Could Barbells Save the world

Out with my lovely wife on the town yesterday. We mostly just walked through Walmart looking for dog toys, but call it a date. As is usually the case in American cities, very many people were obese or otherwise physically unable. I say this not to make fun, but to lament what need not be. Most people are sick. They are obese and generally weak. Maybe not everyone, but a high percentage.

We are body-soul creatures. I have a friend who works in neurology, a materialist, who insists that everything eventually comes down to biological processes. I who am not a materialist nevertheless agree with him. Everything does come down to biological processes. Gabriel Marcel says “I am my body!” The relationship between the spiritual and the material is not necessarily antagonistic. Leave that question to St. Paul and the philosophers, who speak of the flesh at war with the spirit. But follow me on this point: Your body is fundamentally a part of you. It might just be a another word for “you.”

If I kick your shin, I’m kicking you.

Mind and body may not be identical (I follow Aristotle and Aquinas on this), but even so, a hangover affects your ability to think.

Imagine being a habitual drunk. Every day, you are either hungover or intoxicated. How well would you function? Wouldn’t the alcohol hurt every part of your life? Would you make good decisions? Would you thrive? Could you be trusted in matters of importance? Assigned the management of others? Should you be able to vote? It would be madness.

Now consider that instead of an alcoholic you are merely unhealthy. You are carrying 40 or 50 or 100 extra pounds. You don’t move very well. Every day you are struggling to manage the physical world. How well would you function? Wouldn’t it hurt every part of your life? How would you make good decisions? Would you thrive? Could you be trusted in matters of importance? After all, your own body, that most intimate part of you, is unhealthy because of self-inflicted behavior. Unfaithful in the small things (your body and your self), would you be faithful in larger thing?

Consider that 75% of the population is sick. And yet we are a democracy.

How Barbells Save the World

Here’s where my plan helps. Take a moment and reflect. Get to the gym. Start moving. Start by sitting down and standing up from a chair. Get moving, and then move some more. Progressive resistance (weight training) is a wonderful way to do this, because it is cheap and effective, and you could even set up a place in your own garage for not too much money. Have someone teach you good form, then add weight. Keep doing it. Mind your eating! The food is designed to break your satiety signals. Don’t let it. Conquer!

Imagine the tax rate based on your powerlifting total.

Now, instead of 75% of the population being sick, 75% of the population is strong and vigorous. Perhaps now, democracy makes sense. They’ve conquered themselves, put themselves in order, are friends to themselves, as Socrates says. Now, and only now, is the electorate (jacked-ectorate? Swole-archy?) trustworthy in greater matters.

Barbells could save the world.

(If you would like coaching, you can find me at Barbell Logic

2 thoughts on “Could Barbells Save the world”

  1. How can a person possibly rule over anyone else if they can’t rule over themselves ? I enjoyed this article. I struggle with weight training because I’d rather run ( I enjoy endurance training ) but I see the connection between body, mind and soul. A disordered body seems to lead to disordered thinking. Because we seek the wrong good.

    1. Running is fine. I think strength training is more useful in the long run, but it’s good!

      A fundamental tenet of democracy is that everyone has equal access to the virtue of justice. Protagoras makes this point in the dialogue that bears his name. But if most of us are obese and weak, it seems clear that most of us lack the virtue of justice (as defined by Socrates in Republic). How can most of us be trusted with government?

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