Fasting, working, and censoring
I was hungry and you gave me food, I was working and you REDACTED
The two biggest news stories of the week, as far as I am concerned, are Jack Dorsey’s departure from Twitter, and the Supreme Court arguments about abortion. I plan to discuss neither here.
Instead, today we have a few shorter topics vaguely related to religion.
The United States in the early 21st century may have the lowest occurrence of fasting of any society ever established. While in some circles “intermittent fasting” is a popular health trend, for many people the concept of deliberately fasting is a strange one.
But first, what does it mean to fast? To some, fasting indicates a complete abstention from food and drink, including water. Other traditions allow for water, or even certain types of food, to be included in a fast. Fasts may be as short as skipping one meal, or as long as is survivable.
Before we assess various rationales, we must note the simplest reason, a reason so obvious it is often overlooked: we fast to remember what it is like to be hungry. Humans have had hundreds of millions of years of evolutionary pressure to cope with food shortages. The human tabula rasa1 is steeped in coping with hunger; if you deny that experience you deny part of yourself.