exercise in futility (part 1 of 3): defenseless mechanisms


Atop the College Avenue pedestrian bridge are chain link fences restricting access to the outlying concrete barriers. Taggers had set up shop and used the off-white wall as their canvas, that is, until the City of Tempe got “wise“ five, or so, years ago and closed off access to these walls with another wall. Now there are two small concrete spaces on each side of the bridge that are off limits for graffiti “artists“ and the public at large.  IF I CAN’T HAVE MY WALL WHITE, NOBODY CAN HAVE MY WALL. Point taken.


survival of the fitness

and another one from the archives…

In the beginning there were rocks. They needed moving, whether it was to clear space or for building. Man has been known to lift rocks by the sheer strength of his arms and legs, but the primitive man’s dilemma is as follows: “Rock too big. Me no move rock.” He overcame this deficiency through strength in numbers or, with time, strength in persistence. One day he moves the rock, only to reveal another, bigger rock. Man eventually moves mountains, but only by the ingenuity of intelligent design. With the rock came the slingshot and the catapult, with the spear came the bow and arrow and the gun. Man “makes” (got run over by) the wheel and our burden was no longer such a drag. We were on our way to the superhighway of invention and innovation and with our developing rationality and technological sciences began the great atrophy. We no longer needed brute strength to extract the raw resources from the earth, we had mechanized power.

Man goes on to build pyramids, windmills, airplanes and as we marvel at the grandeur and spectacle of progress we recline in our hammocks of entrepreneurial languor. It seems not uncommon in the stature and girth of “successful” men (the kings, the landowners, the wealthy) a propensity to gluttony and diminution. I think it rather notable that both Napoleon and Hitler are strikingly mediocre, at best, in physical proportion. Yet these are the men that ascend through the rank and defiled fragility of human nature as it has been constricted and depressed into compartmental blockwork. We are shuffled away neatly, en masse, into cubicle ditches digging ourselves deeper into debt with time and space. But with the onset of the industrial revolution was the arising of a new movement to counteract the claustrophobia and malnutrition that were becoming the staples of urban existence.

Near the end of the 19th century was a grass-roots campaign to invigorate the average citizen through the new “scientific” findings of the day, which recommended dietary regimen and daily exercise to promote health and long life. There were many self-ascribed prophets who became health gurus and sold their products to willing consumers. Who didn’t desire youth and vitality with their newly afforded leisure now that the machines could do all the mindless pushing and pulling? People stepped away from their tools and instruments as immediately life-giving and into a recreational lifestyle, where health and fitness were seen as attractive.

A new found appreciation for sports, as the Olympic games are reestablished in the modern era, becomes the gateway into the 20th century’s exponential rise in athletics and the development of the aesthetic in the human physique, which callously marginalizes inherent health for appearance.

While people from around the world celebrated the triumph of the highest, fastest, strongest, the market grew for the awesome spectacle of the showman. From Strongest Man in the World sideshow to popularizing competitive bodybuilding the audience was always resounding for the incredible and illusory. Venice Beach was transformed into a contemporary carnival and physical specimens such as Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno came to center stage and we lost sight of an authentic ideal as steroids metamorphosed our bodies into testosterone encrusted muscular frames. It was not long before athletics was rampant with these enhancements and their unsustainable effects. From football to baseball and straight across the Olympic scoreboard we experienced the rush and dizzying blur that was made possible with these products. It was only a matter of time before we crashed and looked toward alternative approaches that were more naturally life-giving.

We have come to know yoga and dancing (two areas of fitness that certainly do not benefit from these “advancements”) in a new light over the last thirty-something years and have gained respect for the muscular fluidity both require. They, in turn, have been utilized for their emphasis on flexibility and balance, which is a premium regardless of athletic discipline. The size and shape of our muscles is directly effected by these free movements as they are stretched long and trim, unwinding from the mechanized functions of linear movement. As the balance shifts from technical rigidity into formless physical phrasing we begin to witness the evolution of unrestricted athletics and an awakening physical aesthetic.

the end of a decayed

this is from a previous blog and sets a precedent for the beginning of this fitness reprogramming…

This is a promising year, the beginning of a new era, full of potential energy just teeming to the brim. There is a virtual countdown, whether real or illusory, that is gaining intensity with each tick. Unconsciously we crawl steadily toward an awakening, a rebirth, a spiritual renaissance that is bent on living wholly, not holy. The 21st century has set the wheels in motion for an astronomical clock marked by numerological synchronicities (1/1/1, 5/5/5, 7/7/7 for instance). The year 2012 will be the end phase of this cycle, resulting in either cataclysmic annihilation or an evolutionary transformation, or nothing at all. This chronological ground zero will be inevitably encountered and surpassed, but first, the year that begins with its own duplication (1/1/11) is standing before us, inviting us to participate.
I will be taking this year to task, spreading myself out to be receptive to new relationships and opportunities. It is a numerically balanced year and will provide the level footing for the bright new world, steadily cautioned to its attendant traps and snares- those luxuriant conveniences of the technological advancements and social networks that bombard us daily. With the accelerating productivity of these products and services we are responsible for developing our personal intonation so that it can match with our external realities harmoniously. We are getting lost in the ipod shuffle and we must create the internal mechanisms that will propel us to fly above the information highway.
We are students AND teachers. We are meant to perpetually learn and conversely translate our knowledge through social interactions. We must be simultaneously guarded against the cancerous channels that stream into our consciousness, and vigilant in reproducing positivity toward our peers. It is time to recognize the sturdy roots that have been established and the promising branches that will yield the fruits of our labors. By solidifying the ground on which we stand and trimming useless foliage we may streamline the process by which our dreams are realized.