How do beliefs, both scientific and spiritual, change our views and how does that affect the perception of Soylent


Continuing the discussion from Discussing soylent with friends:

@livingparadox I’m glad you enjoyed that thought of mine. I’m particularly glad that it came out as coherent as it did.

I wanted to start this topic here so we would not further derail the ‘discussing soylent with friends’ thread. I know that many people do not like to bring up the topic of faith, religion and beliefs in general because of the strong responses it can elicit from other but from what I have seen on this forum I would like to think that we are all mature enough to talk about this in a curious, impersonal, and reasoned way.

So the blanket question is as the title of the topic: How do your beliefs, both scientific and spiritual, change your views and how does that affect your perception of Soylent (or rather the idea it represents, either as stated by the Soylent team or your own personal view on its purpose).


Catholics believe in the mother of soylent as much as in soylent itself.

Protestans believe in Soylent itself.

Buddhists believe in the middle path of these both approaches.

Hindus believe in multiple Soylent versions. And both hindus and buddhists believe that soylent can be reincarnated.

Confucians and taos believe in ‘He who eats soylent forever healthy’.

Does this take care of the spiritual part of the answer? :smiley:



Could you explain the basics of your taoism in short? How did you get to it? How does it affect your daily life?
Thats really interesting to me. I could read it in the webz, but id like to use you as my window into taoism :smile:

Not helpful. How can people feel they are taken serious now?
What could a for instance, a catholic, possibly write under your message? We shouldn’t begin this thread with (in my eyes) bad joke, or we won’t get to the interesting part, where people really open up.
I am still on my quest to avoid confrontation, so please don’t be offended. Just consider it for a moment.


What came first, the belief or the view?



I’m not a teacher, I’m a techie, so imparting knowledge is not something I’m particularly skilled at (unless it’s making sure that an end user can make their printer work and keep them from wiping their hdd all while making them feel like they had a hand in managing their own machine) but I will try.

The Tao is everywhere. It flows within every thing, living or non. We are a part of it, we know it, we feel it, yet it can never truly be understood. It is beyond us. The Tao that can be spoken is not the Eternal Tao.

My own view on my progress as a Taoist is that I am still a fledgling. I came to Taoism when I was in the Job Corps a few years ago trying to do a last ditch effort to rebuild my life (which I had driven into the ground by not making wise choices at all for a good period of time). I was doing some serious soul searching. I was raised a Pentacostal, I fled to Wicca, wandered into a myriad of Neo pagan paths, turned my nose up at Bhuddism’s pleas that all life is pain (though I come to see that much of life truly is painful, the joy is that we have free will to move past that pain), and stumbled upon the Derik Lin translation of the Tao Te Ching.

Derik offers a free copy of his books to inmates so that they can change their thoughts and then change their actions and better themselves. I sent off to him requesting a copy too. No I was not a prisoner in the Job Corps, I was there by choice, but I felt like a prisoner trapped within myself and I was searching for a light. Mr. Lin smiled upon me and sent me a copy of his translation for free, with well wishes and an invitation to take part on his forums, where I have spoken to him a few times. The Tao Te Ching has changed me because it was what I needed.

I found Balance. I found direction without zeal. Purpose Driven Action. While I still learn and still grow, I think more on my actions. It helps me be driven to ask why. I appreciate the mysterious ways life works, but I’m encouraged seek answers, to find enlightenment. Its ok to find my path at a crossroads at the precipice of darkness and instead of looking back at the light and running to it because it is known and ‘just what everyone does’, its ok for me to take my candle and step out into the night, forging down the overgrown dark paths, with only my will and drive to light the way. It changed me. It has shown me that the search for knowledge, to see into the mysteries of the universe, is the most spiritual thing there is.

Maybe I got it wrong… maybe this makes no sense… But personally… I’ve never felt so… whole.


In respect to Soylent, my religious/scientific/philosophical beliefs lead me to believe that

  1. Providing our body with exactly what it needs will support an optimally running body and mind
  2. food is not sacred and should be open to change (even in the Christian Bible, we started immediately messing with what nature provides to make a more fitting fuel)
  3. “I do not believe a God who has endowed us with intellect and reason has intended for us to forgo its use”. God has given us the freedom and ability to explore and play with our world; we would be missing out if we didn’t do both to the best of our abilities.


I just think a good way to try to gain more ‘freedom’ (awful unprecise word that is :slight_smile: ), is to doubt everything told to you. This does apply to what you are supposed to eat too, which brings me to soylent.


