Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Nautilus Revisited

I might have been one of the first persons to embrace the Nautilus Principles after its inventor Arthur Jones described them to me -- as we took smoke breaks together during the congregation of many luminaries of weightlifting and weight-training at the Teenage Nationals and Teen Mr. America at York, Pennsylvania in 1970.  

At least I was the only one who was not hostile to hearing him expound them, and felt I had to have his back when he fearlessly took on a roomful of Mr. Universes and other weight training gurus who countered his observations with threats to knock off his head if he persisted in preaching his heresy against the sacred authority of brute force.

In that arena, Arthur was attempting to inject persuasive scientific plausibilities against the notion that in order to obtain fantastic results, one had to spend all one's time in the gym, lifting as much weight as possible.  The crux of his argument was that in doing so, one was increasingly prone to injury -- because the violent, explosive contractions were capable of tearing the tendon off of their attachments, because the beginning position exposed the structures to unfavorable leverage -- while also noting that the finished position was its position of greatest strength, and so to accommodate those varying differences, the Nautilus cam produced the desirable varying resistance -- over the pulley.


That was the essential problem with the pulley -- increasingly being utilized at the time -- in the Universal machines, which claimed as its major feature, that it was safer than free weights.  The problem with the pulley was its inherent mechanical advantage -- that one had to explode violently to overcome the resistance -- but once it got going, momentum reduced the need for further muscle involvement -- and one could just ride it to the finished position, and then simply resist it going back to the starting position.


The Nautilus cam actually nullified the mechanical advantage (and danger) of the pulley, by providing the appropriate resistance throughout the range of the movement, and in that manner, would work the muscle harder, while also ensuring safety.  But the critical mistake, also became its undoing -- in thinking that the resultant severity of muscle soreness was a positive in the process, rather than the negative that pain indicates.


A few years later, some would profess the new liturgy of training as, "No pain, no gain," which set lifelong exercise back an entire generation -- in the religion that pain and intensity, were the Holy Grail -- and not that that mentality, conditioning and training, would cause premature and unnecessary death and injury to many because of the exorbitant and insatiable demands on an individual's personal resources and reasonable wear and tear.


One would not expect to take one to the edge of their capabilities every day, and not succumb to death or injury -- prematurely.  Nothing else would be possible.  You just can't go there everyday, and not expect to pay the price.  You can't tax the body to the limit, and think that one will always recover stronger for it.  One day, it will kill them.  Long before then, wise men know to draw back from the edge, and save a little more in reserve, for the time they may actually need it.  Doing so will enable them to build up those reserves -- for the later years of life, when most have traditionally reached that age and stage, totally exhausted, and barely hanging on with as little recovery ability as they can still muster -- not knowing how to.


And that is the whole point of one's conditioning -- not to drain all one's energies and resources at every frivolous opportunity, but rather, to conserve and build up one's reserves -- throughout life.  There's no quitting and going home at 5 pm, or at age 65 -- and waiting for one's final demise.  Maybe in an earlier time, that would have been a life expectancy -- but now, who knows what those possibilities are?  That remains to be discovered, and manifested -- in this day and age.


So quite predictably, there is a break from that past -- or better is not possible.  Far more meaningful in this day and age, is the obviousness, of people needing to live better -- longer, and not just win the championship at 25, and then go into irreversible and unrelenting decline thereafter.  Few would call that a life well lived -- for that single moment of fame and glory -- sacrificing it for the greater life of lifelong improvement.  That's a very different story, altogether.  But that is the story being written as we live it -- in this unprecedented time, and not simply a repetition of the past, many are content to defend and perpetuate -- as though nothing else was possible.


The possibilities are being created -- as we speak.  The major defenders and perpetuators of the status quo, are those who fancy themselves as the institutions of their time -- legends of their times, and in their own minds.  They know better than everyone else -- what is best for all, and particularly themselves -- at the top of the socio-political pyramid.  They are the self-appointed, self-designated, self-certified gatekeepers of all that is correct and righteous.  Meanwhile, history, evolution and progress marches on, leaving them to fight the rearguard battles -- until most have passed on to the new era


Traditionally, they have been the old left behind -- too weary to go on, unwilling to embrace the new, even if it is available to all. They've had enough.  "They've seen it all" -- even if they haven't seen anything yet.  Everything they know, they learned in kindergarten -- and then stopped learning anything more -- and could die peacefully and content, knowing they had lived life to its fullest.


