Wednesday, June 01, 2022

Functional Fitness

 I don't know how many times I've encountered a title on "functional fitness," only to find them teaching impractical skills -- thinking that some day they will be useful, when the very nature of that teaching, is to make everything as impractical and difficult to do as possible -- so as to make them useless and worse, dangerous and injurious.

A good case in point is the manner in which an initiate is taught to perform a squat -- with their arms held up straight in front of them.  Under no circumstances would a person actually lift a weight in that manner -- and in most cases, would never think to do so -- unless they were taught that performance as being unequivocally the "correct" thing to do -- with no deviation or even questioning allowed.

It does nothing but flatter the instructors of such performance that they are "right," and the rest of humanity is less intelligent and knowledgeable because they know something that everybody else does not.  Whether that knowledge is useful or not, is besides the point.  They simply "know" something most others don't -- whether it is useful or not.

The whole point of that performance, is to maximize every advantage one can conceive -- beginning with the realization that the center of balance and gravity must be aligned -- which absolutely requires the hands to be in a downward position close to one's ankles -- just as the Olympic weightlifters and other strongmen invariably know to do.  Nobody in their right mind, would think to lift even the lightest weight with their hands held out straight in front of them.  What purpose would that serve --- except to learn something totally useless and dysfunctional?

But a lot of people now go through their entire lives with that kind of modus operandus -- thinking the more they know the better they are -- rather than in realizing that the fountain of all wisdom, is the realization that they know nothing.  From there, one can discover wondrous things -- while those who begin thinking they know everything, will never attempt to find out anything.

That's mainly the difference between those who succeed and those who have no idea what they are talking about -- but are merely repeating what they were rewarded to repeat unquestioningly.  Of course, that is the failing of our education system -- that people are not instructed to find out the truth of any matter for themselves, but rely on their instructors to reward them for their faithfulness in unquestioning obedience to such a program.

So of course, many arrive at the twilight of their lives totally misguided -- without a clue as to how they can set themselves right, and feel like they are simply cash cows for all those who profit handsomely on their misfortunes and (dis)ease.  Whenever there are problems, there are two basic impulses -- the first is to eliminate those problems, and the second is, to exploit those problems and make a handsome living from them.

Thus, it becomes the driving force behind why small problems at first, grow larger until they consume all one's resources -- and there is no more quality of life for any of its inhabitants -- while other societies, don't understand why there should be a problem.  In most cases, the problems are of their own making -- and are not inherent to life, but instead, antithetical to life -- because they cannot tell any better.  The problems become their lives and way of living.

Such societies go into decline -- while others rise and flourish.  That is the eternal story of civilization -- and why nobody stays at the top forever -- even with all the spoils.  The most robust at solving (eliminating) problems rise, while those consumed with problems fall -- usually at their own hands.

The casual visitor to such societies will note those obvious differences -- of greater civility in one, and increasing lawlessness, disrespect, and disregard in the other.  The public relations will tell us that things were never better -- even while misery and despair are all we see -- even camped out on the doorsteps of civic government.

The people one would think whose job it was to see and report on these things, tell us there is nothing to see, and there is no problem -- except that we need infinitely more funding to solve these non-problems.  In Hawaii, they've even built a transportation system that will not go anywhere.  They claim it is nearly perfect, because nobody can get on, and nobody can get off -- anywhere they'd want to go.  It is "perfect" because it will require infinite funding.  So many Islanders are getting their wish that the Islands return to where they were before civilization invaded their harmony -- and nobody needed to go anywhere.

But that is not the whole story of what is going on in the world.  One is not likely to hear about it, but there are some cities rising into the 21st century with gleaming new skyscrapers and pristine public areas.  Yet we are told that they are third-world countries -- and not the leaders into the 21st century with all that implies.  That is the new world order -- and not just the old, maintaining itself at the top -- and selling this "old world charm," for tourist dollars.

Obviously, they are not the living places of business and industry, but a trip of nostalgia, and the good old times.  But that is the past, and not the future.  The future is a whole new way of life -- built on the past surely, but leaping into the unknown -- and favoring those who know they do not know.  And so they find out, and in doing so, create the way of the future -- and not simply repeat the past, for one more iteration.

