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Some form of physical fitness is required for those who value life. Without it, it could lead to your death or serious illness.

Also, if a person gives a long list of their values, I guarantee that you could tie the importance of physical fitness into one or more of them. Maybe even all of them.

You cannot gage a certain level of physical fitness that is required by everyone. But, you can safely say that some level of it is needed by everyone who values life.

Shouldn't this make it something valued by everyone?

[Edit- This post was written before the prior post was read]

Edited by Ehre

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Does it? The fact that some of these people weren't (subjectively?) physically fit but were alive and presumably content doesn't in and of itself mean that life doesn't require at least some degree of physical fitness.

Well, if you are saying that someone has to be alive before they can have a life, then who can disagree with that?

but I don't particularly consider those sterling examples of "life."

This is you applying your values, again, to someone else's life.

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Physical fitness, exercise, and indeed life, do NOT have intrinsic value.

And nowhere have I disagreed with that. They are of value only to those individuals who require it in order to obtain some other value. In other words -- they are a means to an end, on an individual basis.

Or, they have other values that represent a higher value or priority to them.
In the case where a person requires exercise in order to continue living due to some medical/physical condition, and they value being alive, then nothing is rightfully a higher value or priority. They cannot have any other values without being alive. If they require the exercise and they no longer value being alive -- for whatever reason -- then couch-potato on! No one still living (its unfortunate that emphasis is equired here) will care.

Or, there are contexts that preclude them from pursuing that value, regardless of their age or desire for life.

We aren't talking about about someone who values life as such, apart from their own lives. If that's what you meant, then I have no idea why you brought it up in the first place. It isn't relevant.

If you're talking about people who value the memory of living and refer to their past lives, then they should say that. Accuracy is everything, and woefully absent everywhere I look.

If they say they value continuing their own lives but do nothing to continue it, then they are liars. End of story.

Edited by TomL

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And nowhere have I disagreed with that.

Good. The entire point of my argument has been against the idea of physical fitness having intrinsic value. If I confused your post for supporting the idea of intrinsic value, my apologies. When broken down to specific values, and specific contexts, yes SOME people should pursue physical fitness and exercise if they want to achieve certain values and goals.

However, others on here have posited (or at leasted asked) that life and exercise SHOULD be of value to everyone. My argument has been against that notion.

Edit:

TomL, just to clarify why I thought you were supporting the intrinsic value position, I'm point out the following quotes; (my bold emphasis)

Now, I realize you immediately conditionalize the "truth" of that statement by saying;

However, while some people require exercise to maintain sufficient physical fitness to stay alive, others do not. Still others may no longer value living because their is no happiness possible to them, and for them failing to obtain sufficient exercise (if needed) would not be immoral.

This was in essence saying, this is true, but it's not always true. As you said, clarity is everything.

Does that help explain the misunderstanding?

Edited by RationalCop

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Hm. As far as I see it, Objectivism clearly gives you a set of values and your happy life is the fundamental standard. I have yet to see a healthy human being who doesn't receive benefits from exercise and good diet. Having a healthy body is an objective requirement for your own happiness. I don't think that being fat and sick is of value to anyone with a rational mind. It doesn't have to mean that it is an intrinsic value in the sense that it exists without someone who values. It means that his own health is an objective value to every valuer.

But this doesn't mean that this is the ultimate value either. As Mark Twain so eloquently put it:

What good is all health if you are an idiot.

Still, it stands to reason to spend some of your time exercising and eating right because it will increase your well-being. And that's a fact that cannot be denied.

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However, others on here have posited (or at leasted asked) that life and exercise SHOULD be of value to everyone. My argument has been against that notion.

Let me add my resounding "Me too!"

A lot of the confusion in this issue comes from the fact that the word "life" has many definitions, which leads to ambiguity in questions about its value.

When someone asks something like "If life is of value, then isn't X of value?" its ambiguous. If whose life is of value? Of value to whom?

"Life" can mean: animation; functioning biologically (as applied to a biological organism); the process of living as man; someone else's life; your past life; someone else's past life; etc; etc. And for each definition of "life", the answer to the question will most likely change.

