Saturday, July 01, 2006

The Freedom to Be

It’s appropriate in observing Independence Day, that we recognize that the ultimate expression of who we are, is the fulfillment of freedom and independence -- that we create the life we want to live, by living it -- and not just expressing noble but empty sentiments, while living the mindless repetition, drudgery, and futility of our daily lives. Then, one’s being is one’s doing -- and there is no separation, division, conflict -- between the person one is, and the person one wishes to be.

The real value of going to a gym periodically is not that one gets a superior workout only from their apparatus or instruction, but that occasionally, one runs into the various personalities with these huge missions in life -- to become the World’s Strongest Man, Miss America, Mr. Universe, etc., with surprising regularity.

Not everyone has that kind of vision, drive, determination -- to want to become the best, or at least become the best they can be. Most people are just content to settle for their dreams apart from the reality of their daily existence -- and so television and all the delusions and images of inconsequential success, are their entertainment, their aspiration -- the approbation of others, rather than their own inner quest for actualization. That is the reality that matters, and is meaningful to everyone, no matter what the scores indicate.

The success is the being and doing -- that makes one who they are. The prizes are incidental to those quests -- and only an unfortunate, tragic few, never learn that significance but pound the treadmill all their lives in their vain hopes that just one more step validates all their futility, and the meaninglessness of their existence.

As I talk to the many people involved in all kinds of vision quests, it becomes an emerging dominant theme among the already successful -- increasingly willing to step up to this next level of challenge formerly reserved only for the great gurus and masters of life. When societies achieve critical mass, behaviors not witnessed before begin to manifest, different from the random observed in isolation -- because the mass behavior, influences all behavior.

That is a very important concept in the study of human behavior and outcomes -- that the mass predisposes the individual -- which is what we call society, culture, the environment, etc. Any action is not taking place in a vacuum, under test tube conditions -- but in a context, an implicate or implicit order.

Most people don’t have to see the light actually turn red or green before they stop or go; they can read it from all the behaviors of everybody else around them. In fact, when the light turns green, one doesn’t just go -- but waits for the appropriate behavior from the others as a more important cue. Those who insisted that the light was green as their right to proceed, have been splattered on many windshields.

That is the importance and significance of living in a free society -- that most, unfortunately, do not exercise enough. Instead, many think freedom and liberty is just their right to tell everybody else what to do -- but they themselves, don’t need to do anything.


At July 05, 2006 11:14 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

A lot of people don’t know what it means to be in-shape because they’ve never seen anybody in that condition before. So they have no model of what a healthy body can look like -- because they haven’t seen it from their teachers, doctors, nurses, personal trainers, coaches. There is even a sentiment among those who should know better, to disparage good health and beauty as mere vanity -- rather than the most reliable indicator of general health. We are taught not to be judgmental about these things -- to prefer one set of attributes over another, to be politically “correct” -- as though that were a superior and intelligent way to be.

That’s a large part of the health crisis -- that we cannot unabashedly prefer health and beauty, over sickness and dysfunction -- without bringing down the condemnation of those who think we should never be able to tell any differences. The sickly and ugly are to be preferred as much as the strong and aesthetically pleasing. Invariably, those with “desirable” characteristics, are usually portrayed as caricatures of themselves -- as in the overly made-up woman, or the exercise instructor who never relaxes his muscles but has them in perpetual contraction, and moves rather awkwardly, rather than gracefully, as a confident, comfortably fit person naturally would.

So the impression given, is that the pursuit of healthful activities is always this kind of faddism and fanaticism which one should justifiably avoid as not being worth it. Neither choice is therefore attractive and so one should smartly take the one of least resistance and caring. That’s the real danger of presenting the requirements for fitness as necessitating extraordinary demands of time and energy -- rather than the least 5% that accounts for 95% of the exercise effects.

It is not duration that is important but merely range -- that needs to be accessed minimally each day to retain that range of motion -- as needed, or not. Otherwise, a person might not access that range of movement normally -- for months, or ever again, and it shows. But articulating every range for one-minute, far exceeds most people’s normal daily requirements -- and that little bit, is the difference that makes the difference. The difference is one as opposed to zero. A lot of people are convinced that if one doesn’t do 30 or 60, one might as well do zero -- and it’s not the same. The biggest difference, is between zero and one. It always will be -- in anything.

In most cases, you only need one; you don’t need all. But there are those who will convince, that if one doesn’t have all, one might as well have none, or it is the same as not having any. If one has the one, one can double that and have two; but two times zero, is still zero. The mathematical model is simple -- but people get very clever in convincing us of what is not true and valid.

Many are persuaded that to have a little is the same as having nothing -- when often than not, the little is adequate and enough -- to make the only difference that matters. It would be another matter if the more made a difference -- but it doesn’t. That is the stunning revelation about effective and productive exercise -- that is has very little to do with what things are frequently discussed as relevant, while ignoring completely, those things that really are.

At July 06, 2006 12:08 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

A lot of people take pride in convincing others of what is not true -- just as an exercise of power over another. It is the unfortunate consequence of much of contemporary education -- to dominate another, and every other -- as the meaning and purpose of all we do. One sees it a lot in the newspapers -- always being about the struggle of one group against another, most commonly in the political vein. But that mentality pervades all discussions -- in the desire to dominate the other in the communication -- and so, no real communication (exchange of information) is possible, but just this familiar struggle to dominate and prevail over another, instead of finding out together what is true.

All the energy goes into vanquishing the other -- and nothing goes into a common perception of what they agree is true. They start with the differences and so no agreement is eventually possible, because there are no common assumptions and premises -- no agreement on even what they are talking about. And the purpose of their communication is to suppress the other, oppress the other.

And that’s why people are turning off the mass media option of communications -- because it is only about establishing and reinforcing the top-down, one-way information hierarchy. There are fewer of those who are adamantly determined to impose their will on everybody else as there was a generation ago. But they largely still exist as the predominant personalities in the mass media -- suppressing all other perspectives and perceptions. There cannot be a collective undertaking into the quest for understanding -- because the one who has complete control, exercises that control as his only objective -- and not to achieve a better understanding that is now possible and commonplace in some forums. But that is not the way mass media operates; it is not democratic but authoritarian, autocratic, despotic -- as was the model of exercise instruction.

The presumption that one already knows the truth, is deadly to any inquiry to discover the truth. One will predictably only see things that confirm one’s preconceived conclusion -- and dismiss all information one doesn’t want to see -- while still believing one is entirely scientific in doing so. The last thing one can convince a prejudiced and biased mind -- is that it is prejudiced and biased. They don’t say, “Oh yes, I’m being prejudiced and biased and should correct my ways,” or they wouldn’t be biased. Instead, they will be more determined to “prove” that you are wrong and hurtful for revealing them.

It’s important to identify these closed minds from the very beginning, lest you threaten what they are so certain they know and will defend fiercely, as an attack to the core of their being. Such personalities resist change -- and so attempts to produce change, will end in failure and disaster, no matter how much they profess to desire change. And in fact, the success in producing change in such people, does not bring about appreciation -- but hostility and resentment. You have changed them -- and their entire orientation in life, is to resist change, resist any new information, resist any new possibility.

Such individuals and institutions must die; they are no longer viable. So the only conditioning that matters is the predisposition to change -- making anything possible.


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