How to become more intelligent

I am currently reading the works of Heraclitus and the edition I am reading edited by  I Bywater includes part of the Hippocratean corpus “Regimen 1” or ΠΕΡΙ ΔΙΑΙΤΗΣ. This has some connection to Heraclitus as the author seems to have been influenced by some of his ideas. Heraclitus postulated that everything was made of three elements – fire, water and earth which changed into each other. The author of the regimen only postulated two elements fire and water. Confusingly you can have wet fire and dry water. In the belief the people are composed from these elements and this influences what diet and exercise you should have he has set forth what sort of people should have what sort of regime.

As the mixture affects not only the body but also the mind you can also correct defects in your intelligence by the right regime. Always anxious to sharpen my mind, I intend to use his advice. Of course the difficulty is knowing what proportion of fire and water I am made of so I can follow the right regime. For the purposes of this exercise I shall assume that I am made of pure fire and water but I am a bit short of the fire. This means that the fire is dominated by the water and therefore motion is slow but I can become more intelligent. The correct regime for me is  (I hope the walks work because I am not looking forward to the emetics!) –

Συμφἐρει δὲ τῷ τοιούτῳ τοῖσι πρὸς πυρὸς διατήμασι μᾶλλον χρῆσθαι καὶ μὴ πλησμονῇσι μήτε σίτων μήτε πομάτων. δρόμοισι οὖν χρῆσθαι ὀξέσιν, ὅκως τοῦ τε ὑγροῦ κενῶται τὸ σῶμα καὶ τὸ ὑγρὸν ἐφιστῆται θᾶσσον· πάλῃσι δὲ καὶ τρίψεσι καὶ τοῖσι τοιούτοισι γυμνασίοισιν οὐ συμφἐρει χρῆσθα, ὅκως μὴ κοιλοτέρων τῶν πόρων γινομένων πλησμονῆς πληρῶνται, βαρύνεσθαι γὰρ ἀνάγκη τὴς ψυχῆς τὴν κίνησιν ὐπὸ τῶν τοιοῦτων·  τοῖσι περιπάτοισι συμφέρει χρῆσθαι καὶ απὸ δείπνου καὶ ὀρθρίοισι καὶ απὸ τῶν δρόμων, απὸ δείπνου μέν,  ὅκως τροφὴν ξηροτέρην ἠ ψυχὴ δέχηται ἀπὸ τὼν ἐσιόντων, ὄρθρου δέ,  ὅκως αἱ διέξοδοι  κενὼνται τοῦ ὑγροῦ καὶ μὴ φράσσωνται οἱ πόροι τῆς ψυχῆς, ἀπὸ δὲ τῶν γυμνασίων, ὅκως μὴ ἐγκαταλείπτηται ἐν τῷ σώματι τὸ ἀποκριθὲν απὸ τοῦ δρόμου, μηδὲ συμμίσγεται τῇ ψυχῇ,  μηδὲ ἐμφράσσῃ τὰς διεξόδους, μηδὲ συνταράσσῃ τὴν τροφήν, συμφἐρει δὲ καὶ ἐμέτοισι χρῆσθαι,  ὅκως ἀποκαθαίρηται τὸ  σῶμα, εἴ τι ένδεέστερον οί πόνοι διαπρήσσονται, προσάγειν δὲ άπὸ τὼν ἐμέτων, κατὰ μικρὸν προστιθέντα τούτοισι πλείονας ἠμέρας ἤ τέσσαρας τὰς ἐλαχίστας. χρίεσθαι δὲ συμφορὼτερον ἤ λούεσθαι, λἀγνεύειν δὲ ὕδατος ἐφόδων γινομένων, ἐν δὲ τῇσι τοῦ πυρὸς  μεὶον.

It’s better for such a person to follow a regime that leans more towards fire (should I be eating hot curries?) and not an excess of food or drink. He should take sharp runs so the body is emptied of moisture and the moisture held in check more quickly. It’s better not to take part in wrestling or massages or the like so that his passages don’t become more hollow and get filled with excess because the movement of the mind is weighed down by such things. He should go for walks after dinner and in the early morning and after runs – after dinner to allow the mind to get drier nourishment from what goes in, in the early morning so that his passages are emptied of moisture and the pores of his mind are not blocked, after exercising so that what is excreted in the body (sweat?) is not left after the run nor does it mix with the mind nor block the passages nor upset his nourishment. It’s better to use emetics to cleanse the body if exercising fails to the job properly and after vomiting to slowly increase the food for at least more than four days. He should anoint himself with oil rather than take baths and to have sexual intercourse at the onset of water (when it rains?) and less at the onset of fire (sunny days?).

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Greek philosophy and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s