sobota 14. dubna 2012

How the System Works I.: Physical Passivity and How To Overcome It

The majority of the people living in the „developed“ world spend most of their waking time sitting on chairs or sofas or in cars. Their only exercise consists of a few steps from each chair to the next and maybe of some housework (if they are women).

The System makes us believe, that this is normal. Yes, we hear mentioned that you should get at least some exircise, like half an hour three times a week. If you actively move your body for one hour a day, you count as an athlete. What the propaganda really tells us is that the sedentary lifestyle is normal, OK, that you can be quite healthy and happy being physically passive, that this is comfort, a great achievement of humanking. Not having to do anything but sit in boxes all day. Maybe take a vacation from this for a few weeks a year, then get back to it.

As all the facts about the System, the truth about this is perfectly obvious, but people do not see it, blinded by their conditioning and the propaganda.

We all know that the human body is not made for sitting all life. It's made for walking, running, climbing mountains, dancing, hunting, building, creating, caring – physical activities in real space. It is supposed to move freely in nature, in open spaces. It is meant to be strong, to be flexible, to stretch and bend and rotate.

Forcing it to sit in a closed box for years is a crime against the body. You imprison a considerable part of yourself, deprive your muscles, tendons and ligaments of the motions their need, deprive your lungs of proper airing. Your metabolism cannot function properly if you do not move. Your whole body degenerates slowly, becoming ever weaker and stiffer with age. This leads to the sad phenomenon of old people who suffer from extreme pain and disability. We are made to believe that this comes normally with age. It's not true. A person who has enough natural and varied exercise can remain vigorous, flexible and active till 80 or 90. There can and will be illnesses, but nothing comparable to the terrible state that befalls old people after decades of “comfortably” sitting on chairs.

How are we conditioned for this? To rot away slowly while thinking that it is comfortable? To live in the prisons of rooms, offices and computers?

First of all, many of us carry deep traumatic genetic memories of the generations forced into excessive manual labor under the previous stages of the System. People who had to work in their feudal lords' fields during the day and in their own at night. Slaves, servants, the first factory workers. Too much physical work, too hard, with no perspective and not enough food, that was the life of millions of people in the not very distant past.

This is not a normal state of free sustainable communities by the way. Even the most “primitive” people, if free to live by themselves in their natural environment, will only have to “work” a reasonable number of hours a day to get food and all they need. They have time to relax, celebrate and create, and their “work” is meaningful, brings them direct reward – food for the family, new clothes.....nothing like the pointless drudgery in a factory. Such people enjoy to move their bodies. They are not exhausted, they have physical energy to spend and to share, they will dance all night at rituals and do physical actions purely for the fun or for the mastery of it.

With factory work, the problem of physical exploitation reached its climax. What went on in factories in the 19th and early 20th century in the West (and still goes on at a terrible scale in the Third world), was simply too much.

So it's not surprising that when the economies started to change after World War II and more and more people found jobs that no longer required physical labor, they embraced this as great progess. It must have seemed a liberation, admission into a lifestyle previously reserved only for the rich. More and more people could also buy cars, and they welcomed not having to walk anymore.

We live with the results today. Most likely, we will only learn most of the consequences later, after the end of the System. If there is anyone left to learn. Physical passivity is one of the PRIMARY problems of the West today, yet it receives minimum attention in the media. We rarely ever hear about it.

Ancestral memory is of course not enough to condition people for something completely unnatural. The sitting training has to start in early childhood. It's called school and takes countless years of torturing young bodies by making them sit motionless at their desks for hours and hours. At an age when the whole being wants and needs to move and explore the real world.
It is well-enough known that children learn much better if they are allowed to move and sit as they wish. Many early learners teach themselves reading, writing, maths, chess or geography at ages of 3-5 without being forced by anyone. They sit as long as they like, get up and play when they need to.

