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 The meta-physics of weight lifting.

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perpetualburn

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PostSubject: Re: The meta-physics of weight lifting. Wed Apr 16, 2014 12:35 am

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The possibility then presented itself of breaking down one type of “false order” and creating another in its place, of turning back on itself this obstinate formative function and resetting it in a direction that better accorded with one’s own aims. This idea, I decided, I would immediately put into action. Rather than “idea,” though, I might have said the new purpose which the sun provided me with each day.

It was thus that I found myself confronted with those lumps of steel: heavy, forbidding, cold as though the essence of night had in them been still further condensed.

On that day began my close relationship with steel that was to last for ten years to come.

The nature of this steel is odd. I found that as I increased its weight little by little, the effect was like a pair of scales: the bulk of muscles placed, as it were, on the other pan increased proportionately, as though the steel had a duty to maintain a strict balance between the two. Little by little, moreover, the properties of my muscles came increasingly to resemble those of the steel. This slow development, I found, was remarkably similar to the process of education, which remodels the brain intellectually by feeding it with progressively more difficult matter. And since there was always the vision of a classical ideal of the body to serve as a model and an ultimate goal, the process closely resembled the classical ideal of education.

And yet, which of the two was it that really resembled the other ? Was I not already using words in my attempt to imitate the classical physical type? For me, beauty is always retreating from one’s grasp: the only thing I consider important is what existed once, or ought to have existed. By its subtle, infinitely varied operation, the steel restored the classical balance that the body had begun to lose, reinstating it in its natural form, the form that it should have had all along.

The groups of muscles that have become virtually unnecessary in modern life, though still a vital element of a man’s body, are obviously pointless from a practical point of view, and bulging muscles are as unnecessary as a classical education is to the majority of practical men. Muscles have gradually become something akin to classical Greek. To revive the dead language, the discipline of the steel was required; to change the silence of death into the eloquence of life, the aid of steel was essential.

The steel faithfully taught me the correspondence between the spirit and the body: thus feeble emotions, it seemed to me, corresponded to flaccid muscles, sentimentality to a sagging stomach, and overimpressionability to an oversensitive, white skin. Bulging muscles, a taut stomach, and a tough skin, I reasoned, would correspond respectively to an intrepid fighting spirit, the power of dispassionate intellectual judgement, and a robust disposition. I hasten to point out here that I do not believe ordinary people to be like this. Even my own scanty experience is enough to furnish me with innumerable examples of timid minds encased within bulging muscles. Yet, as I have already pointed out, words for me came before the flesh, so that intrepidity, dispassionateness, robustness, and all those emblems of moral character summed up by words, needed to manifest themselves in outward, bodily tokens. For that reason, I told myself, I ought to endow myself with the physical characteristics in question as a kind of educative process.

Beyond the educative process there also lurked another, romantic design. The romantic impulse that had formed an undercurrent in me from boyhood on, and that made sense only as the destruction of classical perfection, lay waiting within me. Like a theme in an operatic overture that is later destined to occur throughout the whole work, it laid down a definitive pattern for me before I had achieved anything in practice.

Specifically, I cherished a romantic impulse towards death, yet at the same time I required a strictly classical body as its vehicle; a peculiar sense of destiny made me believe that the reason why my romantic impulse towards death remained unfulfilled in reality was the immensely simple fact that I lacked the necessary physical qualifications. A powerful, tragic frame and sculpturesque muscles were indispensable in a romantically noble death. Any confrontation between weak, flabby flesh and death seemed to me absurdly inappropriate. Longing at eighteen for an early demise, I felt myself unfitted for it. I lacked, in short, the muscles suitable for a dramatic death. And it deeply offended my romantic pride that it should be this unsuitability that had permitted me to survive the war.

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The steel taught me many different things. It gave me an utterly new kind of knowledge, a knowledge that neither books nor worldly experience can impart. Muscles, I found, were strength as well as form, and each complex of muscles was subtly responsible for the direction in which its own strength was exerted, much as though they were rays of light given the form of flesh.

Nothing could have accorded better with the definition of a work of art that I had long cherished than this concept of form enfolding strength, coupled with the idea that a work should be organic, radiating rays of light in all directions.

The muscles that I thus created were at one and the same time simple existence and works of art; they even, paradoxically, possessed a certain abstract nature. Their one fatal flaw was that they were too closely involved with the life process, which decreed that they should decline and perish with the decline of life itself.

Quote :
To continue the metaphor, let us picture a single, healthy apple. This apple was not called into existence by words, nor is it possible that the core should be completely visible from the outside like Amiel’s peculiar fruit. The inside of the apple is naturally quite invisible. Thus at the heart of that apple, shut up within the flesh of the fruit, the core lurks in its wan darkness, tremblingly anxious to find some way to reassure itself that it is a perfect apple. The apple certainly exists, but to the core this existence as yet seems inadequate; if words cannot endorse it, then the only way to endorse it is with the eyes. Indeed, for the core the only sure mode of existence is to exist and to see at the same time. There is only one method of solving this contradiction. It is for a knife to be plunged deep into the apple so that it is split open and the core is exposed to the light—to the same light, that is, as the surface skin. Yet then the existence of the cut apple falls into fragments; the core of the apple sacrifices existence for the sake of seeing.

When I realized that the perfect sense of existence that disintegrated the very next moment could only be endorsed by muscle, and not by words, I was already personally enduring the fate that befell the apple.

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perpetualburn

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PostSubject: Re: The meta-physics of weight lifting. Mon Aug 11, 2014 2:32 pm

Erik wrote:
I haven't lifted weights in some months now;

Is there anything worse than atrophy? I had to take time off because of an injury... my dead lift went from 450lb to i don't even wanna say... You can definitely dead lift regularly though and box...In fact, I think it gives you a big strength edge because a lot of fighters don't lift or have never really lifted... you just can't do a full bodybuilding type routine but can include at least power lifts... You lose the "shape" and aesthetic physique from bodybuilding but start to develop a more fighting physique
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Henry Quirk

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PostSubject: Re: The meta-physics of weight lifting. Tue Aug 12, 2014 11:00 am

I can't speak to the 'metaphysics' of lifting.

I can, however, tell you what works for me.

Heavy dumbbell snatches.

You can work 'em in variety of ways (change up your routines) without sacrificing, for example, strength for endurance.

The snatch is not necessarily the way to go if you want size or cinderblock-crushing strength (or even eye-pleasing beauty), but if you want overall fitness (to walk, run, lug 50 lb. sacks, to climb trees etc.) snatches (and other big movements) are hard to beat.

I suppose when one is young (with a mind and eye for fleshy symmetry) proportions, visual balance, etc. play a role in how one lifts, but, when you're old and ugly and just tryin' to keep up with a frenetic eight year old, "functionality" is everything.
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