7

votes

Did Friedrich Engels invent the Paleo Diet?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created July 22, 2011 at 6:42 PM

Was this political theorist the first person to suggest evolutionary analysis of nutrition? You can read a short article all about Engels' theories of meat and the brain, or read his longer, Darwin-influenced work, in which he writes:

Labour begins with the making of tools. And what are the most ancient tools that we find ??? the most ancient judging by the heirlooms of prehistoric man that have been discovered, and by the mode of life of the earliest historical peoples and of the rawest of contemporary savages? They are hunting and fishing implements, the former at the same time serving as weapons. But hunting and fishing presuppose the transition from an exclusively vegetable diet to the concomitant use of meat, and this is another important step in the process of transition from ape to man. A meat diet contained in an almost ready state the most essential ingredients required by the organism for its metabolism. By shortening the time required for digestion, it also shortened the other vegetative bodily processes that correspond to those of plant life, and thus gained further time, material and desire for the active manifestation of animal life proper. And the farther man in the making moved from the vegetable kingdom the higher he rose above the animal. Just as becoming accustomed to a vegetable diet side by side with meat converted wild cats and dogs into the servants of man, so also adaptation to a meat diet, side by side with a vegetable diet, greatly contributed towards giving bodily strength and independence to man in the making. The meat diet, however, had its greatest effect on the brain, which now received a far richer flow of the materials necessary for its nourishment and development, and which, therefore, could develop more rapidly and perfectly from generation to generation. With all due respect to the vegetarians man did not come into existence without a meat diet.

Furthermore, his friend Karl Marx described the process by which agriculture came to be dominant in his analysis of primitive accumulation, in which people were separated from the land and therefore had to rely on industry for their means of subsistence.

Is this the secret history of paleo nutrition?

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on July 22, 2011
at 09:41 PM

Plato always had one up on Aristotle :) Besides, Aristotelian philosophy was too confined by definition. Perhaps that's why our political system is as such - everything MUST be defined. That's why people have a tough time defining paleo - there is no defining it.

Fe29f6658ce67c1ecc4a22e960be7498

(2997)

on July 22, 2011
at 09:39 PM

I could never follow deep political analysis. The closest I get to this is the song: "Said Aristotle unto Plato, 'Have another sweet potato?' Said Plato unto Aristotle, 'Thank you, I prefer the bottle.'" That's why I prefer the comic version :-)

Bcad307b240275ae3f5820ba6eb4a712

(923)

on July 22, 2011
at 09:29 PM

I agree. However, you have to strike the root to kill the branches. Which is not a call for violence, folks. Its a metaphor.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on July 22, 2011
at 09:23 PM

Symbiotic relations, @Beyond!

Bcad307b240275ae3f5820ba6eb4a712

(923)

on July 22, 2011
at 09:19 PM

Corporate power stems directly from crony-capitalist regulatory structures that mitigate the cost of doing large-scale, trans-national business; along with IP law. I would argue that the root, here, is government, not corporate. One cannot exist in the form we see today, without the other.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on July 22, 2011
at 09:19 PM

@CaveRat - that is going on my fridge! I took the shell out of my ear years ago :)

Fe29f6658ce67c1ecc4a22e960be7498

(2997)

on July 22, 2011
at 09:09 PM

You've probably seen this now classec comic comparing Aldous Huxley to George Orwell. I must have encountered it a dozen times via StumbleUpon!: http://www.egodialogues.com/words-language/huxley-orwell.php

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on July 22, 2011
at 08:35 PM

Uh oh - are you one of us, FED?

Medium avatar

(19479)

on July 22, 2011
at 08:34 PM

You tell them Baconbitch! Upvote, upvote, upvote!

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on July 22, 2011
at 07:37 PM

Heh - re-read Gallapagos, Mer! I think Max Renn is A.H. on TMS's wall. You just posted under him a few minutes ago.

0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on July 22, 2011
at 07:27 PM

I can get all conspiracy as well. I think I recall someone once saying that a well/over fed population is pretty docile (Vonnegut???) Population overfed on waste materials = docile and dumb? I (heart) your answer. PS - who is this smartypants Max Renn anyhoo?

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on July 22, 2011
at 07:25 PM

Nailed it. Look at our country - overwork the SOB's so the only thing they can do at the end of the day is watch banal reality tv. THink for yourself? Hell no. You're an elitist if you are educated. Orthorexic if you give a crap about the origin of your food. Heretic if you question either side of the political spectrum. Keep them medicated and stressed. Sad part is that our lack of QUALITY productivity will bring everyone down.

