Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The Challenge of the New

If one only repeats what has been said before, then language will be very familiar, trite, cliched -- and not pose a challenge to understanding, and it is the challenge to present understanding, which is the challenge of the new. The old will insist that it must be stated in the terms and language of the old -- in which it is familiar and dictates the rules for. That would be like having a “sensitivity session” or an intimate conversation, using Robert’s Rules of Order -- nothing that hadn’t been said before could ever be said, because it would be “out of order” -- a violation of an unpremeditated moment.

So there is no possibility of a breakthrough in understanding and insight -- if one has to accept the old -- before one can explain the new, yet the truly new is this revolution in the very perceiving -- with no assumptions about how things ought to be, because it is the very assumptions that are under review and question. That is where the flaw usually lies -- at the very beginning of the inquiry, and not at the end, which would be the fault of logic.

The well-known art of deception and manipulation is to get one to agree to one’s faulty and invalid premises, and in doing so, one has to arrive at the conclusions they have preordained for us. A very common example are those who use newspaper “events” to arrive at their conclusions (opinions), and think they have done a superior job in deduction, when the “facts” provided, may actually be nothing more than opinions, suppositions, and conjectures. In fact, they can actually manufacture whatever opinions they desire by citing polls, studies, experts -- while deliberately and selectively omitting others.

The prime motivation for doing so is to achieve sensationalism in whatever manner it can be obtained. It is the need to gain attention -- from those usually not deserving of it; so they have to lie, cheat and steal to obtain that attention. It never occurs to them that they might obtain it in a legitimate way -- of just having a genuinely new perspective. Instead, they take the “known,” and twist it into the unrecognizable, whereupon they can claim it as original material, which they otherwise, are not capable of producing. They would have no idea of an original idea because they have been trained entirely to accept somebody else’s old ideas as the new, just because they hadn’t heard it before.

In that manner, the novel becomes the new, rather than the new being a challenge to the old and familiar, which they unquestionably accept as the inviolable truth, which they think can never be questioned. It is simply handed down from the proper authorities -- of which they hope to be certified to have some status in the hierarchy. These are obviously the most dangerous people in society -- because they are so sure of what there is no reason to be.

And they will think that such strange thoughts that make them pause and wonder, is illegal, forbidden, “incorrect,” -- because it is not what is commonly believed, the conventional wisdom that is only what most people believe -- and not the actual truth of anything. It is mostly important, to realize this difference -- before one goes spouting off, “ I know the truth; I should be President of the United States. I should tell everybody what to do and what to think. I know everything that has been said before”

Friday, May 26, 2006

My Unique Blog-Style

My unique blog-style is that I post a new entry (original idea) about once a week and add comments subsequently in further development on that theme -- rather than just jumping from one finished, unchanging idea to the next -- searching for somebody who hasn‘t heard it before. This reflects the dynamism of an idea in the process of development, rather than as we have been accustomed to seeing them -- as a completed idea for which the purpose of the publication is to convince others of the superiority of that idea -- typical of most commentary one sees in conventional publications.

That was the limitation of the medium of the printed word -- not allowing for the possibility of a continuing, evolving dialogue, both within and with others. That is the source of much of the arguments in society -- that discussions originate from these fixed positions and all one can hope to do is to convince the other to one’s point of view, often destroying the other in the process. That is a tremendous waste of human resources and capacity.

The interactive medium of blogs allow for the evolution of an idea into a better one -- taking in and processing new information in whatever manner and form it comes. It may be from my own further readings and other experiences just in the course of normal living -- but always integrating it to the wisdom of the whole, and not simply as isolated fragments that are accumulated without context, meaning and significance.

This is how the new media is not just the old media made available to the masses -- but allows for the possibilities of information and communications not possible before because this technology and capabilities were not available before. Undoubtedly, many will continue using “old media” as a model for their publications -- without realizing the greater possibilities old media doesn’t want you to know about. If they did, it would speed their obsolescence -- if they are insistent on maintaining the old ways rather than they themselves realizing their own greater capabilities and evolution.

