Thursday, October 18, 2012

Are You Better Off Now Than You Were a Year Ago?

That's an easy question everyone should ask of themselves -- at least once a year, to get a gauge on whether their health and life is improving, or just worsening -- to which "aging" is the explanation that requires no further explanation or investigation.  That is just how it is -- and one accepts as gracefully as possible -- or appropriate others will deride and mock them into falling in line.

"Of course, life can only get worse from here on out," the self-appointed wise ones will admonish -- as though thinking any other way, was proof of one's stupidity.  That's how far we've fallen in the last fifty years -- when people used to think that life was for improvement, and not merely grasping at last straws.

The rare exception seems to be those found at gyms and health clubs -- who think their primary job is to improve themselves -- and not merely demand that of others, while one increasingly does nothing for themselves.  That has been a trend for these fifty years that needs to be reversed -- at least in individual lives -- before it becomes a prevailing way of life.  Those are the pioneers of every time and place -- the exceptional few who see the problems overcoming societies, and take it upon themselves to find a better way -- even if they have to create it themselves, but that is how reality has always come into being.

That is in fact, the reality of human beings -- of what they actually are and manifest.  They always begin with these basic assumptions and premises -- of whether the purpose of life is to get better, or merely to get worse -- and so the best one can hope for in that version of life, is to live as long as possible, even if one is no longer aware and conscious of anything anymore -- let alone capable of doing anything for oneself.

Yet it is thought enlightened and progressive that we enable that kind of life -- rather than entertain the possibility that we can empower lives so that each individual increases their capacity to do those things for themselves, and become less dependent -- which is to become more independent and free.

People are entitled to whatever they can provide for themselves -- and have that primary responsibility as citizens of any society, to do so -- long before they demand the constant care and assistance from those who don't have those things for themselves.  In such a society, those who simply demand the most, believe they are entitled to that as their fair share -- and that everybody else, exists to provide that for them.

The foundation of those capabilities, is one's individual efforts to increase their health and well-being as their foremost duty -- even if nobody pays them to do so.  The real payoff, is that quality of life, as the basis for the enjoyment of all the experiences they will have in their lives -- unlimited by their diminished and undeveloped capabilities, for doing even the simplest and most common things in life.

Invariably, that is simply to move with ease and without pain -- and not endure a life of agonizing and debilitating pain, that only ceases when one leaves their life -- usually in some inglorious way -- often in the absence of any societal presence and participation for several years, and often decades.  To even see such people, is a jarring reminder of how individuals are shaped by the presence and contact of others -- and merely existing for years in isolation to the forms that are barely recognizable anymore as human.

Just as in ancient Greece, the gymnasium or academy, is where people go to shape themselves -- their minds as well as their bodies, as the most healthy environment for doing so.  One could alternatively, go to movies, restaurants and other entertainments where it would be ruinous to become gluttons in those venues -- which is a large part of the problem of contemporary life and health -- that people overconsume the wrong things -- because they can afford to.

The limit of exercise, is one's own natural energy to engage in it -- tirelessly, and finding out what those limits for every unique individual, is the major reason for those exercises -- and not just arbitrarily doing, what everybody else should be doing.  Not to discover the possibilities and limits of one's own living -- every day of one's life, is the unexamined, unfulfilled, and unlived life -- that no amount of it in diminishing, compromised and undeveloped repetition, can even imagine.

Monday, October 08, 2012

Crossroads to the Future

There are two visions for life in the future -- (1) that people get worse irreversibly and irrecoverably, or (2) they get better as long as they live.

Those of the first view, will obviously say that such a thing is not possible -- as they are living proof that people can only get worse -- and not that they are simply good examples of people who have chosen their path poorly.  Far more difficult and arduous, are those who have taken the road to betterment and improvement -- because they have to travel it alone.

The far easier path is to become less able -- because then one needs more assistance in life, until ultimately, one needs assistance just to get through their day.  The present course of society, is to fund and enable that deterioration and dysfunction, because only then, is one showered with assistants, and support(ive) services, until one is convinced, that is the road to success -- their utter failure to provide anything for oneself -- as the mark of a "compassionate" society.  

That is the difference between an enabling society, and an empowering one.  The enabling society, merely helps those who are worse off, and so, people inevitably do -- to gain those advantages, but it is ultimately at the cost, that they really do become less capable of doing anything for themselves.  Thus, they become entirely beholden to whomever offers them more assistance, until finally, they are at the complete mercy of it.

The other path is not even spoken of anymore, except in the disparaging thought that one could be so foolish as to think they could, or should ever wish to be truly independent and capable of fending for themselves, and making it on their own.  All kinds of fears, inducements, insurance and guarantees are offered to them to "get in line," and do what everybody else is doing -- unquestioningly.

This crossroad is summed up in the question, "At what point does one begin to age?," which implies that one is in irreversible decline -- and the future never gets brighter or better.  One is already "washed up," and incapable of living their lives competently on their own, but become more dependent on the aid of the government, to continue a miserable and marginal existence because they are no longer capable of minimally caring for themselves -- and even their own personal needs and hygiene.  Many in that condition, no longer are aware that it makes a difference -- but they can be kept alive in that condition indefinitely.

Thoughtful people will ask, "Is that a viable (meaningful) future for humanity?"  Or is that future so bleak, that the impossible question can arise, "Could there be another, better way?"  What do all those "retiring" people and people in "retirement" or "disability," have to do that is more important, than to make their lives better?  That begins of course, with one's own health and well-being -- on the most fundamental level of doing anything, and subsequently, everything -- and that makes a difference, so that one gets better, or simply worse by never improving -- but only repeating, those behaviors that maintain the diminishing status quo -- that demands more money, energy, and time, to get decreasing returns and results.

That most accept that way and their fate, is not surprising, but they should not be allowed to drown out the few who think that life in a very different way is not only equally possible, but more plausible.  But obviously, the solutions offered so far, merely feed into the despair that there can ever be real improvement -- because they don't make any more difference than fooling oneself that it does.

People often say, that they haven't been "so busy" since they retired, while obviously showing signs of aging (neglect) -- rather than one would think they would do once they had all the time for doing so -- to regain their own health and vitality because they are no longer forced to do what they didn't enjoy doing, with all its deleterious health effects -- such as standing up all day, or dealing with constant stressful situations and difficult people.  They then have the time and (adequate) income to do what is best to improve their own health and well-being.

So few people think that way that it is appropriate to ask, "Why? What is it they do, that is more important to do? -- particularly at that critical juncture of their life?"  Because by then, most people don't think it makes any difference what they do and think anymore, and they just have to do what everybody else is doing -- as a senior citizen.  Is that necessarily a person in the twilight of their years, or is that the beginning of living one's own best life? -- as is now possible?

It is not the young against the old, but the old against the new, that prevents the revisioning of life in all the possibilities of a new understanding and insight into this meaning and significance of life.