A Day of Fasting in Seoul
May 27, 2012
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I decided to fast for the entire day on Saturday, June 23. There were a variety of reasons why I did so. I last fasted in 1997. I did so at that time in solidarity with the starving people in North Korea. I felt that I needed to know what it was like to go hungry, granted for me it was just a short experiment. In 1997, I did so at a time when a large number of people were fasting for that same purpose.
This time, I fasted for a different reason. This time, I was inspired by Mahatma Ghandhi whose autobiography I had been reading for some time, off and on. Specifically, Ghandi stressed the importance of fasting as a means to understand desire and learn restraint. I feel that recently have been so completely surrounded by a fierce world of consumption that I needed to break out of it. In fact, I am a vegetarian, and try to avoid processed foods, but even then I still have trouble with the compulsion to buy something, or eat something, in the course of a day.
Fasting did not cure me of this social malaise, but I did spend a good amount of time thinking about what exactly drives desires and how to snap out of the patterns of compulsive consumption. I also noticed that my senses were sharper by the end of the day. Perhaps another benefit?