Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Exercising Intelligence

I saw two two very thought-provoking videos on YouTube recently:  The first was a TED talk, in which the expert on aging, defined aging as the "accumulation of damage by the body" -- while suggesting there was a way (yet to be discovered).  That sounds a lot like the age-old wisdom of karma -- by which all one has done and will do in life -- determines one's experience of life.  That is to say, that  life is not random, but there is a reason why things happen -- and if one does not see that yet, one needs to look beyond one's habitual thought processes -- which is meditation, or thinking beyond one's conditioning.  In that way, one discovers how it is they think that way -- and think they thought of it themselves, rather than than that it is what another desires them to think -- as the truth of the matter.

The second video, was titled Kung Fu Genius -- in which the hero of the story reveals only at the end, in answering the question posed by the final climactic triumph -- as to where he had learned his invincible technique, that he in fact, learned it from his opponent in fighting him -- and thus figured out a way to defeat him, and that is why he was a kung fu genius -- as he learned while doing.  And of course one had to agree, that is the essence of genius -- and not how much one knows prior to the doing -- if they ever get around to doing anything at all.  Nist are just content to revel in their knowledge -- and presumed superiority -- even while knowing nothing worth knowing -- because they never manifest that knowledge in any action.

When one puts those two videos together, one arrives at a greater insight that either one alone possesses -- as one wondered why the first presenter, did not manifest and exhibit that robustness of vitality and vibrancy -- but instead, seemed to be old even before his time (age) -- as an "expert" on aging.  Similarly,  lot of people are experts on weight loss and diet -- because they've tried them all, and are definitive proof, that none of them work -- or the exercise instructor, who exhibits any muscle tone anybody can notice -- yet are proud of their resemblance to Gandhi, as the ideal of human understanding and achievement -- that we all ought to emulate.

It does not occur to such proponents, what the actuality of health might manifest, except to persist as long as possible, beyond the point which everyone marvels why they are not dead -- being in that condition of advanced decline and deterioration.  That is not a hopeful prospectus for anybody considering their own longevity, and many think it is not something worth striving for, and the condition in life they want to prolong for as long as medical science makes possible.

That is a mind not breaking out of its prison -- and thinking there is a life beyond -- just a little more light, and a little more food -- as their nirvana.  But for the mind that can break through all that -- they create the life they live, in living it.  That integration of thought and action -- is health, physically, mentally, emotionally, and in every way possible.  That is the work of man -- and not just making more money, and all the other obsessive behaviors that define many lives -- and so naturally, when they are "retired" to create their best lives without all those previous constraints -- many lose their way entirely -- into the various delusions that characterize people cut off from active engagement and participation in the larger society and social fabric, and decline in their own peculiar fashion -- because nobody tells them what to do anymore.

They are entirely on their own -- which is a great disaster for many people -- particularly for those who always relied on somebody else to tell them what to do.  And if nobody does, they don't care either -- and so just dissolve into an indistinguishable mass -- seen only by their social and health care workers, as those that still have to.  At that point, human beings have no idea what they should look like -- and the condition they should be in, that manifests (actualizes) the best that they can be.  They no longer fell that necessary -- or even to fake it anymore.  One is simply done -- and nobody, including themselves, expects anything more from (of) them.  Life then, for all practical purposes, is over.

So how do we not get that way? -- the intelligent mind inquires.  We should be learning as we are doing -- and not simply executing what we already know -- that doesn't work, and won't, no matter how long we persist at it.  Obviously, we have to do something different -- learning in the doing -- and not merely learning apart from doing, academically, intellectually -- but unintelligently.  That is what transforms and transcends the declining human being -- and not just simply, the denial of that reality. That is the most disastrous thing one can do -- becoming evermore detached from those actualities -- to live in their own world, their own personal fantasies and delusions of what they are doing, and how they are perceived by others -- doing their own thing, and encouraging everybody else to do their own thing also -- and so each retreats further into their own self-isolating activity, which has to result in a dead end, and not the wider ocean of life.

