Recipe Corner. Peaches-and-Cream Tart.

This is awesome. 😀

Ingredients:

-1kg/2.2lbs can of Del Monte peach slices in grape juice

-50g/1.6oz double cream

-400g/14.1oz rough flour; we used some spelt and some gari, but anything wholegrain or tuber-based should work

-100g/3.5oz butter

-3tbsp sugar

-cinnamon

-ginger

Utensils:

-mixing bowl and spoon

-baking tray

-frying pan and wooden spoon

Recipe:

1: Mix the flour and sugar.

2: Cut or mash in the butter.

3: Add water whilst stirring continually until the mass starts to form a ball or a stiff paste.

4: Pour 2/3 or 3/4 of the mass into a baking tray and spread evenly.

5: Put in the oven at 200C/390F until the base is somewhat firm.

6: Open the can of peach slices. Pour the grape juice into a frying pan. Layer the slices on the base.

7: Form the border around and slightly over the top of the peach slices.

8: Heat the juice until it’s simmering and slowly stir in the cream, cinnamon and ginger.

9: Continue cooking and stirring until the sauce is thick.

10: Pour the sauce over the peaches.

11: Bake at 160C/320F for 40min.

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12: Leave to cool a little. Serve warm with ice-cream or cold with a dusting of icing sugar.

Yum. :D

Yum. 😀

 

Recipe Corner. 5 Budget-Friendly Healthy Dishes.

Phew! For the first time in my life, I think I can legitimately say I am a busy woman. I shall ignore the fact that having children will absolutely make me revise this statement and, for now, just feel satisfied that housework, tutoring, DIY, cooking, shopping, workouts, writing, reading and sewing makes me busy.

Also, I am currently nibbling on a “Peaches and Cream” tart which is divine and I shall share with you tomorrow, because I’m nice like that. :p

Yum. :D

Yum. 😀

Anyhow, onto the recipes.

I used to run a blog where I would make meals for £1/portion or less. I wound up a bit too busy to plan out every meal, as £1 was a bit restrictive in terms of what I wanted to eat (kcal count, variety, volume, etc), so I eventually gave up. But budget-eating is still very much important to me If anything, that blog showed me how well I could eat for very little, so the principles have been carried-over into my current cooking. Of course, the food isn’t quite as cheap as it used to be, not all the time, but Jon and I eat heartily due to our activity levels, so it wouldn’t be. In fact, that WAS the very reason I had to leave the previous blog. Yet considering he initially wanted to give me £50-60/week (that’s $83-100) for our food and toiletries and that at the moment I’m spending £20-30/week ($33-50) and still providing us with 1800-3500kcal/day, I’d say I still have the magic touch.

So, in the spirit of my old blog, here are five budget-friendly, healthy meals, complete with the cost. The cost is for the total we make and I will include how many portions we get out of it, though someone with a small appetite may get more and a bulking bodybuilder may get less. I’ll leave it up to you to decide how many servings it makes. Besides that, the costs haven’t been translated into any other currency because:

a: My blog’s readership is too varied.

b: The cost of things is too variable even within the UK.

It’s just there to give you an idea of my expenses and how I keep them down. 🙂

These are all things that show up on our table regularly or semi-regularly, are tasty and cheap.

Recipe 1: Lamb’s Liver Curry.

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Pros: very quick and easy.

Cons: pre-made sauce or curry mix, not much variety of veg, kids may find lamb’s liver too strong.

Ingredients:

-400-500g/14.1-17.6oz fresh lamb’s liver (Sainsbury’s, reduced: 55p)

-1 large leek (market: 12p)

-1 onion (Sainsbury’s, family bag: 5p)

-100g/3.5oz broccoli (market: 12p)

-25g/0.9oz grass-fed butter (Kerrygold: 20p)

-2tbsp curry powder (Asian store: 5p)

-1tsp smoked paprika (Sainsbury’s: 5p)

-100g/3.5oz rice (Sainsbury’s, basics: 4p)

Total: £1.18. Makes us two portions.

Utensils:

-chopping board and knife

-frying pan

Recipe:

1: Wash and slice the vegetables. To include broccoli stalks, slice as thinly as possible.

2: Pan-fry the vegetables in a little of the butter until the onion and leek are limp and translucent, but not caramelizing. Take off the heat briefly.

