The following is an excerpt from Chapter 22 of The Mass Psychology of Fittism(Undocumented Worker Press: ’15)
The Foot To understand how humans might have looked, felt, moved and behaved before we entered the modern to postmodern era—that is, when we were fitter in the evolutionary sense—it is instructive to turn once again to Mr. Darwin and both the environments in which our human genome developed and those in which humans continue to flourish.
It turns out that the human body has remarkable capacity to adapt to virtually any terrain on Earth. We may have evolved on the African savannah, but we thrived virtually everywhere on Earth. And this means that the most important environmental constant in human existence could be variation and its propensity for generating neurological complexity. Today, in places where humans encounter daily variation underfoot, we see tell-tale signs of our evolutionary heritage: strong feet, legs and backs. Unfortunately for most modern city dwellers, however, the possibility for becoming strong and healthy has been largely surrendered after years of shielding ourselves from Mother Earth and her varied ways of appealing to our senses.
“This boy said to me, ‘See that bird standing on the stump there? What’s the name of it?’ I said, ‘I haven’t got the slightest idea.’ He said, ‘It’s a brown-throated thrush. Your father doesn’t teach you much about science.’” -Richard Feynman
Richard Feynman elucidates the difference between learning and mindless parroting in this short and concise article.
“Learning Taijiquan means to educate oneself. It is like slowly advancing from primary school to university. As time passes, more and more knowledge is gained. Without the foundations of primary school and secondary school, one will not be able to follow the seminars at university. Studying Taijiquan requires starting from the very bottom, working one’s way systematically and step by step towards the more advanced levels. Someone who does not accept this, thinking that he may take a short cut, will not be successful”
-Master Chen Xiao Wang
Click here for a humorous personal account of what it means to learn with a master (in this case, Master Chen Xiao Wang).
“Perhaps what really differentiates Bruyninckx from other coaches is that he is not only interested in creating better football players, but also wants to create better human beings…” (from the article)
Click here for a fascinating look into the highly imaginative and humanistic approach of Belgian football coach, Michel Bruyninckx. Bruyninckx’s innovative use of constraints along with measures for cognitively overloading players provide an excellent model for learning and integrating a myriad of complex patterns while removing the unnecessary self-judgment. I call it the Feldenkrais-Erickson-Inner Game(Moshe Feldenkrais, Milton Erickson, W. Timothy Gallwey) approach.
“And what about a form of urban design that, instead of concealing repression, visibly organized our shared world as a commons? Because this, and nothing else, is a city: the organization of our shared world.”
Click here for Leónidas Martín’s insightful Op-Ed piece on modern architecture’s affect on communal space.
“If you are a duffer at golf, say, and make the same mistakes every time you try a certain swing or putt, 10,000 hours of practicing that error will not improve your game. You’ll still be a duffer, albeit an older one.”
Here’s a lovely blurb byBrain Pickings regarding how learning is associated with attention, time and allowing oneself to mistakes
“In the world of 2001, people have become so machinelike that the most human character turns out to be a machine. That’s the essence of Kubrick’s dark prophecy: as we come to rely on computers to mediate our understanding of the world, it is our own intelligence that flattens into artificial intelligence.” (from the article)
Clickhere to read Nicholas Carr’s insightful article in the Atlantic on how technology has changed and continues to change the way we live and think.
“We have forgotten that the first maxim covered life as well as sport judo and few of us seem to have ever learned the meaning of the second (which means simply love).”
-Robert W. Smith
The Feldenkrais Method was born out of a childlike curiosity that all of us possess–even if it lies dormant beneath layers of assimilation to our fast-paced culture. Its founder, Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais, exemplified the same fiercely independent way of thinking that we see in all great scientists, musicians, artists, writers, dancers and athletes—indeed, anyone who values exploration, uncertainty and playfulness. It is also the same sort of mindset that we see in infants, toddlers and young children and that we ourselves embody in our more spontaneous, less defensive and perhaps more vulnerable moments.
“…some of the brightest kids prove to be the most vulnerable to becoming helpless, because they feel the need to live up to and maintain a perfectionist image that is easily and inevitably shattered. As an observer of countless talented young chess players, I can vouch for the accuracy of this point—some of the most gifted players are the worst under pressure, and have the hardest time rebounding from defeat.”
Click here to listen to a revealing story on NPR’s Morning Edition about patience, perseverance and diving in the process rather than needing the instant result. A simple word for this is: learning.