Tuesday, May 28, 2013


Hobbes’ proposal to exit the state of nature was through the formation of a “social contract”.  To greatly summarize his intent, the idea was that a collection of people realize that life within the state of nature is not worth enduring, and that they are willing to sacrifice all of their liberties in order to ensure their freedom from that existence.  The state of nature was one of absolute freedom, and as man discovered, their human nature compelled them to exercise this freedom toward terrifying ends, thus safety can only be ensured in the absence of this freedom.  To guarantee this security, all rights are forfeit to a sovereign, essentially a leader or government, who in turn ensure the safety of the members of the social contract.  It is important to note that the “contract” of the social contract only exists between the members, not the members and the sovereign.  The sovereign has no vested interest in the individuals in the social contract, simply in maintaining the security of the members from the state of nature.  Those who feel that life in the social contract is worse than the state of nature are free to leave, but that is their only freedom.

What does this mean for you the gym goer?  You too must sacrifice all your freedoms and liberties to a sovereign in order to be secure and stable.  This means you relinquish your ability to make and modify plans so that you can follow with blind intensity the teachings of at least one author or school of thought.  The intent here is that you remove yourself from the equation and place all your faith and trust into the man and the system.  You attack it with full ferocity, knowing it will work and that you are growing.  If you question the sovereign, you are free to leave the social contract or die.

Sometimes, depending on who you follow, the outcome is the same
What is the benefit of this contract?  Much as in the case of Hobbes’, you are granted stability.  Rather than being a victim of your own devices and stagnating or declining, you are granted the stability of consistent gains that are afforded by sheer hardwork and (if fortunate) intelligent programming.  By having a “sovereign”, you are now following the orders of a higher being, which means you can abandon your own thinking and leave full faith and confidence in this being.  As conflicting as this may be with the western notion of “rugged individualism”, the benefit of this arrangement is that no further justification or understanding is necessary in order to press on with the program, which means you don’t have to worry yourself sick about if you are making optimal gains or if your movement selection is ideal.
How do you know who to select as our sovereign?  For this, we turn to Socrates via Plato.

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