3: Put the rice on to boil.

4: Slice the liver as desired. Add to the vegetables alongside the seasoning and remainder butter.

5: Return to the heat until the liver is as cooked as you like it.

6: Serve with rice.

Recipe 2: “Hellmince” bolognese.

spagbol

Pros: can make a lot of it, instant winner with all taste buds, not much washing-up, little involvement once the pot’s simmering.

Cons: not as nice if you aren’t eating pasta or rice.

Ingredients:

-8-10 medium carrots (Sainsbury’s, basics: 50p)

-200g/7oz celeriac/swede/squash/beet (variable: let’s say 25p)

-1-2 large onions (Sainsbury’s, family pack: 10p)

-2 courgettes (Sainsbury’s, basics, reduced: 50p)

-900-1000ml/around 30-35floz chopped tomato (Sainsbury’s, basics, one carton, one jar: £1)

-1kg/35oz “hellmince” (Sainsbury’s, basics, frozen: £3.15)

-5tbsp olive oil (Sainsbury’s, reduced: 25p)

-4 crushed garlic cloves (Sainsbury’s, basics: 10p)

-smoked paprika

-salt

-pepper

-mixed herbs

Total: £5.85 discounting herbs and spices. Makes us around 6-8 servings.

Utensils:

-chopping board and knife

-large pot

Recipe:

1: Wash and dice all the vegetables. Keep the tuber and onion fine and the carrot and courgette chunky. Crush the garlic.

2: Mix them in a pot with the tomato, about one cup of water and the seasoning.

3: Bring to a boil and then turn down. Add the olive-oil. Leave to simmer for 40-50min.

4: Add the mince. Continue simmering for 20min.

5: Serve over pasta or rice, or just as a stew.

We served ours with spelt spaghetti, but I may thicken the sauce a little with rice flour, so it sticks better next time.

Recipe 3: Mixed vegetable chips.

chips

Pros: lots of nutrition, better than your average chip, kids should like.

Cons: not much protein, better as a side or a snack.

Ingredients:

-2 large carrots (Sainsbury’s, basics: 10p)

-1 large parsnip (Sainsbury’s, loose: 20p)

-200g/7oz celeriac (Co-op, reduced: 20p)

-200g/7oz swede (market: 10p)

-rendered lard or tallow (leftover: free)

-salt, pepper, onion powder

Total: 80p, give or take. Makes two or four servings, as it’s usually a side-dish.

Utensils:

-knife and chopping board

-small pot

-baking tray

Recipe:

1: Wash and peel the vegetables.

2: Slice them into evenly sized pieces.

3: Put them in the pot, add water and boil until they’re tender, but not falling apart.

4: Drain them and leave them on paper or in a colander to dry.

5: Once they’re drier, toss them in the fat and seasonings and place them in the baking tray.

6: Set the oven to 180C/355F and cook the chips until they’re browned. This should take around 25-30min. You will need to give them a shake or stir a couple of times.

7: Serve with freshly ground salt on top.

Recipe 4: Bubble and squeak.

Pros: delicious, cheap, good way to use leftovers, kids like it, good as a side or a main.

Cons: none, it’s marvelous.

Ingredients:

-200-300g/7-10.6oz roast or boiled potatoes (leftovers: free)

-leftover cabbage, carrots, onions and any other veg, around 200g (leftovers: free)

-200g/7oz bacon (Sainsbury’s, basics: 38p)

-25g/0.9oz butter (Kerrygold: 15p)

-salt and pepper

Total: 53p extra expense on the leftovers. Two servings.

Utensils:

-chopping board and knife

-frying pan and spatula

Recipe:

1: Chop up the assorted vegetables and mash up the potatoes. Dice the bacon.

2: Warm the butter in the pan. Fry the bacon until the fat is rendered from it.

3: Add the vegetables and cook until the potatoes are browned.

4: Add salt and pepper before serving.

It’s normal for this dish to make squeaking, crackling and popping sounds whilst it cooks.

Recipe 5: Chicken liver curry with rice.

Pros: nutritious, quick to cook, very cheap, good staple.

Cons: it’s still liver and some may disapprove, low calories.

