Before undertaking this lifestyle I realized that I was beginning yet another experiment in my life. I knew that this new endeavor could fall prey to poor religious thinking. I told my wife that I was well aware that the Paleo lifestyle had all the possible trapping of religion and that I would try to keep an eye on all those religious pitfalls.
The word “religion” is used in contrast to “philosophy” in a negative way because as oppose to philosophy, religion is sanctioned off from questioning by using the taboo part of the brain. Philosophy, on the other hand, is always open to discussion, dialogue and change.
Here are some of the pitfalls of what I call the negative aspects of religious thinking — see how the apply to Paleo, Primal or low-carb practitioner:
- Bracingly Stubborn: Doing something counter to what society considers “normal” is difficult. It takes a certain amount of self-discipline, strength and resolution of will to break out of the norm. Stubborn blindness is what happens when this effort is not checked.
- Self-righteousness & Judgement: Because one undertakes the Paleo lifestyle for health reasons, and it take disciple, the temptation of condemning self-righteousness is huge. After not even too long into it, you will be tempted to look down on fat people with either pity or detest. Like religious people, we feel we are on a mission for a higher purpose. This can lead to the vice of pride.
- Closed Epistemology: We develop our own major prophets (I won’t name them), and our own sacred texts. We live in an echo chamber reading more and more from those who agree with us. We listen only to those in our tribe. We seek out confirmatory information only. We are closed from outside input. We reflexively ignore the weaknesses in the system and suppress our own doubts to maintain our convictions.
- Evangelical: We want to tell everyone of this better path. We aggressively tell others what they should do, even when they don’t want to hear. We justify our intrusiveness by telling ourselves it is for the better of the other person.
- Truth over Relationships: Some will start sacrificing relationships for their dogma. They will alienate friends with their self-righteousness, their evangelism or their social awkwardness.
- Denominationalism: We soon splinter off, in spite of great commonality, into smaller circles over how much fat, how much fruit, milk or no milk, etc… And the bad mouthing is embarrassing.