Any physician or holistic practicioner can describe dozens of consequences of not moving the body. The first is physical degeneration and weakness. People have no energy. They live in chronic muscular disbalance – the muscles that keep us upright have to work and the load on them is too high, if all the other muscles do nothing and are athrophied. This results in chronic back pain, a condition afflicting almost all people in our part of the world. A healthy person does NOT experience back pain. All kinds of illnesses are also caused or worsened by lack of exercise. Remember, it's chronic deprivation. Depriving your body of active motion is just like depriving it of sleep, food or water. Only you die from it much more slowly. Bad digestion is another primary consequence.
All the painful and unpleasant conditions of course affect the psychological state. And it is affected directly as well – only in a healthy body that has enough regular physical activity will the brain be nourished properly and run at it's full capacity.
Who knows how much unhappiness and violence is caused by people who feel sick because of their passivity, do not recognize the cause and react by mishandling others? Who knows how many wrong and stupid decisions are made by politicians who just sit in cars and conference halls and overeat at dinners?

There is the illusion of separation of mind and matter again, behind all this. We believe that we can live well in our head while ignoring our bodies. This is nonsense. There is no separation. Mind is matter. Matter is conscious, alive. Everything is alive. The idea that our way of life does not affect the way we think, feel and relate to others is absurd.

If you, the reader, do not suffer from lack of exercise, you belong to a minority. Most likely, you have it to some degree.

Now, what to do? If you are one of those who do not move at all, the beginning is simple. You start walking every day (choose routes with clean air, if possible nature or parks). You choose some form of energy exercise, yoga is probably the best option. This will help you stretch what is shortened, strengthen what is atrophied, get your energy flowing again, bring yourself into balance. Daily practice is needed, but it does not have to be long (later, you will probalby want to do more, all by yourself). You also need some kind of aerobic exercise, like running or dancing, regularly, more than once a week :)

Walking is wonderful, but it's a natural basic expression of life, rather than “exercise”. It will make you fitter, healthier and more energetic than non-walkers, but it's not enough to restore you to a normal physical state after years of passivity. A good “first-aid” package could consist of 40 minutes of yoga, and 20 minutes of dancing, juggling or running, etc.. Or one standard 90 minute lesson of something like dynamic yoga that covers all your needs. Of course, if you are relatively young, relatively healthy and relatively slim. If you are older, ill or overweight, you should consult professionals and find out which activities are safe for you to start with. After you get stronger, you may go for more demanding forms of exercise such as martial arts if you are so inclined. It's not a good idea to start with something hard on the body, such as weight training, immediately after a prolonged period of passivity. You need to stretch and to build core muscles first.

Useful physical work, like garden work, is a great way too. It teaches you new skills, gets you back to the real world, clears your mind.

This is the first step. If you incorporate physical activities into your life, especially if they happen in nature, you will gradually start to view life differently. You will feel stronger and more grounded, everyday life will be physically easier and so you will also feel easier about it. You might get new ideas, find new relationships, new interests. New horizons open for your mind and your soul.

It's absolutely great, if you get one hour or more of good quality exercise a day. You will look better and feel better than most people, you will get countless benefits. But if you spend all your workday sitting at the computer and half the evening watching TV, you are still a prisoner.

Now, you probably chose it yourself. Or you believe it to be your choice. The office job, the comfortable evenings playing computer games.

But if suddenly all people were to wake up, no one would want to do these things anymore. No one would continue a job where they would have to sit and sit and sit. They would demand the creation of new technologies that can be controlled in more natural ways than from the chair by keyboard and mouse. Sitting all day is unnatural and an awakened person simply will not do it anymore. Just as they will not accept poisoned air, poisoned food or throwaway junk products. If something hurts, a healthy person will not do it. Period. There are no mind-games about it being “comfortable”, “practical” or “necessary”. This does not work, a different solution must be found.

Right now, at this moment, awakening people usually solve the problem by creating a new lifestyle. Like working from home and alternating computer work with physical activities. Or choosing a whole new profession, which inclueds a lot of physical activity. Or retreating from work life, being „unemployed“ and focusing on community work or some way of alternative living. You name it, your soul knows, countless options are possible, you just need to open your mind to them.

Good luck exploring ! :)