Ingredients:

-250g/8.8oz chicken livers (Sainsbury’s, frozen: 50p)

-1 large onion (Sainsbury’s, family bags: 5p)

-300g/10.6oz mixed veg (Sainsbury’s, basics, frozen: 22p)

-100g/3.5oz rice, cooked (Sainsbury’s, basics: 4p)

-50g/1.8oz butter (Kerrygold: 30p)

-2tbsp curry powder (Asian store: 5p)

Total: £1.16. Two servings.

We sometimes add chopped leftover chicken or bacon to it, as the kcal content is a bit on the low side.

Utensils:

-chopping board and knife

-frying pan

Recipe:

1: Mix the butter and spices in the frying pan on a low heat.

2: Slice all the vegetables finely and fry them in butter at a high heat.

3: Finely slice the liver and add it to the mix.

4: Add the rice and some tomato puree or water.

5: Cook until everything is thoroughly curried.

Humans Cannot Act Against Human Nature

“We are exactly as nature “intended”. We couldn’t exist otherwise, as the process of evolution would have cut us from the tree long ago. Our minds are exactly as nature “intended”. All nature “intends” us to be is successful or dead. Our minds have made us what we are, have made us immensely successful, and that includes our rational decisions regarding our own instincts. As we are still alive, it’s safe to assume nature “intended” reason to be part of our human nature.”

Again, as always, let’s be clear on the definitions of “human nature”. The Oxford English Dictionary currently defines it as:

“The general psychological characteristics, feelings, and behavioural traits of humankind, regarded as shared by all humans.”

So, that would make “human nature” better defined as “human behaviours, feelings and other characteristics”. By paying special attention to the word “psychological”, we note that we are not talking exclusively about actions committed, ideals or instincts, but a combination of all three and more. By paying special attention to the word “regarded”, we note two things. Firstly, the opinion of human nature is not an absolute. It is perceived to be, or “regarded” as shared by all humans, however this does not mean that any specific behaviour actually is. Secondly, as an opinion, it is subjective. Need I say more?

As the view on what constitutes “human nature” is subjective, generalized and broad, we must try and regard “human nature” without trying to make it objective (implying complete knowledge of the human condition and mind), absolutist (making it automatically incorrect, as an absolute is either right or wrong and one exception makes it wrong) or specific (forcing us to focus on the nuances rather than the entire state). To do so, let’s say that “human nature” is an abstract concept. It’s intangible, we can’t witness it, but it is necessary and at the very core of our every behaviour, feeling and characteristics. It is the puppet-master behind the scenes that triggers everything we are, say, think and do. Human nature is everything that makes a human human.

Now, here is where most find their first and final pitfall: we often confuse human nature with pure instinct. We assume that, as every aspect of human nature must stem from our biology and, therefore, our instincts, that the purest form of human nature is animal instinct. That, if we act against our baser drives to eat, fight, mate, flee, or our simplest impulses we are somehow acting against human nature.

Yet, if you observe how humans behave, this Freudian simplicity is… well, too simple. Humans are social animals. Humans are rational animals. We may feel an impulse to eat, but first inspecting the berry is wise. We may feel an impulse to mate, but mounting the Alpha’s partner is unwise. We may feel an impulse to flee, but to first scan the area, follow a lead or consider other evasion tactics is also wise. The right, rational decision can make or break our success. Our behaviours are just as much influenced by our minds and society as they are by our impulses and environment. Ergo, our human nature is just as much rational and social as it is instinctive.

In fact, our minds are what make humans distinct from other animals to begin with. Instinct and impulse did not create metropoli. Sure, you could argue that the desire for food, mates and safety created metropoli. But, without our minds and social natures, humans would, like so many other animals, have settled for following the migrating game and gathering seasonal produce, forcing ourselves upon suitable partners and defending ourselves through evasive and defensive means. Our minds are absolutely necessary to explain our successes. Our social structures are also necessary, as, without intricate hierarchies and extensive bonding and trust, sedentary life and all the things that can be created within it would be impossible. Without our minds, we are animals. Without society, we can’t use our minds. When we have both, we are human. The take-away message is that, if our minds and society make us human, then anything created by our minds and our societies also stems from human nature.