That was another age.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Just Do the Hard Part -- The Rest is Easy

In most people's exercise, they spend most of their time doing the resting -- while avoiding the hard part -- and so their results "show" it.  Despite all they say they do, it looks like they have not done anything -- or at least nothing productive, for the results they want to achieve.

But with time and persistence, they may get better, and those results will manifest -- unless they continue to have no idea of what they are doing, and hope to achieve.  For unfortunately many, they have no real idea of what they are doing -- except that somebody instructed them to do so, who professed to know better -- but often, that "expert" showed the same lack of desirable results that would inspire confidence in the discerning student.

That is particularly so as people get older -- and show less results for their efforts, until eventually, they stop all efforts and accept the fact that nothing they do anymore, seems to work -- even if it might have when they were younger.  But now, everything they know, has betrayed them -- rather than realizing that what they know, may not have been valid in the first place -- and what seemed to work, was not the reason they thought.

That realization should challenge them to further inquiries -- rather than causing them to abandon any further inquiries and learning.  Learning, they will insist, is what only young people need to do -- and not everyone, every day of their lives.  That's the only thing that makes sense, right?  

Any learning begins with just paying attention -- and seeing what is actually happening, rather than what they would like to think or believe is happening.  There often is a huge difference among people in that -- which largely accounts for their success in dealing with the world, in all its interfaces and interactions.

The large disparities between what one does, and what they believe they are doing, or would like to have everyone else believe, is cognitive dissonance.  The results usually override -- sooner or later.  Nowhere is that more true than in the rapidly declining health and well-being of those who think they are doing everything "right" -- with only disastrous consequences as a result -- producing injuries, worse conditioning and functioning, even death -- despite all the good they think they are doing.

That was notably true of those participating in bodybuilding competitions in the 90s -- when many of their luminaries started dying of various forms of heart failures -- and other critical failures of the human body, because they were exercising them to "failure," in the mistaken belief that what did not kill them, made them stronger.  It caused the thoughtful to begin to back off from that dangerous manner of thinking -- and reflect, that that manner of conditioning did not seem to be working -- especially if longevity and well-being in it, was also a part of the equation.

So now, with definitively established longer life spans, thoughtful individuals want to enjoy those peak years for more than ten before prematurely dying, or being disabled for the rest of life -- especially as a result of their conditioning activities.  Yet people are still allowed to abuse themselves in the many ways -- until the reality hits the fan, and they can no longer physically continue.  Not coincidentally, that's what usually ends most athletic careers -- the injuries, no matter how great they were at one time.

What matters now, is simply doing the best they can -- at living their everyday lives and activities.  Still, that can be done and improved for considerably longer and better than most think is possible, by avoiding the extremes of overexertion (abuse) alternated with extreme inactivity, negligence and indifference.

What is surprising, is how little attention, time and energy is needed to attain those beneficial effects -- when all the beliefs, thoughts and destructive conditioning are abandoned, and proper thought and observation merely introduced.  In most activites, beginning with the basic muscle contraction, most of the time and movement is actually devoted to relaxing and resting the muscle in preparation for its "firing" -- which is very brief, followed by a prolonged relaxation phase -- again.  

But it is the contraction only -- that puts the muscle in the shape and condition one wants it to be (toned), and not the relaxation.  One of the earlier realizations of this, resulted in the promotion of what was called "isometric" exercises -- which was to get into a fully contracted muscular position and then hold it for as long as possible -- which required one to also stop breathing, and produce undesirable internal pressures as a result.

An even earlier version of that training style, was popularized by Charles Atlas as dynamic tension -- which didn't require weights, but pitting one muscle against another -- in a prolonged contraction -- also requiring, that one hold their breath to prevent moving out of that contraction.  There is no reason, or advantage for holding a contraction as long as possible -- as doing so increases the disastrous effects, that multiple, extremely brief discrete pulsing contractions while maintaining that position, does not.

There's no reason or necessity to move a muscle back into the completely relaxed (extended) position -- except to give it more rest, for a next attempt.  One can eliminate that portion of the movement, and simply pulse further contractions -- while maintaining the original contracted position -- forcing muscles not recruited in the original contraction to fire -- until all the muscle fibers are recruited (exhausted) in that way.

The result is that one is immediately toned and conditioned by using the muscles in that way -- to achieve their maximum contracting capability -- and deliberately eliminating the rest that is most of the time one is "exercising."  And so very brief workouts are necessary to achieve maximum results -- immediately, and with frequent practice, one gets better at it -- also very quickly.

