Saturday, September 23, 2017

What 10% of the effort, gives 90% of the results?

Because we live in a world of finite resources (reality), we have to ask the question, what do we get out, for what we put in? -- and not as the personal motivators of every stripe insist, that we get out what we put in -- with no regard for efficiency or economy.  In such a world, there is no loss -- and there is only gain, no matter what they do -- which is convincing argument, that one should do anything, because anything is preferable to nothing -- and "nothing" includes thinking seriously, of what one is doing, or about to do, before mindlessly doing so.  That is the habit, especially novices and thoughtful people who wish to grow old successfully need to consider and cultivate -- before always learning the "hard" way -- that things are not so, and the world really doesn't work that way -- even as much as one would desire it so.

There are differences -- for good reason, and it becomes increasingly important to understand them for what they are -- before proceeding to go "all in" -- on what not might be their best bet.  Even champion boxers and predators spend their first rounds finding out about the capabilities and reactions of their opponents -- before launching an all-out attack on the unfamiliar.  One first must grant the benefit of the doubt -- to find out first what one is dealing with, and any problems that might arise, and be well-prepared to handle them.  The thing encountered, may be like nothing else previously encountered -- in the textbooks, as well as individually and personally.  And that is the reality of the situation -- and not the generalization and stereotype.  Those who can master that, are the masters of any situation -- including the many changes one can expect to handle throughout a long and varied life.

Unfortunately, many novices don't learn that wisdom before meeting an untimely and premature end -- as happens over every species of life.  All and every, will not be so fortunate -- even among the apex predators.  Their chances of survival are usually 1 in a 100 -- at best, and so something much larger must come into play if they are to survive another day.  That ability is the intelligence to survive and thrive -- in the many possibilities every individual must devise for their own lives.

Increasingly, that is dominated by individual experience and learning -- rather than the collective pre-digested, that can only take anyone so far.  At some point, they have to leave the safety of the collective, and venture out on their own path -- learning what works best for them -- even if it works for no other, and the proof is in the being.  Many will profess to "know," but one would never know it from looking at them -- because everything appears to be a contradiction and nullification, of everything they claim to be -- and so that confusion and turmoil becomes apparent to know that one has observed and learned enough -- and should more productively move on, in every individual's personal quest for intelligent life in the universe.

That is searching for the 10% that works better than the other 90% -- and to be able to tell that difference.  Some foods are better than others -- and for every individual, there is an optimal diet -- which can also fail miserably with others.  Yet to this day, there are purists insisting that there is one best diet for everybody -- and that everything else should be "outlawed" -- just as in ancient times, when most allowed the few to do all their thinking for them -- unquestioningly.

In that environment and culture, few learn to discover the truth of anything for themselves -- but are merely told that "the experts say" -- which is only what they would like everybody to believe, rather than any actual experiments, observations and measurements.  Naturally, another group of experts will be saying something different next week -- or in some other publication or forum, many created especially for that occasion and promotion.

So what is one to believe?  Most of the information one is privy to, is likely to be this kind of advertising and promotion -- even as oneself as the expert in manipulating what one thinks.  That seems to be the particular challenge in the age of information -- in determining the credibility of their source of information.  What is their agenda?  Often, it is just the simple objective of establishing themselves as the expert.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Productive Exercise without the Hassles

Whenever we think of "exercise," we think of something hard -- missing the whole objective that it is a practice of making the difficult easy -- and not increasingly more difficult.  That misses the whole point entirely -- and precisely why exercise is of little use and benefit, precisely when we need it most -- to be easier and more accessible.  Instead we create unnecessary barriers to it -- instead of lowering those bars, and even eliminating those constraints.

Then all you have are the benefits -- without the hassles, reservations and objections established by the self-appointed gatekeepers.  But it must be productive, and not merely another way of wasting time -- because one has no better idea of what to do with one's time and energy -- but to waste it.  Along the way, we at least hope to remain interested -- if not entertained -- for lack of a greater meaning to what we do.  "Anything is better than nothing" -- we rationalize these behaviors, while not entirely convincing ourselves.

At best, we hope to simply be able to "go through the motions" -- thinking that is enough to make a difference -- anything but this relentlessly deteriorating condition we seem powerless to do something about.  The best we can hope for, is to slow down the rate of deterioration -- long abandoning the notion that we can ever get better anymore.  And that is still the state of our conditioning and exercise -- for those who need it most.  They need something that works -- fast and immediately, and not only after staying with the program for years -- but becoming discouraged way before then.