What people have regarded as "fitness," hasn't served them very well -- when even their staunchest advocates die prematurely even while at the top of their game, or disabling themselves for life by abusing themselves in ways not meant to be -- which causes them to cease all healthful activities from early on in life.  Many take up drugs to escape their pain and fill the void in their lives.  So obviously, a whole new, better paradigm of activities and purpose is needed based on integrating exercise into contemporary lifestyles -- instead of the failed model of stopping life so that one can exercise, and do anything productive and significant.

That is easier done than said -- because the body is built for movement -- but not arbitrary movements the devious mind can conceive -- so that it has to fail.  The proper exercise of the body, is actually how it is designed to work -- without the mind taking precedence of the most profitable model to conduct and sell that instruction.  It is like the infant learning how to become proficient with its own body -- before they encounter those who insist on telling them what to do and how to be -- as unqualified and incompetent to tell anybody else what to do.

The kinesthetically gifted are never that way.  They learn through the actuality of their experiences (exercise) -- which requires constant attention and attentiveness -- of which there is no limit, unlike the treadmill of activities that discover nothing new, and frankly, produces no favorable results beyond reinforcing the belief that that is the only way things can ever be done.

Getting back to the manner of squat performance, another accompanying instruction is to never allow the knees to move forward of the toes -- which then displaces the center of gravity to the unnatural position that cannot be sustained comfortably over a prolonged period -- as is seen in indigenous cultures.  That exercise is the proper alignment of the major hinges of the human body -- that simply happens because it must.  Human babies are quite proficient at it -- with no instruction usually given.  They know how to use natural advantage -- and thus we marvel at the wisdom of the young -- in discovering what is in them, and not in all the books pretending to know something -- but in reality, is responsible for setting faith and confidence in human knowledge back to the Dark Ages.

The fact of the matter is that it just doesn't work -- and increasingly in their twilight years when they desperately need it the most.  That is true for even the most ardent exercisers.  They accept their increasing deteriorating condition as the general rule, and point out only one metric, if any, that defies that general trend.  That's not convincing proof of the validity of all they are promulgating.

In most cases, lifting a heavier weight does not increase the productivity -- as many think is automatic.  What matters, is the precision and mastery of performance -- regardless of resistance or load.  That's where many go astray.  It is the quality of the movement rather than the quantity of the load that results in the optimal stimulus of movement.  While most are impressed with the amount that can be lifted with excellent form, the magic is the excellence of form, and not the weight.  Correlation is not causation.

The mastery of performance is what allows for maximum poundage, and not simply upping the poundage at every opportunity -- until one invariably injures themselves because of the improper form.  In observing world champion lifters, what is striking is the attention paid to their form using only the bar -- and if that is not precisely where it should be, they do not go higher.  What would be the point?  Like the practice of medicine, the first rule should be, do no harm -- and once one has ensured those parameters, the rest takes care of itself -- but not before then.  That would be putting the cart before the horse -- with similarly disappointing results.

Particularly for the oldsters out there, if you can still do the snatch and clean and jerk in perfect form with the bar alone at age 100, you don't need to lift anything more.  That alone says it all.  It's like the ballet dancer; if they can still lift their leg up over their head at 100, they don't need to add any more weight to make it a better exercise. It will invariably make it a worse exercise -- and a travesty, but somebody will come along recommending it as the "next big thing."

Sunday, May 01, 2022

The Test of Time

 Aging is nothing more than the test of time; how well any truth holds up, is revealed in time.  If we live a good and virtuous life, time will tell.  That's even more so if we haven't.  The good and bad accumulates over time -- either as aging badly or aging well.  Many will try to convince us that it all doesn't matter, and the slates are washed clean every night -- or every year -- rather than invariably being what kills us, or keeps us alive.

Bad lives tend to be short, nasty, brutish.  Good lives bring joy to many others -- even without trying.  They are just a joy to witness -- and marvel at the human possibilities.  One doesn't have to be that person achieving it; it is enough that any of the species can attain it to feel connected to and appreciate it.

That is why we appreciate the prodigies of every discipline -- even if we could never imagine doing what they do ourselves.  We know that the world is rich in talent -- as well as wisdom.  Few need to possess it all, although a rare few, think that any other's gain, is stolen from them.  Those are the psychopathic criminals of the world -- who think that everybody in the world exists for their exclusive benefit, and showed up just to applaud them.  There are the countless many others, who wish to hog all the spotlight -- with no discernible talent and significance to justify it.

