Sunday, April 01, 2012

Everything You Know Is Wrong

At 6, 16, and 26, almost anything seems to work; at 36, 46, and 56, one realizes that what they thought worked, might not; then at 66, 76, 86..., it seems like nothing works anymore, no matter what. So, then, that is the true test of what really works -- and not that anything could. That's what separates those who "know" something, and those who just "think" they do.

Beginning about age 60, very few can avoid the telltale signs of aging -- which is largely that the muscles of the body begin to shrink dramatically -- impacting their appearance as well as their functioning. Even if they're still running marathons or lifting weights, they're not doing as much or as well as they used to earlier -- which leads them inescapably to believe that the end is imminent, if not near. It is just one downhill slide from there -- if there is no measure by which one can actually improve -- yet that possibility indeed exists, if they radically change the measure of what they believe to be significant, in ways they hadn't even thought to develop and measure previously.

And that is range of their motion (by voluntary muscular contraction) -- at the critical axes (joints) of the wrists, ankles, and neck -- which most have not thought to move at all, and may have even been advised and instructed, that those parts cannot and shouldn't be moved -- rather than that, those are the critical areas that remain capable of improvement one's entire lifetime, and should be meaningful to measure, when all else fails. That capability must be telling us something.

I've never encountered those who are still responsive, who could not improve their range of movement at those sites -- even when they could not make improvement in any of the more familiar ways one measures physical improvement or decline. That obviously has to be the key to continuing improvement -- and the very meaning of responsiveness in the ways that one can still indicate that difference and acknowledgment. But in doing so, that also indicates the underlying and prerequisite health and functioning of the supporting and connecting structures that make the end movements (expressions) possible.

And that is all the movement one really needs to remain fully functional -- at the extremities of the human body -- such as the fingertip, or the gesture of a smile and recognition. One doesn't have to do a 500 lb bench press to signal agreement -- or disapproval, for that matter. Those expressions and communications, can be conveyed with the slightest movements at the head (face), hands (writing and grasping), or feet (shifting weight for balance and stability). Those are the meaningful and expressive human movements -- and not the running of marathons, or lifting of weights. The least gesture, tells us more, and can set much greater forces into motion.

It's fitting that such movements are called articulations -- as well, meaning the range of that expression. Humans are distinguished by such fine motor movements more than they are the powerful gross motor movements -- which in humans, are weak relative to all other animals. Pound for pound, the human is the least powerful animal of all. But because of the ability to communicate intent and understanding far more effectively, can marshal the productivity and ingenuity of those who came before, as well as those around presently.

Such fine motor movements and control, is the passing on of culture -- by which the genius of previous generations, can be expressed in another age -- in a way that gross movement/brute force cannot, because it is too indistinct and the subtleties are not communicated. And while these communications and subtleties do not seem so important at 6, 16, 26, they become increasingly important at 66, 76, 86... -- as the skills necessary to maintain and optimize life at that stage and development.

Nobody at 100, will be impressive as a marathoner or weightlifter -- if that is all they have to offer. Most everyone else, will be more productive and helpful in that regard -- including the 6 year old. The competitive and survival advantage of the 100 year old, would be the awareness of that proper perspective -- to measure all the others -- without their own ego, getting in the way of those assessments.

So it is not that the 76 year old should still be capable of doing what a 26 year old does and can do better, but they need to do what the 26 year old does not do as well because they don't have economies and efficiencies that many years of experience will give them an advantage in knowing the appropriate effort and risk to give to such situations and circumstances. In that way, life can still be better (for all), but not simply at being an adolescent again -- ignoring all the risks and pitfalls, that got them to their present age.

You don't want to be attempting a 500 lb bench press on your 100th birthday -- as an indication of one's fitness, or qualification for survival. However, to exhibit a greater range of movement at the head, hands and feet than normally exhibited by most, would greatly impress even the most casual of observers. They would be aware of the presence of a great vitality and awareness unmatched by most others -- even if all other things were equal.

"Fitness" is about this advantage one has beyond the others -- and not competing at a disadvantage, no matter how large a "handicap" one is given, which is really the acknowledgment that one really isn't to be taken as an equal, or seriously anymore. But is there a way one can compete at an advantage -- which nobody else thinks to do, and articulate?

That is what distinguishes individuals at any age, at any time, in any generation. They don't simply do what everybody else does; they do what everybody else does not even think to do, or can imagine doing.

Those are manifested at the distinctly and uniquely human structures at the extremities, that have made the march of human evolution possible -- that we seek to master.


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