This economy and efficiency -- while also eliminating the possibility of joint pain and injury (which is the characteristic pain/danger of contracting from a fully extended position) -- is what anybody can do -- anytime, anywhere, very inconspicuously -- because the entirety of the movement, is confined within the body -- with minimal visibility of external movement (which is not what is producing growth).  And that is what is really important -- not the overt, but the inverted movement of the muscles -- even with minimal visibility, or show, for anybody else's benefit, or approbation.  But that is the way we've been conditioned to exercise -- for the visible benefit of others -- rather than what is going on inside the body.  That -- is presumed, but results in the lack of desirable effects/results -- obviously.

The joints are minimally stressed -- because there is minimal movement at the joints in their strongest positions -- while still activating the muscles -- which is a major disincentive for aging, aching joints -- while providing superior muscle activation and stimulation of the nerve pathways.  That's what one really wants to do -- to attain, retain and enhance the optimal responsiveness of the voluntary muscular system by which we accomplish most things in our daily living.

It undoubtedly is a major shift in thinking (paradigm shift) -- when the well-established ideas no longer work -- especially when it critically must, in the aging.  That is the test of time.  The most obvious and highly visible proof -- are the parodies of the aging bodybuilders, who doing (or trying to do) the same things they did before, no longer get the same results -- and frequently are discouraged from continuing by the innumerable and overwhelming pain caused by those movements (exercises) and misadvised to endure the pain to even greater tolerances -- yet still the gains are not forthcoming. 

Injuries and debilitating pain eventually cause them to quit entirely -- instead of rightfully reflecting and rethinking what they are doing.  Often in primitive conditioning, that is expressly prohibited -- that one should question what one is doing, and merely respond, "How high?" when commanded to jump.

So the question is, what movements can one do -- without the pain, and only the productivity?  One begins by eliminating the extraneous -- even as widely as they are the unquestioned and unchallenged truths (premises) of what one is doing.  Is it necessary to lift a heavy weight -- to produce a muscle contraction, or is it sufficient just to know what position is the contracted position -- and pulse further contractions, while exhibiting very little movement externally?

You're not doing it to impress others -- or even set a Guinness World's Record for the oldest person to finish a marathon -- or climb Mt. Everest, for that matter.  One really hopes to be the oldest person going about their normal daily activities -- without any signs of impairment, pain and disability.  That is the obvious.  Straggling across the finish line looking like one is dying, is totally unnecessary at that point in life.  Many look that way without trying.

Muscle control and responsiveness -- even without the conventional measures of validation -- are impressive in themselves, especially at that point and stage of life.  Not to be moving feebly, or even grossly, is the faculty maintained by a rare few.  Masterly control and movement cannot be faked.  That is the manifestation and appearance of a healthy, well-functioning individual.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Knowing All the Wrong Things

Knowing all the wrong things is not the same as knowing only one right thing.  The one right thing enables one to find the other right things, while knowing only the wrong things, provides no such foundation for any other exploration.  One is on constantly shifting sand -- a fantasy island of one's own delusions -- and never questioning the difference.

In any dispute between the two, one will always choose what they wish to believe -- over what the actuality is telling them.  In that manner obviously, things can only get worse -- no matter how much they do.  They even come to believe that nothing matters, and nothing can ever make a difference.  

The less one knows, the more certain they are that they know everything there is to know -- even though using that knowledge, results in catastrophic results.  Such people just plow ahead harder -- never suspecting that the fault might lie in their understanding -- and not the effort.  So they apply even more effort and force -- as surely what can overcome any lack of understanding.

Predictably, as they go through life, they only seem to get worse -- and never any better, and all those they choose to hang around with, confirm similar "results."  In fact, their choice of "associates" and "acquaintances," are chosen mainly on the qualification that those chosen, are even worse off than themselves -- and so can be more easily exploited -- in a very vicious circle and cycle.  That is the dysfunctional society of why some people fail -- in almost every aspect of their lives, and drag everybody else down with them.  Nobody has a clue -- that something terribly wrong is happening.

That is simply how the world is -- and there is no changing that, no matter what, and one should (over)eat, (over)drink, and be (over)merry, while one still can -- before one can't (as a result of that over)indulgence, and never having a clue what one's part in it played.  No matter how "guilty," they will protest their "innocence" -- thinking that is enough to make it so.

In their world, the "facts" are what they can get anybody else to believe.  Of course the most obvious of these, are the pathological criminals -- but less obvious, are those who are better at convincing everybody else otherwise.  In fact, that is their source of pride and joy -- manipulating everybody else's opinion.  But alas, they cannot lie to themselves -- and the truth reveals itself in their daily living.