For a while, they may be very successful at achieving those ends -- but in the end, realize it was not sustainable -- especially when they needed it to be the most.  What used to explain everything, had in time, proved to be false and only a delusion.  And nowhere is that more true than athletic or any other kind of competition -- even with oneself.  That is not the driving force in meaningful sustainable activities.  The prizes and distinctions were mainly the diversions from any true purpose -- and once they were not forthcoming, many just give up and abandon all betterment, and go into a steep decline -- with no intention of turning around again.  Those lives are over.

So the challenge of that stage of life is renewing and reviewing life daily -- as though it matters -- even if it means beginning now.  Many lose that sense of urgency -- because nothing seems to work anymore, or make any difference -- and it has been that way as long as they can remember.  That is all learned behavior and accepting the conventional wisdom -- or truth of the day.  Tomorrow it will be different.

Truths that work, don't just work when one is young and don't know any better.  It's more important to know what truths work timelessly -- because one knows better.  Yet it is precisely at that stage that most people's knowledge abandons and betrays them -- rather than assures and produces for them.  That's when it really counts -- and people learn whether they have passed  those tests.  It's difficult to accept that all one "knew," was only wishful-thinking, and had no connection to reality, and the realities they are now facing -- mostly because of the errors of their ways.

It did not seem that excessive drinking and eating would have negative impacts -- later on in life, but that is the truth, as much as many are in denial.  In fact, the current advertising is to encourage it as much as possible.  At some point, the damage is irreversible and irrecoverable -- but one never knows when that point is.  Too much of a good thing can be a bad thing, and just little bit of a good thing, may be the proper dosage -- that doesn't make a poison, or produce irrecoverable and irreversible injury.

More is not always better -- unequivocally.  Nor is zero.  More than likely, the truth lies somewhere in between -- and finding that proper balance has always been the challenge.  Does one need to lift a personal best or run a marathon each day to optimize their health and well-being?  Most have tried this maximum overload principle only to find that it injures or impairs them prematurely -- resulting in permanent cessation of any further efforts and exercise.  The body in its infinite wisdom, tells them to stop.  That is true zero -- while those who leave a little in the tank, are ready to go again, and that is the preferable condition of readiness -- to do whatever one has to do in the daily activities of their lives -- and that is infinitely more important than simply setting a personal best in something not necessary to do.

Meanwhile, one never has the time and energy for doing what really matters in their lives because one has diverted those energies towards the unnecessary -- as though they really mattered.  Of course one could do both -- and that would already indicate a better balance than the one to the exclusion of every other -- particularly if that one thing to the exclusion of everything else, isn't working.  Yet most will not admit that what they are doing is not working -- to achieve the greater health objective because they are so narrowly focused on the one metric that tells them all they want to know.

But that one measure, may not be all there is to know -- or anything relevant to know -- especially if everything else in their lives is not working, and getting better.  Yet many accept that that is how it is supposed to be -- and not that it would be nice to solve the real problems in their lives.  Eventually it just adds up to a monumental fail -- and one surmises that that is the inevitable "aging" process -- which only a rare few do not succumb to as the unchallenged truth.  But is that a function of time or faulty lifestyle choices and practices?

What would be the outcome if one did everything right -- and not just presume so -- when everything turns out wrong, particularly aging badly?

Friday, April 01, 2022

Just Do the Warmup

Some people think that the only way to do things is by leaps and bounds (extraordinary effort) -- rather than slowly and tentatively -- without going all out until one can't.  In life, it is relatively rare and infrequent that one has to do every little thing as though their life depended on it -- which may be the dominant paradigm for animals in the wild, whose very existence may depend upon it -- because there is no excess capacity or abundance that civilization and culture enables.  Thus it is possible for many now to eat to excess, while doing very little to obtain their needs -- and so that balance is off, and becomes the undoing of many, if not all in contemporary life.

One sees that imbalance in every human activity -- from eating, to resting, and exercise.  I wish I had a dollar for every person I've seen in the gym who spend 90-100% of their efforts building their upper bodies, and virtually zero on the lower half of their bodies -- thinking it is enough just to go through life wearing a tank top and jeans -- thinking they are fooling everybody.  Then as they hobble onto the bodybuilding stage, even the judges are conditioned only to use the biceps as the pinnacle of development and achievement -- rather than the complete development in symmetry and proportion.  It is even worse for runners -- who think that running is all there is -- and let their upper bodies atrophy, even while thinking they are the paragons of complete and balanced development.

