Thursday, October 25, 2007

Does the Hype Help?

There are people calling themselves “experts” who think that the false justifies the ends because people need to be fooled into behaving intelligently -- claiming they won’t behave intelligently otherwise. It’s a fairly cynical perspective of human motivation which is an unfailing revelation of the speaker -- who prides themselves as the puller of the strings rather than the puppets on the string.

One encounters such personalities in every sphere of human activity -- of which the most innocuous is the teacher-student relationship, which oftentimes, is nothing more than an exploitation and betrayal of trust -- rather than the mutually beneficial fulfillment of human understanding and fulfillment.

Understanding fully what one is doing, is an essential ingredient in any sense of fulfillment -- unlike laboratory rats and pigeons that behave as they do without that consciousness. That is the essential flaw in most studies of human behavior -- that the results are achieved without any understanding of what one is actually trying to achieve. That “blindness” or ignorance, is what such researchers will insist, is what makes their results more believable -- if such a condition were possible, or even desirable, in obtaining -- that one can be proficient at anything, while having no idea what one is doing, or hoping to accomplish.

That is the flaw and fallacy of randomized studies -- that the object is not to study randomness, but deliberation and understanding, and that is what is significant to measure, implying everything else. Instead, the insignificant part, is mistaken for the whole, if not the entirety, of what it is important to achieve -- which is the complete fulfillment and actualization of the whole individual, and not just parts that will amount to nothing meaningful.

A few one will encounter daily, will display such proclivities of disproportion and imbalance -- as though it was some kind of remarkable achievement, rather than the monstrosity violating most observers’ sensibilities of the proper balance, proportions and symmetry. In fact, one gets used to encountering such imbalances in the many gyms devoted ostensibly to such purposes.

So to see the rare individuals who do possess such balance of development and reasonable lifestyle, are not likely to be called to our attention in the journals of hype -- thinking that only gross outrageousness can capture one’s attention anymore. This is particularly true of our exposure to the mass media -- where grotesqueness is the appeal, rather than any sense of genuine and authentic refinement.

That is very unfortunate, because that too is the promise of mass media, in exposing and revealing the remarkable, as well as the commonplace, to the increasingly many who obtain their impressions of the world largely in that manner. But now it devolves into a forum for those who strive most tirelessly and unrelentingly for that attention and exposure -- which are likely to be those lest deserving, and most hungry for that attention which they do not merit otherwise.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Looking Good

In modern society and culture, the chief indicator of “fitness” is that of appearances -- which shouldn’t be dismissed as a superficiality and triviality, because it is actually far more useful than requiring someone to run a marathon to the next town to announce the results of a battle. “Seeming” to be a credible person announcing this fact, would be more believable than a haggard stranger straggling in on his “last legs,” proclaiming triumph, and promptly dying. Then, the well-dressed and composed person on the television, would note the passing of that vagrant as an oddity -- and move on to the gossip of the day.

So if nothing else, looking like a healthy and well-organized person, should be the minimal expectation of any fitness program -- above achieving more dubious achievements, including “finishing” a marathon, in a manner that makes everyone wince witnessing such an inappropriate entrant in such participation.

Seeing someone do anything -- well, is inspirational and encouraging to anyone; seeing self-affliction of pain and suffering , doesn’t argue well for sane participants.

If nothing else, the most telling point on the health and condition of any individual, is the muscular condition at the neck, which if well-toned, conveys vibrancy, alertness and grace -- while being the best indicator of improvement or deterioration of that same individual at different stages of their lie and well-being. A person begins notable aging on the face, as soon as there is marked atrophy of the neck muscles -- as it is obviously apparent that the vital flow to the head, is no longer possible, and one is even fearful, that a blow to the head, could easily rip off the head from the rest of the body -- so tenuously does it appear to be connected to the torso.

So, even if one is simply a “talking head” as the major attribute of what they do, strong and well-defined neck muscles, would be all that is necessary to create a commanding, unassailable presence. Those who maintain this formidable development of the neck muscles, not surprisingly, have eyes that sparkle and are alive -- as opposed to the dullness that one unfortunately sees too often of those not feeling/doing well.

These are not accidental attributes;.they can be deliberately and instantaneously enhanced, by engaging the neck muscles strongly in moving towards the extremes of their ranges, either left or right, forward and backward. The most efficient way to do this is before even getting out of bed in the morning -- by raising one’s head up and forward as far as possible for ten repetitions. In doing so, if one rests their hands on their stomach muscles, one will note the “washboard” effect coming into play for that area -- despite, and BECAUSE one is not doing the torso-bending sit-ups one thinks is necessary to achieve that effect. The head movement alone, is all that is necessary, to engage and develop the washboard tone and look of the stomach muscles.

Bending the torso, while keeping the head in-line with the torso, the way this movement is usually done, is actually counterproductive in achieving this effect. The reason for this is that the primary function of the midsection muscles is to produce stability and support for a movement at the extremities of the head, hands, and feet -- and there is otherwise no practical application and usefulness, for increasing movement ONLY at the midsection, while maintaining rigidity at the wrists, ankles and neck -- which is what many fitness programs advocate, with their well-proven lack of desirable and timely results.

Noting this focus of movement, would be a very useful and logical manner to gauge the prognosis of success using such apparatus advertised widely as the next big thing on exercise.

