From the Blog Journal, 20 March 2010
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The Blood Type Diet doesn't, for me, constitute an "ism". I don't follow it as a religion, nor do I feel the need to "go to confession" about my personal use of it. But vegetarianism frequently inspires that type of allegiance, and one wonders why.
People of blood type A seem to thrive on modified vegetarian diets. One would understand if it were such A's who were doing the proselytizing and genuflecting. On the contrary, I've known of O's who are obsessed with "Save the Animals" principles which they passionately extend to their own diets (though not to their shoe, belt, or purse selections!). Their health suffers, but No Doctor Is Going To Get Them To Kill Animals, dad-gummit!
An old O friend called today, telling me about her vegan cousin who espouses her diet religiously and has forced it on her ten-year-old daughter who is odd/spooky, fat, and friendless. Anything, it seems, to Save the Cattle, all the way to child-sacrifice! I told my friend (who actually lives in Philadelphia), the classic story of Benjamin Franklin who, as an animal-loving vegetarian went out on a friend's boat and watched him catch and eviscerate fish. Noting the presence of so many fish in the bellies of the caught fish, Franklin reported, "I figured that if they can eat each other, I can eat them, too," so ending Franklin's dietary religion.
My teenaged A niece eats fish and is otherwise a vegetarian. She's not a missionary about it; she's just, enviably, extraordinarily astute about her own health. She has no qualms about handling meat; in fact she enjoys cooking it for the rest of the family. She doesn't subscribe to Vegetarian Times or Yoga Journal, and it seems she's not exposed to any vegan-evangelism. Her O sister loves animals and eats meat.
I think about the archetypal O carnivore and his love for animals. After all, it was the prehistoric O hunter who first tamed dogs, using the latter as hunting assistants; if anyone developed close relationships with animals, it was those predatory O's. Historically, respect for animals has never required that one not eat them. The inconvenient truth is that we humans have four canine teeth that clearly demonstrate our equipment to eat meat.
Ironically, some of the strongest pro-animal-nature-habitat politics and money come from hunters. Profoundly inspiring books about the human/nature interface also emanate from that community (see titles below). If I'm going to revere Nature, I'll do so while honestly accepting food-chain reality.
A few hunting/nature books:
Eaton, Randall L., PhD, The Sacred Hunt: Hunting as a Sacred Path: An Anthology
Houston, Pam, ed., Women and Hunting
Martin, Calvin Luther, In the Spirit of the Earth
Swan, James A., In Defense of Hunting
Here's another old manuscript from the Blog Journals, 2008.
Because it's the world majority blood type, we all know plenty of O's. Let's have a look at their physiologically/anthropologically-driven temperament.
There are two major ways to describe blood type personality: One is its natural expression without respect to society. The other is in terms of its relation to society. There is the O temperament, for instance but then this is tempered by the very fact that O prevails in great numbers; so, with O, you've got "This is how I am", but you also have to deal with O's "And everybody should be as I am", an attitude based less on O temperament than on O's EXPERIENCE that most folks are indeed like himself. We'll see that, in this regard, A tests the waters, to see how many share his own orientation, while B and AB begin with the premise that no one is like themselves: These latter individuals expect to be misunderstood, to be self-contained and stand alone. So, understand that O expects others to see things his/her way, as a "given", and then you're ready to understand other aspects of O personality.
Next step: Anthropology. O began as a hunter and gatherer. O pits himself against nature, bringing all of his resources to bear on making a killing, accomplishing his goal. He tracks his quarry, bringing others on board to assist him. His survival is bound up in projects that have beginnings, middles and ends. He feasts on the proceeds and then goes out to stalk the next Meal, bring down the next foe.
So O likes projects and brings great energy to these, taking for granted that everyone is on board, unless they're prey too. O figures "You're either part of the team or we eat you." This assumption of antagonism on the part of those who don't dance to his tune can be quite stunning to others.
O makes a good leader and a problematic follower. How can mixed society cope with a majority that is leadership-geared ? Answer: O's need spheres of leadership, not necessarily in careers, per se.
And then there's the physical: O's are physically energetic. It's good for them to work out, in relatively short bursts. Just as hunters alternate between slow quiet stalking and climactic pouncing, O's workouts should be short but daily. I think that's akin to their natural anthro-driven rhythm.
