Although throwing a feast for a guest is a common part of hospitality, hunger and the consumption of food often have negative associations in the Odyssey. They represent lack of discipline or submission to temptation, as when Odysseus tarries in the cave of the Cyclops, when his men slaughter the Sun’s flocks, or when they eat the fruit of the lotus. The suitors, moreover, are constantly eating. Whenever Telemachus and Penelope complain about their uninvited guests, they mention how the suitors slaughter the palace’s livestock. Odysseus kills the suitors just as they are starting their dinner, and Homer graphically describes them falling over tables and spilling their food. In almost all cases, the monsters of the Odyssey owe their monstrosity at least in part to their diets or the way that they eat. Scylla swallows six of Odysseus’s men, one for each head. The Cyclops eats humans, but not sheep apparently, and is gluttonous nonetheless: when he gets drunk, he vomits up wine mixed with pieces of human flesh. The Laestrygonians seem like nice people—until their queen, who is described as “huge as a mountain crag,” tries to eat Odysseus and his men ( 10 . 124 ). In these cases, excessive eating represents not just lack of self-control, but also the total absence of humanity and civility.
A few years later he, with characteristic drama, changed his name to Da Free John — and would continue changing his name and stretching it out up until the last decade or so. Not surprisingly, things got more and more cultic around him, even as he waxed eloquently against cultism. And he grew increasingly isolated, eventually making his home base on a relatively remote Fijian island. Along the way, he gathered some heady praise, especially from Ken Wilber, and seemed to be taking his place among many as a legitimate, even exemplary, spiritual realizer, a great adept. This was in no small way helped by having over a thousand people who were totally focused on — and arguably obsessed by — every move he made, every word he said, every wish he expressed.
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