03 August 2018

The Dubious Value Of Eccentricity

The following is an essay I wrote almost in its entirety a couple of years ago in a fit of frustration with the state of strength sports, and shit's only gotten worse.  I happened to come across it looking for some old notes and figured I'd drop it in here just because- it really wasn't written with the intention of publishing it.  It's a departure from the norm- no porn, no actual lifting advice, and I'm not sure if it's even "life" advice... and it's sure as shit not life coaching.

Bernarr MacFadden 
The father of modern bodybuilding culture, promoter of the first bodybuilding contest in modern history (with a cash prize bigger than any contest for the next 75 years), and the guy Jack LaLanne ripped off for just about everything.  You likely have never heard of him, because MacFadden was a full-blown weirdo who loved porn and fucking, did insane physical stunts even into old age, and thought (very rightly at the time) medical doctors were fucking monsters.

America is a nation founded upon a belief in individualism above all, if the propaganda rammed down our throats on a daily basis is to be believed.  Certainly, the eccentric has played a massive role in American society- from the flamboyant antics of Little Richard, lady Gage, and Prince in pop music to the oddly accessible masculinity and hyperfitness of Bernarr McFadden to the drug-addled, artistic intellectualism of Ken Kesey and Hunter S. Thompson to the bizarre mad scientist brilliance of Nikola Tesla to the utterly insane engineering genius of Howard Hughes and R. Buckminster Fuller, Americas global dominance for the last century is seemingly built upon rampant, brazen individualism.  Breaks with convention put man on the moon, into the air, under the sea, and gave us everything we wantonly take for granted today, from electrical power to the zipper.  Americans seem drawn to eccentrics like white trash to Oxycontin, though they secretly judge and condemn their oddball idols even as they explain away their behavior as somehow relatable.  At the same time, people who have shamelessly blazed their own path, choosing to do whatever the fuck they wanted, do whatever they would, and believe whatever they liked, now cower behind labels, bleating their fear of judgment like sheep rather than snarling their defiance like an enraged hyena, destroying the psychic underpinnings of their uniqueness in a pathetic, limp-wristed plea for acceptance that is an stomach-turning in its delivery as it is in its message.


"Are you unaware that murder was honored in China, rape in New Zealand, theft in Sparta?  That man you watch being drawn and quartered in the market place, what has he done?  He ventured to acquit himself in Paris of some Japanese virtue."
Marquis de Sade

A wise man once said, "Strangeness is the energy of our imagination," though society generally tends to adhere to a policy wherein "the nail that sticks out gets hammered down."  Wildly eccentric and prolific geniuses like Tesla and Hughes usually die alone and impoverished in spite of the fact that the modern world could not exist without their work.  Modern horror fiction would likely not exist without the influence of Edgar Allen Poe and HP Lovecraft, yet both men died tragically bereft of both friends and material comfort.  Unmatched strength luminary Arthur Saxon died penniless in a gutter (much like Poe), badass boxer Joe Louis diedowing virtually everyone, and the lifelong outsider who was the father of modern pop music, Stephen Foster, died alone with 38 cents in his pocket.  Yet without these people, our modern world simply would not exist.  They should be celebrated as the gods of modernity, yet men like Henry Ford, who turned men into mindless automatons regulated by dickheads with stopwatches and accountants, and the psychotic sneak-thief Thomas Edison, who did far more to destroy normal human sleep habits than any other human in history and stole everything from the rights to hundreds of other people's films to the life's breath out of elephants, are the men behind the curtain credited with tending the machines of progress.


Why is this?  Is it because the fine line between genius and insanity is also a line between self-improvement and self-destruction? Is it because a society in which the majority worships an allegedly faultless god and demands the same of its mortal heroes?  Is it because the bland shadows of true innovators, labelled as "tireless hard workers" rather than "inexplicable geniuses" are the tasteless pap fed to babes for ease of digestion rather than the deliciously habanero-laden street tacos that might have one shitting their pants in a couple of hours?


"Of course, we call the changes 'compassion,' 'reasonableness,' and 'progress,' but they are actually 'enfeeblement,' 'stupidity,' and 'degeneration.'"
Mark Mirabello

Perhaps it's a bit of both.  Perhaps it is neither.  Perhaps it is the formlessness of the true individualist- following their whims through life, their path is erratic, their movements unpredictable, their motivations too obscure and byzantine.  Lacking easily identifiable form, wedded to atavistic notions of self, intrinsically motivated and truly apart from society in every way, the true individualist is both a vaunted goal and something completely inaccessible to people who are members of a society that rewards collective thought and shuns the unusual and the unconventional.

