Saturday, January 21, 2017

READER REQUEST: COLLECTIVISM AND LIFTING


This request came in a while back from my old old old stomping grounds on Gamefaqs, from a member named Barackaveli.  It took me a long time to get to because it was a pretty difficult topic to address.  Most of my regular readers have probably picked up the strong, almost Rand-ian individualesque vibe that exudes from my writing, and how little stock I put into seeking the aid of others.  It’s true that, as someone that primarily trains alone, I vastly understate the value of others when it comes to reaching your goals.  However, it is worth observing just HOW collectivism could benefit us in lifting, and what we can do to positively contribute to the process.

Image result for squatting on a bosu ball
Like maybe we could all come together as a community to stop this
I have lamented the reality of forums on many occasions.  I truthfully do so because, when I see a forum, I see so much wasted potential.  The internet is an incredibly powerful resource, connecting people from the world over instantly on a widely accessible medium.  Gone are the days where you can NOT know something.  Literally all things are there, ready for you to discover them, with the only limitation being time and energy.  You would think with such a powerful tool, there would be no room for ignorance on any topic, yet what we witness is that the internet has become an ignorance MULTIPLIER, not a reducer.  There is FAR more stupidity being perpetuated, and in turn things have become far more damaging.

Why is this?  One can make an argument that it is the absence OF collectivism that results in such a toxic environment.  Few, if any people, are participating online with the goal of making the experience of others better.  Instead, the individualist streak mandates that one uses the internet for their own ends, which primarily ends up being for the sake of entertainment, and specifically, at the EXPENSE of others.  If a topic comes up on a forum, most folks feel a need to contribute, regardless of their credentials.  They simply NEED to populate the discussion with their own thoughts on the matter, because they are USING the forum rather than contributing to it.  Given that, in any situation, the uneducated will always be the majority with the educated being the minority, this creates a terrible noise to sound ratio, and results in pollution of poor information and, ultimately, the spread of ignorance.


Image result for Lifting memes
Most often perpetuated with terrible memes


Then, let us explore further with the notion that, due to either screennames, handles or, in the case of many social media sites, our own actual names being associated with what we write, an issue of “reputation” exists.  Once one has put down their own ignorant thought, any counter to said thought is perceived as an attack on their character, and any admission of ignorance or being wrong is a slight on that person’s reputation.  Once again, we are witnessing prizing the individual over the community.  People will choose to ruin a sound topic by engaging in a multiday long flame war with insults, barbs, slights and snarky comments taking up thousands and thousands of post with no beneficial end in sight.  Rather than engaging on the forum in the hopes of making the place better, these people engage in the hopes of making their own personal experience better.
And boy am I just as guilty of this.  I spent many years on forums solely for my own entertainment, and I trolled and I flamed and I did everything that a poor citizen of the net did, and I made communities worse with my presence.  And these days I do my best to not do this.  And it’s tough.  It’s tough to see a perfect opportunity for a “that’s what she said joke” where I KNOW I’ll get so many internet thumbs up, and just let it pass by, because such a comment does nothing for the community.  It’s tough to have someone attack my very character because they disagree with how I lift weights, and to amicably and peacefully disagree with them or just quit responding.  It’s tough to let someone ignorantly get the last word on a topic when I know that they’re wrong.  But it’s not MY internet.  It’s not MY community.  It’s not MINE.  We’re all in this.


Image result for nine inch nails we're in this together
Anyone that has watched my lifting videos knows I have a NIN obession


YOU can exercise collectivism and make lifting better by being the change you want to see.  And this goes beyond forum etiquette; that is the mere tip of the proverbial iceberg.  More time needs to be spent appreciating the other disciplines than dividing ourselves between them.  Crossfit, bodybuilding, strongman, powerlifting, Olympic lifting, highland games, etc etc, it’s all a bunch of folks that like to lift things.  There is so much to learn from each discipline rather than to cloister off into our corners and bicker and moan.  Of course, I say all this, but I know that the real competitors get this; it’s the wannabes online that are causing the strife, trying to hitch their wagons onto some discipline and distain all others.  Let this be your rallying cry to knock that crap off so that you can make the community better.
And don’t think that this WON’T benefit you the individual.  When your community is prosperous, you prosper as well.  You benefit from the more free exchange of GOOD information, when only those with qualified opinions contribute, and those that need to learn listen.  You benefit when you don’t have to read through 4,000 posts of insults and hate to find the 12 posts actually related to the topic at hand.  You benefit when powerlifters share squat techniques with strongman, and the strongman share conditioning strategies with Olympic lifters.  You benefit when not everyone is jockeying for the best one-liner 100% of the time.


Image result for whose line is it anyway cast
Even these folks knew when to take turns
You don’t even need to lift with a group to benefit from some collectivism.  Try to be a positive source of information and inspiration, and let all that insignificant stuff slide.
And if you still need to vent, just make a blog.

4 comments:

  1. Awesome post me boy. Very well said, I often find myself cringing at how horribly wrong someone ranting like an idiot online is and just not responding because.... really..... what's the point. I really liked last weeks' as well.

    I have a random unrelated questions for you. I assume you are or at least used to be very much into video games based on your past posts and references you sometimes make. Do you still play games much these days and if so what are you currently playing? Also, if you're still into games, what are your thoughts on the Nintendo Switch?

    Just curious.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for the feedback man. "What's the point" really sums it up. Just not worth engaging.

      I played a TON of games back in the day, but these days I'm pretty lucky if I can get in an hour a month to play a game for myself. The Mrs and I just beat "Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel", which was awesome, and I lost a lot of time to Skyrim. Otherwise though, I just replay the same old games these days since I don't want to take the time to learn how to play a new one. I've replayed Fallout 1-2 and Baldur's Gate 1-2 SOOOO many times, and I keep finding more stuff to do.

      No thoughts on the Switch. I'm still trying to get an NES classic, haha.

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    2. I'm also still trying to get an NES classic, myself. Its pretty sad how badly Nintendo botched the supply of those things.

      That's nice that your wife likes to play games with you.

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    3. Ya know, at first I thought Nintendo screwed up, but then I realized that this is pretty much their MO. The Wii was the exact same way. I remember when it launched and no one could get one.

      Yeah, wife grew up with the old school stuff too. I got her into the 360 because we found killing zombies to be cathartic, haha.

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