen. Any god makes his believers pay very highly for his worship. And you, of course, since you do not know that you have this god, you pay even more heavily. All the people who don’t know which god they have, they have Mammon as their god, and their belly. And they die from it. Why shouldn’t they? God is a very exacting magnitude in your life. And you either serve the right god or the wrong god.

Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy, Comparative Religion, 1954

Written by Scott Moonen

January 15, 2020 at 10:14 am

Posted in Quotations

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