“If we take the angle that reason and society are also parts of human nature, then we can understand why people act against their instincts or best interests. The woman who kills her own child does so, not because of an instinct or an impulse, but because she believed it was the best option. An anorexic starves themselves, not because of an instinct or an impulse, but because they feel they should. Humans engage in unnecessary risk-taking, not because we are following an impulse but because we consider the reward to be worth the risk. We use our minds to overcome our instincts, and often to excellent results.”

This goes a long way toward explaining that which Freudian simplicity and the absolute perspective of instinct=human nature fail to: why is it that humans act against our instincts, our impulses, even against our own best interests? If all of human nature could genuinely be boiled down to our base instincts, the survival of our genes, or sex, food and survival, then many behaviours are hard to explain. For example, faith is not instinctive, about your genes or about survival. On the contrary, faith often requires humans to make sacrifices, act against their basic reproductive instincts and even die. Yet faith continues to form part of our lives, as it fulfills emotional, social and spiritual needs that go beyond what an animal requires, but are necessary for humans to thrive.

Likewise, a mother who plans to kill her child, a man committing suicide, an anorexic starving themselves or a voluntary celibate are acting directly against their main biological imperatives. Often, they are viewed as “outliers”, or “exceptions” that act “against their nature”. However, this is just an excuse for a limited, absolutist view of human nature; a way of arguing that the absolute view is still correct, rather than accepting that it has been proven incorrect by a variation. Yet, these “exceptions” are very much the norm. If you wish to argue that the main driver of human nature is survival of the individual, then you must ignore the fact that most humans engage in risk-taking that threatens their lives, directly or indirectly, often for no apparent reason. If you wish to argue that the main driver of human nature is the spread of our genes, then you must ignore the fact that humans without access to contraception are very consciously selective about their choices of mate, rather than going by their horniness alone. On the other hand, if we take the angle that reason and society are also parts of human nature, then we can understand why people act against their instincts or best interests. The woman who kills her own child does so, not because of an instinct or an impulse, but because she believed it was the best option. An anorexic starves themselves, not because of an instinct or an impulse, but because they feel they should. Humans engage in unnecessary risk-taking, not because we are following an impulse but because we consider the reward to be worth the risk. We use our minds to overcome our instincts, and often to excellent results.

Of course, you could then say that the mind is an add-on that complicates matters. That, without the mind, we would still exist. That to act without the mind is to act the way our bodies were made to act. But to deny the mind is to deny humanity. By negating the mind, you are implying our entire lives would be better if we were instinctively driven, as “nature intended”. But nature did not “intend” us to be irrational beasts. Nature made us as we were and we took what we were and turned into what we are today. If applied to everything, the negation of the mind would cause society to disintegrate and humans to devolve. If we exclusively ate what felt good, we would get ill. But it’s natural to eat what feels good. If we exclusively eat as our ancestors ate, we would suffer famines, poisonings and malnutrition. But it’s natural to eat following nature and the seasons. If we exclusively mated with people we see as “hot” and did so whenever we wanted, we would have many illegitimate, attractive children that would die from lack of social structure, creating a bottleneck. But it’s natural to want sex with lots of hot people. If we exclusively mated with those who are functional and were very selective about ever mating before bonding, matings would be few and few matings would result in children. But it’s natural to select the very best mates we can obtain. If we acted on every impulse, would we be being “truer” to our nature? Even if acting on these impulses killed us en masse, resulting in another bottleneck or even the extinction of the human race? We are small, weak, maladaptive animals with extraordinary brains. We are exactly as nature “intended”. We couldn’t exist otherwise, as the process of evolution would have cut us from the tree long ago. Our minds are exactly as nature “intended”. All nature “intends” us to be is successful or dead. Our minds have made us what we are, have made us immensely successful, and that includes our rational decisions regarding our own instincts. As we are still alive, it’s safe to assume nature “intended” reason to be part of our human nature.

“If you are currently trying to explain why you choose to act on your instincts rather than not, you are making your instincts a matter of reason. If you try and rationalize how you embrace instinct and reject reason, or how you decide which instincts and impulses are to be followed and which not, you are making this a matter of reason. If you try and explain why all reason is, at its core, instinct-driven, you are making this a matter of reason. As a rational animal, the only way you can escape your rational and social nature is by rationalizing yourself into a state of unreason or opting for a lobotomy.”

