If you could eat something that would make you smart or happy, which would you choose? – responses from six experts

Nikki Giovanni

Nikki Giovanni

I prefer smart food. There is a huge lie in “ignorance is bliss.” Ignorance is hitting your wife or kicking your dog. Ignorance is pushing and shoving when you could be persuading and entertaining. Charm is always better and I’m not at all trying to say that only the intelligent are charming, but its difficult to be charming when you are unaware of the import of language. I choose words every time. I choose to be smart because then if I am unhappy I can at least write a poem or a song or bake a cake or paint a picture or do something besides pout and holler and drink myself into a badder mood.

Frank Farley, Ph.D.

The dumb thing to choose would be smart food. We need a happier, more than a smarter, world. A smart but unhappy person can be dangerous.

Another problem is defining smarts, so a food for smarts is questionable. The human race has a stronger grip on defining happy. I’ll choose the happy food because my definition of happiness requires a world where all people are happy and free; where generosity is the principal human trait; and where horror is a distant memory.

Stephen Rechtschaffen, M.D.

A true sense of happiness could never simply come from what we eat. Frequently people feel euphoric from what they eat and that produces a transient happiness. Happiness can be aided by a sense of wellness and inner balance achieved through good nutrition and regular exercise. Consistent happiness can only be attained through an inner adjustment of the psyche: an acceptance of things as they are, an awe and wonder of creation, and an evolving love of life.

Diane Sollee, M.S.W.

Dulling the intellect is dangerous. I’d endorse a diet that increased reasoning ability and logic, the understanding of long-range consequences to our behaviors, and interconnectedness. I educate couples in developing satisfying marriages after the effervescent glow of the wedding cake and champagne is gone. Good relationships – like our brains – thrive on a balanced diet that includes good health and nutrition and that demands stimulation through physical and mental exercise, people, work, love, and play.

Rev. Cecil Williams

Since the brain is the most complicated organ network in the human body, “brain food” has to do with the total environment: community, altitude, and behavior. The greatest “brain food” we could offer would be the spirit. With environment comes love, compassion, hope, faith, fear, and pain, coupled with the elements of the universe. All of this together would make for one of the most creative, peaceful communities.

Babalawo Philip John Neimark

Western society has created an arbitrary separation of the linear and emotional. We are raised to be either spiritual or logical. Most decisions are a combination. If you buy a car based only on logic, you’ll get a good buy, but you may not feel joyous about driving it. If you buy the car only on emotion, the excitement soon fades under higher payments. You can achieve balance if you don’t think of them as a separate experience – or ask questions like this.

Frank Farley, Ph.D., is a psychologist at Temple University, and past president of the American Psychological Association.

Nikki Giovanni is professor of English at Virginia Tech and is the author of Genie in the Jar.

Babalawo Philip John Neimark, High Priest of Ifa, is author of The Sacred Ifa Oracle.

Stephen Rechtschaffen, M.D., is president of the Omega Institute and author of Time Shifting.

Diane Sollee, M.S.W., is director of the Center for Family and Couples Education, in Washington, D.C.

Rev. Cecil Williams, is pastor at Glide Memorial Church in San Francisco.

COPYRIGHT 1996 Sussex Publishers, Inc.

COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group

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