The Thirst for Hunger — Intermittent Fasting, Ketogenic Diet and the Facilitation of Learning

The Thirst for Hunger — Intermittent Fasting, Ketogenic Diet and the Facilitation of Learning

by Mathias Cronqvist

I love to fast. I love it when I have eaten clean food. I cannot study if I have eaten chocolate. I cannot justify my existence if I have not trained for over three days. If I feel fat I cannot think, except about my fatness.

Originally I began lifting weights to look handsome and be liked by other people, not the least women. Now I train because I want to be able to do anything else. I train now to be liked by myself and stay liked by myself. I eventually realized I need to thoroughly, profoundly love myself, my whole being and existence, in order to be genuinely liked by anyone else. And to love myself, I must be able to admire myself when I look in the mirror. 

My body must represent my mind, my intellect. If I feel fat and ugly, I can barely think, I can barely read any book. If I eat sweets and I cannot justify it by either having lifted weights before, or redeemed myself by doing just that afterwards, I feel disgusting, absolutely worthless and not even in any interesting bohemian sense akin to the “troubled mysterious deep dude”. I just plain suck and shouldn't even die, I should never have been born in the first place.

But let me fast for three whole days after training and a ketogenic meal and I will feel angelic and blissfully professional, almost forgetful that I have a body were it not for the sweet, sweet pain of the skin tightening around my torso and legs. That exquisite choking of my skeleton by my flesh, it is the only bodily sensation that feels numinous enough that it won't hinder my learning and reading experience. When I fast I read faster and I remember more of what I have read. Occasionally this blissful feeling can transition to the sensation of an angelic state of divine orgasm: hunger is a lovely succubus, caressing the sides of my lower back until the fat there is no more.

Fasting is verily the greatest lifehack, and so ridiculously easy. Just don't eat. Drink only water, coffee and tea.

This is not an easy thing to do for an utter beginner. In the beginning not eating for one day will feel like a daunting task. But incrementally one will more easily fast for longer by each consecutive attempt. Eating ketogenic meals in-between greatly helps.

You don't need to be an ascetic mystic steeped in the Occult and esotericism to find fasting appealing. Even the Ancient Greek rationalists and Imperial Roman sages knew of the more mundane merits of fasting, in particular as a means for the facilitation of learning, as Jeanette Winterson writes in her The Guardian article on fasting: 

It’s important to say that fasting is not starvation. The anxiety and fear that attend lack of food in critical circumstances of famine or enforced deprivation are not present if you are fasting voluntarily. Nor are you beating up your body to get it in line. You are in control, but this is a partnership – your body and you. When I began reading about fasting, before it was my turn to try it, I found that religious visionaries such as St John of the Cross, St Augustine, Hildegard of Bingen and Julian of Norwich all recommended fasting as a way to clear the head and concentrate. Gandhi fasted in order to focus his mind. Pythagoras refused to accept anyone into his school who did not know how to fast.
The Greeks intrigued me. Our religions are imports from the east where ascetic practice is normal, so I would expect to find a tradition of fasting there, but the Greeks were rationalists, the founders of western medicine. But here are Plato and Socrates fasting for mental efficiency, Plutarch advocating a day of fasting for any minor disorder, and Hippocrates saying that “to eat when you are sick is to feed your sickness”.

Put this way, surely to fast is to be a traditionalist par excellence, upholding a custom rooted in both the West and the Orient, in both Athens and Jerusalem. Truly, fasting is so traditionalist that even before our species constructed civilizations and empires, it fasted on a regular basis in-between hunting down and eating wild game. In a way, it is the ultimate tradition, from which soon enough sprung the thirst for transcendence, the thirst for magnificence, the thirst for a higher purpose above mundane living—the pursuit of salubrious living.

As fasting makes us better at thought, it is in a way not only traditional, but humanistic as well. The idea of Humanism is to cultivate and enhance that which makes us uniquely human, distinct from animals. Only Man can learn the grammar and vocabulary of language, the logic and knowledge of philosophy, the rhythm and rhymes of poetry—and fasting evidently makes these endeavours so much easier to partake in. I can personally vouch for this, and I have some of the Founding Fathers of Western Civilization providing me their authority on the matter.

So why don't you give fasting a shot, dear reader?

Mathias Cronqvist is a Swedish cosmopolitan against multiculturalism. Likes Paleoconservatism and fitness equally, along with the study of the Western Canon and the Occult. Currently residing in Stockholm, Sweden.

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