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Summer 2008 issue #14

“Choose Your Weapons”
by Cornelis van Dalen
Social violence and the soul’s effort to restore harmony in an inharmonious world

How many people are adverse to the proclivity of the media – television, cinema and press – to sensationalise the horrid, the vulgar and the depraved actions of other humans? We have become so used to it. An article some years ago stated that the average child of five in the USA has seen 20,000 people being murdered on film. [1] The usual prefacing remarks in the television newscast of impending ‘scenes that may cause distress’ are of little use in coping with the image and its effect on the soul.

The media is also used to urge the government to curb the violence in society, to increase police control and other restraining procedures. The matter here is to draw your attention to the innate cause of this discontent in humans, what fuels it and how it may be transmuted into peaceful and positive living. It is as if we are faced with the Biblical statement ‘swords into plough shares’ in modern times.

The news of the moment is the increase in crimes committed in the United Kingdom with knives and even stabbing with shards of glass. The statistics are indeed alarming. The media is seizing every story now, as there seems to be a trend in the escalating violence of youth gangs, discontented people and perhaps too of psychotically medicated people grabbing the nearest knife to maim or murder.

Here then is the first article you will have read in the printed media on why people choose their weapons, and why knives are used in this destruction. You may not know it but criminals are divided into characteristic groups. Some will use knives, some guns; some will cheat, lie and defraud. When an individual is ‘motivated’ to crime, the use of the weapon is based on their inner quality. This quality or state is a product or outcome of digestion. Crime is a manifestation of digestion!

This will receive all kinds of chortles and snide remarks from the medical profession and authorities. Yet it has been firmly established in experiments that nutritional deficiencies cause, are the root of, aberrant behaviour. Such conduct causes social disharmony, dislocation, and grief to the perpetrator as well as to the victim. Crime is a manifestation of digestion because you are what you eat or, more accurately, what you digest. Every now and then one will read a small article, tucked away in the far corner away from an advertisement, of stories of how prisoners are helped in life by taking vitamin and mineral supplements (VMS).

In 2005 the American Journal of Psychiatry published a study which showed that children who experience malnutrition exhibit markedly increased behavioural disorders and aggression. [2] Children with nutritional deficiencies demonstrated a 41% increase in aggression at the age of eight. At 17 years of age they show a 51% increase in violent and antisocial behaviours. Nutritional science puts this down to the lack of essential vitamins, minerals and fatty acids (Omega 3 & 6). Studies are launched, programmes set up in prisons to feed VMS to the inmates. This also offsets the more than inappropriate refined and devitalised food they are offered. Institutional food catering is by its very nature low-grade fare. 

But this is all old hat. We know this, don’t we? If it is first-time news for you that the food you eat affects your behaviour, then this article and the subsequent information available from the writer is all for the good. Food and moods have long been established. Even in medieval times this was known and the preparation of elaborate sauces was undertaken to alter the effects of food on the body. This was a way to balance the humours. [3]

In Chinese medicine, food was the preferred method of healing the patient, before medicine. It was well known that if a woman wanted to change the behaviour of her husband from a violent man to one of a loving nature, for example, a visit to the wise one to receive recipes to feed him with soon caused his behaviour to change. Information as to how to do away with him was also provided – discretion assured!

However, in past ages the body-mind was more sensitive to the effects of food. As we have largely removed ourselves from Nature, we have become used to the poisons of modern food. This was aptly illustrated earlier this year in the story of 400 children from the fundamentalist Mormon Church in Texas, America, who had not been exposed to the outside world. These children had been brought up in a traditional environment locked away from time, as it were, and there were consequences for them of meeting ‘the outside world’. One of the volunteer carers of the children said: “They know nothing of the outside world. The children and their mothers did not know what to do with crayons. Our food makes them sick, because they are not used to processed food.”

Bill and Ben
The Japanese Sakurazawa Nyoiti (in English known as George Ohsawa) revived the art of food and healing in the creation of Macrobiotics, also called The Art of Living the Greater Life. Michio Kushi is the greatest living exponent in the USA of Macrobiotics. In the book Food Governs Your Destiny [4] Kushi translates the teachings of the 17th century Japanese physiognomist Namboku Mizuno for the modern world. 

The way life is traditionally discerned in the Far East is in the Philosophy of the Tao – and the manifestations of life energy called Qi (Chi) into two polarities Yin and Yang. Without going into too much detail, and in the terms of this article, note that there are essentially two constitutional types of people – Bills and Bens. [5] This can be seen in the physiognomy, the facial features, especially in the undisciplined extremes of personality.

The Bill signs of disorderly structure are: long and dark face, small and flat forehead, eyes half open or piercing, nostril uneven, and often flat, crooked mouth, uneven teeth, and square chin. We all have a predominantly Bill bloke in us or a predominantly Ben bloke. Now, when through contrary living and eating the criminal aspect finds expression in these people, the Bill bloke or ‘lad’ or ‘ladette’ will commit crimes with a tendency to rob, steal, lie, deceive, make false contracts, take other people’s property and land.

The Ben signs of a violent and excessive behaviour include: very flat forehead and back, short and widespread cheeks, big and bulging eyes or big and sunken eyes, intense strong eyes, big, wide nose, big crooked mouth, very big and strong chin, and high cheeks. The Ben excessive tendency is to kill, commit arson, rape, commit bad behaviour, rob and assault others, attack with a knife, and steal. [6]

If one peruses the headlines of the daily news, the Ben people are in control in the suburbs – knife attacks, loutish behaviour and generally cementing English football supporters’ European reputation. Fuelled by alcohol and junk food diets this sets them off. The Bills of this world who love to cheat and steal are generally identified with ‘white collar’ crimes. Recent high profile hedge fund fiascos fit into this category.

