Friday, 4 November 2011

On the nature of rules

Over the last few weeks I've become increasingly aware of an uneasiness within myself with regard to the lack of structure in my diet. I've felt gradually more drawn to very structured ways of eating, such as the raw food diet, and I find myself wanting to make up little challenges and rules dictating how and when to eat. "If all you've consumed by 10:30 is water, you can have some honey on your rice cake." "You should see if you can make this apple last all day."  This is the first time in years that this has happened with no conscious effort on my part and I'm kind of bemused - though not troubled - by it.

Rules are good things. Structure prevents the world from falling into chaos. Suddenly I see with great clarity how absurd it is to allow one's eating to be dictated by whims and hunger and sporadic cravings. Imagine if everyone just did exactly as they felt all the time - the world would go to mayhem! Much better to be disciplined about these things, and have a plan. It makes everything more stable, and I feel calmer.

It's not so much a lucid thought process (unless I deliberately try to articulate it, as I have in this post) as an ill-defined assurance that this is the right way to do things. More and more, unstructured eating feels like writing a sentence that you know is ungrammatical but you can't figure out why; it just doesn't sit quite right with you. Eating within rules feels like the "aha!" moment when you look in the dictionary and realize that all this time you've been using that transitive verb without an object.

(Ok, you can insert your own analogy there if you're not a linguistics nerd... I know you all know the feeling I mean.)

No comments: