Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Being Your Best Doesn't Have to be an Extreme Sport

It's obviously the intelligent thing to do -- to always be one's best, even in "retirement." Actually, there is nothing more important one should do at that stage of one's life, because that health and well-being is the criterion of how well one is doing -- when there is no "other" to tell them how well they are doing anymore.

That is a very difficult thing for those who have been raised from the cradle to nearly the grave with somebody else always telling them what to do and how to live their lives -- from the schools to the unions (trade associations), coaches, political parties, and of course, newspaper opinion writers -- on top of one's requirement to hire somebody else to tell them how to get into "shape," and "how to" live one's life, as though that could be done for any other.

So whether one is beginning kindergarten or retirement, they should ask whether what they are learning, helps them discover the truth of anything for themselves -- and not just how to follow orders of those who know best for everybody else, what they should be doing -- as though they knew, and had a right to tell them what to do, what to believe and repeat (propagate) as the political/social correctness (consensus).

The "truth" is in the discovery, and not the answer; it is a journey, and not the end of the journey, at which one no longer has to learn anything more. That is always the beginning of stagnation, deterioration, and ultimately death -- because there are no more worlds to conquer (discover).

Fortunately, we live in an age in which constant, if not endless discovery is possible -- with some great invention or innovation merely awaiting discovery because the present controlling vested interest (hegemony) has prohibited such knowing. In health and well-being, that is that one has to run the gauntlet of the health care system and sadistic personal trainers to break into the clear beyond of perfect health -- or is there simply higher walls to climb beyond that -- endlessly, until one can die in peace?

Thus many are reluctant to even begin that journey -- that merely gets harder, the better one gets. Is that how it is supposed to work?

Health is not simply being young -- and doing the same things they do, but beyond that, is doing things differently and better, so that they are no longer hard and difficult -- like with any other learning and rewarding participation. One doesn't simply do it until one is permanently disabled so one can no longer live an active life anymore -- with a good excuse for not doing so, and can place those responsibilities in the hands of the health care system from here on out.

The major function of the brain is not thought but the production of health for that individual, which is not produced by the separation of mental from physical activity, but is the integration of the entire being so that the thought conforms to the reality -- rather than superimposing one's beliefs over those realities, which is the struggle.

If one does nothing else, one should move their head, as the key to maintaining and strengthening that connection -- instead of moving every other part in preference and priority to it, because that structural and integral maintenance and improvement creates the biggest difference in change, which is why the most visible sign of deterioration of the health of the entire being, is the atrophying of the muscles of the neck. When there is optimal flow, the muscles, blood vessels and nerves show it in their appearance, as well as function -- as that sign of vital well-being.

Meanwhile the heart, on which so much attention is focused, already beats 100,000 contractions a day -- without further extraordinary effort. So the relative increment (rate of change) of moving the head 360 degrees (full contraction), is much greater doing 100 repetitions -- than working the heart even harder than it already does, while the rest do nothing -- and predictably atrophy, as the accepted norm of the aging (deterioration) process.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Fountain of Youth (Elixir of Life)

My father was a Taoist, for whom the study of good health, long life, if not immortality, is a basic objective of their studies, and so I was very disappointed to see that his knowledge failed him as he reached into his 90s.

So it was quite natural for me to take this study further in asking the more practical and achievable question of whether it was possible to live a long life without the ravages of age and its afflictions that we accept as the inevitable -- because we run out of solutions for the problems and challenges of our daily living, which we invariably attribute to the catch-all, aging process.

Until we reach that point, we think it is merely a matter of discovering a yet undiscovered secret -- and seeking the many experts, gurus, and keepers of the great truths, until we feel we have seen and heard it all -- and nothing makes a difference that matters anymore.

But through the present miracle of the Internet, we now can easily access the collective knowledge and intelligence -- if only we know how.

As a historian (archivist) by training and disposition, I like to research the beginnings of ideas, and have evolved throughout the history of thought -- which is actually my specialty. And so I have this particular and unique sense of history and time more than most -- who seem to forget or were conscious that things were not always that way. Most live and think in that temporal vacuum -- of time not being bound to any other. But for the historian, what happened ages ago, seems relevant to the present, evolved, and is manifested in the present -- as the summation of all (previous) thought.

One of the oldest themes for the justification of knowledge and thought, is the desire and belief, that there is some kind of magical potion, that conveys to its possessor, optimal good health -- the fountain of youth, or the elixir of life, and of course, life abundant and everlasting in all its versions.

In more contemporary times, for the past 80 years, that was promised in the iconic commercials promising "fast relief" for the most common afflictions of contemporary life -- which were (head)aches and pains, digestive upset, and even the general blahs -- before they were forced to cut back on their unquantifiable claims. But for most of the generation now alive, they were at least aware of the commercials that mostly ran, "Plop, plop, fizz, fizz. Oh what a relief it is." That was the last of the golden age of patent medicine home remedies -- before Big Pharma took over, and promised super cures (drugs) for highly specialized diseases and conditions -- all unrelated to one another, as though such a thing were possible. But that was the new paradigm of the 20th century of increasing specialization and fragmentation of life -- that made it easily incomprehensible to most as the norm, if not the ideal.

But as a lifelong arthritic having to take some kind of pain reliever to make it through each day, I had to accept that the accompanying digestive upset was one of the tradeoffs one had to make -- until I thought to try the old Alka-Seltzer bromide mainly out of desperation because nothing else worked anymore -- immediately or temporarily, much less indefinitely. That it worked at all, piqued my curiosity to research it further, leading me to realize it was the fountain of youth -- in a tablet.

Throughout history, people have noted the curative (restorative) effect of certain spring (mineral) waters that people have bathed as well as drank, to cure a multitude of ills and conditions. That is the basis for the notion of the fountain of youth, and the miraculous curing (restorative) waters -- that are essentially naturally occurring Alka-Seltzer. But what gives Alka-Seltzer its added potency, is that it is a way in which many who cannot tolerate aspirin (a highly effective pain reliever) in its usual forms, can actually access it -- because it is buffered, and in solution, rather than irritating, concentrated pill form. And when many more can tolerate aspirin, it obviates the need for other pain relievers, including alcohol and addicting (prescription) drugs -- which are much more costly but frequently preferred because they are covered by one's health care or drug plan -- while economical, sensible and more effective choices have to be borne by oneself, and so many will be misguided by that decision.

Monday, August 08, 2011

What Can the Teachers Do?

It is the American educators (and their unions) that have created the American education system.

The reason the responsibility for its failures falls mainly on their shoulders is that they have demanded more money and benefits for those results -- which are famously worse than the third-world and emerging countries paying much lower wages under substandard conditions, yet achieving much greater results.

The American education system is a world-class failure and has to be abandoned -- and in that void, successful education enterprises will arise -- as they've always done, under the most dire conditions. Obviously, throwing money at the present education system with the same people in charge, is not the solution but the problem. These educators have no business teaching -- and have to move on to those lucrative comparable worth jobs they have sacrificed themselves for the wrong calling in life.

We need to import these teachers who can produce amazing results under adverse conditions, and let these American educators do whatever it is they think they are the experts at -- and can be successful at, rather than doing the same things over and over and over again (which is to demand ever higher pay for obvious failures), and expecting a different (successful) result.

We need to start from scratch -- but we don't have to, because there are already countless successful private schools doing a better job with less, and we just need to replicate that model, while the government does what it can do successfully -- but not education which is their proven failure. We need to move on find some other jobs for these "teachers" to do.

Maybe something in recycling.