Many will undoubtedly simply retrench to the old status quo hoping against hope that they will come back into fashion again -- just as buggy whips undoubtedly will also. But a few will recognize their own opportunity to differentiate and excel; these winners may come from nowhere -- to lead the new standards of their industry, leapfrogging the traditional leaders of the past, who are less nimble to adapt.

These are the inflection points of history in which the first become the last, and the last move to the head of the class. When those moments will occur is not known before -- or after, but are recognized by the right person, at the right place, at the right time.

That is why the quality of having an unfettered mind frees one to see the opportunities -- while those “too busy,” may not know that these opportunities come and pass them by. Then, ironically, they get even more busy, thinking that is their lack.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Everything is Connected to Everything Else

Goethe said that Heaven was where everything was connected to everything else; and Hell was where nothing was connected to anything else.

Thus the first is a place in which there is a reason why things happen, and the second is where there is no reason for anything, things happen out of the blue, and everything is arbitrary, the rule of capriciousness rather than the rule of laws, principles and verifiable realities. Everything is so because somebody says so, and we are forbidden to inquire who gave them that power, or to consult anybody but themselves. That is often one’s first introduction to “physical education,” and what turns many off to such “conditioning” for the rest of their lives -- that world of bullying, intimidation and coercion.

It seems always to be about somebody demanding one should do something they do not feel entirely comfortable with and are convinced it is for their own good -- but that the authority figure demands that obedience or there will be a dire consequence, like dropping dead from a heart attack, a lightning bolt, etc. The threats are usually variations on the theme -- do this because it is good for your heart, etc.

So there is always this element of fear and coercion rather than an intelligent approach to what one is doing in the here and now -- and not some promise of a great reward a year from now, next year, some indefinite future, in the afterlife, etc. That kind of conditioning is not so much self-reinforcing and validating, but is rather, a deception, with no clear path of how something bad miraculously turns into everything good, just on the belief and promise that it does.

Such conditioning is dependent on authorities to reinforce that belief system -- rather than that one should eventually reach the objective of health, which is the freedom and independence from all such authority -- to be in control of one’s life, destiny and happiness. Much of our other conditioning (education) is done just a bit more cleverly and subtly, but is little more than this same coercion into accepting what is "right" as the truth from authorities -- rather than the alternative of discovering it for oneself, with the guidance and aid of those who do not substitute themselves for one’s own judgment -- which should remain supreme and sovereign -- over their own lives.

Only those who are confident and secure in that way, can feel connected to everything -- and not feel threatened by everything, which sets up a lifelong struggle against everything it does not recognize as an integral part of themselves. When there is no such separation, division, specialization, compartmentalization of consciousness and authority, there is no longer self-consciousness apart from the consciousness of the totality, which is reality.

The culture of specialization and compartmentalization reached its zenith in the 20th century, which produced the revolution of the 21st century as its response by which everything is integrated again by the dominant paradigm of digital information processing that requires only that one is either switched “on” or “off” -- and there is not all that obscurity and obtuseness, that marked knowledge of a previous era.

The superior conditioning strategy is to enhance the connectedness to all things and be able to draw on that strength as one’s own -- rather than in the old manner of defining oneself in constant struggle and competition against everything else -- even and especially time.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Don’t Mistake the Strongest Link for the Weakest Link

With rare exceptions, the heart is not the weakest link of the muscular system, but is its strongest, because it is hardwired to have to work, all the time. It is the rest of the muscles in the body that will be the weak link, since they don’t have to be exercised at all -- unless one thinks to use it. And that is the problem of the poor condition of most people -- that their voluntary muscles are unused -- and not that their heart has to get pumping. The heart is always pumping; that is not the problem. Except for congenital defects, the heart works perfectly -- either contracting fully or relaxing fully; that is what it has evolved over millions of years to do -- perfectly, unfailingly, unthinkingly. That alternation produces the pumping action in a hydraulic (fluid) system.

But that is not the whole story in the circulatory process in a system. Other factors contribute greatly -- because it can be easily demonstrated that if one were to contract all the other muscles of the body and hold that contraction without relaxing, the heart would pump desperately harder but the circulation could not improve until the skeletal muscles throughout the body were relaxed again -- and not preventing the flow of blood to the extremities by that muscular constriction (contraction). The relaxation of the skeletal muscles, allows for the arterioles to expand for a greater blood flow outward.

