A full belly counsels well.
Let me have men about me that are fat;
Sleek-headed men and such as sleep o' nights;
Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look;
He thinks too much: such men are dangerous.
William Shakespeare (1599/1936) 1
We've spent a lot of time so far in this book examining the factors that affect what we eat and drink. Now we're going to turn things around-how does what we eat and drink affect our behavior? In the extreme case, when someone eats or drinks nothing for a long period of time, all behavior ceases and the person dies. But what about situations in which at least some food and drink are being consumed? Under such circumstances can what is or isn't consumed affect specific aspects of a person's behavior? And what sorts of effects occur? Clearly the French, as well as Shakespeare, have expressed the opinion that eating well makes people easier to live with. Are opinions such as this correct?
Consider the fact that every single part of our bodies originated as some sort of nutrient that we or our mothers consumed. As with other mammals, the nutrients might have come to us through our umbilical cords or through our mouths. If everything about our bodies has originated as consumed nutrients, and if our behavior is entirely a function of our bodies (as opposed to some nonphysical entity or entities), then what we do must be affected by what we have eaten and drunk. As stated by Alice in what's