That is why some people age badly and some don't -- the truth of what they tell themselves.  If it doesn't matter, then that will reveal itself -- in time, when it is least convenient and propitious to do so.  It may seem for a while that one can get away with anything they please, but it catches up to them.  Each is his own worst victim -- or beneficiary, of all they have done -- and nobody gets away with anything.  

That is the most powerful argument for living the best life one can -- not for the sake of anyone else, and the approval of others -- but the quality of life one provides for themselves.  The world is, what one is.  That is the simple truth.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Growing Better

Time, like life, is individually what each makes of it -- as well as what each has been uniquely given to work with.  In that way, we are equally bound to our own abilities -- and the ultimate expression of them.  It doesn't matter then that we are not born with equal abilities as all the others -- but uniquely our own, and that is what we have to work with.

That is the beginning and ending of every life.  With each having their own unique parameters, the relevant question is whether one is growing better -- or worse, as the only sure guideline of how life is going.  And that changes with time and experience.  It doesn't mean simply being a better or worse version of what one was as a twenty year old -- as the immutable yardstick.

And if in fact one lives their life right, the person at fifty is quite a different person entirely from the one they were at twenty -- knowing very little, and having still their whole lives ahead of them.  That is true of any extraordinary growth achieved in any life: the person they became, was unimaginable at any more youthful and inexperienced age.

On the other hand, those who did not grow much, always seemed the same, predictable, repetitive, obsessive-compulsive personalities -- until the day they prematurely met their untimely end.  The sadness of such lives, is that they frequently caused great pain and hardship for those affected by those lives.  Life was always this constant struggle against their own demons -- and everybody else was collateral damage.

Not to affect others in this disastrous way, is a good and successful life -- from the beginning to the end.  That doesn't mean undoing all the good, or taking it with them to the grave -- as also their "entitlement" -- before they go.  They leave net positive -- so their posterity, can move beyond those constraints of tradition and custom.

In this way, all of life grows better -- and not simply preying on the less able -- as a zero-sum game simply repeating itself for eternity.  There is movement towards better -- and not simply random movement signifying nothing, as though it is the same thing -- and even the height of sophistication and enlightenment.  Obviously, that is the mark of despair -- that one cannot distinguish the difference, and thinks that is an achievement in itself.

That would be the failure to distinguish the authentic from the inauthentic, or false.  Authenticity is revealed in the truth of that living -- whether it solves the problems of its own living, and not merely one success at the cost of all the others.  That is the balance one hopes to achieve -- when one is "firing on all cylinders," and not simply one -- for however long that lasts.  Usually it doesn't last too long before it destroys all the others.

Nowhere is it more obvious and spectacular than the short-lived athletic lives that sacrifice everything for that fleeting moment of glory as the one they hope to recapture all the rest of their short-sighted lives.  And they are encouraged by those who should know better -- but really don't, until it is too late to do anything about it.  Those people just get worse -- without knowing any difference.

When does one irrevocably become one of them?  Frequently it is associated with age -- but not necessarily.  Some begin at a very young age -- to exhibit this failure to grow and thrive.  They may even at one time been very promising.  But they never turned the corner -- and with time, grew farther from that promise -- rather than ever actualizing (owning) it.

This burden of self-actualization was passed on to every succeeding generation -- as the unfinished business of humanity -- with no serious intent to actualize it by any particular individual, only in the vague abstraction.  Thus, it was just a noble fantasy -- and not the reality of most lives, and especially, the most thoughtful lives.  And in fact, the thoughtful life was dismissed as the ultimate fantasy -- rather than the solution to most problems in one's life.

If that focus could be given to one's own living -- instead of distracting it into so many ways of amusements and entertainments that divert that attention, life would have quite a different ending for many more -- rather than the dire prognosis we've been led to accept as the inevitable fate for most.

Thursday, March 02, 2017

You Have To Change to Get Better

Getting better is change.  That's why doing the same things over and over -- expecting a different result, is the very definition of insanity.  Yet many live their lives hoping to disprove this age old observation -- thinking maybe, that they can be "first" at something for the first time in their lives.   Well-meaning advisers may even encourage them to persist -- at what they are doing unsuccessfully -- thinking that if they persist at it long enough, they are bound to be successful -- misunderstanding that is the reason for their failures.

The most commonplace in most lives, is this experience of aging -- badly, and hopelessly, and thinking that things can never get better again, and there is nothing they can do about it -- so justifiably, they do nothing about it.  They simply want to get better -- without changing, and of course, that  is the definition of absurdity.