Friday, October 12, 2007

It Matters Not To Me

A few reading the revolutionary ideas presented on this board on conditioning, will object that the old ideas of conditioning “work” -- for the small minority of people that persist at them, until one day they can’t -- and have no way of getting back into the fine condition/shape that allowed them to do what kept them in top condition. That’s the easy part: when one is in top condition, one can do virtually anything, including surviving near-death experiences, but more critically, how can one transform and empower a weakened condition -- before one is in shape to get in shape?

Most people going to physical therapists stop going as soon as the insurance stops paying for them -- and by then, they realize they have to “cure themselves,” of so little benefit are such physical therapies other than what one could figure out for themselves. And so a lot of those operations have an impressive array of machinery that will infatuate most people for a few weeks/visits. Most people “heal” themselves rather than benefitting from any enhanced insight by physical therapists over physical education teachers -- because they’re working from the same playbooks of ideas that seem plausible, but don’t hold up to any independent challenge, which is the hallmark of scientific investigation. Instead, they usually enlist people to “prove” exactly what it is they want to prove. That’s the flaw in most so-called scientific studies. Not surprisingly, they see the results they want to see -- and if they don’t, they eliminate the aberrations so as to eliminate any doubt.

Some people actually think they are being very scientific and objective by throwing out the highest and lowest scores -- and then measuring the rest to determine the average as the ideal, when in fact, the experiences at the extremes, is the most important information. The extremes is where the information undergoes its most rigorous challenges -- often to unexpected great discoveries. For that reason, many studies “fail” in that what they may actually observe, is not what they expect to observe, and thus, will not be observed, and often as not, be eliminated from the study.

Determining an “average” is usually not the most useful information in the performance of human achievement; it is exploring the range of the possibilities, which is what we wish to determine and delight in. So we go to concerts to hear the best perform -- and not just the “average.” Yet that average has been elevated in popular culture and the mass media as the ideal with which we must try to conform to. The result of such conditioning is that most people fail to become average -- which does not mean they cannot improve. But their improvement may take them further from that average -- rather than closer to it.

One of the most important work in the study of human beings was done by Roger Williams at the University of Texas in the ‘60s, on the amazing diversity and variability of experience -- at a time when the counter-prevailing thought was the desirability of making everybody the same -- first advocated by the Nazis, and then merely the Nazis of political correctness at the universities throughout the world. His finding was that people tended to vary in difference not by percentages but several magnitudes -- in their tolerance for foods, exercise, and every conditioning experience, so that a primary order of business for each and everyone, was recognizing the very unique person they are -- as the underlying basis of their ultimate success and efforts -- rather than mindless obeisance to the generalizations and generalities that won that day of academic faddism but eventually prove counterproductive in the understanding of human fulfillment and performance.

Generalizations tell us very little of that which is most significant to know, but have become very important in coerrcing conformity of thought that is at best a veneer of the truth of any matter.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

The State-of-the-Art in Conditioning

Most people still have a primitive notion that the value of exercise is the ideal program for optimizing their lives in a more barbaric time -- of struggle against every other, and everything, in a hopelessly hostile world -- rather than the reality of modern times of everything being “too convenient” and helpful, and so they have to impose their own resistance and barriers, as the proper conditioning tactic, rather than learning to assess the helpful -- as the primary strategy. Unfortunately frequently, those conditioning lessons in fact, teach one to sabotage and undermine oneself in everything one does -- so that the net effect is to put out great effort, while getting nowhere, accomplishing nothing, and even destroying what good health one does have -- in thinking that the blessings of life, are infinite and their entitlement.

The world doesn’t work that way. So in addition to the abuse many put their digestive systems through in overeating at every chance they get, they think the proper solution to that problem, is to wear out their feet, knees and hips -- working it off, rather than in exercising a modicum of restraint not to expose themselves to these problems in the first place.

Unfortunately, many schools still reward the efforts rather than the results -- and so, “looking busy” is even more highly valued than seeing the situation in a way that is not a problem -- requiring a “solution.” If one does not address the original problem correctly, which is the overconsumption, more expenditure to correct that “problem,” is not the answer, but done in that manner, creates even more problems -- in the destruction and abuse of the rest of the body. In fact, it is quite predictable, that those most overweight, will select the most damaging manner of correcting those imbalances -- over the most intelligent approach to doing so, which in the former case, is running, walking, and other strenuous weight-bearing, high-impact activities.

In those cases, it is even more imperative that they exercise more intelligently rather than in the conventional “more,” in damaging the rest of their body unnecessarily -- which they have been convinced, is absolutely necessary. It is not that such people lack control over all their body, as much as they lack control over the few areas that is most important to exercise that control -- at the head, hands, and feet -- which when successfully done, activates the entire muscular system in support. That is the infallible design of the muscular structures -- that mastering fine movements at the extremities, require the involvement and activation of the larger muscles designed for support as their primary function rather than movement.

Because this is not properly understood, most exercises and apparatus are designed to maximize movement at the larger muscles as the “best” way to burn calories, but in which they are not designed to do as their primary, optimal use. That is most notable in the design of the next great invention to maximize the burning of calories -- as the thing no intelligent life would do -- but that many misguided people do because they think “being busy,” is being productive and useful -- because they cannot distinguish the difference between the two -- as the most important conditioning (education) lesson of all.

One conditions oneself to succeed at what one needs to meet a challenge -- any challenge, and not just reinforce their dysfunctional capacities -- thinking one has done anything intelligent and beneficial at all.