What you eat and digest is what you manifest
Diets that predominate in the western world are the foods which stimulate extreme behaviours. [See inset]. The calmness and peacefulness of the predominately vegetarian nations is obvious. Those who promote war, play aggressive business games, have violence endemic in their societies, such as the UK and USA, are high on sugar, alcohol, drugs (medicinal) and narcotics, and very poor quality food.

What you eat profoundly affects the way you view life. This is not obvious to the consumer. A story which occurred in the West Indies illustrating this point was told to me by a fellow who was part of the early macrobiotic community in Old Street, London and was, like me, sojourning for a time in the tropical sun. He knew a man who was jailed for acts of crime. While in jail he completely reformed; he became a completely different person. Upon his release he remained so for a few weeks, and then returned to his old ways again. Whilst in jail he lived on a simple diet of rice and lentils.  Outside of jail he started drinking alcohol again and consuming the many sugary drinks. Knife (machete) crimes also predominate in that part of the world.   

In a provincial European city, I once had a most enlightening conversation with the proprietor of a restaurant offering food on the macrobiotic principles. Henny was cook and waitress, and all the patrons sat around a huge oak table, refectory style. It was a most convivial atmosphere. Her story was of two gay guys who became daily consumers of her food. They had come to understand the need for this type of food and its transformative powers. Or did they? After regularly coming they then stopped. Some time passed. Finally, one of them came in to tell the story that they as a gay couple had spilt up. Between man and woman there is natural opposite or inherent polarity. In gay or lesbian couples this is not so polarised, especially so if through natural balanced eating one or both becomes truer to themselves, the ‘attraction’ is weakened.

When whole and naturally dynamic food is consumed, the spirit in people comes to be wholesomely expressed. To face tasks and challenges of life the food which fuels our physical existence needs to be of the highest quality. De-vitalised food and sugar are central to the manufacture of madness, as discussed in a previous issue of the New Physis Newsletter. [7]

The dynamics of nutrition is a larger topic than can be dealt with here. Essentially, however, excess sugar ‘undermines and hollows out the actual core of man’s being.’[8] Alcohol has a similar effect. The taste of these things and mass packaged foods which are flavoured and preserved, are craved and pursued contrary to actual biological requirements. Eating has become a sensory pleasure that is not an expression of the spirit. This signifies a corresponding impoverishment and decline of social order, which can only worsen. It is not a salutary thought.

To amend the destructive path of social disintegration and human spiritual impoverishment, a concerted effort is required to alter the essential foodstuffs we consume. We should eat simple and natural whole foods, nutritionally alive, in season and grown near to where we live. A twist to this story will illustrate the importance of local and seasonal food. The violence rate is five times higher in the far north of Australia in the month of October - November. This the season of oppressive heat, dark days and no rain, which drives people mad. Fuelled with alcohol they start beating each other up. It is known as mango madness – because it is when the mango is ripe to eat. Now the paradox is that if people there were to eat this mango they would calm down as this fruit offsets inner heat and thins the blood – thus relieving the organism of its inner tension and proclivity to violence.

In every place there is an equivalent.

Cornelis van Dalen 2008

1. Gabriel Bradford Millar, ‘Do our children need drugs against Hyperactivity?’ New View Magazine, 3rd quarter, 1998, p 22.
2. Cited:
3. This was known as humoral pathology: the science of the bodily fluids introduced by Hippocrates (ca 460 – ca 370 BC) and central to the medicine of Galen (129 – ca 200 AD) which was practised up to the 19th century. Humoral pathology is based on the notion that the human body contains four humours or bodily fluids (blood, phlegm, choler and melancholy) and that good health depends upon these humours being kept in balance.
4. Michio & Aveline Kushi, Food Governs Yours Destiny, Japan Publication, New York, 1991
5. I use these terms here so as to not complicate matters too much, for the Yin and Yang is a language all on its own. Many years ago a story was told by my fondly remembered teacher of Macrobiotics, Jon Sandifer. He was asked to present to British Airways new ideas for passengers’ food for long haul flights. Macrobiotics teaches that to eat the foods of the destination country prior to travel, or in-flight, helps our energetic adjustment to the new conditions in the destination country. This aids lessening the effect of jet lag. The whole argument is presented in the concept of Yin and Yang extending to climates and qualities of food. Summer is Yang, winter is Yin. Hot Yang climates naturally have foods which ameliorate the effects of the heat and humidity with large Yin fruit. In the depths of Yin winter we tend naturally to eat more oven-baked foods and meat which are Yang and so balance the internal effects of winter. Now the story is that Jon was asked to make this presentation to BA but was not to use the words Yin and Yang. This would surely close the minds of the executives. So Jon used Bill and Ben and won them over. Changes were made to the menus. I am not sure if this is still the case on “the world’s favourite airline”.
6. Kushi, p 122
7. Cornelis van Dalen, ‘The Manufacture of Madness’, New Physis Newsletter,  #12, Spring 2007
8. Gerhard Schmidt, Essentials of Nutrition, BioDynamic Literature, USA, 1987. P.191

Inset table.
Strong Yang Foods:
Refined salt.
Lobster, crab, other shellfish.
More balanced foods:     
Unrefined sea salt, naturally salty seasonings.
White fish meat.
Whole grain cereals.
Beans (pulses).
Vegetables & Fruit from temperate climates.
Natural grain-based sweeteners (barley malt, etc.)
Strong Yin Foods:
White rice, white flour.
Frozen and canned foods.
Tropical vegetable & Fruits (includes tomatoes, potatoes, aubergines, etc.)
Milk, cream, yoghurt, ice cream.
Spices, aromatic and stimulating beverages.
Honey, sugar, refined & artificial sweeteners.

Taken from the Macrobiotic classification of food.

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