One is not better than the other.  Both are grotesque forms of disproportion -- alien to the notion of complete and balanced development -- that has been the true ideal of every major civilization and culture.  That is why such prodigious and prolific development can be appreciated across all cultures -- as the embodiment and hallmark of health and vitality -- impressive in itself.

What is surprising to many -- conditioned as they are to believing that nothing less than overdoing everything or not at all, is the realization of how little goes a long way -- but not absolute zero -- which is to note that the greatest difference on every scale, is not one from many, but zero from one.  When even that one is absent, the deficiency is glaring.

With even the simplest movement, one step is very different from not being able to stand at all -- or even considering such a movement anymore.  Thus it has been noted that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step -- and even before then, to enable one to take that single step -- which are the many milestones to that achievement, and once having come that far, all else is merely repetition.  It's just that simple -- and eventually, easy and effortless.

But one doesn't get there having to climb a mountain first -- as many instructors (gurus) demand first.  Thus, they make even the simplest and most natural movements, as difficult as possible -- rather than as easy -- to make it possible.  A good example is the difficulty many have in getting into what is often considered to be a universal position of a squat -- that most who don't know any better, can get into until the day they die -- because the instruction to do so, makes it nearly impossible to accomplish -- and most don't even realize it.

There's no requirement that one's hands have to be held forward and the back upright to lower oneself into the finished squat position.  The easiest way to get into it, is to begin with one's hands resting on one's thighs, as is frequently seen among athletes as the resting posture.  From there, if they allow their hands to move down along their legs until they reach close to their ankles, they will be in a proper squat position -- without thinking about it, or trying too hard.  But that will never happen if they think that the hardest way to achieve that position, is the only proper way to do it -- and the reason many have difficulty achieving that position.  They are taught (instructed) to do it in the most difficult and unnatural manner possible -- so as to make it prohibitive for most.  This method of instruction is often seen in yoga -- in which the many beginning instructors think to make their practice seem as difficult as possible -- as though that was a sign of advanced "enlightenment."

I know the rationale for not using one's hands in this manner is to make the movement more difficult -- if not impossible for most, whereas learning to do so in the easiest manner, makes it accessible to nearly everyone.  If that were not the case, then many would have stopped having bowel movements because that is the position required to get into for them to do so.  But they are not so "brilliant" as to figure out a manner of doing so that makes it difficult if not impossible to them to get into.  As a practical matter, they will choose the easiest manner to get into the proper position -- and have to do so until the day they die, even if it means using every appendage and advantage they have -- in the most efficacious way.

That is what most people do -- throughout the world -- rather than ceding to an expert class on how to do the simplest, most basic tasks.  It doesn't get any more basic than that.  But nine out of ten healthy Americans will insist that they cannot do a proper squat as directed by these experts.  It is because these "experts" have no idea what they are talking about -- or understanding of the simplest realities of life.  Otherwise, life would not be possible -- following their "expertise."

And of course, the people in the media know even less -- because they are asking such "experts" what to do -- having long ago lost their capacity to take a proper dump, and so are full of it.  Bursting at the gills -- eager to share all they know -- to make it all that can be known.  That's how these things come into being -- The Pharisees and the Scribes.  They will gladly crucify all those aren't with the program -- as though it was their sacred duty, and what they were put on earth for.  They were trained to be the gatekeepers for all that can be known -- and knowable.

In this way, they are like people of every epoch who thought it was up to them to decide these things for everybody else -- rather than let each person determine the truth for themselves -- using scientific principles rather than authorities to tell them what to think.  Many people have no problem with that -- and that is why there are so many difficulties and problems in the world -- and such hardship.  They refuse to make it easy, and thus, it becomes impossible for many -- when it should be the easiest and most natural thing for everybody.

There is no virtue in standing in the most difficult manner conceivable; far more valuable, is learning the easiest and most efficient manner to do so -- even if it means using everything one has got, and even inventing a few unthought of ways.  That is the genius of human being.  It should be allowed to flourish -- even without the profit to the experts and other narrow self-interest groups who think that everybody else exists for their exclusive exploitation and profit.  It doesn't have to be that way.  That is the problem. 

