Insomnia, Napoleon’s letters and food

Every few months I’m afflicted by insomnia and right now happens to be one of those times. Since Friday night I haven’t been able to clock up any meaningful sleep, which as I’m sure most of you know, kind of stops you in your tracks thinking wise, and really obliterates your ability to concentrate properly. So this post is just a couple of random thoughts that have emerged from the fog that has permeated my brain.

Napoleon’s letters to Josephine.

You know, I didn’t even know of any such letters until the other day. But look,

By what art have you learnt how to captivate all my faculties, to concentrate in yourself my spiritual existence, it is  witchery, dear love, which will end only with me. To live for Josephine, that is the history of my life. I am struggling

to get near you, I am dying to be by your side ; fool that I am, I fail to realise how far off I am, that lands and provinces separate us. What an age it will be before you read these lines, the weak expressions of the fevered soul in which you reign. Ah, my winsome wife, I know not what fate awaits me, but if it keeps me much longer from you it will be unbearable my strength will not last out. There was a time in which I prided myself on my strength, and, sometimes, when casting my eyes on the ills which men might do me, on the fate that destiny might have in store for me, I have gazed steadfastly on the most incredible misfortunes without a wrinkle on my brow or a vestige of surprise :but to-day the thought that my Josephine might be ill; and, above all, the cruel, the fatal thought that she might love me less, blights my soul, stops my blood, makes me wretched and dejected, without even leaving me the courage of fury and despair. 

that is just an extract but it is quite intoxicating to read such an overt display of emotion. It was actually in the epilogue of Tyson’s autobiography that I found out about this particular letter (The version in his book is a slightly different translation.) Tyson includes another love letter, this time by Heinrich von Kleist, and describes how he’ll often sit and read it to his wife and how after they both cry together. I just find it amusing how a large number of us spend so much of our lives trying to control our emotions, to not give much away, to be in control, and then there’s something as random and ridiculous as love that can leave you devoid of the power not to reveal everything, everything, that you are feeling.

Fast Food

You know that bit in The Matrix, where Morpheus is giving his first descriptions of what ‘The Matrix’ is? You know, this bit

Well, laying there in my awake but not really with it state last night my brain kept going over the same cycle of thoughts and at the end, when my mind finally switched to something else, that scene popped into my head.

One of the thoughts focused on how we routinely handicap ourselves through the food we choose to put into our bodies. My mind went over the companies that are so dominant and present, in our everyday lives: McDonald’s, KFC, Coca Cola, Pepsi, Pizza Hut, RedBull, Burger King and many more, all of them peddling what is, when you look at what goes into these products, poison. Maybe not kill you on the spot poison, but poison that is slowly killing you or actually, rather quicker with the rise of obesity.

What cracks me up is that we know the shit that goes into that kind of food now, we know that fresh, healthy food is cheaper and yet, the profits keep rolling in for those companies. But then again, when you look at the advertising and marketing budgets these companies have I guess it really isn’t that much of a surprise. Especially when they are allowed to advertise in such insidious, pernicious ways. Take the advert below –

I think it’s pretty easy to look at that and see beyond the marketing bullshit but, the easiest thing to do is to use your view of the world as a frame of reference for everything, like I did above, to look at everything from your own standpoint. It’s a natural thing to do but the thing is, these companies tactics work spectacularly well. These companies know what they’re doing and what kind of emotions and aspirations they’re trading on and they do it using ever more sophisticated ways. It’s clear that these companies manipulate in a sickening way and to throw out things such as the consumer having free choice is really to invite the retort, why devise such elaborate campaigns to hawk your wares then? And when they do, it’s clear that for a very many people, their decision making is compromised, either by lack of awareness, education, or both.

To even begin to pull at all the different threads that I’d have to to really make the kind of salient point that this is only hinting at would require a bit longer than I’m going to give it here. It was just something that I was thinking about and have been thinking about over the last couple of years as I’ve become more aware of just how drastically diet can affect you. And that’s just talking about your general mood and happiness. In fact, the impact diet can have on your mental state is even more important when it comes to children at school, in regards to concentration and ability to think coherently.

EDIT (31/1/14): You know, when I put that first clip in from The Matrix something was telling me that I’d missed a trick somewhere. And it was this clip.

Pretty apt I think.

But anyway, a song.


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