Monday, February 13, 2006

Creating The Flow

Once we have the proper metaphors and imagery, we can discuss a process that is working, or can be made to work very easily -- while abandoning the language of futility of those who have no idea what they are talking about. So while some are likely to say, “I am the expert: I’ve tried all the diets, I’ve tried all the exercises -- and I’m living proof that none of them work. That is what life is all about!”

That’s what passes for the popular literature these days -- this language of futility, despair, hopelessness -- that they will ever meet an honest person in their entire lives who knows what they‘re talking about -- even if they live a million years! Such reporters need to join another political party or get a new job, and get out of their toxic situation that has so warped their perspectives and attitudes.

One has to begin one’s day with the right attitude -- without the bias and preconceived notion that “life sucks and nothing can ever be right” -- which is the message largely propagated by the morning news now. Only bad news can be news -- and the good news, the 99% of what constitutes intelligent life, is ignored -- producing this great distortion of what life is and how it really works. In fact, everything that does work, is ignored, denied, suppressed, distorted into something monstrous, if it is to be discussed at all. It’s a very damaging orientation in life -- but unfortunately, one that permeates a lot of the popular (mass) consciousness and literature.

Finally, most people figure it out and wonder, “Gee, why am I subjecting myself to such negativity, prejudicing all my interactions with the world?“ Why, indeed? That was the conditioning for the last half of the last century, in which most people’s first exposure to the world each day, was what was presented, by the mass media -- as determined by a few people who filtered life through their own provincial understanding and biases.

Such biases are impossible to see as long as everybody in the pool has the exact same indoctrination (education) of what is true -- no matter what their skin color or country of origin. So to think that merely recruiting more diversity based on skin color, exacerbated the inbreeding of the inability to see things differently. It was discrimination of the wrong things -- which is prejudicial, while claiming to be “objective.”

And the prejudice in the conditioning understanding, has been that “more” makes the difference, rather than “better,” not only in exercise, but in everything else in life. That flaw in thinking, crippled beneficial and productive activity by defining that it had to be difficult, unpleasant, nonsensical. What was measured was not that which was most significant to measure -- but what was easiest to measure, and to market such measuring devices.

It is like looking at a football and a basketball, and observing that they are brown.


At February 14, 2006 2:26 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

The most amusing statement about exercise is the recommendation that it should be done at least 3 times a week for at least 30 minutes -- which is trumped by the “more is better crowd” upping the ante to every day for at least an hour. From there, the sky is the limit. If one can run a marathon a day, one will be undoubtedly better. Etc., without any consideration of recovery ability -- and the tremendous wear and tear on the body and psyche.

Most people already get a lot of activity -- and burn a lot of calories in their day. That’s not the problem. The exercise and the activities they are already doing is what is putting them into the bad shape they are in. They are conditioning themselves to be in bad shape -- and working tirelessly at it. The few people who get virtually no exercise, are those bedridden people who lie lifelessly showing virtually no signs of life -- and not responding to any stimuli. Those are the only people it could be validly said, do not get “enough” exercise. The average person does -- which is most people who have a job, go to school, shop, have any semblance of a normal life.

The impression given, is that unless one is running a marathon daily, biking a leg of the Tour de France daily, one is not keeping up with the fit Joneses next door who assuredly are. Undoubtedly they are making twice as much money, and their children all teach Ph.D.s at the Ivy League Schools. You would too, if you just got with the program and did what “everybody else” is doing -- or so they would have you believe.

Even for the lifeless bedridden person, a little bit of well-designed movement can make a huge difference -- on the road to recovery. The reason for that is that it is not the amount of exercise they do that makes the difference but the relative intensity of that effort to their normal state. So actually, the worse condition one is in, the more productive even a little increment of quality makes. Because it is the change in quality (intensity) of the stimulus and not the quantity that is the signal for functioning and growth.

Yet the same movements that can be done by the most lifeless individuals can also be done productively by those with world-class competencies -- because there is no upper limit to such movements. The measure of full range of movement is uniquely one’s own full range of movement -- which is the limitation of most machines and apparatus that are designed with one individual’s, or an average as the ideal.

That is one of the great disasters of liberal and social studies -- the promotion that the average is the ideal, in this tremendous misuse of science and statistics, in creating the tyranny of the average, mediocre, and “other people’s opinion.” The individual experience is the ultimate reality -- and not the average; the average is a fictional construct -- not necessarily describing anybody’s actual experience and reality.

Yet this was the model that contemporary thinking on fitness and conditioning activities took -- in thinking that a composite average was the ideal. A champion’s effort is not an average sustained steadily for long duration -- but peaks of focus and intensity that nobody else can achieve for fractions of a second -- alternated by rest and recovery until the next burst of extra-ordinary focused effort. That is the value of the peak experience -- in anything one does.

At February 18, 2006 1:04 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

In the study of world-class performances, one of the least understood and appreciated aspects is that the best learn to “peak” at precisely the right moment(s), even while their competition thinks that all that is required is a high average level of performance. The great individuals and teams, peak at the Super Bowl or in the NBA finals, and don’t concern themselves with putting out as much energy as they can, all the time, regardless of whether the circumstances require it.

And so there isn’t that reserve that they can tap when they recognize a particularly opportune moment/opportunity -- that is a great part of their skill -- in recognizing such moments. Which means they are sensitive to the total flow of the game -- and not only what they want to do, but are aware of what everybody else is doing, and even seem to ride everybody else’s abilities as their own. That is the concept of “being in the flow” -- rather than struggling against every other, and everything, thinking one can prevail and dominate singularly over everything and everybody else. Those are the beaten-down failures in life -- perennially battling against everything in their environment instead of using them to everyone’s advantage.

Although computers are tremendous tools, they don’t work very well as hammers, yet a primitive understanding might use it in that way and complain that it doesn’t work very well. The technology is there but one’s understanding of it might be such that one regards an advantage as a “problem,“ a disadvantage, even the opponent -- or the enemy, as an ancient man first tried to outrun a horse before realizing he could domesticate and harness that tremendous capability.

In modern life, we take all these things too easily for granted -- that intelligence is not only what is inside our own heads, but is the intelligence and thought outside our heads in everything else as well -- and they are an extension of our being, dependent on how well we are connected to that environment and aware of its movements, the sum of which may be much greater than our own contributions. Even such simple activities as watching a television, is dependent on the residual intelligence before we make a selection on the remote control as our input into our own intelligent programming -- for ourselves. One can watch all the bad programming on television -- or in real life, and complain about all the junk in the world -- while not realizing that a more intelligent and productive thing to do would be to discover that which is an intelligent use of his time and energy -- rather than whining and complaining about all that is bad in the world. That is not a very intelligent thing to do.

But that is the most common thing to do and see in the mass media -- which unfortunately many (though decreasing) think is what intelligent people do. It is assuredly is NOT. The intelligent people are relentlessly discovering what works, and what works better. That creates a whole momentum in their lives for improvement -- and in the absence of that, there is deterioration, decline, disintegration, death -- that is reported daily as the “news” of the world we live and function in.

That was very deliberate programming for an earlier age -- but the times now allow for much better.


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