Dieting for Eden

Roger Scruton, in his History of Modern Philosophy, notes that “Naturalism is the theory that the ideal of the good life is to be derived not from divine precept but from a description of human nature.” (108)

This is not necessarily a bad thing, nor is it a good thing necessarily. All talk of improving the body to the end of living better life is, at core, naturalism at work. Cooking shows, weekend spas and masseuses, hair, nails, makeup, fashion and clothing; the bodybuilding, exercise, and supplement industry; sports and recreation; natural drugs, stamina enhancers, and miracle medicines; home remedies; natural, organic, and paleo diets promising longer, healthier, sexier, stronger lives.

None bad in themselves, but most certainly naturalistic in that they all attempt to describe the human body and prescribe what will enhance it, extend it, fulfill its wants, needs, happiness, and ultimate ends. Fish oil will reverse your aging wrinkles; cod liver oil will prevent heart disease; certain teas will destress your mind; various herbs will enlarge your members; scientific formula will cure depression; water, walking, and proper sleep will decrease chances of yet discovered maladies.

It becomes worship when these products are marketed despite their many warnings and disclaimers, which require further promising medications. The people running in local cities aren’t merely doing so for their health but more fundamentally for their ontological and teleological fulfillment as Naturalistic human beings. A light amateur study of offered diets and eating/exercising patterns leads one to conclude that we are being directed back to the Garden of Eden where everything is organic, untainted, chemical- and GMO-free, non-meat, all-veggie, gluten-free, no fluoride, no wheat, no fat, all fruit, natural vitamins, pure hydration, in small amounts, every few minutes or hours; eating, playing, sleeping, and mating at leisure all day. In a word, we are dieting for heaven. Thus, Scruton comments of Naturalism,

“Such a theory aims to show that evil is against nature, while good fulfills it.” (Ibid)

In light of Naturalism’s Eden, we might say that for Naturalism what is against Nature is capital ‘E’ Evil and its fulfillment capital ‘G’ Good.


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