The stuff that shapes us

There is symmetry between our dietary and political preferences:

They have biological antecedents, but are formed by the people who raise us and the circumstances in which we are raised.

The stuff we consume shapes us, literally and figuratively.

Food and politics both become our symbolic identity. We are what we eat. We see the world for what it is. We taste with our tongues. We vote with our hearts. The frontal cortex is largely left out of the loop. Arguments about American interventionism and the best slice of pizza in Manhattan each carry the undertone of existential threat.

As we age, we meet new people, visit new cities, and our diets and political opinions shift – quite unintentionally. One morning, we are surprised to find ourselves eating asparagus and supporting a flat tax. But, we are resolute that these new opinions are the correct opinions, and have always been the correct opinions. We congratulate ourselves for our own keen judgment and uncommon courage.

Where diet and politics differ:

Some people intentionally change their diet.

Those that do begin to perceive the relationships between input and output, context and tradeoff, control and randomness. Food is no longer a mirror; food is an instrument, like any other. We aren’t what we eat.

Imagine if we approached our political opinions in the same fashion.

No, no. We are already in perfect shape.