However, the heart muscle does not dictate the flow back to the heart from the extremities -- as forcefully as the skeletal muscles do, which is the beneficial effect of exercise -- in pumping the blood back to the heart, dramatically increasing the circulatory effect. Without that regular optimizing of circulation, fluids tend to accumulate in the tissues at the extremities and throughout the body -- producing a bloat that persists as fat and an unexercised condition. It is a body that obviously does not effect this circulatory process frequently -- or see the need to do so, as a standard maintenance practice.

So unlike a river of life, the body becomes stagnant pools of toxicity, waiting to be inflamed into an acute disease. That is a predisposition to illness, dysfunction, weakness. That condition is not likely to reside in the heart -- but in the rest of the body, that is not functioning regularly, fully and properly -- as the heart must do.

So the emphasis on the heart being the weakest link of the body is misplaced. The heart is the fittest muscle of virtually every body -- and so that is not the justification for exercise. The heart is working 24/7 unfailingly, properly. That is not the problem; the problem is that all the other muscles of the body may not be doing anything -- on a regular basis -- and it is the conditioning and strengthening of all those other muscles, in which the greatest gains in the circulatory process can be achieved -- so much so, that when the conditions are enhanced above and beyond normal operating conditions, conditions for growth beyond maintenance of the status quo, make possible extraordinary health, which are obvious in its appearance.

People who are really getting healthier, look to be doing so. That is the reason for the expression, “You look well.” People visibly look the way they feel -- beyond the need for diagnostics to determine that.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Polls, Studies, Experts

The latest study reported by LiveScience.yahoo, which is apparently trying to establish itself as a source of authoritative health news, is the report that one’s ability to walk a quarter mile is a reliable predictor of longevity -- implying that walking a quarter mile is the reason for their longevity -- or is it?

Could it also be that it identifies those who have a superior chance of survival -- genetically predetermined rather than behavioral? Was it cause or simply coincidental -- and did their doing it once, suggest that it had to be done as much as possible -- to increase benefits?

These are real issues in supposedly scientific studies -- taken out of context.

Another headlined report somewhere else a while back, claimed, ”Exercise reduces pain.” One group bicycled vigorously for 30 minutes while another was in a stimulus free quiet room for 30 minutes -- prior to both groups having their fingers placed in a doorway and seeing how much pressure they could withstand as the door was shut. Was that truly proof that exercise reduced pain or did sensory-deprivation make one more sensitive to pain, or any other input, including light, sound, vibrations?

In this way, a lot of hearsay is reported as scientific fact, mainly because they come out of institutions that should know better, from people with impressive sounding titles. The reporters who will write the story have been trained not in scientific methodology or data processing, but on the antiquated skills of asking people with impressive sounding titles -- as though the more impressive sounding the titles, the more true it was.

One of the most impressive persons I’ve ever heard speak (write) on exercise and conditioning, adamantly disclaimed having any such credentials -- but was actually somebody who legitimized that field of study, whether it was deserving or not. He has since backed off from such recommendations on the superiority of their observations as a profession. That would be the innovative pioneer, Arthur Jones, creator of the Nautilus machines, high-intensity training, sports medicine, etc.

His Nautilus training bulletins were the authoritative work on self-evident truth, using exercise as the model for that inquiry. That manner seems to be a distinguishing characteristic of those who are the primary sources of investigation and insight into their fields -- that the truth is self-evident, and not elaborate explanations and conjectures of pseudo-scientists the world over. Many have infiltrated and often dominate the academic and research institutions now.

It is important to distinguish between science and scientism; the former is self-evident truth verifiable to anybody, while the latter is simply asking who has the most impressive sounding titles to ask. And that, unfortunately, is the state of contemporary journalism and reporting.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

What Does It Mean to be In Shape?

I think that for most people, that means being in the shape they’d like to be in -- which is self-evidently looking to be in fantastic condition -- and not simply having low cholesterol, excellent aerobic capacity, while weighing 1,000 pounds. That’s the obvious one -- but less obvious are those at ideal weight and heart rate function, whose bodies are not in the shape they want it to be in. And the secret is that the existent muscle one presently has, can be trained to put one into the shape one wants to be in.

