Monday, March 06, 2006

The Ability to Change

The Big Picture reason we condition ourselves, is to improve our ability to change, adapt, respond -- which begins with awareness of the conditions we live in, that change from moment to moment, as well as over time. But if there is no short term adaptability, the chances for longterm change and improvement are not great -- so one has to begin near, to go far.

People who are considered dynamic and vibrant, are distinguished by this ability to respond (appropriately) to conditions (change) as they are happening -- before most others are even aware of them. And as people decline in life, they are distinguished by their decreasing ability to change, responsiveness -- and so there is this perception of the old and decrepit as those not capable of these changes anymore, often insisting that the world change to suit them, which they were probably resistive to even when they are younger but now it becomes more apparent, more critical, more demanding.

So it is important to exercise those faculties that are one’s ability to change -- of which the neuromuscular system is the means by which we can effect immediate and instantaneous change -- because the need for it is now, and not six months from now, and some hope to defer it to never so that one never has to change, to adapt, to respond -- wishing the problems/challenges will just go away, or solve themselves.

But that’s not how good things happen in life -- although that is the obvious reason why things get worse, and then after a while, some people think that things can only get worse -- so unresponsive have they become. Recognizing this, those who wish to remain viable and vibrant in life, program themselves deliberately differently.

Many become so fascinated by their rapid improvement and accomplishments, that those activities become the passion of their lives, the organizing principle of their lives around which everything else revolves and evolves. It is not a sacrifice; that is what they wish to do most in life -- and would willingly sacrifice everything else to do it. Such people have found their calling -- the fulfillment of themselves, that which makes them all they can be. They are a positive life force, affirming meaning and purpose -- and not despairing as many do, and especially those frequently in the newspapers write, that everything has never been worst in the whole history of mankind.

Very obviously, by every measure, the world actually was never better -- which is basically true of every succeeding generation -- but there will always be those working tirelessly to convince us otherwise, even telling us that once we were free, and now we are slaves. Freedom is largely how we think -- rather than that there are masters watching and supervising our every thought, movement and action.

So our restraints are largely what we think they are -- which we learn both overtly and subtly, from watching others -- how they talk about life, their expectations, attitudes, relating to others. Many will enforce their “correctness” on others and even have the official seal of approval to do so -- even when they themselves may be wrong and entirely lacking in any understanding.

So the first thing one considers in contemplating change is, what are ALL the possibilities?


At March 08, 2006 12:24 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

Fat and flab is metaphorically, as well physically, one’s unresponsiveness and unawareness of what is going on, so inured has one become by layers of excess, waste and corpulence by which they hope to ward off and intimidate life -- rather than live it. Fitness implies being ready for everything -- whatever life brings, while the unfit can explain and excuse, “I‘m not ready for this opportunity until I get into shape for it” -- which will probably be never, so used are they to putting off action until some imaginary time in the future, whereas living can only happen in the present moment.

Thus physical fitness impacts one’s psychological fitness to a tremendous extent -- whether one is aware of that or not. Those not used to doing anything, come to think that nothing can be done -- about anything, and conditioning just to ensure going through the tedious and repetitious motions, with little understanding and awareness, is not the conditioning for a life of fulfillment and actualization they hope to experience. People excel because they practice it -- in everything they do, not cultivating the sophistication that nothing matters, and everything is boring. Obviously, such conditioning is not life-sustaining and enhancing.

So one has to get better -- and not merely aim as the loftiest attainment, merely to maintain the status quo, and ward off the increasing problems of deterioration with age -- as though that were the only fate possible.

There is a prayer called the “Desiderata,” in which one asks for the power to change what can be changed, and accept what can’t be changed -- and for the wisdom to be able to know the difference.” In much of the contemporary “sophisticated” discussions on the value of conditioning and exercise, the major arguments, are to change what can’t be changed and not to change that which is easily changed. Things like the cardiovascular efficiency and the metabolism rates are largely genetically determined for each individual -- but the neuromuscular operation and efficiency is that which can be greatly modified by one’s conditioning practice. So when they don’t have this essential ability and wisdom to tell which are hardwired genetic differences and what are modifiable behaviors, then of course most of one’s efforts will lead to the familiar futility and despair many, and particularly the most “sophisticated and educated” people have experienced.

It’s just the wrong understanding, and no amount of time, energy and money is going to change that!

When one reads the “sophisticated” articles on fitness, the essential understanding of basic muscle function is never discussed -- but something vague about exercise correlated to lower incidence of whatever is the ailment of the day. How? By what mechanism and process. Just some magic correlation, some great coincidence in the universe, some arbitrariness of great wishful-thinking? And that is all THAT really amounts to. But can one tell the difference? -- and that makes the difference!

At March 08, 2006 12:29 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

The failure of contemporary education is that one is educated to think he knows all the answers -- when he hasn't even begun to ask the right questions.

At March 09, 2006 10:09 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

The ability to change, when exercised properly, is the power to change -- but when misunderstood, merely reinforces the status quo of no change. And that is what most people’s exercise is -- no matter how much time, energy and money they pour into it -- because random and unfocused activity, is not going to achieve the same results as meaningful and purposeful activity; it never has and never will.