One doesn't need to set a new world record at everything one does -- but if one is paying attention, they will notice that even the world champion, goes through a humble warmup before attempting the world record.  Be like them; just do the warmup -- same as the world champ.

Tuesday, March 01, 2022

How the World Changes

 First slowly, then all of a sudden.

Some can see it coming, while most will not; they will choose to go into denial until it is no longer possible -- and they are swept away by the tsunami of events -- wondering what happened, and claiming nobody could have seen it coming.  Very few choose to rely on their own senses -- and can see it happening, but will rely on a chosen few to tell them what is happening, and do their thinking for them.

So at the first sign that something is amiss, they claim that is not so because somebody else did not tell them it was so.  In that manner, they will always be the last to know -- rather than the first, and would not have it any other way, even though life punishes them at every turn and juncture -- for not thinking for oneself -- as Nature intended.  That's why everyone is born with the full complement of faculties and abilities to get by on at least a minimal level, and some will go on to develop great mastery in the many ways it is possible to do so.

That is the challenge and meaning of each existence.  It's not all written and done in some sacred books and texts -- but for each to give it a try, and find out for themselves the truth of the matter.  Otherwise, what somebody else says may be true, may not be true for that individual -- and that is the reality that matters.  All anybody has to go by, is the knowledge and experience they have accumulated so far -- which is not all that can be known, or knowable.  The unknown is the vast -- while the known, is what just one person knows -- and they could be wrong entirely.  That wouldn't be the first time that happened.

But we each get to try our best -- for a more perfect understanding, and it never ends there -- but evolves to ever greater levels.  Even with that, one takes their best shot and chance -- that what they think they know, is at least going in the right direction, and at least works satisfactorily for the present moment -- which may have to be revisited and revised at some future moment -- in all probability.  That is not the certainty and authority many demand -- even if it explains nothing, and produces no predictable desired results.

Yet they'll show up the next day, and do the same thing, for time immemorial with no expectations of positive results, nor thinking that anything can make a difference.  That is simply what God intends -- to make fools of us all -- to prove His superiority.  Of course that would be a petty and chaotic world -- rather than the evolution to higher order that the steadfast believe is possible, and even inevitable.  But someone has to break the code -- so the many can follow.

Obviously, to put weight on, one has to first put it in -- and the body doesn't just decide arbitrarily to go haywire and break all the rules of natural laws and experience -- and create mass from thin air.  Glands don't misfire that badly.  Still, that is what many who should know better, insist is happening.  People die out of the blue, for no good reason, so it doesn't matter how immune they condition themselves to be -- because whether one is 600 lbs or 60 -- the chances are the same, so what is the use in trying to do better?

That is political correctness -- an insistence that there are no differences and distinctions, no matter what.  One must be blind to all -- and only in that way, can complete randomness of results be assured.  Nobody ever became good at anything training that way.  Yet that would be blasphemy in most academic institutions now -- the naive notion that anything could make a difference, and that is what we should be discriminating for -- and not that all discrimination is bad and should be outlawed.

That is why people are in poor health -- thinking nothing makes a difference -- when achieving one's best health is not only possible, but the entire reason for all existence.  That says it all; is the whole point -- and not just for the exceptional few.

Not to feel that essential equality of opportunity, is the worst kind of elitism and arrogance.  The world works for everybody -- and not just for self-designated and self-selected bureaucrats -- because they are the "chosen."  Time will always tell, and that is why nobody cheats mortality.

In every event, the unfit will perish first -- and not as many foolish have demanded, that "even one person dying, is one too many," along with many asinine statements displaying no understanding of the most fundamental truths of life -- as though wishing it were so, is enough to make it so.  No matter how rich, powerful and famous, all will still die, but that does not mean that life cannot be better and has to make it so.  No, that is not what everyone owes to every other, but what each owes to themselves -- primarily.

It would be nice if everybody else in the world would look after me as their primary responsibility -- but that's not the world most will live in, in which there is one Pharaoh -- and everybody else in the world just showed up to applaud and adulate me, as the many delusional "stars" have been "promoted" to believe.  The truth of the matter is that most people are busy living their own lives, and only a relative few believe that everybody else just showed up to be their "followers."  Some people have real friends, and real lives.