Society, culture and faith are human. They stem from our needs and are an integral part to how our minds work. To argue that instinct trumps culture in the game of “what should we do” is, as explained above, to regress. To act against all society, all culture or all faith is to destroy these structures. By destroying social constructs we remove society as we know it, which removes the need for humanity as we know it. Therefore, we must act in accordance, or at least in harmony with our society. And that includes culture, trends, fads, religion, etc. As a human, to choose to act against your instincts is part of your nature, as you are a rational animal. As a human, to consider society in your reasoning is part of your nature, as you are a social animal. Of course, you may choose to reject religion and insist there is nothing out there. But that is also a belief, replacing the absence of a belief in a faith. You may choose to join or create a counter-culture or even an anti-culture. But that is still the formation of culture. You may choose hermitage, but that is still a socially-motivated choice. You can’t escape your human nature.

Finally, let’s consider that your choices and actions matter more than your instincts. Indeed, if you are currently trying to explain why you choose to act on your instincts rather than not, you are making your instincts a matter of reason. If you try and rationalize how you embrace instinct and reject reason, or how you decide which instincts and impulses are to be followed and which not, you are making this a matter of reason. If you try and explain why all reason is, at its core, instinct-driven, you are making this a matter of reason. As a rational animal, the only way you can escape your rational and social nature is by rationalizing yourself into a state of unreason or opting for a lobotomy. Even then, no success is guaranteed. Your mind makes you human. It makes you who you are. It gives you the choices that let you embrace or reject instinct, embrace or reject society, embrace or reject faith.

And, as a human, as a rational animal, your only biological imperative is to make whatever choices you believe are correct. If you believe you should not reproduce, you are acting against your genes’ desires, but in accordance to human nature. If you wholly embrace your basic instincts, you are acting against your reason, but in accordance to human nature. If you strictly control your diet, you are acting against your basic impulses, but in accordance to human nature. You may be biologically successful or not. Socially successful or not. You may embrace nihlism and reject any concept of success in this world. Move and behave according to your goals. But don’t try and pretend you, or anyone else, is acting against human nature. That is a complete impossibility.

Supreme Bread and Butter Pudding.

The sweet bread got a little stale, so, as you do with stale bread, our options were toasting or bread and butter pudding. Seeing as the bread was very flat and I’d hate to get the toaster out to use it once, clean it and put it away, bread and butter pudding it was.

So, here’s the recipe for a Supreme Bread and Butter Pudding.

Ingredients:

-300-500g/10.6-17.6oz sweet bread

-50g/1.8oz raisins

-25g/0.9oz butter

-25g/0.9oz sunflower seeds

-30g/10oz sugar

-250ml/8.8floz milk

-50ml/1.8floz thick double cream

-3 eggs

-cinnamon to taste

Utensils:

-baking tray

-bowl and whisk

-saucepan or small pot

Recipe:

1: Break up the bread and spread it out in the tray.

2: Sprinkle the raisins and sunflower seeds over it. Add the butter. Dust with cinnamon.

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3: Break the eggs into the bowl and whisk with the sugar until evenly mixed.

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4: Warm the milk in a pan, stirring in the cream. Don’t allow it to boil.

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5: Slowly pour the milk into the eggs whilst continually whisking.

6: Pour the mix over the bread.

7: Pre-heat the oven to 180C/355F.

8: Put the pudding in the oven and turn it down to 150C/300F. Cook for 45min.

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9: Serve warm with ice-cream or custard. We had it with home-made plum and brandy ice-cream.

At the moment Jon’s coming down with something and this is the first thing he’s got down since breakfast, so it must be some sort of superfood.

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Wonderful Wednesday Wok. Patatas Bravas and Veg Mash.

So, for yesterday’s wok Jon got roast chicken and some of the sweet bread with a little butter, but he needed some veggies on the side. So here’s what I made.

Recipe 1: Patatas Bravas.

Not quite the Spanish ones, but nice fried anyway. Oven-cook them for full effect.

Ingredients:

-1 500-600g/17.6-21.2oz cold baked potato

-1.5 tbsp olive oil

-1/2tsp paprika

-1/4tsp salt

-1/4tsp pepper

Utensils:

-chopping board and knife

-frying pan and spatula

Recipe:

1: Chop the potato into cubes.

2: Pour the oil into the pan and put onto gas mark 3/6.

3: Add the potatoes and gently stir them until they begin to brown.