That is the problem with many reports that purport to study human behavior -- because in the design of the study, the participants are not told what the “desired” results are, which in all behavior, is critical to the outcome. One has to have a clear idea of what he hopes to achieve before it becomes meaningful to measure -- and not results produced “blindly,” randomly, incidentally, in isolation from one’s own knowledge and mastery of what he is doing. Those are the people who are truly “fit,” and capable of taking on all challenges -- not those who simply can do what somebody else tells them to do, without ever inquiring, “Why, and to what purpose?”

If that person knew, then perhaps he could figure out an even better way to achieve those objectives -- rather than simply being told, “Do this,” then “Do that” -- which makes everything totally arbitrary. But that still is the pedagogy of much (physical) education, “Do this because I tell you so.” And that’s all it is -- reinforcing the pecking order one is expected to conform to. All throughout one’s life, one is educated merely to follow orders from some person with the credentials of authority, rather than having real authority and understanding of what they are talking about. It is merely a bs degree -- of seeming to know and being able to convince those who are even less confident in their knowledge.

But it won’t fool those with a real understanding and experience -- who often don’t have such certification, because it is only to certify that they have no real understanding of what they are talking about, to those who truly know. The kind of results they achieve, the jargon they use to convince they know something when they do not, are all too obvious to the really knowing. Huge professions have grown around such scams -- including the present education system, in which most have earned their degrees not through their own experience and insights, but only through books, taught by people who have also learned everything they know because somebody else told the that was the truth of the matter -- which they were reinforced not to question, not to challenge at the price of not moving up in the ladder in the hierarchy.

All this led to the discrediting of many of these institutions, rather than it was originally intended, to provide the patina of legitimacy to hearsay and wives tales that have been the hallmark and literature of physical education for ages. Then when the non-physical crowd took it up, because they were so alienated and disassociated from their own bodies, they could be intimidated by anything some more forceful person told them they had to believe and do. They got with the program and got no results -- but in the habit of intellectuals, rationalize all kinds of elaborate theories and explanations of why things didn’t work out as they intended them to.

The non-intellectuals, used to being persecuted by the intellectual know-it-alls, let them beat themselves up that way. One of the tenets of athletic competitions is that you don’t get in the way of people bent on their own self-destruction -- especially if they are so full of their own wisdom.

At March 09, 2006 1:16 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

One of the great dichotomies and fragmentations of contemporary life, is the separation between experience and knowledge -- that what one knows, is not from direct experience, and what one “experiences” is not from knowing, but what has been planted in to his consciousness as the collective experience of conventional wisdom -- which a few self-serving hierarchies claim as their exclusive jurisdiction. That message is reinforced by repetition -- and no alternatives are allowed to be brought into the realm of consciousness of possibilities. The restricted experience is proffered as the only reality -- or simply, reality. The mass media of the past century, was well-suited for this purpose of achieving unanimity of the “correct” experience and knowledge for everyone -- and few raised in that environment, thought there could be anything else beyond what they were told, because it was assumed that the personalities one saw, were anointed by God Himself, rather than their own self-aggrandizement of their career ambitions.

If nothing else, such personalities learned to seem authoritative -- to those less confident and secure in their own knowledge and experience. That was particularly true of the curricula of the professional schools -- which taught that the purpose was to out-intimidate all the other competitors in their field. Some fields were entirely about book-learning as the entirety of the universe itself -- unrelated to actual, real events -- and especially those things happening in their daily lives.

The mediated reality was so imperative that it came to supplant actual, highly unique individualized experience as the real -- and one’s actual experiences had no validity, was dismissed derisively as merely anecdotal, inherently inferior to the Great Truths learned under laboratory conditions (contrived and artificial). Often, the conclusion of the study was not verified by the experiment or experience -- but nobody was interested and motivated enough to seriously review the work. It was often deliberately described in a manner that an independent verification was impossible to reconstruct because it was not clear in the writing, what was being said -- but only to suggest that something was being said. More often than not, what was tested had no implications for practical use -- and that became a benchmark of distinction -- that one’s findings were beyond use and (commercial) exploitation. One was a pure truth seeker of the noblest intentions. They learned for truth’s sake rather than for base useful ends. In that manner, the academics became irrelevant -- because it did not matter what they discovered and proclaimed -- it did not make any difference in the world of living actuality and experience.

In such a cultural climate, anything could be said, as long as it was said by the properly designated persons -- even and especially if they did not know what they were talking about. There would be no test to verify it. In fact, the new political correctness was that everybody would be prohibited from making any discriminations as to the truth of anything or not -- ever again. The proper self-anointed persons would decide that for everybody else. Those were, in descending order of authority, the information specialists in the media, schools, universities, unions, trade associations, government, etc. It was not to be attempted at home, unsupervised, by anyone not duly certified to perform such activities explicitly -- by the proper regulating body.

These organizations and agencies were tireless in promoting their message that, “The individual is nothing, only the collective is real and powerful. Reality is, what we say it is.”

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