Thursday, December 21, 2006

The Compulsive Activity is Not the End

When people have difficulty distinguishing between the cause and the effect, they will naturally mistake the means for the ends -- and pursue the means as an end in itself. This is particularly true of the regard for the value of exercise -- and activity, or “busyness,” as proof that one has achieved their ends.

But I think most thoughtful people, if they allow a quiet moment to reflect on these things, will realize that if they could achieve the ends without the means, or with less effort and expenditure, would rationally choose to do so -- rather than doing more -- thinking that is the objective.

And so when people are not clear about these things and their relationship to one another, they think that their sheer busyness is evidence of their doing as much as they can -- without regard anymore, for whether it achieves their objectives, which generally, is a higher quality of life.

Many will measure that higher quality of life simply in how much money they make -- while admitting to all kinds of great calamities and catastrophes in their life, including a very high expenditure for health care, and obsession with their health, well-being and quality of life. The currency of exchange is virtually worthless as a valid indicator because the quality of life is what is exchanged rather than obtained. Many people unfortunately become fixated at that level -- but usually have a health event that restores them to the proper path.

That is, they have a heart attack, a car accident, addiction or ruinous compulsive behaviors, digestive upsets, huge weight gain, change in abilities, and mental illness -- as an indication that something is wrong in their lives -- that forces them to a dead stop. Such events are usually the major story of one’s life -- that got them on the path to discovering what their life was about.

Most however, only read or see movies about such people -- never thinking that those are the kinds of lives they could be living themselves, trapped in their cubicles -- doing the only thing they know, as though it was the only thing that could be done. And so they seek endless diversions and distractions away from the reality of their lives -- and their lives are lived through the generalized media events rather than the particulars of their own experiences.

The generalized experience and knowledge become their reality -- and their own lives become invalid, not worthy of paying any attention to. And that’s how people get to the condition they do -- of not caring what it is they do. It is only enough to be seen going through the motions -- faking the involvement.

A few move beyond income to a fascination with consumption as their measure of well-being, and so their measure is not simply how much they earn, but how much they spend -- again failing to recognize the objective. In many cultures, it is thought that whatever creates the most jobs (work, problems), has the most value. But the step beyond, is the realization that it is the end itself of eliminating the problem -- without further and undue effort, that is intelligence at work and manifested.


At December 22, 2006 10:57 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

There are two kinds of energy: kinetic energy and potential energy. The first we are used to seeing in the traditional manner of "work," moving a weight a certain distance in certain time -- as an expenditure of energy. Potential energy is how the body stores that capability until is is expressed in a particular task.

But the form of that potential, is also an expression. They are two aspects of the same energy -- and not two different kinds of energy.

One of the amazing experiences I had growing up was seeing a person who had a remarkable ability to transform himself from a "fat" person, to one of the most incredibly "muscular" persons -- instantly. I've always wondered why he did not keep himself in the impressive muscular condition all the time -- but actually went around in the much less imposing shape most of the time.

I think that is true to a certain extent with most people -- because they have no reason to be "in good shape," unless they are among peers who value and strive to be in that condition also. Otherwise, it is derided by most people who dislike having others stand out from the crowd and distinguish themselves apart from the "average."

Many peer groups enforce this kind of "average" or "consensus," rather than encouraging the full expression and range. They value conformity and mediocrity, and obeying authority rather than questioning it -- to determine its legitimacy. Such "authorities," don't like to be questioned -- and in the teaching of physical activities (PE), a distinguishing feature is this intolerance of any such inquiries -- under threat of physical retaliation, often self-imposed even.

That social order is maintained until someone has the confidence to challenge it and follow through to the end until the realization that its sacred rules are totally arbitrary and there is no god or science behind it. That is the breakthrough in every field -- that transforms it from a largely mystical, random activity, to a simple and precise one -- that can be effected virtually at will, once it realizes it always had the capacity to do so.

It is like the exercise of freedom; it's not that the people are so different before they are free and after, but they still have to learn to express themselves in that widest range of possibilities -- because it is socially acceptable to do so.

In many peer groups, the typical interaction is to put each other and everyone else down and in their place -- and to maintain that "status quo" as the primary function of that organization. Those with the least seniority and status, are invariably asked or volunteer to maintain the rigid order as proof of their merit for one day being on the top.

Those are the dominance hierarchies of primitive societies -- that deliberately channel violence and aggression in that fashion, as the only approved expressions. To just be a healthy robust individual, actualizing their own being in this way, does not serve that kind of co-dependent social order -- which is its only reason for being.