So when we drill down to that core of existence, those are the results that matter, and not simply what many believe are true -- because they haven't given it much thought, and have relied on everybody else to be right.  Don't mistake the jargon for the reality of the situation.  Exercise is not effective because one designates it as "aerobic" or "anaerobic," or any other term.    That is simply the marketing gimmick.

The actuality is the truth of the matter.  That's why some people get results and many others don't.  It's not enough just to think one knows -- like the countless delusional people.  Only a few make it happen -- but that is enough to change the world.

Tuesday, February 01, 2022

The Magic of "50"

Most people who train with weights or other resistance equipment have never done 50 repetitions of any exercise -- being told to keep their repetitions around 10, and as they handle more weight, lower that even further -- until they're down to 1.  And then they spend most of their time at the gym -- resting up before their next 1 -- and then they wonder why they aren't getting "results."  

They are getting results from all that "resting" their doing.  The movement -- not so much, and there even seems to be a prohibition against being aware of what they are actually "doing."  They show up at the gym, and do as little as possible, and wonder why they aren't getting the results they think should be automatic -- just by their showing up, and finding ways to distract themselves from the unpleasantness of the workout.

The magic of 50 repetitions of any movement, is that it requires a sustained effort -- and not "one and done," which quite predictably, will have very little lasting impact on their fitness levels.  Even among the heavy lifters, very few can perform 50 repetitions with even the lightest weights -- because their bodies are not conditioned for such sustained effort, which is adapting to fatigue -- which causes short-term as well as long-term adaptations, while a one-off does not.  The body is right to assume that such demands will be infrequent and when well-rested, and so no higher level of readiness is necessary -- as required when it knows that that effort must be sustained indefinitely.

People have frequently and invariably noted that those who lift heavier weights are not usually those with the largest muscles -- which is stored energy readily available for any demands and challenge of the moment.  As the muscle is "fired," it releases energy, as well as waste products -- of which a large part of one's conditioning, is to train the body to deal with -- or it fails.  The accumulation of junk without elimination causes toxicity and the body to shut down -- until that situation is corrected by time, rest and recovery -- because in the absence of oxygen and other nutrients, the body has to preserve itself by not locking up -- and thus becoming vulnerable to every threat and demand a highly-functioning person would want to be in -- most of the time.

So while understanding that the body's response to such failure is to improve longterm to overcome it, in the short and immediate term, it lays one vulnerable to an inability to respond momentarily -- until with time, rest and recovery, they can be restored to another maximum challenge.  Thus like any other medicine or therapy, one wants to determine the proper dosage -- for that optimal effect.  While pain-killers are often desirable and necessary, one doesn't want to be entirely anesthetized or incapacitated -- most of the time, as is often necessary in terminal conditions.  

But sometimes, that little bit, is just what is necessary to revitalize and optimize one's greatest capacities -- over a lifetime.  Again, on the other extreme, one can run into the problem of the overdose that kills -- with medicine, therapies, food, and other resources necessary in their proper doses -- but deadly in their abuse and overkill.

What those proper balances are, is what each individual is finding out for themselves -- as they live, discover, and manifest their lives.  There are usually helpful guidelines and authorities to aid them in the proper ranges of tolerance and responsiveness.  The prodigies of every activity and arena, are one in a billion, and simply doing what they do, is not going to make those less inclined and talented, like them.  It is necessary to understand that from the very beginning -- so that one is not trying to emulate an impossible ideal, while understanding that improvement is possible for every living being -- from Day One to the last day of their lives.  That is what life is.

When life no longer can improve, then that life is on its way out -- and the prognosis is not good.  But when improvement is still possible, that is the beginning of the possible -- in all its infinite variations.  Exercise is fundamentally this discovery -- of what is possible, and from that beginning, one can go further and beyond.  But when one gives up all hope and doing, nothing but a dire outcome is assured.  So we hope never to get to that point, anytime in our lives -- and it is not like it is forever.  Even the prodigies, great as they are, will not live forever -- and certainly, not at their peak condition and performance -- but something is still possible no matter how low life ebbs until it is no more.

