Thursday, March 29, 2012

Everything You Know Is Wrong

At 6, 16, and 26, almost anything seems to work; at 36, 46, and 56, one realizes that what they thought worked, might not; then at 66, 76, 86..., it seems like nothing works anymore, no matter what. So, then, that is the true test of what really works -- and not that anything could. That's what separates those who "know" something, and those who just "think" they do.

Beginning about age 60, very few can avoid the telltale signs of aging -- which is largely that the muscles of the body begin to shrink dramatically -- impacting their appearance as well as their functioning. Even if they're still running marathons or lifting weights, they're not doing as much or as well as they used to earlier -- which leads them inescapably to believe that the end is imminent, if not near. It is just one downhill slide from there -- if there is no measure by which one can actually improve -- yet that possibility indeed exists, if they radically change the measure of what they believe to be significant, in ways they hadn't even thought to develop and measure previously.

And that is range of their motion (by voluntary muscular contraction) -- at the critical axes (joints) of the wrists, ankles, and neck -- which most have not thought to move at all, and may have even been advised and instructed, that those parts cannot and shouldn't be moved -- rather than that, those are the critical areas that remain capable of improvement one's entire lifetime, and should be meaningful to measure, when all else fails. That capability must be telling us something.

I've never encountered those who are still responsive, who could not improve their range of movement at those sites -- even when they could not make improvement in any of the more familiar ways one measures physical improvement or decline. That obviously has to be the key to continuing improvement -- and the very meaning of responsiveness in the ways that one can still indicate that difference and acknowledgment. But in doing so, that also indicates the underlying and prerequisite health and functioning of the supporting and connecting structures that make the end movements (expressions) possible.

And that is all the movement one really needs to remain fully functional -- at the extremities of the human body -- such as the fingertip, or the gesture of a smile and recognition. One doesn't have to do a 500 lb bench press to signal agreement -- or disapproval, for that matter. Those expressions and communications, can be conveyed with the slightest movements at the head (face), hands (writing and grasping), or feet (shifting weight for balance and stability). Those are the meaningful and expressive human movements -- and not the running of marathons, or lifting of weights. The least gesture, tells us more, and can set much greater forces into motion.

It's fitting that such movements are called articulations -- as well, meaning the range of that expression. Humans are distinguished by such fine motor movements more than they are the powerful gross motor movements -- which in humans, are weak relative to all other animals. Pound for pound, the human is the least powerful animal of all. But because of the ability to communicate intent and understanding far more effectively, can marshal the productivity and ingenuity of those who came before, as well as those around presently.

Such fine motor movements and control, is the passing on of culture -- by which the genius of previous generations, can be expressed in another age -- in a way that gross movement/brute force cannot, because it is too indistinct and the subtleties are not communicated. And while these communications and subtleties do not seem so important at 6, 16, 26, they become increasingly important at 66, 76, 86... -- as the skills necessary to maintain and optimize life at that stage and development.

Nobody at 100, will be impressive as a marathoner or weightlifter -- if that is all they have to offer. Most everyone else, will be more productive and helpful in that regard -- including the 6 year old. The competitive and survival advantage of the 100 year old, would be the awareness of that proper perspective -- to measure all the others -- without their own ego, getting in the way of those assessments.

So it is not that the 76 year old should still be capable of doing what a 26 year old does and can do better, but they need to do what the 26 year old does not do as well because they don't have economies and efficiencies that many years of experience will give them an advantage in knowing the appropriate effort and risk to give to such situations and circumstances. In that way, life can still be better (for all), but not simply at being an adolescent again -- ignoring all the risks and pitfalls, that got them to their present age.

You don't want to be attempting a 500 lb bench press on your 100th birthday -- as an indication of one's fitness, or qualification for survival. However, to exhibit a greater range of movement at the head, hands and feet than normally exhibited by most, would greatly impress even the most casual of observers. They would be aware of the presence of a great vitality and awareness unmatched by most others -- even if all other things were equal.

"Fitness" is about this advantage one has beyond the others -- and not competing at a disadvantage, no matter how large a "handicap" one is given, which is really the acknowledgment that one really isn't to be taken as an equal, or seriously anymore. But is there a way one can compete at an advantage -- which nobody else thinks to do, and articulate?

That is what distinguishes individuals at any age, at any time, in any generation. They don't simply do what everybody else does; they do what everybody else does not even think to do, or can imagine doing.