So is it really possible to obtain the benefits of exercise -- without all the hassle and hard work we are conditioned to believe we have to endure to obtain those benefits?  Why not immediately get into shape -- which is quite possible for anyone -- and then stay in that shape for as long as possible?  It's possible right now -- for anybody who can still move, to do so.  All it requires is understanding what that shape (and position) is -- and maintaining it for a discrete muscular contraction (change) -- as the shape one wants to be in -- preferably and more often than any other.

That would be the "contracted" state -- rather than the "relaxed," or flaccid state.  But no matter what condition and "shape" one is in -- one can move into the contracted state, and "condition" oneself to do so -- but must understand that is the intention and purpose -- and not any other, usually offered as "motivation," or some other rationalization for obsessive-compulsive behavior.  That has been the usual approach to conditioning -- to make it an obsessive-compulsive behavior -- rather than an intelligent manifestation of this higher understanding and insight into this process.

It is still largely, this brute force mentality of forcing square pegs into round holes -- and failing that, applying even more force -- until of course, something breaks,  Those are not the instruction manual to an intelligent way of being -- which becomes even more obvious with the passing of time and years, leading most to believe that it no longer works as one ages -- mainly because that manner of functioning and operating the body, was never a good idea in the first place, and only disposed one to the inevitable injuries that would put a stop to all that nonsense once and for all.

But it doesn't have to be that way, and in fact, the intelligent approach to exercise and conditioning, is the only way it can be.  Any other way, simply does not work -- no matter how many centuries the practice has been going on -- also not working, but not stopping anyone from continuing to do so.  The success is not that they continue to do so, but are the results (effects) they get from doing it -- and not merely the affirmations that it is working, though it is obviously and apparently not working.

In that manner, many go into denial until the inevitable -- and are no longer capable of functioning at all -- not in spite of their exercise and conditioning, but because of it -- as the only outcome possible!  That is particularly true of those engaging in obviously dangerous occupations and preoccupations -- even maintaining to the day they die, or is the cause of their dying, like professional wrestling, boxing, or other injurious activities -- from which the "lucky" ones even get to retire from.

But even those lucky few, usually stop doing anything -- because all they know how to do, is to exact further damage on themselves -- until they are crippled and disabled for the rest of their lives, which is usually prematurely shortened.  Obviously any further activity, must be focused on therapy and recovery, and not exacting further damage until it is not physically possible to do any more -- and then they stop.  At that point they have no choice.

But at that point, they can still move on -- heal and recover -- to even better than they ever have been, because they now know better.  However, it should be obvious also, that it can't be done simply in the old, familiar ways that brought them to that state of disrepair (dysfunction).  At that point, only the rare few, will take it to the next level -- of immeasurably better health, beginning with the understanding of what they have been doing -- or simply, awareness.

That is no longer operating obsessive-compulsively -- but now deliberately and intentionally for the better -- because one now understands this process, and sees things clearly.  That is the step beyond the traditional and conventional ways -- that are not working, despite a few still being able to do them.  If it really worked, everybody would be doing it -- but they aren't, and are offered no other possibilities, largely because they've never heard of any other -- at least none that made any significant difference.  There can be many alternatives that do not work similarly -- but those don't make a difference.  They are simply more ways that do not work, and what we really want, is something that actually works -- and not simply to convince ourselves and each other, that what doesn't work, is working

That has largely been the progress of exercise and conditioning to this point -- that we don't recognize that it isn't working, until it is too late, and we are offered no other possibilities.  One either gets with the program that isn't working, or doesn't -- but there is no option of anything working any better, if at all -- especially when their lives depend on it, in their later years.  All they can do, is the same thing they have been doing, more feebly and ineffectively until they can't do anything at all -- and then they are done, and free -- to move onto the next life, but never the next level.  That movement, is not an option.

That failure, is what we have been conditioned to regard as "aging," which is the ultimate failure to understand better -- before it is too late, and we perish.  There is nothing inevitable about it; we are simply provided no other choices, no better understanding and insight  that would free us from this hopeless chain of self-destruction.

Once we have wiped the glass clean, we can see very clearly what we have to do -- and the bonds that have kept us that way -- the way we were.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Movement is the Resistance

As people get older, moving itself is difficult enough -- without adding further resistance, so that the challenge then, is to make that movement possible, and even, as easy as possible -- because the movement itself, is the value.  The deception is the thinking that simply adding weight, is the only meaningful measure, when in fact, it may not indicate anything meaningful at all.  What is meaningful, is simply the range of motion, and secondly, its frequency -- of performance.  However, the major difference is the difference of possible from impossible -- as a person being able to stand, is in a realm of difference from one no longer capable of even that anymore.