And that lengthy but not infinite span of time, is most intelligent people's concerns -- which is enough to fill and fulfill any life.  It doesn't have to be forever to be worth living -- though others have come before, and others will come after.  Everybody lives their own life -- in their own time.  That's worthy enough.  One doesn't have to be immortal -- only that they live a good life, in their own time and place -- doing the best they can, and knowing that difference.  That makes it all worthwhile.

Saturday, January 01, 2022

Doing All the Right Things

Most people will readily admit that they are not perfect -- and have not lived a perfect life -- but that should not stop them from trying.  Those imperfect moments accumulate over a lifetime to produce what we know as aging -- the failure or inability to respond appropriately to all the challenges and opportunities life brings.  Bad things don't just happen, and neither does good things.  They require some effort on our part, some action, some involvement on our part -- and not just somebody else, some god, who is responsible for everything turning out the way they have -- and over a lifetime, there's nothing one could have done at any point -- to turn things around, and alter the outcome of what they feel is inevitable -- and fated.

That is the usual regard we have for "aging," rather than the much more state-of-the-art realization that is the accumulation of all our past deeds, words and thoughts -- and we could have done it better, and that was the whole point.  At no point should we have given up and stopped trying -- to do one's best.  However, that does not mean that one has to bench press, squat and deadlift more than they ever had before, and in fact, continuing to think that way, is a well-proven failure -- that one must find another way -- even if they have to create it themselves.

What they can do -- can be anything.  It doesn't have to be what everybody else is doing -- to disastrous effect.  Obviously, exercise that is impossible, difficult or painful to do, is not the answer to the age-old problems of why people fail.  It flat out doesn't work no matter how much of it one does -- until finally they simply give up in despair, and then give up on everything.  One certainly is entitled to find out what works -- if for nobody else but oneself, especially when following the herd, never delivers the results as promised.

It's not illegal to do what works -- and hasn't been previously sanctioned by the governing bodies who claim exclusive jurisdiction on such matters -- and in fact, that they own the turf.  How that came about is anybody's guess -- but usually it is to those who presume that authority, and nobody thinks to challenge it.

However, when many of its best advocates and acolytes are dropping dead prematurely, one is right to question whether that is a fate one wants for themselves.  What is the bigger picture objective?  For most, that is living as long as possible in the best health possible -- and everything else is a secondary, or moot concern.  That seems to imply everything else.  A momentary and fleeting best is usually lost in the greater scheme of things.

Successful longterm investing is the same way -- rewarding only if it lasts -- and not simply making a fortune to lose a fortune just as quickly.  That is the siren call of those promising they can make one a quick fortune -- but not necessarily so that one can walk away from the casino with that fortune.  "Many are called, but few are chosen."  That is the plight and quandary of modern life.  Easy come, but easy go -- and where the wheel stops, may leave a lot with less than they started out with.  So the quick gains, are not the point -- but a lifetime of sustained improvement is what is life-changing.

There may have been a time when life was short, nasty and brutal, when one had to grab each spoil as though it might be their last -- but in a different time, that orientation may serve them ill -- except as a self-fulfilling prophecy.  Yes, they win, but don't live long enough to enjoy any of it.  That was the fate of the original Marathon runner -- who announced that the Greeks had prevailed, and promptly died -- and was celebrated thereafter because he was no longer among them.  We don't necessarily have to be that guy.

Nor are similar sacrifices required for the benefit of everybody else anymore.  People don't have to be thrown into the volcano to appease the gods.  Communities no longer have to enforce rigid conformity to ensure their continued survival -- or encourage development only in one ideal for survival, which was invariably who could tolerate the most pain, torture and suffering -- even if inflicted upon themselves.  Rather, the healing of oneself became the road to personal salvation and resurrection.

If that is the case, it doesn't matter what anybody else thinks they ought to be doing; they can simply do what works -- as self-evident proof that it works.  Everybody else can continue with what is obviously not working -- but they are compelled to do -- and think that is all there is.  The suppression of any other alternatives is not brutal, but just as effective -- that one wouldn't even think of it.  That would be that exercise can and should be easy -- in order for it to be possible to do all one's life -- with no reservations and limitations -- because it is the doing that is the magic, and not the theory and explanations that don't work.

As in the investing example, it is not necessary to understand the why -- only the what.  The why is a separation and division from the reality and actuality of the matter -- and serves no purpose.  If one gets the desirable results each and every time, it is not necessary to have a why -- apart from the what is.  It is not like one is advising one to do something dangerous and difficult, but quite the opposite -- doing the possible as the necessary.  And in that doing, is the manifestation of that possibility and reality.