That difference is illustrated best by those who train in gyms to be strong or just to look strong; the advantage of the latter is that if one looks strong, that is a deterrent to others to find out if one actually is strong. If a person is strong but doesn’t look like it, the chances of being picked on and having to prove that strength each time to every newcomer, can be a great drain of energy.

Fortunately in nature and reality, what looks strong generally is strong -- and so those looking for easy prey move on. Most criminals and other opportunists operate in that manner -- looking for the easiest prey, and passing on those who seem to have a greater possibility of having an advantage. That’s why a lot of people like to pick on children -- and even many teachers choose that occupation so they can be the smartest person in the room, and maybe the strongest too. Bullying and intimidation are unfortunately great motivations for some people -- but if one proceeds too far down that path, one eventually runs into those who cannot be dominated in that way, which can crush one’s confidence.

Confidence is a large part of the shape one wants to be in. Before the popularity of exercise in the 1950s, that actually was the major component for “conditioning” exercises -- to give one that look of confidence and poise. So ingénues walked with books on their heads to develop grace, balance, ease of movement. The unfortunate advice of the ‘70s, was to make every movement as difficult as possible -- that somehow, the surest road to anything, was to produce its opposite, in the misunderstanding that action produced a reaction. A lot of drugs were even designed along that premise -- producing immunities and antibodies, or in the case of the NSAIDs discussed previously, to create a sense of urgency and agitation, that can wear on the body over time, causing it to lose that response.

That is a very common psychological ploy -- that is not a very far-sighted one, and that is to create a false emergency to motivate another, or even oneself. After a while, one loses his credibility with others -- as well as himself. A lot of the conditioning programs are this kind of false emergencies -- that may work initially by fooling oneself into thinking a response is necessary, but eventually leads one to ignoring all the signals entirely.

Conditioning by fooling the body in this manner, eventually leads to ignoring all the signals from the body -- because there is no longer credibility and integrity in that body. But if one conditions himself to be keenly aware -- then his responses will be acute, precise, appropriate, and convey that level of functioning. The optimization of (well)-being, has to begin with the obvious and self-evident to anyone, and not just the secret knowledge of the experts who claim to know better.

One should begin with the obvious, self-evident, clearly visible -- instead of being conditioned to ignore those factors in favor of theories and explanations on what health is, and what one is trying to accomplish. The unfortunate consequence of competing against oneself, is that one simply adopts self-defeating behaviors and attitudes.

Friday, May 05, 2006

The Flaw in the Ointment

The most damaging lesson of the present education methodology is to make learning as difficult, complicated, onerous and traumatic as possible -- rather than to make it easy, effortless and the natural function of living. Instead, people are taught to compete unrelentingly against one another -- to despise another’s success and to feel deeply ashamed of one’s own failings, and all that other baggage that should have no place in the joy of learning and discovery. Educated in that manner -- of torments, humiliations, embarrassments, constant harassments and judgments, it is no wonder why there is aversion to learning, rather than the joy of it every day.

To further complicate matters, there are applications, enrollments, fees, tuitions and credits before one is allowed to learn the most treasured gems of knowledge, diligently maintained by a priesthood of lifetime job security for the intellectual virgins who never challenge the cherished order and traditions of the few thinking for the many -- as God intended. Of course, that was how it was in the medieval universities whose traditions must be passed down to every succeeding generation -- unmodified, unquestioned, lest the gods be angered.

True knowledge and wisdom means banishment from the heavenly gardens forever -- from a vengeful, petty, unforgiving God. And thus He ordered that life must be a veil of tears -- and those who seek the easy way, tempt eternal hellfire and damnation. Thus the road to Heaven, must be paved with many thorns, trials, tribulations and deceptions, or mankind will not know it as the true and noble path, and will slide down the easy path of perdition and ignorance.

So there is this “intellectual” tradition of making that which is simple and easy, hard and complicated. And that was the path of civilization and society until a few heretics wondered, “What if we made everything easy instead of hard?” Civilization and society has not been the same since. Now, one doesn’t need a Ph.D. to operate a computer. One can prepare gourmet meals with a touch of a button. And exercise (conditioning), rather than being hard, is knowing how to make every effort easy.