"It is not light that we need, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder.  We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake."
Frederick Douglass

We live in a time where, more than ever, people wish to seem a part of the collective and whose every thought and action are scrutinized and criticized when they deviate from the norm.  Where children make their parents pay for coaches to learn Fortnight rather than playing the fucking game and figuring it out for themselves.  When individual thought and action is as shocking and reviled as it is for lemmings or citizens under a totalitarian regime.  When dogma and partisanship reign supreme and possession of opposing views makes one the enemy rather than an object of intrigue and progenitor of intelligent debate.


"A conclusion is simply where you stopped thinking."
- Black Iron Prison

As society fractures into smaller and smaller segments, people hold even more sacrosanct the precepts held forth by their given group.  Christian Republicans justify inhumane treatment to impoverished people fleeing collapsing societies with their holy book, in spite of the obvious hypocrisy in doing so.  Allegedly pacifist leftists justify pointless violence by pointing at the distasteful social opinions of the right.  Natty lifters screech endlessly about their purity and superiority relative to people doing what humans have always done, which is to utilize any means necessary to win.  Geared lifters and raw lifters hate each other.  Oly lifters and powerlifters band together to hate on Crossfitters.  And then there are vegans, who hate and are hated by everyone.  And all the while, individual thought is shunned more and more as idiots herd together for security against the looming "threat" of the other.


If you take nothing else from this, know that there is no mystery to lifting.  There is no need for specialization- there is no need to hire coaches and trainers.  There is no need to obsess over it- the mystification of weight lifting is one of the most odious trends in strength sports, and one that should quite frankly be met with violence.  The people mystifying strength sports- promulgating meaninglessly complex terminology the obfuscates the simplicity of battling gravity- are not your friends.  They are the enemy.  An enemy hiding in plain sight, pretending to be sorcerers when most of them fail to accomplish even basic strength feats.  They're thieves and charlatans, dickheads and fucktards, and generally terrible fucking people.  

"Doubt everything.  Find your own light!"
The Buddha

In the end, eccentricity holds little appeal.  Some might call me an edgelord, thinking my writing style is schtick and a gimmick, and that I'm at least partly satirizing myself.  

This just in: I'm not.  

The shit I write is me- exhaustive research, expansive vocabulary, hardcore and metal and porn and gore and vulgarity, all rolled into a big ball and then swallowed and vomited onto the internet.  Clearly, I'm not advocating anyone to follow in my footsteps, because as any have pointed out, I haven't parleyed my dubious internet fame and strength into much in the way of material wealth- though I am a libertarian with MBAs, I'm a pretty terrible fucking capitalist.  I write the shit I write to inspire myself, and I figure I might as well try to inspire and educate others while I'm at it.  In the end, however, going the path already trodden rather than forging your own is the far easier path.  I'm just not built to walk that way- I just forge off into the wild because walking along a beaten path is too fucking boring to bother doing... 

and I know I'll likely get eaten by a metaphorical wild animal while doing it.  

23 comments:

  1. I carve my own path and wouldn't have it iny other way, because it would be too f$¥£ng boring, and my own way is too much fun.
    Well put Jamie.
    A year ago I read your blog for the first time and it fired me up and started training like a madman, now I am hooked, much stronger and gained nearly 25 pounds. Can I shoot you an email (if you are not too busy)?
    Thanks for your efforts to try to make other people stronger.

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  2. That's basically Nietzsches √úbermensch: faced with the living nihilism of modern society, he adopts his own, genuine identity and moral reasoning. In doing so, he alienates himself from society, but is also, as a free and self empowered outsider, capable of advancing society.

    Camus would consider this the human in his revolution.

    Actual individuals have alway been rare, with uniform cutouts of people encompassing most of the population.

    In my own opinion, it's a socio-cultural reaction of surival instinct. Societies proposing individualistic tendencies tend to be highly unstable and volatile; as soon as more than 3 people are at the same place for some time there will be a hierarchy, if most everyone is empowered to be able to desire top position in the hierarchy, things get stabby quickly. Norse countries in the Viking Age and Proto-Germany till the Enlightment were good examples of this by being basically tribal and due to violent conflict highly fluctuatiing.

    In such cultures, the weakest will embrace a social and religious concept of enforced egalitarism (like communism or christianity) with fervor. Since weak dipshits are always in the majority, you just need a few generations of them to stop squabbling long enough and decide on one ideology and boom: christian country!

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  3. The weakest...well thats 99.9999999999999999% of us in capitalist society. Your chance of making it into the ruling class is slim to fuck all. I'll tell you who the weakest are , those who swallow capitalist propaganda, work and fight for a ruling class that doesn't give a fuck about them, salute silly flags and imagine that a bit of muscle makes them elite in any way other than a chimp.

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    1. I don't think that was the point. There are plenty of weaklings in the "elite" classes.