4: Add the spices.

5: Continue cooking and stirring until the potatoes are coated and golden.

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Recipe 2: Vegetable Mash.

An excellent way to get more root veggies in and serve a lower-carb mash with dinner.

Ingredients:

-200g/7oz swede

-1 medium parsnip

-1 small carrot

-100ml/3.5floz thick cream

-25g/0.9oz salted butter

-1/2tsp pepper

Utensils:

-chopping board and knife

-pot

-potato masher

Recipe:

1: Chop the vegetables up reasonably small.

2: Boil them until tender.

3: Mash with the cream and pepper.

4: Serve with butter over it.

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Liberty, Libertines, Liberation.

Inspired by Sunshine Mary’s recent post and the responses by Okrahead and John R, I decided to compose my own stream of consciousness regarding freedom.

First of all, we need to define freedom. As Wittgenstein repeatedly stated, the ways we use and interpret words, especially abstract words, shapes our view of the world, our understanding of it. And freedom is an abstract and subjective concept. We all think of something different when we think of freedom.

However, what we CAN say about freedom, we must. Freedom is the absence of something to hold you back. Ergo, complete freedom is an impossibility. As John R pointed out, if you are free from the Devil, you are enslaved to God, if you are free from morality, you are enslaved to sin. Furthermore, as humans are individuals, all with some degree of control, you can’t grant freedom to one without eventually taking it from another. Not to say that reality is a zero-sum-game. You can have a situation where everyone is largely free. Yet, for absolute freedom to be granted to one, no matter how innocent their desires are, some trivial desire, whim or need will inevitably tip the scales against someone else. Also, as society is comprised of individuals and no individual is wholly innocent or wholly harmless, to grant equal freedom to all becomes impossible. Some people wish to be free to abuse little boys or “free” mice at the expense of years of research and the animals’ lives, this means that their freedoms must necessarily remove the freedoms of the young boys, the autistic and schizophrenic people who would have benefited from the advances and even the mice. These groups are basically asking for the same freedom everyone else has: the freedom to do whatever you want. However, what someone wants (the financial security of marriage, the ability to grow your own food, time to paint) may be far more reasonable than what someone else wants (the license to rape, the ability to kill someone, the right to steal money through divorce). You could give the first person everything they want, make them happy and not hurt anyone. If you give the second person everything they want, then you enslave others. We require laws to ensure that one person’s freedom does not take excessively from another person’s freedom.

Therefore, you can only be “free” by either exclusively desiring that which doesn’t harm others or by removing the freedom of others. The individual is free when he only wants simple, harmless things (innocence) or when he seizes the freedom of others (tyranny). A society is free when it only wants simple, harmless things (vulnerable) or when it controls that which individuals can obtain (legal restrictions). It is far, far more likely that your freedom entails the restriction of someone else than that you are harmless.

Secondly, freedom requires an opposition. We are all generally free to breathe, to think, to scratch our elbows. Few but the dead are likely to ever be in a situation where any of those things is inhibited. That is why we don’t have activist groups demanding these freedoms. Which, technically, means they aren’t freedoms at all. They’re just facts of existence. Until an opposition arises, there is no “freedom”. The same way a room can’t be “dark” until you’ve experienced “light”, or you can’t feel “better” without having felt “bad” you can’t desire freedom without being captive.

However, captivity itself also requires freedom. You can’t be captive without having been free. Someone who used to own millions but now owns 100K feels captive and longs for the freedom of the millions. Someone who used to own nothing but now owns 100K feels free. Someone who has always owned 100K doesn’t understand what the fuss is about. So, in order to desire freedom, you must be captive and in order to feel captive you must have been free.

Finally, your “freedom” can be inhibited by many things: your own mind, your own morality, social norm, laws, individual enforcers, biological restrictions, etc. If the inhibition is entirely internal, then only you can exercise power over it. If the inhibition is another human, you must assess their power over you. If the inhibition is a legal power or a Higher Power, you must yield or act covertly. If the inhibition is a fact, you must yield.

