To Exist is to Aggress

Pacifism is defined by Google as the belief that any violence, including war, is unjustifiable under any circumstances, and that all disputes should be settled by peaceful means.

But what does that mean in practice? I think many if not most of us agree: violence is to be avoided if at all possible. Except therein lay a clue: avoid violence. If the avoidance of harming others or self is the core determinant of an idea, is not the thing being avoided foundational to the concept?

In other words, the desire to solve problems without violence — or refusing ever to solve a problem through violence — has an unspoken, painful truth. The violence is always lurking in the shadows, ready to show its ugly head if it must.

To exist is to throw yourself violently against the world. Why? Because to exist is to sustain your life inevitably and always at the expense of some other life.

Consider that you are living and breathing because your biological ancestors at various stages in the past stole from other living beings, consumed their life, killed others for all kinds of reasons, and on and on.

Consider that your life today is sustained through the consumption of other living things. Your body does not convert solar energy into sustenance. You must consume to survive.

To exist is to aggress.

And where aggression doesn’t rise to the surface, it’s always there in the background. The miracle of humanity is in how we’ve been able to tame our violent natures just enough to work together, collaborate, and build systems that improve our lives.

That doesn’t mean the aggression goes away. This is the insight of Christianity: that we all carry within us this torch of aggression. In Biblical terms, its’ called “original sin.” While a bit too vague and distasteful in our modern anti-religious times, “original sin” captures the spirit of the problem.

You and I are violently alive.

The capacity for aggression is in all of us and it is there because it has led to our survival over countless eons of existence.

Know it. Accept it. And remember: we’re always at risk of backsliding into terrible, monstrous actions. That potentiality exists in all of us. To deny it is to ignore the nature of your existence.

To exist is to aggress.

Getting Started With 16:8 Intermittent Fasting on The Leangains Method Diet

When you start a new diet you’ve got a lot to work out. It’s hard. Your body and brain struggle to incorporate change, and the newness of the approach introduces uncertainty and can lead to flail. You’ve got to make loads of decisions all while maintaining control and willpower is critical. You’ve got to figure out:

  • What to eat — What types of food are allowed? What macronutrients are you shooting for (e.g. grams of protein, carbs, fat)?
  • When to eat — Are you trying to eat at certain times? Not at other times?
  • How much to eat — If you eat a lot of food at one meal, how does that impact future meals?
  • When to workout — Oh right, your diet probably has a workout attached to it. So you gotta figure out when you can get to the gym—and then what exercises to do, how often, and how heavy.

It’s no wonder diets are so groan-inducing.

Understanding Bodyweight and Glycogen Depletion

If you are dieting or are planning to start a diet, you need to understand the connection between bodyweight and glycogen, that is how carbohydrates get stored in your liver and muscles, so you don’t overestimate your weight loss as you cut carbs—or your weight gain if you add some back. Understand the connection and you’ll have a much better chance of keeping your cool for the long-haul when swings inevitably happen.

So what exactly is going on?

The Leangains Method | Diet & Book Review

Does the world need another diet book or fitness routine? Check the news and you see obesity levels rising globally, ever more new and weird diets, and a lot of people wanting to improve their health but failing, lacking the tools, gumption, or know-how to do it.

Available at, of course, Amazon for $10. NOTE: All links to the book in this review are affiliate, which basically means I make a little more than fifty cents if you happen to buy the book based off this review. Yay. 🤷‍♂️

Think about this: we have two popular diets right now that are both, on the face, downright extreme. One is based on eating big ribeye steaks every day with no fruits or vegetables (The Carnivore Diet). Another is based on eating fat and little fruits, veggies, and a little protein to maintain a constant state of ketosis (The Keto Diet).

This isn’t diet innovation, it’s flail. And with flail comes failure. So while we may not need another “new” diet, we do need a method in the madness. A method that works.

Today, August 16, 2018, after nearly a decade of waiting, Martin Berkhan has put to words a system—a methodbacked by research, practiced successfully by thousands, and “perfected.” It’s called The Leangains Method: The Art of Getting Ripped ($10, Amazon Affiliate Link).

For the unfamiliar, Berkhan is the Polish-German Swede who originated 16:8 intermittent fasting over ten years ago. He’s deadlifted 700+ lb. (315+ kg) at over 3.5X his bodyweight and is, well, shredded. It’s ridiculous how lean and strong the guy is.

Martin transformed his physique over years, learning the most effective way to do it through trials, tribulations, research, and clients. The Leangains Method is his story—and what he learned, distilled so you can put it to work in your life.

I’ve followed Martin via Leangains.com for years and have come to know him better than most—I even get a shout in the Acknowledgements to the book. Aside from him (now) being a friend, Martin has been my coach and teacher, often in ways that I’m not sure he realizes. Martin’s greatest strength isn’t his deadlift, it’s his focus and no-bullshit attitude. Through it, he’s acquired clarity of mind on how to be strong and lean—and then shared that clarity with us.

Before and after photos may be cheesy, and, well, when they are yours, they make you squirm. A lot. But publishing them is proof: The Leangains Method works. It worked for me first when it was in it’s infancy almost a decade back—after trying and failing at low-carb, Paleo, CrossFit, and more.

The Leangains Method still works for me to this day.

If you’re interested in The Leangains Method and want to know more, well, read on.

How to Fix the World

The world’s got problems. Poverty, sickness, violence, crime, exploitation, and countless other bad things exist. They are not good. What more, their very existence is a red flag that something must be done. But what?

No matter your politics or philosophy, most of us would agree making the world a better place is a desireable goal. Where we all differ is in deciding what should be done to accomplish that goal.

So let’s break it down.

The Mote and the Beam

From the Sermon on the Mount comes the story of the Mote and the Beam. A refresher:

1 Judge not, that ye be not judged.
2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye. — Matthew 7:1-5 KJV 

I’m no Biblical scholar. That’s my dad. But what of the mote and the beam? Is it merely a store about being hesitant to judge others? Maybe. Or maybe it’s something more.

How Mobile Hijacked Human Nature

We live in abundance, so why does our attention feel so scarce?

Our biology hasn’t caught up to our technology. Today, we live in a time of abundance — abundance of information, content, and connectivity. Yet our time and attention has never felt more scarce — or scattered. How we manage the interplay between these dynamics is critical to our future yet completely unresolved. We are in uncharted territory.

The Axis of Content Consumption is Attention

The democratization of content may have already happened but it’s far from over. Today, we are all drowning to consume as much content as possible, treading water as we doll out our time to whatever content manages to grab our attention. And no matter what we choose, we never feel like we make the tiniest dent. We’re left dissatisfied and still drowning. The Internet is a flood.

The Democratization of Content

Prerequisite.

Benedict Evans has two thoughtful articles out about content creation versus consumption (and how mobile versus PC relates to the two) and the end of “Content is King.” If you follow Evans on Twitter (and you must if you are at all interested in macro-tech trends, Amazon, Google, Facebook, Apple, etc.), you’ll find both of these articles put lots of words behind ideas he’s been brooding on for some time.