Once again, accuracy is needed to convey meaning since the word can mean many different things. It is up to the author (i.e. the original thread question writer) to ensure that the intending meaning is clear.

Typically, when Objectivists speak of "life" in a philosophic context we mean the process of living as man; or man qua man, and being egoists we generally refer to the value that one holds for one's own life.

It is possible that a person can value life as man qua man (as such, as a process, for its aesthetic properties) and not value the continuation of one's own existence. This is the idea someone has when they say (either explicitly or through their actions) "Man is great; he has the potential to and has achieved many great things and happiness -- but I am ready to die."

Now, that all I said: there is a causal relationship between unfitness (i.e. fat people) and a decrease in longevity, by way of cardiac muscle damage. One could say that these people enjoy their lifestyle such that reducing caloric intake/exercise would take all the fun out of living for them. These people must perform a cost/benefit analysis and decide which they prefer, because obesity does increase the liklihood of an early demise. Sure, there are plenty of old, fat people -- I'm generalizing. But since one cannot know in advance whether one will be a "lucky" fat person or not (and live to a ripe old age anyway), then one can't count on it (i.e. use that fact) in their thinking about what to do. If one wanted to choose being an old, fat person -- that option is not open to their choice. The only choices are: exercise, or take your chances, and despite my respect of the volition for those who choose to take their chances, I reserve the right to judge unfavorably anyone who uses dice in decisions about their life plan, where the dice are optional.

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te='Nov 1 2005, 04:39 PM' post='98617']

Hm. As far as I see it, Objectivism clearly gives you a set of values and your happy life is the fundamental standard.

Objectivism does not give me my values. What it does is help guide me in determining those values that are important to my happy life.

Having a healthy body is an objective requirement for your own happiness.

Pardon me if I don't use your values to determine my happy life. As it happens, I do value a healthy life to some degree, but I recognize that contexts and other values may come along later that change that value. I'm satisfied with the argument I have layed out at this point to refute the notion of intrinsicism that your quote infers.

Still, it stands to reason to spend some of your time exercising and eating right because it will increase your well-being. And that's a fact that cannot be denied.

Actually, it can be denied if one injures oneself pursuing fitness and as a result degrades their physical fitness or ability. As an example, I twisted an ankle once playing racquetball. My physical ability was significantly diminished for a period of time as a result. Others have had heart attacks, heat stroke, and brain embolisms due to the active exertion in pursuit of fitness and they died. Some of these folks were rather physically fit, even "athletic". Those are facts that cannot be denied either. I'm not using these examples so much to counter the benefits that can be achieved through exercise, merely the notion that exercise WILL necessarily increase your fitness. Exercise and sporting comes with risks as well.

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However, others on here have posited (or at leasted asked) that life and exercise SHOULD be of value to everyone. My argument has been against that notion.

Blarg :( these topics always get so convoluted :D

Why am I afraid this is going to end up merely a semantic dispute :P

No one's claimed physical fitness is an intrinsic value, or an end-in-itself.

:P There is a difference between "physical fitness should be important to those who value their life ultimately" and "physical fitness is an intrinsic value."

"Physical fitness should be important to those who value their life ultimately" doesn't exclude context and values.

:D Having values greater than physical fitness doesn't mean that physical fitness is not a value.

:) Not finding the pursuit of physical fitness to be "cost-effective" doesn't mean that physical fitness isn't beneficial to one's life.

B) And "other contexts" doesn't negate the idea that increased physical fitness is advantageous to everyone who values life ultimately.

I'm not sure who you're referring to, but your argument isn't against anyone's notion.

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Blarg :lol: these topics always get so convoluted :lol:

Why am I afraid this is going to end up merely a semantic dispute :P

(snip)

I'm not sure who you're referring to, but your argument isn't against anyone's notion.

Life should be important to everyone, and life requires physical fitness? :santa:

My bold emphasis.

Do you understand the reason for the convolution now? That seems to be a pretty blanketed, intrinsic-oriented statement to me.

Unless of course you didn't mean everyone when you said everyone.