I was really thinking hard about an answer to that, since I asked. Although I do not believe int the presence of such a force, I am generally more comfortable about such a concept than about an almighty god as a person.

And if I imagine, that I would have known you in your ‘messed up’ state, and afterwards, I wouldve been thankful for your ‘personality change’, although I think that a good enough psychotherapist could possibly have done the same for you. (No insult, just personal experience).

If Buddhism means ‘all life is pain’ then I have misunderstood it severly :slight_smile:


I’ve always enjoyed the concepts of Tao; especially the idea of a ‘flow’ or ‘way’ (yes, I know it’s redundant as Tao is ‘the way’). Though I take it to mean that there are many flows in a life; some big, some small, most psychological and most thanks to being a social species that LOVES to make patterns out of everything. To me, I took this and ran with it under the ideas of emergence, chaos theory, and some creative engineering to make some pillars of personal philosophy; patterns are scale-free, everything, especially people, move in direction, if it’s stupid and it works, it ain’t stupid, and KISS [keep it simple, stupid. Unlike this post].

The uncarved block aspect has always held my interest, too. As applied to the sciences things get… interesting. Always trying to strike that balance of being ‘unformed’ yet also trying to not reinvent the wheel, or let too much of the outlier ideas sink in, lest an open mind without a filter just sort of get filled with… well, everything.

So, rather than trying to fit into the existing paradigm, Rhinehart comes in like an uncarved block and goes for the absolute basics. Just to see if he could get by, and sure enough. Rather than trying to control the chaos of the existing state of nutrition, or work within its vectors only to be caught up in it its flow, he took a complete step out; a bottom-up approach rather than the top-down ‘if I eat a cheeseburger, some broccoli, and wash it down with a taco and taquila, I should be good!’

Genius, right? Yet if you have any experience in the general DIY community, it’s like head-desk levels of ‘of course!’ Exact same concepts, patterns, and ideas used all over the place; dismantling a system, looking at its base components, and rebuilding it for either simplicity, efficiency, or just to rebuild it and see what you get. Same flow, same tao, just a different application. Damn near mathematical, even.

So yea, the whole powdered food thing has always just sort of… made sense. When I heard about it, I pretty much got on board within a couple months. I’m sure there are still some pieces missing (there always are), some parts that we just don’t know because we haven’t encountered them (we only know what we know). Or, we have, and they’re too buried in the existing nutrition-science-chaos / long-dead-civilizations to extract meaningful data on them to be used for this ‘bottom up’ approach (how many times in history have we actually reinvented the wheel? I’m guessing a lot).

Still, it remains a helluva lot healthier and cheaper than most diets, and at the end of the day, it’s all that’s really needed at this current juncture. Things will move forward, and hopefully my body and brain will benefit for being an early adopter.


I like what you said, but I dont get the ‘Tao-part’ of it. Are the described principles part of the Tao-system? What makes it a religion? Or do you basically build your own model of reality?

Or did you just say that humans like to see patterns everywhere?


I guess it’s just the perspective I use. Rather than viewing things as stationary, static things, I view them as having momentum behind them; a history, context, and ‘way’ about it. What was the context behind this idea? How was it shaped by the individual who had it, their education, their life and perspective? What happens when you take the same ‘context’ that created this idea, and apply it to another field?

Disclaimer: It’s also been a number of years since I’ve read a translated Tao Te Ching, so my philosophy is obviously fuzzy. However, the more concrete example I use is ‘the uncarved block.’ It’s an idea of rather than sculpting oneself to the world, you instead keep yourself uncarved, unchanged to it. You maintain your ‘whole self’ as a result when confronted with a situation, and thus have more resources, tools, facets, and ideas, to respond to it.

In context to scientific inquiry, some great ideas have been made by people who simply weren’t ‘carved;’ those that weren’t educated through typical means in the field they pioneer in, or probably just couldn’t grok the ways things were taught. This kind of lets you screw up in ways that would be obvious for many; ‘of course this method or theory doesn’t work,’ but by those mistakes that are ‘obvious’ to many, especially for the really weird or outlier ideas, you can still learn more than what you would if you simply ‘knew’ it wouldn’t work. To me it’s like ‘no experiment is stupid if you still learn from it,’ and sometimes you may be exploring a facet of knowledge that simply isn’t visited by the majority simply because of what is ‘known’ in that existing field.