Those are manifested at the distinctly and uniquely human structures at the extremities, that have made the march of human evolution possible -- that we seek to master.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Quality of Life (Civilization)

The quality of life in modern society, is the value one can get in exchange for the money (credit) they have -- and not merely the money they have, if they cannot exchange it for anything of greater value. That's why it is possible to have a lot of money and be miserable, if all the people in their circle, are intent on getting more for less, or nothing at all -- while in another circle, people realize the intelligence of giving more for less, or nothing at all. The trouble begins when those of the former, infiltrate the game of the latter, and eventually make it the game of the former -- while the more intelligent become aware of that, and start an even better rate of exchange -- and leave the old game, to those who have nothing of value to offer -- to con and victimize each other.

That is the way of the world, and how civilization and society evolves -- from a culture of brute force, to increasing sophistication and discrimination -- that the former, try to make into a bad (banned) word. For nobody, they believe, should be able to tell the difference between good and bad, and nobody should get anything of value, and even everything of value, must be destroyed. That is the proverbial Sacking of Rome by the Vandals. The only expression such cultures enjoyed, was the wanton destruction of anything of beauty and intelligence. Those virtues, had to be destroyed, just as we now see in cities in decline and on the ropes -- becoming a virtual sea of graffiti and waste, in which their participants revel in -- smearing feces on themselves as warpaint, in preparation for their rallies and demonstrations against peace and order.

That impulse for self-destruction and degradation has been the other half of the ascent of man -- to ever higher orders of tools and organization, which the masses of brute force and destruction, instinctively and reflexively want to destroy -- upon seeing them and being sent into paroxysms of fury and rage. That is not the world that they were nurtured and conditioned by -- and to see, and manifest.

Not surprisingly then, there are two visions of power and strength as well -- one being the destruction of everything from cinder blocks to buildings, while the other obviously, was the design and construction of all those things in the first place. The latter may take years of evolution and thought to manifest, while it all can be destroyed in a second. But once the shock of such moments is absorbed, the slow, steady persistence to build even better, begins once again. That is the story of civilization.

Greed is not the antithesis and antidote of fear -- that order is. Order is the greater predictability of outcomes -- both good or bad, while fear is the belief that everything is random, so there is no rhyme or reason for anything that happens -- which naturally invokes fear and terror. But if one can create a greater understanding of the relationship between causes and effects -- then there is no mistaking one for the other. One does not think that the power to destroy, is the power to build.

In the daily conditioning we do, that is the difference between, the consumption of calories -- and the building up of reserves for the time at which it is absolutely necessary and vital to exhaust them -- but at all other times, to build up those margins (of reserve) as much as possible to handle as great a magnitude of challenge as might be possible (anticipated). That's how some people will live through greater shocks and stress than others will -- but it is fairly predictable, and not merely arbitrary and random. There are things people can do, to prevent the shit from hitting the fan -- in the first place. That is what we hope to do all the days of our lives -- until we are no longer there to see to it.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The New Age of Independence

The major difference between people these days, is the extent to which they can, and do live lives independently and self-sufficiently -- while also realizing their connectedness to all of reality and others. But that recognition doesn't mean they have to be dependent on others to an increasing degree until they are totally helpless -- when there is much that they can and should do for themselves, in order to maintain their health, viability as self-sufficient individuals, and to actualize the meaning and purpose of their own lives -- apart from the purposes of others to dictate what that should be for their own ends.

Such new age individuals, are those who grow comfortable with the idea of learning and thinking for themselves, as opposed to being the pawns of somebody else's programs. There's always been that 5% of the population so constitutionally different from the average -- in every field of life and activities -- that they are notable in these proclivities through a combination of birth and subsequent nurturing, that provides the leadership for the greater population in that aspect. But there is also the other 5% on the opposite end of the spectrum, that indicates the diametrical opposite -- in this case, that a significant number of the population, becomes entirely dependent on the rest of society and its resources -- just to keep them breathing and alive, at a prohibitive cost! -- that could be an entire subsistence for villages and society on the brink, with greater chances of survival, and a future beyond an eternal, persistent vegetative state.

At some point, society has to debate what are the cut-off points for which no further extraordinary efforts can be devoted to lives with no or little hope for recovery, rehabilitation and resuscitation. It is just as unconscionable to keep those alive who will never know the difference -- and so one of the distinguishing qualities one should look for in determining the quality of their own lives, is whether one can tell this difference -- and how does one indicate it, and not just have a board of self-designated/appointed experts, make that call for everybody else.

