Monday, September 03, 2007

Beyond Average

The exasperating as well as deceiving thing about the mass media reports on popular culture is that it is wholly concerned with the “average,” and not with the fullest range of human behaviors and possibilities -- which of course, deviate from the average substantially. If there are reports about the non-normal, it is invariably about the predictable dysfunctional deviations and not the exceptional, creative ones.

So in their world, there is the normal and the subnormal, and the supernormal does not exist -- because it would take an extraordinary person to see and recognize them, and all they can recognize, are the normal and the subnormal -- as the entirety of the world, and enforce that conformity as their own calling in the world. The media is not unique in that self-appointment, because teachers, union presidents, lawyers, politicians, judges, medical practitioners, and yes, fitness instructors practice that as their primary expression of power and identity in this world.

Rare are those who can simply live -- and let live, which is really the secret to a highly self-actualizing society -- in which every individual does not think that their primary task in life is to create and mold every other person into their own image, to live up to their expectations, to conform to their notions of right and wrong -- as though they knew better for everybody else, what that is.

That’s essentially what mass media and popular culture is all about -- convincing and getting people to do what everybody else is doing, as the highest right and value in society -- rather than discussing the range of that possibility, and allowing people to make up their own minds. And that is the most important expression of being a citizen in a free and democratic republic -- rather than the exclusive obsession of winning at any cost, as though that was all there was. There is no winning but how one plays the game.

Last week, with the passing of Arthur Jones, many consider the most influential thinker on the exercise scene since 1970, was a time for many involved and in touch with this individual to reflect on the power of such thinking -- to go beyond the average, certainly as an inspiring role model for those who want to find out what life and society beyond the “politically correct” reporting of it is.

Ultimately, I don’t think he was the last word in effective training principles, but I think he will continue to be a good first word for any aspiring student to begin their inquiries. And that is always the most important step of any pursuit -- that one is firmly grounded in testing reality, and not just provided a system and set of beliefs which should not and never be tested or challenged, because ultimatimately, that is what he, as any great teacher, wanted people to do -- put his ideas to the most rigorous test. Otherwise, that’s what conjectures are -- beliefs stated as a well-proven, unchallengeable fact that have never been understood and taken seriously enough to be tested to the limits at which they may fail. And that is the whole point of discovery. The objective is to go beyond.

But if one can recognize that primary distinction, then any teacher worthy of the name, doesn’t care that the student goes his own way and arrives at his own conclusions because he has used the proper methodology, and even questioned what the master (instructor) had not.

In Memoriam, Arthur Jones, 1926-2007.


At September 03, 2007 6:45 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

The following link seems to contain the most complete collection of his major works. His autobiography is And God laughs ...

If nothing else, he may have been the best writer and speaker that's ever been.


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