Breaking a 4-day fast. Two Observations on Epistemology and Ethics. March-5th Diary.

I broke my fast today during Dinner; I’ve fasted for exactly 4 days. I planned for 5 but it is Friday and I had family obligations to attend for. 

Observations: 

a) I could smell food when no smell was present. E.g., fried rice, braised pork, stir-fried vegetables.

b) Reading became much more difficult because of the hunger, but writing and working seemed to not be affected. 

Conclusions:

a) Perception is a two-fold process: we first have sense-data coming in, then we interpret them, make sense of them, and attach intentionality onto them. What comes into our nose is just a bunch of smells, and we interpret it (most of the times unconsciously) to find out what is this smell of. Related to this is Heidegger’s Ready-to-hand—that we perceive not passively, but actively; that we smell, most of the times, for the purpose of figuring out what is behind the smell. Here, in the state of hunger, I have the proclivity to interpret every smell as food. 

b) There may be an evolutionary bases for the difficulty in my reading. My brain was probably shouting: “COME ON, WARREN! GO AND FIND SOME FOOD! STOP READING YOUR GODDAMN À la recherche du temps perdu!”. Instead of the idleness and flaneur-esque feel in reading, in writing and working there is a goal in front of me, and in pursuing this goal awareness of everything else other than the goal seems to dim. Hence, in difficult times it is more helpful to strive for an ideal, and if you want to be a flaneur, you better be rich. 

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