In the above example I use it to describe how Rhinehart is sort of an uncarved block when it comes to nutrition science, and that’s exactly what helped him, and probably the community as a whole, get to where it’s at today. We’re not really ‘carved’ by typical nutrition science as it stands today, even though we’ve probably linked to a hundred published papers here already. Hell, the same perspective of ‘being carved by ideas’ can also show off how mistakes have been made; I personally think the sodium issues the official version faces (the nutritionist saying ‘people will get salt from other sources!’ is the exact sort of thinking that wasn’t in the original soylent, yet people now say it’s one of the biggest mistakes of 1.0 and beyond)

There’s obviously a huge caveat to this being simply… just because you don’t know about the law of thermodynamics doesn’t mean you’re not subject to it. Like I said; it’s trying to strike that balance between thinking anything is free game (eg: too open of a mind) vs letting the existing set of knowledge we have today shape experiments and thoughts so you’re not stuck reinventing the wheel or going down a path of complete obsurdity every single time (I’m looking at you, perpetual motion generator ‘engineers.’)


People will open up if they really want to. Dont take everything so seriously.


I can see where you are coming from. I wrote ouf of genuine concern however, that this thread would be dead before the interesting things would come up. That may have sounded a bit like an old governess (I am quick to get emotional about things), but I still stand by my intention.

I think I am interested enough to delve into the information on the web. But it is always hard for me to draw the line between a perspective/ way of approaching things and the related mysticism (which happens to be firmly interconnected in most belief systems, at least in the case of the older ones), or rather to find a justification for the latter. I dont know however, if this applies to taoism as well.

I feel a bit reminded about the time, when I wanted to ‘understand’ holistic thinking. The definition was clear for me, the examples as well, but I could not grasp the process, use it myself or explain it to anybody else (which is usually the sign for really understanding something).


@Tark; I would agree with you almost if you had waited to post that until later on in the thread instead of as the very first reply. I broke this conversation off from another so we could have a serious conversation (and not derail another thread) and all you did was offer up a joke based on religious stereotypes. You could have at least given some input on the topic at hand as well.

@openend; I think in opening up to you I left out my own perception of Soylent and what meaning it holds for me. As much as I have accomplished in the past few years my life is still not balanced and on track. My health is something I’ve needed to work on, but finding time to eat healthy (cooking, shopping, being motivated) is rough and when I found out about soylent I saw in it a path to pursue that would allow me to build up better health (perhaps not ideal but compared to my current state it is as comparing the light of a small LED to that of the sun.)

I’m intrigued by it. Being that I do not deny myself the chance to seek new experiences as long as rational thought comes prior to action so that I can make positive well sculpted choices, I dove in head first and have been prepping to start exploring this new mystery (at least new for me).

For me, its easy to accept Soylent on faith. This is what it is said to be, said to do, what it will become.
Because of my views I want to try it, to be part of the experiment, to seek truth with it.
If it works well then I will celebrate. If it flubs, I will still be all the better for the journey.


Well let me just say, that your journey was/is very similar to mine (minus the tao). I am in the same spot, trying to eat healthy without changing my complete lifestyle and use precious time for cooking, shooping and so on.


I’d say that not believing in mystical nonsense like the idea that “natural” things are somehow intrinsically good makes me a firm believer in the idea behind Soylent.

It saddens me that so many of the people who are interested in this product (which is specifically designed to be an ENGINEERED solution to human nutrition) are subscribers to pseudoscientific and downright idiotic beliefs such as being anti-GMO or pro-organic, positions originating from the vague, misty-eyed belief that “science is a scary bad thing and we should hate it because it scares us”, and have as much scientific basis as the anti-vaccination whackjobs or believers in alien abduction. But these ignorant outgassings are immensely fashionable among wealthy Americans at the moment, and that’s Soylent’s only market, so this place is constantly inundated in people making anti-scientific demands about a product created by scientists and engineers.


You really should give credit to where it is due. Those beliefs are held by all types of people or all backgrounds and all ranges of wealth. That being said, regardless of if the belief a person holds is right or wrong, you should not attack them for it. They are allowed to believe the way they like, and can express their beliefs. Even should you have undeniable proof they are wrong, you cannot force that upon them. All you can do is leave the truth where they can see it and let it be. If they choose to ignore truth when they see it then they will bear the burden of ignoring it.

As for Soylent’s market being only the wealthy that is not true. I’m by far not a wealthy person, but I bit the bullet and saved the money for my subscription and have started to set aside money so it will always be there each month. It takes a bit of tweaking and it will likely make me miss on some things I might want, but I need a better diet and nutrition more than I want some things. I know not all cases are the same but the cost is not all that bad if come at the right way.