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Trends That Baffle Me: Sustaining Oneself On Sunlight

Since joining the Atheist Nexus I've debated about writing a blog. I've never expressed myself regarding atheism and it's been difficult to whittle down a subject to focus on. But after bashing my head against my desk a few times yesterday after reading an article in my local newspaper it dawned on me I might have something to write about.

I'd like to take this first blog as an opportunity to open a series with no reliable frequency regarding trends and other stupid shit that completely baffle me. It won't always be about religion --- that subject is handled thoroughly across this network --- but it will express my sincere confusion for the very stupid things people do when all the information available should tell them otherwise.

Today we're going to discuss a New Age fad that concerns replacing food consumption with light consumption, popularly known as Breatharianism.

Eastside woman eschews food to live on sunlight

Naveena Shine says she's testing out living on light and no food. She's now on Day 43.

This is the article that forced me against my will to injure my skull. After returning my eyeballs from the back of my head and returning my chin to its proper place I slapped my face a few times in continued disbelief because I couldn't fathom why such an article had even been written. Let alone place on the front page of the Seattle Times... as the lead story!

And it opens with a few gems like this:

  • "It would be the most wonderful thing this world could have."
  • "Can you imagine, if we did not have to eat, how free our lives would be?"
  • "...we could turn our planet back into a place of beauty."

And she goes on to express similar lines of reasoning based of the hope she can prove a person can somehow sustain themselves on sunlight. There's also a dash of anti-corporations in there as well.

For brevity's sake, and for those of you who can't be arsed to read the article these are the failures of human reasoning I gathered:

Evident signs the experiment just isn't working

  • Has lost weight, not gained weight (31 lbs)
  • Has been periodically adding trace particles of food in her sunlight diet (vitamins, tea, milk)
  • Yet acts like that isn't food
  • Body began shaking for a few days then stopped shaking --- she views it as a good sign
  • Spells of dizziness, tiredness
  • After drinking water she threw up
  • Admits she knows doctors wouldn't recommend what she's doing but she does it anyway

Nevertheless, she remains hopeful and the experiment continues. She says she'll consider stopping if her weight falls below 125 lbs, not to exceed 120 lbs. (She started at 153 lbs).

Lifelong mismanagement of personal funds

  • Has only made enough money to get by
  • Preferred to spend more time doing whatever
  • 65 years old, no saving
  • Maxed out her credit cards on surveillance equipment to prove her dedication to everyone
  • Relies on $350/mo from Social Security
  • Don't retirees receive more from Social Security?

So she maxed out her credit cards to pay for cameras, a computer, and a hard drive to prove her veracity while having no money in savings and supplements her non-existent income with social security checks.

She bought a station wagon and outfitted it to be a mobile living space, which I guess isn't all that bad if that's what you want to do in life but it's dawned on me while reading through the article that if it weren't for social security she'd be fucked.

Which makes me wonder about another thing... I thought a social security beneficiary received more than $350/mo. Isn't the more credit hours you work in your life the more you receive from social security? Didn't this thought ever cross her mind? Please correct me if I'm wrong, I'd love to be made an idiot in my first blog.

Equally idiotic friend

  • Though she checks on the sunlight eater frequently she somehow misses all the signs
  • Believes old girl is smart

I don't really know what to say about this person. It just felt necessary to mention her.

History of poor reasoning

  • She was a member of a cult in the 1980's ran by the Rolls-Royce Guru out of Oregon.
  • You Wikipedia it.
  • She still defends the cult.

This portion would be its own blog. I just add it to show this hasn't been the only occasion in her life she hasn't fully thought through something; and it serves as an indicator there might be something fundamentally wrong with this person. In fact, people with this sort of history is why I've decided to make a series about this subject.

A doctor in the news story comments...

  • "It's well-established that humans can't do photosynthesis."

What a smartass.

Now that all of that is out of the way...

My Two Cents

I simply don't understand how a person could overlook the fact the good doctor conveyed so perfectly above.

How does one simply toss away every intelligent thing they've ever learned and fully ignore the ramifications their actions would have despite the fact they've seen the ramifications before? Are there not well-documented cases of people starving in Africa perfectly exposed to the light? Is it not proven people in well-nourished countries have died of anorexia? What is even the mechanism that would enable the human body to process sunlight in a way that would nourish the body?

At what point does it enter somebody's head that this would be a good idea?

It simply blows my mind the things people will do in this world despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary. How is it even possible that people behave in this way?

Money, though. I can understand how a person might not invest properly in their future. Some people have a very difficult time delaying gratification in order to invest for a greater gain in their future. There has been studies with children on delayed gratification. I've seen two: one involving marshmallows and another involving gummy bears. They both worked the same way... place a marshmallow on a plate in front of the child and tell them if they wait for a long period of time without eating the marshmallow they will receive two or more marshmallows when that time period was up. You'd think it would be pretty easy to wait 5 to 10 minutes but when watching these videos you can see the kids struggle with it.

In one case a girl, between the ages of 3 and 5, "...pretended to clop like a horse ...[while she waited for the time to be up]. ...she covered the treat with her hands, bounced it like a ball and even licked it --- all in an attempt to restrain herself."

She lasted 15 minutes. That was considered extraordinary.

These studies also correlated well with performance in later life. I don't think it takes much more leading to indicate what I am trying to say here. But at least we have an educated guess on part of the problem.

But what explains the failure of reasoning when it comes to consuming light? I can't even begin to guess how a person begins to think this would be possible.

There are other items of befuddlement I'll explore in the future of this series. No promises of when and about what. But I'm curious... has anything in this blog piqued your interest? What are your thoughts about this bad craziness?

Breatharianism. Seriously? WTF?!?! %^(*%^&(%%(*$%(@#%$^

Your best buddy, Easton

P.S. I have no idea why the text in my blog keeps changing its size.

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Comment by Luara on June 16, 2013 at 10:54am

if someone's going to attempt to live off photosynthesis (sans chlorophyll injections)

You think chlorophyll injections would help?  That would be funny - naked green people around, lining the streets ... elbowing each other out of the sunlight ... vast tracts of them in the desert.

Solving global warming!

Comment by Luara on June 16, 2013 at 10:46am

I suppose there is a lot of non-religious silliness there in Seattle.  I'm in Ithaca NY, another such place, the anti-vaxxers etc abound and cause problems due to gnashing of teeth. 

One famous "breatharian" was caught sneaking into a fast food joint. 

I think there is a cult psychology aspect:  breatharian leaders especially cheat, but delude themselves and delude others.  The followers have sometimes taken it literally and die. 

Comment by Kris Leeds on June 16, 2013 at 10:02am
You'd think, at the very least, if someone's going to attempt to live off photosynthesis (sans chlorophyll injections), they'd do it somewhere other than fucking Seattle.

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