Yet the modern concepts of “freedom” and “liberation” don’t allow for that. You are expected to desire “freedom” above all, even if you have never been captive and will never be captive. This leads to a culture of victimhood, where everyone feels captive, but doesn’t understand their captivity. It is also assumed that any limiting factor is a threat, a danger that must be removed. Your desires are always righteous, good, necessary. Anything that stops you from attaining them is always evil, restrictive, oppressive. We invent an enemy to enslave us, to excuse or explain our behaviours and unhappiness. We believe that our invented enemy is real, that we are captive, that we will someday be free, although we don’t know what this freedom is.
When someone is told that women generally regret one-night-stands, the response isn’t to assess whether one-night-stands are biologically natural or morally correct. The assumption is that if someone has a one-night-stand, they’re exercising their freedom, they must want the sex. Therefore, biology and morality don’t matter, they should get what they desire. So, if they regret it, we look for a cage, an inhibitor. We accuse the partner or rape or manipulation, or we accuse society of brainwashing the women who regret one-night-stands. Because there is no way this “freedom” to be a libertine could become an obligation to be a libertine. The women do feel captive (albeit restrained by their own morality, a desire for something better, a need to behave according to their biology), so they seek an answer and society tells them that they’re free to have sex, but enslaved by social norms and shame. They campaign to stop the shame, even though this shame is internal and based around your core morality and a biological drive not to get an STD or get pregnant by a man who will leave you and the child to starve.
When someone talks about their right to have children, they ignore the fact that having children is a biological act. There is no “right” to having children. Unless you live in a society where babies from certain parents are culled or certain people are artificially rendered infertile, you either can have children or you can’t. The adoption system doesn’t exist for anyone’s “right” to have children: it exists to meet children’s need for and right to care, to a loving family. The fertility industry doesn’t exist for anyone’s “right” to reproduce: it exists to exploit the existence of infertility for material gain. We assume that because those systems exist, they should cater to the infertile, when, in reality, they are perks. They aren’t restoring a “right”. I repeat, you have no right to reproduction, you either can or can’t. What these systems do offer, is the option of having children for people who don’t have them. It’s luck of the draw, like good-looks or a scholarship. Are you infertile, yet a suitable parent? Congratulations, you can adopt. Are you infertile, yet wealthy? Congratulations, you can get a lab-made baby. You don’t pass the tests and have no cash? Bad luck.

It may seem ridiculous to some of us, but this mindset of entitlement is ubiquitous. Indeed, many of you shook your heads through the above examples. A few probably closed the page in anger at the fact I could say such a thing. But it’s the way things are. Which leads to the central point: we live in a society where “freedom” is almighty, your end-goal, the “key”. We believe that liberation has made life better. Yet we feel worse. So we seek more liberation, to make life even better. When someone feels bad for engaging in libertine behaviour, we assume there is some external factor influencing their feelings. The idea that their feelings may be legitimate, internal, part of them, founded on something solid, is beyond the scope of our imagination. Because they are “free”. As “free” people, we assume we will do whatever we want and that doing whatever we want will make us happy. As I have discussed before, happiness isn’t about liberty, possessions or reaching “that goal”. Happiness is about being happy. Yet modern society says we should be “free” to do whatever we want, that this behaviour will make us happy, so long as we engage in it enough. And, as few to none are happy in this society, we believe it and engage in libertine behaviour. “If I want to get drunk, being drunk must make me happy!” “If I want to have anonymous sex, anonymous sex must make me happy!” “If I want to hurt someone, hurting someone must make me happy!”

Then, when we are inevitably UNhappy, modern society says that there must be someone or something ruining our happiness. Libertine behaviours will make you happy. So unhappiness must come from a limiting factor. This leads to everyone feeling unhappy, everyone feeling discriminated against, everyone feeling oppressed. It excuses our unhappiness without pointing the great finger of blame at our own heads, our own liberty, our own society. Because, if we aren’t happy, then surely something is hurting us? And if something is hurting us, then surely we are enslaved to it, or incarcerated by it? We become focused on ourselves, our own internal feelings of fear, shame, disgust, anger and general unhappiness. We assume that others never feel the same, that we’re being oppressed by something they don’t experience or understand. We become little martyrs to the cause of our own happiness and refuse to accept that “liberation” may actually be the problem.

As John R mentioned, he would rather be enslaved to God than the Devil. There is no other option. So, likewise, my solution is simple. Enslave yourself to goodness and happiness. Sure, you may want to sleep around. That’s what society tells you to do. But, if it makes you unhappy, you must stop. Your duty lies with happiness. Sure, you may want to kill someone. That is an impulse within you, a drive stemming from a biological state. But, as killing is not good, then you must not kill. Your duty lies with goodness.