And then if they can still do that, the frequency of such an occurrence, is greatly preferred to that of exhibiting it once in a great moon.  In that manner, one exhibits the ability to change at will, and as needed -- and not being able to respond adequately, even if the house is burning down.  In such events, the difference from those who can, and those who cannot, is the critical response.  Those who cannot get out of their chairs, are at a survival disadvantage.

More often though, the challenges and outcomes are less dramatic and stark -- but only to a degree.  All that is usually lost on the young and able -- until they are old and immobile -- who take it for granted that they will always remain so, and so don't bother to deliberate what is involved with such essential movements -- as well as the extraneous ones, which is when a few like to exhibit that they can do what few, or nobody else can do -- to distinguish themselves above the rest.

That is the realm of athletic competition -- which sole purpose is to eliminate the weak, and not make them stronger.  That's why that is not the model for strengthening when one is weak -- and trying to get stronger.  A few may overcome in that way, but most will be eliminated -- by the very nature of that self-selection.  Instead, what one desires to do, is to formulate a strategy by which even the weakest, can get stronger -- and not simply eliminating all the participants until only the strongest remains -- and then studying them as though that was the winning formula for everybody else -- rather than the exception.

But such limited studies of exceptionally small population samples, are frequently the basis for promoting strategies and regimen that work for nobody else -- as evidenced and exhibited by the population at large of that cohort, and even former champions who have aged badly as well.  What they testified work at their peak, they are now wise enough not even to attempt -- which does not stop a whole generation of young at their peak, from recommending it anew.  And then they get older too, and the same does not work for them either.  And so that leads to the inescapable conclusion that nothing works anymore -- as well, and so it is time to prepare for one's passing -- instead of looking for better ways that might work.

Of course, that would change everything -- even as much as people complain about things as they are.  They feel that an even worse fate, would be for everything to change for that certainty that the status quo provides -- even if it is hopeless, and vain to think otherwise.  This is true no matter how old or rich they become; they are trapped by the conditioning of the previous time and generation -- and cannot make the leap to another, to remain in the newer generation -- that every succeeding one is simply born into.

And so it becomes a quandary and a choice -- to leave the old, and embrace the new -- that many simply will not make.  They are conditioned to the old -- even if it is nothing working very well for them.  Such people have little to lose, and much to gain, by embracing the new -- but their erroneous conditioning, won't allow them to leave.  They are the casualties of every age and stage of human development and evolution.  They provide the resistance despite it being unnecessary and counterproductive because they were ingrained to believe it was necessary and productive -- despite the obvious results.

What might be less obvious, is that the resistance is coming from within the muscle itself -- as in many muscular diseases -- and dysfunctions.  What is often overlooked is that the muscular action produces the more obvious movement -- and not vice-versa.  All the body cares about, is what is actually happening within the body -- and its organs.  Externally, it could care less how much weight is being lifted or moved.  It can be effected by a machine, gravity, momentum, leverage, inertia, another.  Once that is seen clearly, that all that matters is the muscle action in itself -- which is the effectiveness of its change in state -- from full relaxation to full contraction, and how effectively that is effected -- even without resistance.

Many older people, just do not have that range of movement, nor the control at will.  And so the movement itself, overrides all the considerations of how much further resistance to add -- to an already restricted and compromised range of motion, that deteriorates even further from the added load.  Certainly that can't be better -- because the limited range is the overriding problem. If one can get them to move beyond the range of their momentary restrictions, that would be the greatest achievement.  That is true for every movement -- whether one can, or not -- regardless of making it more difficult, and impossible.  The better course, is to make all movements easier and less restricted.  That is the healthy range of movement -- while the very restricted, is an indication that all is not well.

But the typical ill-advised remedy, is to make it as hard as momentarily possible -- and at no time, should it ever become easy and effortless.  Yet that would be the articulation of a robust individual.  When does he ever get to express it?  Most testing is devised in this manner -- to make it difficult, rather than as easy as possible, to qualify as many as possible.  And that should be the public/community health standard, and not disqualifying and disabling as many as possible -- with arbitrary demands.

So the important question is not how much weight one can lift overhead, but how many in the room can lift their arms overhead -- in the full range of that possibility?  That is, without the limitations of range of movement that marks them as a feeble and failing individual.  The ease and grace of movement, is much more telling, than a show of brute strength -- exhibiting no such grace and ease.  We are looking at the wrong things -- thinking we have seen everything, and enough.  We have not even begun to ask the right questions.




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.