At December 23, 2006 2:10 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

One of the big problems in the early professionalization of the fitness movement, is that it got co-opted by the health care professionals, the PE teachers, the academics, as well as the commercial interests that have characterized the wishful thinking for improvement -- as well as great financial gain, each ultimately revealing, their confusion of motives and intents.

Everybody wanted to claim the field that is the most universal, as their own exclusive turf -- in which they alone were the experts, and nobody else could make their case otherwise.

In the past, such attempts worked to create lucrative fiefdoms, for those who knew how to rise within those constricted activities. Physical activities present a problem because it is obvious what one can do or achieve.

So first off, one had to produce a disconnect between what was self-evident, and one's own hierarchy of legitimacy, which is still trying to fix its form. It's problematical when anybody can merely stake their claim -- including the most obviously out of shape people, who otherwise, would be obvious in not knowing what they are talking about -- except for their certifications otherwise.

The Eastern cultures have a well-proven tradition by which the Masters are self-evident in every manner of their behaviors, and that is why they are respected. The Western tradition has almost been the opposite in this respect -- that knowing and being can be something totally at odds with one another, and that the symbol was more important than the substance, or actuality.

That has become known as the academic tradition -- which made a critical mistake of marginalizing themselves by perfecting the language of profession jargon to circumscribe entry into their ranks -- in a time in which the greater advantage was in universalizing the language of communication. While perfecting that manner of impressing their colleagues and peers, they became unintelligible to the community at large; it was a self-chosen isolation from the universal community participation that was most notably being pioneered on Internet forums.

They became even more insistent that the public had to buy into their old status quo, and for that reason, became largely irrelevant.

At December 24, 2006 1:43 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

The After-Christmas Special:

Understanding Conditioning (repeat) FOCUS (Channel 49, Honolulu) 12/26/2006 10:00:00 AM A revolutionary new way of looking at exercise. Environmental/Health

I always thought the best use of the new media, was as an archive for state of the art (standard of the industry) information -- accessed by people as they requested it. The only requirement is that it be legitimately requested rather than self-promoted -- which is fairly difficult in a culture in which shameless self-promotion is the expected.

The authentic rather than the contrived and self-serving, becomes easier to spot when there are a few examples of it -- as opposed to the infomercials, in which just about anything could be faked -- including and especially, the testimonies. Those would be the obvious cases, but even more insidious as well as deceptive, are those that pass as legitimate news stories by reporters who have no information processing skills, as many of the old professions don't.

There's a whole science to making opinion into "facts" -- by the use of polls, as well as studies. Once an opinion is spread as fact, the number of people who believe it, is the objective. And so almost the entirety of the program, is convincing one of its credibility rather than in presenting any facts that can be tested and verified independently by anybody, as self-evident truth.

That was a tremendous danger as long as information could be controlled by the self-interest group -- rather than the end-user (consumer). It is the patient, client, or customer who should determine what is good and working -- and not the self-interested professional, who in the worst case scenario, wants increasing dependence on his services, even to the extent that the more of the product or service one consumed, the more one needed, rather than the elimination of the need.

The conflict of interest is that the professional realizes his existing customer is his best customer -- to the breaking point at which the customer has no more money to spend, rather than that he is cured of his problem.

In the teaching of anything, the mark of a great teacher is not the number of students who need more education and feel less confident in what they know -- but those who emerge confident in their own ability to discover what they don't know.

That is the confidence of intelligence.

At December 26, 2006 2:00 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

I guess the major point I did not cover in that video of 1994 was that optimal conditioning could be maintained on a daily regimen of 5 minutes a day, immediately on waking -- rather than it being a constant preoccupation about not doing "enough." Five minutes a day immediately upon waking, is the lifelong conditioning strategy that is unavoidable for virtually everybody.

It has to be under that threshold in which people feel it requires an extraordinary effort to accomplish -- and five minutes a day, is the tolerance level. There are benchmark thresholds in every field of activity now because there is so much information to wade through and demands for our attention.

In reading, that would be one-page; almost everyone is willing to lend their attention to one-page -- so a hundred page treatise is not more impressive, nor more likely to be read, even though it is an indication of a greater commitment from the writer.

It's funny how a lot of employers will demand the one-page resume yet demand the applicant fill out a five-page lengthy application form before they will even look at it.

A lot of people are having difficulty dealing with a level playing field -- or understanding the concept of reciprocity. You get respect when you give respect. It's as simple as that.

When people are abusive and exploitative, I figure they don't have to know better.


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