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Life should be important to everyone

I find that to be true, as long as we are talking about civilized, rational human beings. Life (whether it be your own or anothers) should be important to you. If it is not, then taking lives wouldn't conflict with that which you value, or find important.

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I find that to be true, as long as we are talking about civilized, rational human beings. Life (whether it be your own or anothers) should be important to you. If it is not, then taking lives wouldn't conflict with that which you value, or find important.

I think you are having difficulty understanding that valuing life (or anything else), yours or someone elses, is dependent upon context. There are contexts in which taking lives IS appropriate and justifiable for rational, civilized people. If someone intends to kill you, how much are you going to value their life? If you kill someone in defense of your life, does that make you uncivilized or irrational? Or, if you see someone drowning, and you could save them at significant risk to your life, do you value their life enough to risk yours? If you choose not to risk your life for theirs, does that make you uncivilized or irrational?

On the other hand, some folks who are terminally ill and suffering great pain with their every waking moment, but are otherwise mentally competent and civilized, do not wish to continue an existence where hapiness and enjoying life is no longer possible. That is a value judgement on their part that you may not share, but I find it difficult to pronounce them immoral, irrational, or uncivilized to discontinue an existence of pain and suffering devoid of hapiness. That is not necessarily life in the Objectivist sense of the word.

However, just because you don't value something, in this case a life, that does not give you the permission or the right to destroy it if it is not yours. In actuality, it's not the value of the other person's life that justifies not killing someone else arbitrarily, it's the value of your life and the concept of rights that demonstrates why you should respect the rights of others.

I don't know any simpler way to explain it.

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Do you understand the reason for the convolution now? That seems to be a pretty blanketed, intrinsic-oriented statement to me.

Perhaps, but "life should be important to everyone" is contextual. Besides, you made intrinsicism claims a day before I made that statement.

I think you are having difficulty understanding that valuing life (or anything else), yours or someone elses, is dependent upon context...

I don't know any simpler way to explain it.

Aw, come on, you're going to scare away the new guy :lol: Ehre didn't say anything explicitly contrary to what you've said; I see little reason to suggest he thinks all human life is always sacrosanct.

If we must be technical, will you settle for "One's existence should be important to oneself i.e. one might desire to live or desire to die, but one should not be indifferent to the alternative of his own life or death?" Or do we need to be more precise :lol:

*Group hug* :santa:

On to new physical fitness ideas.

Are there any contexts in which increasing one's physical fitness (as they define it) is detrimental to that individual? Granting that the pursuit of fitness might not be cost-effective and excepting suicidals and examples of one aspect of fitness decreasing another aspect of fitness, are there any instances in which having say, greater cardiovascular endurance, would be a bad thing?

While that may still not be narrow enough, my thought here is that there is a general context in which increased physical fitness is not detrimental - and indeed potentially beneficial.

Better get off before I fall asleep at the keyboard...

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Perhaps, but "life should be important to everyone" is contextual.

I beg to differ, but now I'll take it that you are acknowledging that your statement SHOULD be contextual. As such, I see no further reason to pursue it with you.

Aw, come on, you're going to scare away the new guy
Actually, I'm being more patient than usual because he's new.

Ehre didn't say anything explicitly contrary to what you've said; I see little reason to suggest he thinks all human life is always sacrosanct.

Okay, then you base your responses on your reasoning, and I'll base mine on my reasoning.

If we must be technical
What you call being technical, I call attempting to be more accurate. If "possibly close enough" statements are acceptable with you, that's your prerogative.

Are there any contexts in which increasing one's physical fitness (as they define it) is detrimental to that individual? Granting that the pursuit of fitness might not be cost-effective and excepting suicidals and examples of one aspect of fitness decreasing another aspect of fitness, are there any instances in which having say, greater cardiovascular endurance, would be a bad thing?

Well, to start, you are granting an awful lot, and perhaps the most significant risks involved in achieving the end result, that being increased physical fitness. One cannot get to "greater cardiovascular endurance" without the pursuit of that goal, and it's associated risks, whatever they may be in each instance.