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Conditioning for these Times

  A lot of well-meaning but not very thoughtful people, think the meaning and purpose of our existence, is to prepare and condition ourselves to live in another era, under totally different circumstances and conditions -- rather than meeting the challenges of our very specific own times.  So naturally, their ideal, is to prepare one to live a caveman's (or kingly) existence -- of perpetual struggle and conquest, in a very short and brutal life.

Hopefully, that is not the reality which most people have to face daily -- especially in the most prosperous society and culture of these times.  The challenges may be in fact, quite the opposite of the desperate caveman's (or conqueror's) -- dealing with the abundance of food and other resources, rather than its scarcity -- requiring a whole different set of responses and reflexes (conditioning), to successfully meet the challenge of their living -- their everyday lives.  And that is in fact, where most people are failing to meet these challenges -- in their everyday lives, from which they can only hope to "escape" -- in one diversion (entertainment) or another.

Not surprisingly, this whole industry of "entertainment" in one form or another, has come to replace the real purpose and meaning in many lives -- as their "reality," instead of the actual ones of their own  existences.  It is no wonder then, that solving these many manufactured problems of the media -- while not solving any real problems of their daily lives -- leaves them powerless to do any more, until finally, they give up trying in utter futility, and are convinced that nothing matters, or could make a difference -- rather than the proper understanding, that everything matters -- and that's why they are in the hopeless condition they are in -- despite what they think they're doing.

That is what we refer to as ineffective, or dysfunctional people -- those who are always and invariably solving the wrong problem at any and every time -- no matter how much it seems like they are doing.  They are obviously doing all the wrong things.  Yet they are convinced, that they are doing all the right things -- which is apparent to an impartial observer, is not the same thing -- but they have lost the ability to discriminate that -- because they have been conditioned, to believe that all discrimination is bad, and should never be done -- because it is the job of the self-appointed experts, to tell them what to think, and when to think them -- and so they become totally dependent on others to do all their thinking for them -- while they even believe they are thinking entirely for themselves!

That is the world (and plight) of modern man -- the world we live in now.  That is the challenge of life in the very real time.  Even virtual, doesn't get us there.  It has to be the actuality of life as we actually encounter and deal with it -- not in some laboratory far away, or some boardroom of a marketing campaign -- but life as we encounter and are increasingly aware of it.  For many, that begins and ends with their individual and unique health -- which is their very capacity to live and experience life.

The critical capacities, are the very organs by which we sense and experience the many things -- particularly at the head, hands and feet -- which are essentially our common senses.  The plight of modern man is this tendency (conditioning) to rely on others to tell them what they feel and experience, rather than relying on their own common sense(s) -- in all manner of things.  So most people, never figure out anything for themselves anymore.  They rely on the doctor or politician, to figure out everything for them -- and think that is the only way it can be done -- and never that they can discover for themselves, what works for them -- if nothing else does. They may even believe that it is prohibited to discover their own way -- and especially if it works, because then there wouldn't be the problem, that so many have come to depend on for their living.

That is the failure of human beings to adapt -- effectively.  The solution is always in the problem itself -- in asking the wrong questions, and not seeing the obvious -- because we are conditioned not to.  

The failure of the body invariably begins at the extremities of the body -- in the vital senses, by which we have a clue (sense) that something is wrong, just as we do when everything is right -- and even sublime moments when there seems like there could be no wrong.  Those are the moments one hopes to condition themselves to -- as their base level of who they are, and how they experience life -- in and over its entirety.

Increasingly, that means not outliving our capacity to experience and enjoy it -- because the head, hands and feet are the first to go -- while the traditional vital signs of the heartbeat continue on -- just because they can.  Life under those conditions become increasingly meaningless.  But far before then,  we need to restore the central importance of life and its activities, to these proper center of focus and development -- which is where they really matter, and make a difference -- and not simply whether the heart pumps harder and faster, as the ultimate measure of anything of significance.  That is the given -- but where we go beyond that, makes the greatest difference.