Beer and pizza or body and brains?

The most common response to those who suggest a fitness or truly intellectual lifestyle – not to say both, to the extent to which people have experienced anything like it – is that both have implications for things like the consumption of beer and pizza. In order to, for example, stay below 10 per cent of body fat, one cannot drink beer and eat pizza on a weekly, much less daily basis. And to read a lot of books is just boring (and time-consuming) – TV shows and smart phone games are more fun – some say.

That is, to put it simple, a correct observation. Fast food, candy, cookies, snacks and alcoholic beverages are all things that one simply cannot eat and drink more than on rare occasions, and in order to develop one’s intellectual faculties one must largely neglect that sort of pastimes in favor of reading, writing, revising and analyzing.

But, when all comes around, who does honestly think that beer, pizza and TV are more important than body and brains? There are a couple of quotes from the Spanish philosopher José Ortega y Gasset that might be rather illuminating in this regard:

For me, then, nobility is synonymous with a life of effort, ever set on excelling oneself, in passing beyond what one is to what one sets up as a duty and an obligation. In this way the noble life stands opposed to the common or inert life, which reclines statically upon itself, condemned to perpetual immobility, unless an external force compels it to come out of itself. 


For there is no doubt that the most radical division that it is possible to make of humanity is that which splits it into two classes of creatures: those who make great demands on themselves, piling up difficulties and duties; and those who demand nothing special of themselves, but for whom to live is to be every moment what they already are, without imposing on themselves any effort towards perfection; mere buoys that float on the waves.

Here one must, however, be careful not to imply something which would be misguided to assert. First of all, the body and brains lifestyle is just one thinkable option, and even though the main idea and its general practices are universally applicable, it is not meant to be something which all should partake in. Rather the other way around, it is quite narrow and ‘elitist’ and almost bound to shut most people out. Or to look at in another way, one could stress that it is theoretically open to almost everyone, but closed for most people in practice for various reasons. One such reason is related to taste – everyone does not simply like to train and/or to read scientific and classic literature. And this is not say to say that one is a good person or not.

Thus, although one has to choose between on one hand beer and pizza or body and brains on the other, there are a vast number of both good and bad options to pick from with regard to lifestyle.