Conversations For Transformation: Essays Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

Conversations For Transformation

Essays By Laurence Platt

Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

And More




The Only Thing Worse Than Going To The Gym

In-Shape, Napa, California, USA

May 14, 2019



"If I'd known I was gonna live this long, I'd have taken better care of myself." ... James Hubert "Eubie" Blake

I am indebted to Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde who contributed material for this conversation.




To tell you the truth, I've never been naturally excited about participating in gymnastics or about playing sports (in this conversation I'm not including the gentle art of surfing in "sports"). Nor have I ever considered myself to be a "jock" (and I've got no reason to believe you'd ever mistake me for being one either). I'm definitely not a bodybuilder or a "gym rat"  by natural disposition. Yet with all that said, I've discovered I must  take on being some of all of the above, or things don't go well - and there's no way of avoiding that. It's just what's so. When it comes to health and physical fitness, Life itself has the last word: in the end, no matter what, no one gets out of here alive. It's a realization which confronts both the unhealthy and the unfit just as equally as it confronts the healthy and the fit. And until this play ends, my body will inexorably degrade (again, that's just what's so). So is there any point in trying to interfere with this inevitable degradation, knowing that any interference is doomed? Listen: it's not a matter of me interfering with this eventuality. It's a matter of what options are available to me in the meantime  ie until this eventuality fully plays itself out. It's a matter of how I include it, and how I take responsibility for it in the process. It's something I've come to terms with. It's something for you to consider taking on too and engaging with. The trouble is there's no incentive to engage in any activity if in the end, we all already know  it's going to prove futile. And the evidence shows many of us have already cast it as futile and chosen to take no action at all in this regard (taking no action at all is indeed also a valid choice).

Look, if I have any leaning at all, I'm an ideas  guy. For me there's no higher expression than coming up with and / or being around an exquisitely great idea. For me, listening Werner speaking, is on a par with gazing at the Mona Lisa  or Blue Nude  or David. They awe me. Ideas have power to bring new worlds and new possibilities into existence. Yet what I get as I confront this, is my ideas alone aren't enough to translate into being healthy and fit without any additional action taken on my part. It's more than that actually. It's if I don't at least pay attention to and take on my own physical fitness as I age, the inexorable degradation of my body not only can but will skew my attention away from bringing forth great ideas. That's a vicious circle. Yet they're in service to each other (so it seems): my physical fitness provides a platform on which great new ideas can come forth and thrive, and great new ideas support pragmatic choices which result in caring for my health and physical fitness.

What then is the best way forward? As I said, going to the gym is definitely not  one of my favorite activities (I'm sorry, it just ain't). In an earlier era, I couldn't have considered anything worse  than going to the gym (and I heaped scorn, disdain, and derision on those who did). Then I discovered something I was doing every day anyway which was actually far worse  than going to the gym, something which is arguably the only  thing worse than going to the gym. And this discovery shocked me into renegotiating my view of and my attitude about being responsible for my own health and physical fitness, and what I'm committed to doing about it. So  ...

Q: What's the only thing worse than going to the gym? (what could be worse than that?). A: The only thing worse than going to the gym, is not  going to the gym.

Seriously. What's worse than going to the gym, is what happens to my body if I don't go to the gym (that's the truth). No one's immune. It's just a what's so about being a human being. Sure you can ignore it (or try to). But that doesn't mean it loses its inexorability or goes away. You don't have to win any body-building awards. But you do need to do something ie anything  that promotes physical fitness, and you need to do it daily. I aspire to swim, run, and work out with weights on each of three successive days before starting again at day one. That's the platform (or at least it's a  platform) on which I write these Conversations For Transformation. That's another way of saying it's a platform on which I'll live my life - at least for as long as I have both. Things go better this way. They just do. It's what I've discovered.



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