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.

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Learning All the Wrong Things

It's not so much that people never learn -- as much as it is that they learn all the wrong things, and are convinced (persuaded) that it doesn't make any difference -- as long as one is learning.  But usually, along with such "learning," is the resistance to learning the difference between the "right" thing, and the "wrong" thing -- for which the self-designated "teachers" insist, is never necessary because they'll do that for them -- rather than the most important thing to learn, and the whole point of learning.

Those who cannot make such distinctions (discriminations), are of course incapable of distinguishing right from wrong -- in virtually everything they do, and others have to do that for them -- often than not, forcefully and definitively.  Those who are uncertain, or incapable of making those distinctions themselves, invariably become drawn into the chaos and confusion of the utterly lost.

So one of the great achievements in every life, is this ability to distinguish right from wrong -- and not fall into the despair that nothing matters, and the spoils go to the most ruthless in taking them.  That is the most primitive understanding of things -- and proof of learning the wrong lessons.  It may seem to work initially, but soon, everyone catches on to that manner of being and doing, and learns to avoid them, thus such people, are always on the prowl for fresh victims -- who are not yet "on" to them.  Invariably, they are the easiest people to run into -- because they have to go through many to find the few who are worse than they do -- wreaking havoc and mischief in their wake.

That could range from domestic to international affairs and treaties.  What is common in every case and matter, is the belief that anything one can get another to believe, is reality -- and not that reality is not just their agreement to see whatever they want to.  Such like-minded people are capable of convincing themselves of anything -- until they run out of other people's money, patience and goodwill.  That is the world of delusion and wishful-thinking -- over the sorry truth.

So when things go wrong, they have no way of making them right, or even knowing something is wrong in the first place.  To them, that is just the way things work -- and not that it could ever be better.  That is particularly true with age -- and what they think is "normal."  There is simply nothing they can do to alter that fact -- and so they do nothing, despite the fact they have all the time in the world to do anything they really wanted to do.  Instead, they dwell and ruminate over all the things they cannot do -- as the only thing they do anymore.

Naturally, the world for such people, collapses and grows smaller with each passing day -- because they are not expanding that world, as every meaningful life has to do.  It doesn't matter what they did fifty years ago -- or even ten.  It's the same advice we give to the young, yet think somehow, the old are immune from it.  The whole trick to staying young, is not plastic surgery and other advanced procedures, but approaching each moment as though learning it for the first time, with no preconceived notions of the possible and impossible -- but just "finding out," never presuming to know.

The one who says, "I know," is invariably the person who has learned all the wrong things -- thinking it is everything there is to know.

Friday, November 04, 2016

The Critical Path

People who think that everything is going wrong, are often surprised to realize that everything going wrong is the result of only one fatal error that makes everything else go wrong, and that correcting the one, would make all the others go right -- and not that one has to redo and reinvent the wheel in everything one does.

That is the surprising but hopeful news -- that one has to find the key to everything going right, and not the key to every door -- as though somehow, they are not connected and related to every other. That is the critical path -- that determines the success or failure of every other.  It is the assumption that all the others are based upon -- that should have been examined critically and not presumed that one had perfect knowledge to proceed.

It is always the simplest and most basic assumption -- that one has gotten wrong -- that threatens the most elaborate of theories and explanations resulting in confusion and disaster, in even the simplest of activities and executions.  Often, it is attention to the beginning and the end, while paying no attention to the process in between -- and whether that made a real difference.  That is frequently the case when one thinks the mere passage of time is sufficient to make a difference -- while not inquiring whether any processing actually took place in that interim.  The most familiar of this occurrence, is when a machine one has used reliably for quite some time, no longer works -- yet one is not aware of that passing.

They merely expect that after 30 minutes, the clothes will be washed, or the food cooked or chilled, and the clock will still tell the right time -- unfailingly.  So in using any machine, or relying on another, one also has to maintain the possibility, that something could go wrong -- even if it hasn't before -- and provide for a backup and failsafe in such an event.  The reason for multiple smoke detectors is so that they never all go out at the same time, or are disabled in the same manner -- to use their batteries in a less critical capacity, such as entertainment and recreation.  That is a critical failure in judgment -- that leads to no further other.

Yet a few people do such things -- as ride a bicycle on a dark road, wearing dark clothes and no lighting -- and expecting somebody else to see them, and assure their safety.  Such people are disasters waiting to happen -- but way before then, are the many signals along the way before the final rupture.  They'll take care of it -- after it happens, and so it invariably does, and all their hopes and dreams that it never does, are shattered in that instance.

There is no failsafe provision against things going wrong.  It is merely hoped that they never do.  Time after time, such people are disappointed -- that there is just one critical factor missing that would have changed everything -- and they are just that one missing link from perfect understanding and execution, getting from here to there.  That is the critical path -- that makes all the difference, while everything else, makes much less of a difference.

That is what they have to determine -- as the most important thing to do.  Failing to make that discrimination, will keep them wandering in the wilderness for all their days.   Many even pride themselves that they are incapable of making any discrimination -- as though that was a badge of distinguished accomplishment.  That means they are totally dependent on others to tell them what to think -- because they have never been thought how to think -- for themselves.

They are merely rewarded for the correctness of their answers -- and knowing the right people to follow in this respect -- as though knowing that, was truth itself.  So one asks, how do I know, what I think I do?  Was it just a falsehood planted in my memory that is beyond my asking?  That is the root of all one's difficulties and problems.  That is the critical path one dare not trod.

But asking that one question, is the key to life -- and all its answers.