Something I haven’t seen philosophers (besides Nietzsche) talk about: the philosophy of physiology. Let me make an attempt to construct my personal philosophers about physiology:

What is physiology?

back muscle flex eric kim

Simply put, physiology is anything that has to do with the human body. Nutrition, muscles, blood, sinews, bones, etc.

Why physiology?

Selfie. Hanoi, 2016

There’s too much faith in the mind, not enough faith in the body. In fact, most philosophers and thinkers have been anti-body— thinking that the body was the source of evil vices (sins of the flesh), and the only road to salvation was through purity of mind-soul.

The wisdom of the body.

I believe there is great wisdom in the body. In fact, what is “wisdom” anyways?

Wisdom as what brings you physiological thriving and maximal wellness.

Consider, there is probably 1000x more wisdom in our stomach (and gut) than our brain. Consider how a stomachache, or food poisoning.

Follow your gut

Medium-rare piranha, my favorite cut of meat (Fogo de Chau)
Medium-rare piranha, my favorite cut of meat (Fogo de Chau)

You know the saying ‘follow your gut’? It seems like it rings quite true.

I remember as a student, when taking a multiple choice test, whenever I followed my gut, I usually got the answer right. But when I followed my ‘brain’ and ‘rational mind’, I often got the answer wrong.

What should you and shouldn’t you eat?

Crockpot bone marrow and ground beef in the oven.
Crockpot bone marrow and ground beef in the oven.

Everyone’s stomach is different. Everyone has a different ‘microbiome’ and so forth.

For example, as an East-Asian man, I cannot tolerate lactose or milk products well, whereas my Germanic-Northern-European friends can. There are certainly some genetic differences in terms of certain food tolerances.

Another thing: I have very low tolerance to alcohol. I get hangovers easily, and drunk quite easily. Also after drinking a bit of alcohol, I get ‘asian glow’ (I turn quite red), whereas my Irish-Germanic friends (or European/Mediterranean friends) can tolerate alcohol very well.

Yes, everyone is different.

I love Indian food, but cannot tolerate coconut milk in too high doses, whereas my South-Asian and Southeast Asian friends can quite easily.
I love Indian food, but cannot tolerate coconut milk in too high doses, whereas my South-Asian and Southeast Asian friends can quite easily.

Therefore it seems that you need to experiment a lot in terms of discovering the ideal foods and drinks for yourself. Also, there are sex differences– generally I heard that men can tolerate fasting (a little bit better) than women can. Perhaps this has to do with ovulation and birth (if a woman fasts too much, they become infertile, because perhaps their bodily hormones signal that there might not be enough food for the future baby-fetus).

Anyways, the ultimate point I want to make is this:

Everyone’s bodily physiology is different, and your goal is to discover the best diet/nutrition/climate/lifestyle/exercise regiment for yourself.

Why is physiology moralized?

selfie iPhone pro silhouette

This is what I find interesting — so much of physiology is moralized. For example, gluttony is seen as a sin. People with a higher bodyfat percentage are generally seen as more lazy, greedy, weak-willed, and less competent. However people who are more muscular, lower bodyfat percentage, are seen as more intelligent, industrious, hard working, and so forth.

Why is this? My theory:

If you look physically superior, you’re seen as more useful to the local community — to fight, defend, hunt, and procure resources.

However if you have a worse body physique, you might be seen as a burden on the community. Others might fear that you won’t pull your weight, you will eat more than your “fair share”, and that you won’t work hard for behalf of the community.

Therefore your body isn’t seen as your body — your body is seen as belonging to the community and tribe.

Why focus on your body?

Selfie body muscle chest

The source of all your wisdom, knowledge, and life originates from your body. Your “soul” is your body. Once your body dies, so does your soul.

What has held back the progress of philosophy, and philosophy of the body? The notion of an immortal soul that will exist after you die.

Once we accept the notion of a mortal soul, then philosophy starts to get really interesting, fun, exciting, challenging, and dangerous!


red selfie ERIC KIM eye flash

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