Do we see a pattern emerging? Increasing benefits-to-cost is good; increasing costs-to-benefits is bad. Not being aware that there’s a difference between those equations, is the confusion and dysfunction of one’s life. That is the simple mathematics one must master early on, and then when there is an urgent need to learn anything else, it can be learned just as easily and quickly -- not requiring a BS or MS first as proof that one is deserving, and has duly “paid their dues.”

It is a whole new world entirely -- co-existent with the old. The new is a world of “can-do,” while the old resides in the world prohibiting and prohibitive to most things -- and "can-do," is the licensed exception rather than the norm of life for most who merely realize they have that option. At the present time, there are those torn between that old world and the new -- mainly by their own thoughts, education, indoctrinations, conditioning, that that is the only way things can be -- and they can learn no other.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

A Product Whose Time Has Come

In the last several days, I was highly motivated to find a substitute for the NSAIDs I had been taking for the last 30 years to nullify chronic pain (arthritis, back, injury, headaches), while largely ignoring its major side effects, of gastrointestinal upset as a tolerable tradeoff. There have been times though, when the gastrointestinal upsets overwhelmed the chronic aches and pains -- and at such times, can be even life-threatening. At times such as that, one is well-advised to cease everything one is doing -- and pay attention to what the body (symptoms) are telling him in response to everything he is doing.

I could sense for quite a while now that my gastrointestinal system was compromised and deteriorating rapidly into a melodramatic urgency -- when in preparation for a root canal, I answered quite innocently, “I don’t think I am,” to the question, “Are you allergic to penicillin?” The wrong answer was like being shot out of a cannon -- and revealed vulnerabilities that under most circumstances are merely tolerated as the normal trials and tribulations of life -- especially to those who have known chronic pain all their lives.

Chronic pain is not something the medical profession or the drug industry has been unconditionally successful at addressing. In this, they are as successful as anybody offering any other explanation and remedy, such as meditation, exercise, relaxation, counseling, acupuncture, hypnosis, etc. The recent findings that the COX-2 inhibitors increased the probabilities for a cardiac event, stuck a dagger into what until then was a promising prospect into a new generation for abandoning the previous generation of Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which while effective at pain relief, was also notable for producing gastrointestinal distress in a significant portion of users, especially over time. The NSAIDs are commonly aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen.

And so it seems that all the reliable remedies eventually proved to have side effects that overwhelmed the relief they could bring until the bomb went off. But in desperately searching (on the Internet) for an answer to the calamities and consequences I was presently experiencing, I noticed that there was one product which was often lumped into the discussion that actually didn’t belong in the same category of well-known negative side-effects, and in some cases, was even the cure for the side-effects of the others.

Yet it is not highly touted -- while it should be. That product is acetamenophen (paracetamol), commonly known as Tylenol. It is not an NSAID, and in fact, is often prescribed as a treatment for gastritis -- because it does not upset the stomach, and may in fact, cure it. As a pain reliever, it is the equal of the NSAIDs and COX-2 inhibitors. The score in which it is deficient is just the one of not being an anti-inflammatory. That is, it does not relieve swelling in the tissues.

What does reduce swelling (bloat) in the tissues, as I have frequently written about, is producing a pulsing contraction at the extremities of the head (neck), hands and feet -- compressing fluids back towards the heart and excretory organs. With those complementary technologies, the pain associated with arthritis, etc, can basically be eliminated, with minimal negative side-effects.

Acetamenophen is such an overlooked product in the arsenal against chronic pain that generically, it is the cheapest drug that can be purchased at the drug store. It is a product that though overlooked in the past, is really one whose time has come -- given the present dilemma and discoveries. The question about acetamenophen has been about its effectiveness rather than its side-effects, which generally, have not been notable except for those deliberately using high dosages to attempt a suicide.

Because the inflammation has been regarded as integral to the explanation of the pain, it seems to have not been questioned that it may be coincident to the pain, rather than the exclusive cause of it -- and that the inflammation can be effectively addressed in the manner I have described as the fundamental effector of well-being in the human body -- to enhance the circulation of fluids in the body by mastering this return (contra) pulse exercise.