One is not asking anyone to do 100 pushups or 100 pullups -- but only what they can do, for 100 repetitions.  It can be a movement of their own design -- and purpose.  Doing that everyday, will make them good at doing that -- and there is no other action (movement) that is more important to do.  It is as simple as that -- and the longer one lives, the more they realize that.  That is the integration of the mind and body -- that is the resistance.

Wednesday, December 01, 2021

How People Grow "Old"

The obvious way to tell a person's age and condition -- is to look at the most obvious and visible parts of their body -- which is the head, hands and feet -- where the circulation is likely to be the poorest, even while containing the most vital and important faculties of the body -- the senses located at the head (seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, thinking), hands (grip and touch), and feet (balance and locomotion). They are usually the first to go -- and that is why they are usually reliable indicators of age and condition. Only an exceptional few belie the usual trajectory of this deterioration with age.  Many people are not aware of this -- so commonplace is it in the older people -- characterized by this predictable obvious pattern of deterioration.  For the few who show no such deterioration at these extremities, it is very difficult to assess their age -- because they defy the predictable and expected pattern.

Along with the deterioration in appearance is the lack of movement at those extremities  -- which are actually designed for movement rather than the immobility they become with age.  Many fail to notice this lack of movement (animation) because they are not observant -- and may even have been taught as children, not to pay attention to these things in others.  And so they fail to pick up important clues for why it happens in older people generally, and even to younger people who lack those articulations.  They simply never think to move in that way -- although they can.  On the other hand, a very small segment of the population, train themselves to move skillfully and masterfully in those ways most don't even think is possible, and may have even been advised that such movements are dangerous and should never be done -- even while millions of people in the world may do it routinely up to the days they're still capable of doing anything.

One of the most common examples is the simple squat-sit -- done by many indigenous people in the habit of moving frequently until the day they die.  On the other hand, contemporary society produces and encourages many to move as little as possible -- and even requiring the assistance of motors or others to shift them from one position to another -- they've grown so unused to moving at all, with no plan or intention of improving those capabilities from here on out the rest of their days.  One would expect them to become increasingly less capable  -- with no program for ensuring they maintain those capabilities and movements.  The nerves making such movements possible, are no longer fired, let alone systematically exercised for improvement.  Many are convinced that is even the preferred way to be -- to do as little as possible for themselves the rest of their days.  Yet who is going to do it for them?  Maybe their children or grandchildren, or as is becoming increasingly the case, a paid caregiver.

The furthest thought from their mind, is that they should become increasingly self-reliant and independent -- as though that is only what stupid people do -- because they have not figured out how to make everyone else do everything for them.  And though such a life of idleness and uselessness are highly fashionable, as a practical matter, that is not the best way to go -- and go one surely will.  So a lot of this premature demise is cultural -- and popular, rather than the best nature has evolved.  It requires individuals to take it to the next level -- just as it always has been.  The struggle for survival does not end at 40 or 60 -- but remains a lifelong challenge as long as each individual lives.  It just becomes more individualized -- and personal.

What worked for most at 20 -- may not work for anybody at 80.  It is far more likely to be the case that what works at 80, works for most at 20 -- rather than vice-versa.  Ironically, it is easier to see what works at 80 than what works at 20 -- because there are fewer confounders to weed out.  Participation rates conveniently weed out those who are still in the game -- from those whose best are far behind them.  Of course, some still talk about their youth as the prime of their lives -- rather than their present being the summation of all their days.  Obviously, that requires a wholly new orientation and meaning to our lives.  Is it half over, or only half begun?  That difference in attitude may be the most significant marker of the new age from the old one -- and whether life gets better, or disintegrates.  Of course the last to know, will be those who should know better.

They are too full of the old knowledge -- and not the one being discovered and created.  It's always been that way.  The harbingers of the new, have never been embraced by the defenders of the status quo -- no matter how dysfunctional and hopeless things were.  A certain death was preferred to any unknown yet to be discovered and revealed.  Those are the great moments in human consciousness  and evolution.  Not simply more of the same in a slightly modified form.  An entirely new way of being must emerge.  It's always been that way.  That is the evolution of life.