It is often considered a wise thing to quote that man must “eat to live, not live to eat”. To pretend that we are civilized beings above such animal concerns.
Really though, all mankind can ever do is live to eat. From our earliest beginnings, the four basic driving needs of man: water, food, shelter and reproduction, have governed all we do and will continue to do so (I also believe that mankind has a spiritual need, but a food blog is no place to talk religion). Even the wealthiest oligarch must still consider “what is for luncheon and when will it be served?” All we have done is cover up our basic needs with a thin veneer of civilization.
However, it is only a steady supply of food that allows civilization to exist. Without it we would quickly descend into chaos and anarchy. Without it we would never have risen above being hunter gatherers, always on the move looking for the next meal, without the time to consider the science, art and music that we think makes us so clever. But, we trick ourselves into believing we are above such matters. We are 21st century people, doing great and noble things; “Look at what we have achieved, how far we have come. We can live for science, love, beauty, ideals. We can do anything, be anything…oh, and whats for tea tonight?”
Whether you are wondering where your next meal is coming from or planning your latest fad diet, we live to eat. The minutae of our lives revolve around mealtimes. Abstain, indulge or everything-in-moderation, it’s all about food. Socrates was probably no fun to cook for, no wonder his wife nagged him.*
So eat to live or live to eat? I believe in a middle ground.
Eat well to live.
*Xantippe, Socrates wife, had a reputation for being argumentative. Can you imagine though? You spend all day slaving over a hot…um, slave (?) while your husband is at the Areopagus philosophising with his mates; and when he gets back he acts like he’s too morally superior to eat his dinner. Can’t say I blame her for that chamberpot incident…
“Writing destroys memory and weakens the mind….it is an inhuman thing”- Socrates
” ‘The only wisdom is in knowing that you know nothing’. Dude that’s us!”- Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure
Picture credit: By Reyer van Blommendael – Web Gallery of Art: Image Info about artwork, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8103963