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  4. And with al due respect, knowing that for the present it will be disregarded but hopefully food for thought, I think Jamie is revisiting/prolonging his adolescence through the use of anabolics and other lifestyle factors. Now this is his choice with its own set of positive features, but choice means we do not travel the other path, and I suspect that it is better to move on and embrace the mature self, with all of its drawbacks. Jamie is at the age of midlife crisis, something which is poorly understood but is no myth. It is simply a phase of life, not necessarily marked by any great incidents but unpleasant nonetheless. It generally ends as one comes into one's fifties, and is perceived as a happier phase. I imagine any of you will be unable to relate to this and dismiss it instantly, but as I understand it, it is well researched and one can find books on the matter if interested. As I say, food for thought, I don't claim to have all the answers.

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    1. You watch other people bang your wife while you jerk in the corner, don’t you?

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    2. Internet award of the year coming your way. Well done sir, you crushed me.

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    3. Are you suggesting that it is best to just accept that your best days are behind you, move into that desk job that your 'peers' would covet, pick a wife, have 2.5 kids and a golden retriever, then convince yourself that you are content to just pay bills until you die?

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    4. Of course it is. Then go "binge" on whatever show your social media circle is jerking each other off to.

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    5. U forgot the part where you suck all the men's semen out from your wife's snapper after the black guys are done with her. While your kids grow up to hate you dad and there own skin.

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  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  6. C'mon haters....the Heinlein caption...seems to be making a case that there is little value in pursuing the extreme end of all there physical endeavours. It will only come at the expense of all round ability. Marx said something similar criticising the extreme specialisation of labour that capitalism brings, the worker just becomes a deformed cripple repeating a tiny detail. Consider the crossfit total. Not many went above a 600lb deadlift. Now considering these are the cream of the crop, does it not suggest that concentrating on ever heavier pondages is only going to come at the expense of many other abilities. A price not worth paying for the vast majority I would suggest.

    The human body is honed by evolution to be versatile. A highly restricted/specialised regime of heavy lifting, combined with hormonal manipulation and weight gain is really not the solution to health and wellbeing.
    There you go rip it up.

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    1. Hmm, you've given me much to think about there, thank you.
      I'd better wipe my arse now and get back to work.

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    2. Front to back don't want shit bunching up in yer vagina

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    3. You wanna lick it out mudda fucka?

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  7. More banalities from my ever flowing pen...capitalist society tends towards ever greater homogeneity because it is based on exchange of commodities. The only thing these have in common is the amount of socially average labour time they encapsulate. This abstract idea means that only those activities which produce goods which are profitable due to the labour time spent on them fitting this framework are pursued and other activities are not. This has a tendency to produce homogeneity. For some reason people tend to swallow the idea that capitalism is about individualism and the like, not at all. All those people out there that are all the same - well you are one of them. The same banal proletarian condition, the same ideological confusion...the same ruling class ideas repeated over and over. But it is finite. Either doom or revolution, we approach the end game, regardless of how many realise it.


    Something to think about as you sit on the throne Sally!

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  8. Holy shit-a-brick, that was an enjoyable read. More of that please big man. With some porn, obviously.

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  9. Here ya go....more whining from the beta male oracle of TRUTH...Fuvk what the libertarian right wing bullshitting apologists of capitalist exploitation would have you believe as you waste your lives on the dreary treadmill of exploitation and oppression....obesity (and likely all the other maladies that fuck our bodies as we try to relieve the relentless monotony and misery at capitalism's core) is the fault of a society unfit for human consumption... Consider this a moment …"“There are no excuses. Take responsibility for your own lives, people!” “No one force feeds you junk food, it’s personal choice. We’re not lemmings.” “Sometimes I think having free healthcare is a mistake. It’s everyone’s right to be lazy and fat because there is a sense of entitlement about getting fixed.” The thrill of disapproval chimes disastrously with industry propaganda. We delight in blaming the victims.
    More alarmingly, according to a paper in the Lancet, more than 90% of policymakers believe that “personal motivation” is “a strong or very strong influence on the rise of obesity”. Such people propose no mechanism by which the 61% of English people who are overweight or obese have lost their willpower. But this improbable explanation seems immune to evidence.
    Perhaps this is because obesophobia is often a fatly-disguised form of snobbery. In most rich nations, obesity rates are much higher at the bottom of the socioeconomic scale. They correlate strongly with inequality, which helps to explain why the UK’s incidence is greater than in most European and OECD nations. The scientific literature shows how the lower spending power, stress, anxiety and depression associated with low social status makes people more vulnerable to bad diets."
    https://www.msn.com/en-gb/health/familyhealth/we’re-in-a-new-age-of-obesity-how-did-it-happen-you’d-be-surprised/ar-BBLWTmz?ocid=spartanntp

    There you go James, more bitchy whining coming your way.

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    1. But have you ever been so far as to want go do look more like?

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