However, to more directly answer your question, I don't know that achieving the end result could in and of itself be detrimental, but I wouldn't rule out the possibility that some increase in physical condition might affect other some physiological aspect of the body, or even perhaps some known or unknown congenital defect. For instance, is it physiological possible that an increase in muscle mass could result in pinching nerves? It sounds possible, even if unlikely. We are getting into a level of physiology which requires more knowledge than I have.

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I am very active in physical self improvement, for a variety of reasons.

First, I enjoy the human figure, I love my body. Im curious to all the things Ill physically be able to do, so I increase my strength, speed and flexibility as much as I can. Having an increased metabolism accompanied with a good diet can improve mental health, energy levels, and overal functioning throughout the day.

Second: self defense. I dont lie to people, which means that generally they can get very angry at me (and have). I want to know my body and its limitations. I want to know how and where to move, and what to do to protect myself. I want as few limitations as possible, as this allows me more flexibility (literally) in a tight situation.

Third: Pure functionality. Being able to lift something really heavy is quite useful, as is running/biking somewhere as a means of travel in a pinch can be quite useful. With weight lifting and stretching, you can perform actions that would otherwise be impossible. Ive caught falling glasses mid air with an instants notice, crawled through a crawlspace with about 2 feet of clearance only getting my hands and toes dirty, and fallen into a pushup when tripping on something without scraping my hands. When you are physically active, you cant help but know and trust your body. You cant help but remember how long you can hold your body up in certain positions, how high you can climb, how far you can throw, etc.

If youre interested in being alive, I see no reason why you wouldnt want to improve your physical health, or at least maintain it. Why be good, when you can be better?

---

If youre interested in what you can do to improve yourself try this for starters:

This takes practice and patience, but can be very benefitial for your reflexes. Get a ball that is quite bouncy, and find a wall. Sit in a chair, and bounce the ball so it hits the wall, the floor, then comes back up at you. At first, get used to catching it. Take note of your hand, which hand you use, where you move it. Learn to anticipate, concentrate on getting as good as you can at catching the ball. After you master this, close your eyes, and open them only after you hear the second bounce. This will force you to react faster and more precisely. Again, anticpate. Put your hand where the ball will be, instead of where it is. Grasp it out of the air, move your arm with its movement to ensure your grasp.

Do this every day, twice a day if you please. Make it part of your daily routine. Be creative, making the situation more challanging. In time, watch how much more efficiently you use your hands, in all tasks. Its an addiction =D

--

Edited by ColdWontRise

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This is coming from a lower case objectivist who is just passing through. I have only read Fountainhead, Atlas Shruugged, and Anthem. This does not qualify me as an Objectivist.

Your brain is part of, and dependent on you body and its systems, therefore keeping your body at an efficient level of fitness is the only logical choice.

The first part about:

if you are in a position where you need to be seen as a leader, physical appearance can be a tremendous help in gaining respect

Though largely true this is superficial in nature. The only way anyone should allow someone to lead them is if the can objectively see that this person has superior skills. In this fashion they can learn from this person while improving themselves. Sadly in real life that is not always the case.

The second part about:

Appearance (which consists of clothing, body language, and physique) can intimidate, inspire, comfort, or even anger people if you wished. All of which you can use to your advantage.

This like your other example seem to show that you are very concerned about the affect of appearance. Rational people will be more concerned with your abilities. Lesser intellects will not be able to go much beyond the superficiality of appearance.

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The second part about:

This like your other example seem to show that you are very concerned about the affect of appearance. Rational people will be more concerned with your abilities. Lesser intellects will not be able to go much beyond the superficiality of appearance.

I think a rational person will always consider a person's appearance, limiting it to the context of its importance to a given situation.

However...

One's appearance can't actually lie. The message it gives can be confusing sometimes, but it it always a statement of value. Even someone who gives no thought to their appearance is still making a value-statement; that of "I don't care about my appearance" (with all that implies).

As all human knowledge and values are interconnected, it is extremely unlikely for someone to have a strange or slovenly appearance and not have some other aspect of their personality be strange or slovenly. One's appearance can give clues to almost any aspect of one's life: wealth or poverty, neatness or slobbishness, choice of career and respect for that career, hobbies, political affiliation, etc.