I'm inclined to believe that is the wave of the future -- and not a return to the previous generation of mass society with their mass media indoctrination (education) programs -- as what everybody should know and think, as though the self-appointed few, knew better what that should be for everybody else -- and that includes the government bureaucrats of every stripe, the doctors, lawyers, and self-appointed directors of the public good, as though nobody knew any better than what they know. And what they know, is what has been taught for centuries now, if not millennia and for all time, as the ultimate truth, that they have now inherited the responsibility for perpetuating, propagating and defending -- as the meaning, purpose, and status of their lives. Or so they have been convinced.

On the other end of that spectrum, have been the 5% who are congenitally predisposed, to look for other ways -- as the evolutionary genius of every species for survival, even in a worst case scenario that decimates the other 95% who perished running headlong over the cliff -- in their reflexive instinct to be first. In such a manner, the last often becomes the first -- for those who are merely thoughtful and observant.

So the quality of life question, is clearly whether one is becoming more independent, or more dependent, in the choices, actions and decisions they make -- as the measure of their health and prosperity, and not just at the expense of it.

Friday, March 02, 2012

"Should You Exercise When You're Sick?"

An even better question is, "Can you exercise when you're sick?" -- because many people's idea of exercise, would make them even sicker, and even more vulnerable, rather than as it should be doing at any time, under all conditions, making them well and better. That should be obvious -- that the whole intent and purpose of exercise (practice) is to make one better -- and if it does not do that, then one is one practicing and preparing for one's own destruction.

And while that seems obviously preposterous, that is what most people are practicing and exercising -- making themselves unwell in their mistaken notion that it will produce the opposite effect (reaction), while totally rejecting the simple notion, that one should directly make themselves better -- as the objective of their practice.

The objective is not to
fail but to succeed -- which is the flaw in the thinking that one should exercise to failure or near exhaustion -- instead of what they really hope to be doing, in increasing their reserves, readiness and responsiveness. That is the rationale for aerobic conditioning in the first place -- to build up one's oxygen reserves for the momentary challenge one might have to perform at those peak levels -- and not that they are too sick, exhausted and injured to do so.

Many athletes who never reach their peak, fail because they are never healthy when they need to be -- but always defer that best, until the day they are too old that nobody would ever expect that out of them anymore. So a large part of the proper conditioning, is understanding that point at which one fails -- and doesn't practice that. Because eventually, the off-day, becomes the off-week, off-month, and then they can't anymore, and never even think about it anymore.

That kind of conditioning is a failure -- because the right conditioning, has to be available and accessible when one needs it the most -- at their
worst, and not only at their best. If they're already at their best, then they don't need to get any better -- and what is the point, if they are at their worst, that there is nothing they can do about it, without making themselves even worse -- and might even kill them, while there is nothing at their disposal to make themselves better but to simply rest (not do anything) but hope for that spontaneous, miraculous recovery -- until it doesn't come anymore.

Obviously, precisely at those moments of their greatest need, there should be some action that can aid their recovery, and daily, practiced, put them into their peak operating condition for living the actuality of their lives -- as their enhanced normal, until the day they die. Stopping way before then, ensures that they will be in a hopelessly deteriorating condition -- rather than going out at the top, doing what they enjoy doing most -- thoughts most have abandoned because they have conditioned themselves to thinking that that is what they cannot do.

But that is more than just adopting the latest courses in wishful-thinking and denial of their actualities. People can actually get better, and not just wish they would -- when they really believe such an actuality is no longer possible. The most dramatic proof of that, would be the rapid improvement from one's worst -- to one's best, virtually instantaneously -- because the operating conditions of the body have changed in the most meaningful and palpable way. It doesn't just happen.

There are definitive actions that bring that improvement about. That would be specifically increasing the flow of blood to the brain by effecting the pulse of rhythmic and regular muscular contractions alternated with relaxations to produce that enhanced effect -- that does not just come about by increasing the heart rate, burning more calories, and overheating the body to profuse perspiration -- but in directing that flow where there is the pulsing effect of rhythmic alternating contractions (movement) of the facial muscles and neck in simply articulating that range of expression and range.

When the brain is empowered foremost in that manner, all the other functions of the body will be greatly enhanced, and will recognize that the same economy and efficiency of effectiveness, can be achieved similarly throughout the body by simply producing that same muscular pulsing at the furthest extremities (hands, feet) in similar fashion -- because it is those movements, that require the fullest coordination of the neuromuscular and cardiovascular functioning that signifies peak and optimal health -- and not whether one acquires "six-pack abs" -- at the expense of optimizing and prioritizing the flow and health of the brain to the furthest extensions of the nervous system, which is the root of all human action and activities.