Hunting is the ultimate focussed activity; if you're focussed and alert, you eat; if your mind wanders, you starve. So you see a pattern with O: He single-mindedly goes after what he wants till he gets it. After the feast, he's onto something else, with equal intensity. This is why O's do so well with project management. They make one thing happen. Then another. They don't necessarily "work well with others", though. Just as hunters use beaters or a pack of hounds, O's might view their teams as subordinates. A whole team of O's each with his own sphere of authority, is therefore a winner. Otherwise O's can come across as opportunist users. This is an aspect of focussedness that is a social problem for O: Others are used when serving O's ego or career goals or projects, and may be made to feel stepped-on otherwise. O's can even interrupt or fall asleep during others' self-expression. They quite simply are uninterested in others' input unless they can use or usurp it to their own ends. The world is their and only their oyster. They have to train themselves to be more genuinely interested. But if they can at least fake it, that, too, might be an advance for some!
All of this is not to say O's are unlikeable. On the contrary, the world contains its share of adorable O's. Blood type doesn't swallow up or override what makes each individual unique, and that's why I'm treating only of the constitutional medical and anthropologic factors.
Medically speaking, O is flammable. O's suffer from inflammatory diseases. Adding fire to the O rhythm, you find someone who tends to anger and outbursts as opposed to, say, withdrawal or worry. O's act quickly and impulsively, too; thus many an O finds himself backpedalling, apologizing, embarrassed by his hyperreactivity to innocent differentness perceived as threat. Someone's contrary point of view is seen as a lit match and the O is thrilled to burst into flame: Igniting is an addictive high for many an O, an impulse impossible to stifle, a momentary opportunity to express his magnificent furnace. O's can love their own anger. When the social/interpersonal/familial messes to be mopped up in its aftermath are permanent, however, O's might actually consider changing their approach. Dr. D'Adamo is to my mind correct in counseling the rechannelling of O-fire into physical sports/training, rather than, say, some sort of psychotherapy. When O's have had a good sweaty workout in the morning, they're less likely to seek prey to intimidate or attack.
Have a look around at the O's in your circle. And if you're O, it can be fascinating and instructive to understand yourself in these terms. I have to say that the O-Anger connection is among the top 5 teachings that I've noticed have impressed listeners when I speak on bloodtype diet/disease/temperament profiles. Many O's can relate to it, admit to having been distressed by it, and are gratified to find, in Dr. D'Adamo, someone who explains it to them.
My fascination with blood group anthropology owes a lot to the maps of A.E.Mourant. These show the distribution of O blood type, the A allele, and the B allele, amongst indigenous populations by region, i.e., before any migrations, visitation or crossbreeding. Therefore the figures are valid for populations a couple of thousand years back, but not since the hordes and invasions of the early Christian era.
The following link displays maps based upon those found in Mourant’s work but can be off by as much as 10%: http://anthro.palomar.edu/vary/vary_3.htm
You might enjoy cross-referring between this column and that map as you read.
Everywhere on the globe (with the tiniest exception, found on the Barents Sea in the Russian Arctic) more than 50% of all populations are type O. There was, originally, no race or people for whom this was not true. This is an important starting point for those who might otherwise tend to succumb to the race-religion-stereotyped misinformation which often rears its head in this field.
The only region of the world that showed the ubiquitous O-majority to be actually exclusive was: The Western Hemisphere, from the Rio Grande south to Tierra del Fuego, where O prevailed at 95 to 100 per cent.
There is no area of the world (with the tiny Arctic exception cited above) where less than 50% of the population was originally Type O, or where more than 45% had the A allele, or more than 30% had the B-allele.
North America, in some areas, shows the same 100% O-incidence as the lower Americas (about ½ the continent shows 65-70% O, the other half 70-75%), but the remainder is usually evenly divided between A and B. In about ¼ of Africa, B-incidence was as high as 20%, i.e., surpassing A-incidence, a finding that explains the much higher incidence (approximately double!) of the B allele amongst blacks that amongst whites worldwide, even today.
The highest A-incidence, in the ancient (indigenous) world would be found in: Australia and New Zealand, Japan, Europe east and west, Ukraine and Western Russia, Asia Minor and the Levant (Lebanon/Palestine). In these areas, A is found in more than 25% of the population, up to as much as 45-50% (in that tiny Barents Sea region, A goes as high as 55%).
Usually the allele of least representation, the highest B-incidence would have been found in Eastern Asia (China, Mongolia, Korea, Siberia), the Southeast Asian peninsula, Central/Himalayan Asia (N. India, Pakistan, Kashmir, Afghanistan), and eastern Russia, i.e., east of the Caspian Sea.