(This isn't "second-handedness." To dress to reflect the person that you are is not a kind of pathological concern for the opinions of others. To dress to reflect a person that you aren't, I think, would be second-handed.)

Someone who gives the message "I don't care about my appearance" is essentially saying "screw you" to everyone who looks at them; not only by looking bad aesthetically, but by saying "I don't care if my appearance gives out confusing or mixed signals... that it doesn't well represent my character or intentions. Perhaps I enjoy confusing or frustrating people. Or perhaps I'm just that lazy." In a way, it could be said that it does represent their character or intentions; as being a particular kind of malcontent.

None of which is a positive statement of character.

Uberzilla, you're a self-admitted hermit who has rejected society as such to the greatest degree that you can. That's your personal context and I think you're letting it dictate your advice on appearances. I don't think that advice is at all well-suited for people who aren't hermits.

Am I saying that one can never respect or work for or work with someone with a bad appearance? No, if their skills or values are great enough to overwhealm it. But that's just it: they have a point against them which they must work to overwhealm.

(to add some useful context, when I was younger I used to think in EXACTLY those terms "lesser intellects won't be able to go beyond the superficiality of appearance." It's scary how much that sounds like I used to. But as I hope I've illustrated, that is an attitude that is not in line with reality.)

Edited by Inspector

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I was actually introduced to philosophy through the works of a bodybuilder, called Mike Mentzer. Although he is dead now, he was an Objectivist, and he brought radical new theories to the world of bodybuilding. His best book, Heavy Duty 2: Mind and Body is an excellent mix of philosophy and weight training advice:

"It is only within the context of having properly developed your mind that you will be able to truly enjoy the achievement of your material values, including that of a more muscular body".

(Heavy Duty 2)

Although I dont agree with his method, I appreciate the fact that he rigorously applied logic to build a rational theory of weight training. He is also a brilliant writer, by introducing me to Objectivism, his books literally saved my life.

www.mikementzer.com

regards,

Nick

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8 months ago I weighed over 200lbs. I abused nicotine and caffeine, and thought "good" food was the same thing as enjoying life. That´s until I figured how fucking wrong I was. So, today it´s more like 150lbs and i´m alot healthier, more confident and I love what I see in the mirror.

I think that to fully enjoy your life you need to live healthy. Of course, this must be within every individuals context. However, no one can separate 'life' from 'health' and expect to get away with it. That is why a rational man should enjoy keeping his body in shape and living a healthy life(even enjoying the taste of healthy food) - to let the body express ones mind and values.

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I, too, think that body fitness should parallel mind fitness in importance amongst Objectivists - Rand alludes to physical activies by some of her heroes that would not be possible for unfit folk. However, I have gone to one ARI convention and long ago one TOC convention and, after factoring out the youth crowd , alas Objectivists just look like the general population. Where I expected to see 40-something and older folk appear suave and sophisticated and move or stand with no apparent effort, the norm was high fat content skins with complexions that suggested an inner plea for decent food and a lifestyle suitable for the living. I would be interested to know if anyone else on this blog shares my opinion.

Cecil Williams

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Pat's got an impressive range of motion there, a whole one inch with his arms on his legs.Since I've been modelling my workout after him, I start with Pat Robertson presses then move on to Evangelical Easy-Bar extensions or superset with Christian cable crossover curls.

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Did you know that Pat Robertson can leg-press 2000 pounds! How does he do it?

Where does Pat find the time and energy to host a daily, national TV show, head a world-wide ministry, develop visionary scholars, while traveling the globe as a statesman?

One of Pat’s secrets to keeping his energy high and his vitality soaring is his age-defying protein shake. Pat developed a delicious, refreshing shake, filled with energy-producing nutrients.

I remember seeing that a couple years back. If I remember correctly, the super-shake recipe could be had for a nominal fee. It must be awesome to be rewarded with super-human strength for doing God's work.

Well, I'm off to the gym to load the press up with 45lb plates and do some 1/2 inch reps.

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