The Serious People

Posture can start to feel like serious business. “I used to know how to stand,” is the sore lament of many a fellow, “…before I started getting Rolfed.”

Such a statement seems to express regress instead of the progress one might expect. Naturally we take this to be a bad thing. But I’m not so sure it is. Perhaps a condition to be psycho-somatical confoundedness is a healthy experience, from time to time. Socrates revealed himself to be the wisest man in Athens when he ackowledged how little he knew.

Socrates
Socrates (Photo credit: Ian W Scott) Socrates: Father of Modern Philosophy & One serious dude. It’s in our heritage…
Where the former claimant to that title had flattered himself with delusions of unfathomable knowledge, Socrates recognised his own intellectual shortcomings & this recognition itself demonstrated a wisdom that the so-called wiseman lacked. In a sort of intellectual judo, Socrates demonstrated his apphrehnsion by apprehending his own ignoracnce. Perhaps a state of postural confusion is analogous to Socrates’ wisdom. I never said I was the wisest man in Athens so I certainly don’t pretend to know, but I could speculate that the Father of Philosphy himself would struggle to describe the myriad physical processes & complex biomechanical orchestration behind lifting his little finger. And chances are that his disciple Plato would run out of ink trying to record such an exhortation.

It appears that confusion can be a perfect boon or a perfect bane to our progress. The benefit of confusion depends, methinks, on the manner that we approach it withal. Provided we sustain a playful mindset around the overwhelming uncertainty, it can become a learning experience. If we approach alignment as a matter of life or death, conversely, that must be fully apprehended on an intellectual level, the body responds as if we were attempting to slay the Nemean Lion. The flood of stress hormones that pours through our veins before this Herculean task is tantamount to watering the seeds of somatic learning with salt & vinegar. Bare-handed grappling with great cats is serious business; a degree of gravitas is therefore fitting (exception made for my reader who happens to belong to the pantheon of Aegean heros & demi-gods). In secure environments, however, seriousness is usually counterproductive; play is the most effective learning tool that evolution has invented.

 

The Father of the Other Modern Philosophy
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