Yet that is the conversation one will have with everyone who does not get better -- because that is their core belief -- and life expectancy -- that predetermines their outcomes and everything they do, and experience in life.  So it is not a matter of doing more or less -- of what they already do -- with unfavorable results, but adjusting the understanding before doing anything further.

It's not a bad idea to question everything one does -- and paring down to the essentials, and the known qualities in that life, and beginning all over again from that solid base.  Over the course of time and one's life and dealings, one has often come to accept errors as the truth -- therefore leading them astray and off the fruitful path.  Periodically, all that has to be weeded out -- retaining only the pearls of wisdom, and getting rid of the clutter that now overgrows and overwhelms their lives.  That is invariably the lifestyle of the acquisitive and accumulative personalities who think that is the goal and objective in life -- and therefore think that the answer to everything, is simply "More" -- without end.

Eventually, they just run out of space to store everything, and nowhere is that more true than in the finite space of their memories -- even with the latest devices available.  At that point, memory fails to serve them well -- because they need a better method of distinguishing the most essential from the superfluous -- and mistaking that, never get around to the essential and critical -- no matter how much they do.

That means asking all the right questions from the very beginning -- instead of assuming all continues to be valid.  The fact that things aren't working out satisfactorily -- should tell one otherwise.  They may have worked before, but they no longer work now -- which may be the first realization that what one thought worked before, may not have before either -- and the real reason for their previous success, was for another, greater reason -- that reveals itself in time and age.

That is particularly true, obviously, in the realm of conditioning and athletics -- where frequently champion athletes, succumb prematurely, a few short years after their previous success, and apparent invulnerability.  The frequent cause of death, is heart attack and/or failure, exacerbated by overexertion, enlargement of the heart, and thus the weakening of it.  Usually once such people are in recovery, they are advised not to participate in activities that overstrain the heart again -- but rather than do nothing, could devise movements that do not strain the heart at all excessively, but shifts the demand onto all the other muscles to enhance the circulatory effect, since that is a basic function of all the muscles as well.  

That is how one directs prodigious development to a certain area -- in priority to every other.  Understanding that, one should think long and hard at what one now wants that to be --  and not thoughtlessly, how they can simply burn more calories, as though that wastage was a good use of the human body, or any valuable resource, for that matter.  

That means rethinking all one's activities and expenditures as frequently as one is inspired -- as well as when they are absolutely forced to -- when their continued existence depends on it.  This forethought beforehand, allows a margin of reserve, when the margin for error is critical, and makes the difference between survival and extinction -- and before that, a neverending downward spiral of getting worse, and feeling there is nothing they can do about it themselves.

At that point, life is usually not considered viable -- which means meaningful.  Even plants respond to light and nourishment, and move in that direction -- and continue to do so, until there comes a time it does not respond so.  But before then, the gardener does everything they can, to see if they can change those conditions t get better.  They don''t just hope for a change in the outcome without doing anything different.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Exercise as a Daily Function of Your Life

That is the key to remaining healthy all one's life.  What else more important does one have to do?  This is particularly true the older one gets -- and has more time to do it.  There is simply nothing better and more important to do.

The problem is that self-proclaimed experts will still insist that you have to do it their way -- or presumably, not at all.  But one is no longer in kindergarten or high school, and can exercise anyway they like -- and particularly, in the way they like.  Nothing makes more sense.  Still many will insist that one has to run a marathon or bench press their bodyweight to qualify as "proper" exercise, when in fact, any movements one wishes to do and become proficient at, is fully acceptable -- if one enjoys it enough and sees the benefit of that movement, to want to do it every day.

But make no mistake -- it has to be a movement, and not just thinking about doing so.  That is where many people fall short in their thinking about exercise.  It goes no farther than their brain -- and so no actual movement is discernible.  They think they can just will their way to health -- rather than actually doing something about it, and actually move.

However, movement does not have to mean moving the entire body at once; it is even more effective and productive, to be able to focus movement around a singe joint -- particularly the furthest joint possible, which are known as the fine motor control -- of the head, hands and feet, which contain the critical organs of sense and cognition -- that makes all the difference.

The entire design, structure and intent of the human musculature, is to move these areas and faculties for most effective use. So it is not running, jumping, lifting, or any one thing; the usefulness is in being able to do all things -- as needed.  As such, one can become skilled and efficient at those movements, with very little practice -- as little as a minute each movement, each day.