Fe29f6658ce67c1ecc4a22e960be7498

(2997)

on July 22, 2011
at 07:19 PM

My very first Question on PaleoHacks was "Are we living in a virtual feedlot for humans?". I think the answer is, basically, 'yes'. You're right, there is any 'dastardly' person wringing their hands in glee at the devastation, but rather the *system itself* is a kind of self-sustaining machine that requires docile, ignorant and overworked people to keep it going - and so provides bad schools, bad food and too little time.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on July 22, 2011
at 06:47 PM

BTW - this better not get closed because the way you phrased this question is NOT political.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on July 22, 2011
at 06:45 PM

Dude - you are now one of my favorite PH'ers. YES! Anyone to bring up Marx/Engels and their theories on ag and the destruction of such by the corporation has my attention.

Medium avatar

(207)

on July 22, 2011
at 06:42 PM

for a nice little video on primitive accumulation, check out David Harvey here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0vTS9T81b0o

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1 Answers

8
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on July 22, 2011
at 07:00 PM

I will agree with you to an extent. If we consider the political influence then yes. But like you said, he was influenced by Darwin's work and therefore, we could posit that Darwin was the originator of nutritional evolution.

Marx, on the other hand, goes a step beyond the political bent of Engels in hypothesizing our disconnect from the land and reliance on industry. I certainly agree that the political forces of industry (corporations) have the greatest negative impact on our food system. I could go one further and be all conspiracy-theorist and say that corporations feeding us junk (mentally and nutritionally) are doing so to keep us under control. A mind fed with junk has difficulty making decisions for itself. Though I suspect it is not so dastardly and really just revolves around profiteering at the expense of humanity's progress.

Fe29f6658ce67c1ecc4a22e960be7498

(2997)

on July 22, 2011
at 07:19 PM

My very first Question on PaleoHacks was "Are we living in a virtual feedlot for humans?". I think the answer is, basically, 'yes'. You're right, there is any 'dastardly' person wringing their hands in glee at the devastation, but rather the *system itself* is a kind of self-sustaining machine that requires docile, ignorant and overworked people to keep it going - and so provides bad schools, bad food and too little time.

Medium avatar

(19479)

on July 22, 2011
at 08:34 PM

You tell them Baconbitch! Upvote, upvote, upvote!

Fe29f6658ce67c1ecc4a22e960be7498

(2997)

on July 22, 2011
at 09:09 PM

You've probably seen this now classec comic comparing Aldous Huxley to George Orwell. I must have encountered it a dozen times via StumbleUpon!: http://www.egodialogues.com/words-language/huxley-orwell.php

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on July 22, 2011
at 09:23 PM

Symbiotic relations, @Beyond!

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on July 22, 2011
at 07:37 PM

Heh - re-read Gallapagos, Mer! I think Max Renn is A.H. on TMS's wall. You just posted under him a few minutes ago.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on July 22, 2011
at 09:19 PM

@CaveRat - that is going on my fridge! I took the shell out of my ear years ago :)

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on July 22, 2011
at 09:41 PM

Plato always had one up on Aristotle :) Besides, Aristotelian philosophy was too confined by definition. Perhaps that's why our political system is as such - everything MUST be defined. That's why people have a tough time defining paleo - there is no defining it.

0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on July 22, 2011
at 07:27 PM

I can get all conspiracy as well. I think I recall someone once saying that a well/over fed population is pretty docile (Vonnegut???) Population overfed on waste materials = docile and dumb? I (heart) your answer. PS - who is this smartypants Max Renn anyhoo?

Bcad307b240275ae3f5820ba6eb4a712

(923)

on July 22, 2011
at 09:29 PM

I agree. However, you have to strike the root to kill the branches. Which is not a call for violence, folks. Its a metaphor.

Bcad307b240275ae3f5820ba6eb4a712

(923)

on July 22, 2011
at 09:19 PM

Corporate power stems directly from crony-capitalist regulatory structures that mitigate the cost of doing large-scale, trans-national business; along with IP law. I would argue that the root, here, is government, not corporate. One cannot exist in the form we see today, without the other.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on July 22, 2011
at 07:25 PM

Nailed it. Look at our country - overwork the SOB's so the only thing they can do at the end of the day is watch banal reality tv. THink for yourself? Hell no. You're an elitist if you are educated. Orthorexic if you give a crap about the origin of your food. Heretic if you question either side of the political spectrum. Keep them medicated and stressed. Sad part is that our lack of QUALITY productivity will bring everyone down.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on July 22, 2011
at 08:35 PM

Uh oh - are you one of us, FED?

Fe29f6658ce67c1ecc4a22e960be7498

(2997)

on July 22, 2011
at 09:39 PM

I could never follow deep political analysis. The closest I get to this is the song: "Said Aristotle unto Plato, 'Have another sweet potato?' Said Plato unto Aristotle, 'Thank you, I prefer the bottle.'" That's why I prefer the comic version :-)

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