"Whatever weapon your enemy possesses must be duplicated or improved upon by you." This is a universal truth of warfare and or competition, but it seems that the vast majority of lifters these days merely ape their competitors, rather than attempting to improve upon their enemies’ weapons. The internet is awash with amazingly repetitive conversations wherein various parties will query the masses regarding the efficacy of one of perhaps five lifting programs, with the purpose of competing against the very people they’re asking. The fact that this is inane and self-defeating is completely lost on these idiots, as they’ve come to the conclusion that the only efficacious training methodologies are those that have been created in the last 40 years and are currently popular. Anything else, in their obnoxious, poorly articulated opinions, is utterly futile. They seem to think that strength sports are like Nascar, and that everyone's entering the field with precisely the same mechanics, and that we should all do the precise same thing in order to determine who's the best at utilizing a one-size-fits-all regimen. I don't know about you, but Nascar's something to be avoided or mocked (or both), rather than something to emulate. If I know my enemy's coming to battle with a broadsword, I'd rather make a game effort at rolling in with a lightsaber, rather than trying to battle them with their own fucking weapon.
As I’ve stated in a previous blog, I attribute this remarkable close-mindedness to our soft society’s myriad failings. Though we rail against the Chinese Communists and their societal emphasis on conformity, but our society is worse- even while we bloviate endlessly about our societal embrace of individuality, we’re even more prone to hammering down the nail that sticks up than they, or even the Japanese, are. “There are many around us who are entrenched in their beliefs and hold dear their view of the world as fixed and predictable. There are also people who, while not cynical, are still mindlessly accepting of these views. A new approach… to our lives is needed because the naysayers- those who demand empirical evidence- are winning. It is they who have determined what’s possible and what’s acceptable, to our collective detriment.” (Langer 18) People these days simply accept whatever they’re told, blindly, without looking at what they’re being told in a critical manner. This is why the idea that human civilization was previously hyperadvanced is laughed at, despite the fact that there the Temple of Baalbek is completely unrecreatable with modern technology, or the fact that the ancient Mesopotamians had batteries, or the fact that we have detailed descriptions of technology we’ve only recently recreated in the most ancient of Hindu texts (the mercury vortex engine). Archaeologists and the average person believes that these aberrations were mere toys of the ancients, or that immense amounts of slave labor could move 1200 ton stone blocks where our most advanced equipment cannot. Similarly, people explain away the strength feats of “old-timey” strongmen as the produce of genetic freaks, impossible to recreate even with the aid of our advancements in nutrition, supplementation, and equipment.
These absurdities persist in the face of evidence to the contrary simply because other people say so, and groupthink dictates that we ignore the outliers and focus only on the average human. In classic scientific inquiry, a majority of subjects need to show an effect to conclude that the effect is real. In contemporary scientific thought, there is currently a movement afoot to show that only one example can prove an effect is real- “if just one monkey spoke one real world, we’d have enough evidence to draw conclusions about primate communication abilities” and to suggest that the effect was recreatable.(Langer 17) This echoes exactly my sentiments- if just one person shows that something is possible, everyone can then strive to achieve their result. Just as Roger Bannister showed that the four minute mile was not an unbreakable barrier, the old time greats and modern beasts of the iron alter our reality to show that a 700+ lb one arm deadlift is just as possible as a sub 4 minute mile, if one properly applies oneself. If gravity can bend light and Lamar Gant can deadlift 6x his bodyweight, so can you- the possibility exists.
“The psychology first requires that we begin with the assumption that we do not know what we can do or become. Rather than starting from the status quo, it argues for starting from where we would like to be. From that beginning, we can ask how we can reach that goal or make progress toward it.”(Langer 15) Thus, our reality is fundamentally altered with the knowledge that such an act is possible. We’re inundated, however, with negativity, excuses, and disbelief. We’re skeptical of everything, and believe in nothing. This certainty is what holds us back- it hardens and closes our minds to the world in which we actually live, and creates an atmosphere of in which little is actually possible for “the average person”. You’re not average. I’m not average. There is no average. The idea of the interchangeability of humanity is a myth perpetrated by socialists, who in their laudable way wanted workers to be treated in the same manner that the owners were. Their rhetoric, however, has replaced observation of the real world, however, and we now ignore what we know and embrace that which we are told.
We need to start focusing on what's possible, and ignoring the naysayers... since possible is far cooler (or in that case, hotter) than what's probable.
Langer, Ellen. Counterclockwise. New York: Ballantine, 2009.