There's relatively little gain with more -- and many athletic events are actually over in a second -- but that second is focused around
one movement.  That movement is not about more or less, but the quality and range -- which is really the objective of any practice.  One wishes to become better, and not simply do more of a poor performance or nothing -- which the undiscriminating mind, can't tell the difference -- and is thus perpetually wondering why they don't obtain the same satisfactory results.

It never matters how much one does poorly and thoughtlessly; all that matters is what one does to the best of their ability -- and the only way to find that out, is by actually doing something.  Just thinking one can, is not enough or sufficient, to obtain the best results.

Unfortunately in a world of mediated experiences and knowledge, many are convinced there is no difference.  Many have even lost their ability to distinguish when they have done something, and only thought about doing it.  But the results don't lie.  Some  become good at what they do -- because of what they actually do, while others become good at doing nothing, because that is what they actually do.

It's not necessary to throw the javelin or pole vault -- as much as it is to maintain one's functioning of the sensory and cognitive organs at the extremities of the human body -- throughout one's entire life, and not only until one reaches retirement age when many think they never want to do anything again.  At that point in their life, it is more important than ever, to exercise daily, the faculties they wish to keep, maintain, and continue to improve.

But they can let go of all the extraneous and arbitrary requirements of doing it for anybody else -- and replace them with their own fundaments of intelligent living.  That's what they have to get better at -- all the days of their lives.  That is the measure and meaning of their lives.  Without that, they implode as many do at this critical juncture of their lives.  It doesn't just happen.  It is a lifetime in the making.

That is what we are all called to account for -- for there is no roll call to have to answer to.  That is what their whole lives has been a preparation for -- the truly independent life, that each creates for themselves.  It's not just about the money, or other accomplishments or attainments, but about how it all comes together in a fully integrated life.   Then everything makes sense -- and there is no thinking apart from the doing -- and one's doing, is one's being.

That is the wholeness of life -- and as healthy as one can be.

Monday, January 02, 2017

Recovery Ability

The single greatest lesson in athletics and sporting activities -- is learning to recover, or recovery ability.   That enables one to deal with any situation, and in doing so, improving their subsequent ability.

When one no longer can, or even shows an interest in doing so anymore, than improvement is no longer possible -- and permanent, irreversible decline the only thing possible.  This quality, more than any other, differentiates and distinguishes people into the thriving -- from the dying, the winners from the losers.

It doesn't have to be a competition -- but each individual's choice -- of whether to get better, or not to.  That ability to improve to accommodate ever-greater challenges, is what we all hope to achieve -- implied or intentionally.  If one runs a marathon, but never recovers from that effort and instead goes into irreversible injury and decline, or worse gets killed, that achievement is moot -- although admittedly, discovering one's ultimate limits.  Obviously, that is the point of no return -- and the preference, is never to go past that point -- as long as one lives.  Again, a moot point.

The only time one desires to "go there," is when there is no choice, and it is necessary for absolute survival.  Those opportunities come frequently enough -- for one not to have to program them as a regular occurrence in their lives -- as the foolish think is necessary, often to "prove" themselves of continued viability.  In that way, many bring about their own premature end -- rather than increasing and enhancing their survival chances.  That also fairly describes what we call "aging," or decreasing fitness for continued survival -- let alone thriving in their environment, and getting better at it.

Recovery ability is what makes it possible -- and indicates the direction one wishes to continue -- and avoid the direction that diminishes those chances.  And in whatever age, time and condition one is in, there is always that choice and action available to them.  That is what life is.  So to think otherwise, is already the beginning of the end -- when one claims they have little or no choice.  They can change that.

That is the meaning and purpose of every life -- and if not, or it doesn't matter, then shortly one will be dead, and it will not matter.  That is the division between the living and the dead -- to the extent that it matters, and one should be clear about that -- and then everything else arises from that.  That is the basic assumption upon which one proceeds to do everything else.

The results of that thinking, is self-evident truth.  One doesn't need to be convinced otherwise.  Yet many seem to go to great lengths to persuade themselves and others, that what is obvious to everybody else, is not true.  Frequently, that is to say that one is getting better, when one is obviously getting worse -- and then one is on the slippery slope where nothing is ever as it seems.  That is Alice in Wonderland.  But one doesn't have to go there -- or read the book -- to see those manifestations in everyday life and situations.

The trick is determining how accurately the perception matches and meshes with the reality -- which is to observe the true as the truth, and the false as the false, and to be able to tell that difference -- and not be dependent on someone else to tell them so, and correct them.  That dependence, is always fatal.