Mourant also conducted some very specific research with regard to races, including the Jews, the Gypsies, and Polynesian peoples. His research on the Jews was with the aim of revealing Jewish-specific patterns in population. But his groundbreaking results instead showed the similarity of Jewish blood type prevalences to their surrounding cultures! Always O-dominant (like the rest of the world), their proportions of A and B varied only slightly, consonant with those of their surrounding populations (e.g., in areas of Russia where B showed a 16% incidence amongst the general population, B showed the same prevalence amongst the regions’ Jews, plus perhaps 1 or 2 % in a few areas). Amongst the Gypsies, Mourant found the incidence of AB type to be very high (over 10%), and he attributed the rise of the blood type to Gypsy and Gypsy-related migrations westward from North India.
I’m greatly indebted to Mourant’s maps and his overview of this subject. Though I have referred to other sources for modern regional numbers, these are always seen in light of anthropologic origins as described by Mourant. For example, in the early 1980’s, US figures looked something like this: O-44%, A-42%, B-10%, AB-4%. If we start to see B rise here at the expense of A, we can refer to Mourant and infer a strong Asian influx.
For those of you with a hankering after the anthropology, Mourant’s fascinating work is worth examining.
Here in the United States, the incidence of ABO blood groups is estimated at approximately 44% O; 42% A; 10% B: and 4% AB. Whether one finds oneself in a majority type - O or A - or in a minority one - B or AB - goes a long way, I find, toward determining personality factors. In other words, bloodtype personalities are "the way they are" not only because of intrinsic factors, but also by virtue of their being embedded in large/extended or in small/isolated clans of typemates.
Both O's and A's harbor expectations that the world sees things the way they do; they're accustomed to a certain understood-ness amid society. Very simply put, O's want to win at the world's game, and A's want to be accepted within and facilitators of community. Both know that B's and AB's are "different", "quirky" in some way; O and A can't imagine being that out of step with the broader world.
B's and AB's, for their part, are accustomed to their differentness. But I have a theory that distinguishes the inner comfort and self-acceptance of the B from the apprehension and inner turmoil of the AB.
I posit that B, operating independently, skirting the larger, customary byways, is contented in that state and role, wearing it well, but that AB has trouble with such desires because of the A allele. AB's would like to be as straightforward in their unusualness as B's are, but they have this A-voice gnawing at them - A, the one who wants to fit in, to get along, to create community, to enjoy security. AB sees that B isn't as compromising or as equivocating, and envies B. AB wishes s/he could ditch the A self-expectation, the inner A's criticalness of inner B, in order to shine like the B, riding the wind -- OR -- that s/he could "outgrow" his/her B-differentness altogether and be included in the larger A-compliant world. You might find AB's alternating in their behavior toward B's: projecting orneriness against free, autonomous B acquaintances and family at times, and expressing a yearning to take off and run with the horses, too, at others.
Speaking of horses, anthropologic bloodtype archetypes portray this subtle variation too: B the utter nomad, AB the gypsy. The nomad is out there in the wilderness - deserts, steppes, mountains- watching stars shoot, clouds morph, dunes shift - while the gypsy is the oddball closer to civilization: The family washing clothes in the stream by its caravan at the city's edge, the accordionist with the dancing bear on the midtown corner, the fortune teller at the gate.
These archetypes also show how B and AB can find their level and contentment: B in not caring to justify himself to society, confident that the latter will use/absorb/ignore/reject what it chooses to of B's offerings and wares, and AB being pleased to amuse, or find a unique role within, the majority's society while proudly upholding his very staunch policy of caginess/aloofness. Playing by his own rules, as it were, within the larger system. Keeping a foot outside the box.
Both AB's and B's are passionate critters. AB's for their majority-wannabe A allele, however, are more conflicted, I think. If you're an AB or you love one, try these insights on for size. If you're, like myself, a B, your drifting isn't aimless: It may simply conform to patterns that transcend the era and the culture and the family you inhabit. Be true to it.
Mountain wind, whirling snow
crushed forebears deep below
before the grassy highway gave
itself to history.
Massive heights and continents
together we traverse
trading ties between tribes,
Eastward first then thundering
gusts of horsefire wild beyond
our ancient roots and north,
we sailing forth upon gray waves
Or weaving tentside tales with
dung-fed heated hosting between
dunes, and dunes are oceans endless
bending back to dance with moons.
not bucolic, flocks a feast for
blood beasts when once we stray
daydreaming milky celestial
distances. Clouds commute across,
sometimes shielding stars from
sight of scouts plotting
path and pasture.
The rains and oh the rains
we welcome changes, leafy
camel thorns, their tired humps
to fatten higher hauling; Leaving
villages and cities sprout
about, we wend the wild
uncharted ways of vastness,
visions and Beyond.