Of course, the problem we now encounter is that modern people seek a morality that allows them to be “free”, because they have prioritized “freedom”. So they view engaging in random conflict as good and a source of happiness, because they are “free” to act on impulse. Anything that limits their individual “freedom” is against their personal morality. This is just a symptom of our sick society. The one way out is to find someone else, something else to attach your morality to. Whatever you do for yourself can’t be considered moral until you have stopped believing that “goodness” and “happiness” originate from “liberty”. Everything you want must, for the sake of sanity, be assumed to be amoral and analyzed. Not until you feel confident that you have rewritten your own laws of morality can you decide what is “good” and what is not. Your moral compass is broken and you need to reset it.

So, as a conclusion, this is my advice:
Turn away from what you want and focus on what you need. Your desires and impulses are irrelevant, when you act on them you become a mindless animal and this will make you unhappy in the long-run. Act to make others happy. Whether you seek to make a relative, a friend, a partner or a Higher Power happy, always think of how your actions may affect them and strive to do right by them. Always consider the repercussions of your actions. If your action will bite you in the butt, then don’t look for an “oppressor” to blame or attack, look for a reason. A slut feels shame not because she’s shamed by society but because she’s impulsively acting against her own morality. Focus on being happy and being good. Freedom is a wild-goose-chase. You will never be “free enough” and it will never give you what you want or need. You want to be happy, so make yourself happy. You need to be good, so strive to be good. An obsessive belief that freedom is the magic cure to every mental, emotional and social ailment will only make you deeply unhappy.

 

[EDIT: Legionnaire’s recent post on freedom is also worth a read.]

Recipe Corner. Baking with Spelt.

I got around to making some spelt breads on Saturday. One savoury, one sweet.

I didn’t use exact measurements, so feel free to tweak the recipes until the consistency is just right.

Sweet Spring Bread.

Naughty if you’ve cut back hard over Lent, though. Best saved for Easter.

Ingredients:

-200g/7oz spelt flour

-300g/10.6oz rice flour

-50g/1.8oz sunflower seeds

-25g/0.9oz raisins

-2 eggs

-50g/1.8oz butter

-3-5tbsp sugar (I used 1 jaggery goor and 3 plain sugar

-2tbsp honey

-prepared yeast

-a pinch of salt

Utensils:

-mixing bowl and spoon

-deep baking tray (bread trays preferable)

Recipe:

1: Mix the dry ingredients. (Flours, salt, sunflower seeds, raisins, sugar. Jaggery Goor may count as a wet ingredient, it depends on whether it falls into crumbs or not.)

2: Add the butter and mash into crumbs.

3: Add hot water and stir until it’s thick.

4: When the mix is smooth and cooled somewhat, add the eggs and honey.

5: Stir until it’s still thick, but runnier, like pancake batter. Fold in the yeast.

6: Pour into a baking-tray. Pre-heat the oven to 180C/355F. Place in oven.

7: Cook for around 45-55min, or until a knife comes out clean. If it browns early, you may need to cover it with foil.

With obscene amounts of butter.

With obscene amounts of butter.

Plain Spelt Bread Loaf.

This one’s safer for Lent.

Ingredients:

-500g/17.6oz spelt flour

-200-300ml/7-10.6oz olive oil

-salt and pepper to taste

-prepared yeast

Utensils:

-mixing bowl and spoon

-flake baking tray

Recipe:

1: Mix the dry ingredients.

2: Stir-in the olive oil.

3: Add some hot water. Continue stirring steadily. You want the dough to start forming a firm ball.

4: Leave the ball to rise. Pre-heat the oven to 180C/355F.

5: Roll the dough into a ball and form a round loaf.

6: Bake in the oven at 180C/355F for around 1h. The loaf should crack at the top and a spikey implement inserted into the dead centre should come out clean. If you have a bread thermometer, aim for 70-85C/160-185F.

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I had loads of the sweeter bread with butter yesterday, because it’s nice and I kind of lost control of my carb intake. Jon had a chicken and bacon sandwich (megawich, as he put it) with the plain bread today. Both are approved. 🙂