DO THIS: Return from the body to the mind as soon as possible…

Been thinking quite a bit lately about the role of exercise in relation to leading a good life and philosophy.  Others have pontificated quite well on the Stoic view of exercise.  Here are my thoughts.

Senaca probably commented the most in detail about the relationship between the developing the mind and developing the body.  In summary, he wrote:

“There are short and simple exercises which will tire the body without undue delay and save what needs especially close accounting for, time. There is running, swinging weights about and jumping — either high-jumping or long-jumping … pick out any of these for ease and straightforwardness. But whatever you do, return from body to mind very soon.”

His main concern was that time spent on the body was time taken away from the mind.  Development of the mind is the primary Stoic goal in life. While I tend to agree that one should “return from the body to the mind very soon,” without a sufficiently healthy body, development of the mind can be severely hindered.   Today we have many more efficient ways to develop the body in less time than were available to Seneca.  At Bulletproof Labs, we have a couple of those technologies including a machine  that gives the hormonal response of a 3 hour work out in 21 minutes, a computer controlled weight machine that gives a week’s worth of strength training in 12 minutes, and a water vapor machine that increases cardio capacity by 20% in three 15 minute sessions sitting in a chair.  Man’s mind has been focused on making the body development more efficient and we now have some amazing hacks.

So my summary.  Take advantage of modern body development technologies to minimize the time spend on body development while keeping a strong and healthy infrastructure for mind development.


Also published on Medium.

3 thoughts on “DO THIS: Return from the body to the mind as soon as possible…”

  1. Wow! Haven’t read previous posts, but fascinating technology. It sounds interested in optimization rather than balance.

    “Get out of your body” was great grab, as I left stoicism in the philosophy books and the 3rd century and migrated on toward my recent perspective, which has led me to maximize time spent getting BACK to my body as much as possible, and to thereby find that much sought “Good Life” (a la Grandfathers Plato/Aristotle).

    Spinoza (for reference, a thinker in the 1600s, significantly after Zeno’s 3rd century Stoic contemplations) has a conversationally relevant snippet – “Whatever increases, decreases, limits, or extends the body’s power of action, increases, decreases, limits, or extends the mind’s power of action. And whatever increases, decreases, limits, or extends the mind’s power of action, also increases, decreases, limits, or extends the body’s power of action.” A different perspective.

    I’m curious to engage and more deeply understand your perspective. At issue could be semantics – is it possible that definitions differ? And if we were to determined they did not, I’d love to be convinced: why would I possibly want to make any effort to be in my mind?

    Again, at the end of the day it’s fascinating technology, thank you for sharing.

  2. Writing as the chairman of Crippled Philosophers Review, I will start by noting that “[W]ithout a sufficiently healthy body, development of the mind can be severely hindered” is a pointless remark. Yes, it can be hindered by an unhealthy body, but it can be hindered just as much by many other things. For example, mistaking a neo-Platonist division of mind and body as a Stoic idea can be such a hindrance. Another example would be ignoring modern knowledge about mind and body unity in favor of ancient an misunderstanding of psychology.

    The fundamental flaw in this suggestion is that the mind is inseparable the the brain, which is a part of the body. So, any move from the body will entail a move from the brain (thus also from the mind) as well. Moreover, any thinker worth reading or listening to will utilize all the data of experience, including what is given to experience through a fully immersed bodily engagement in the world.

    Perhaps a more apt suggestion would be to return from the blogosphere to the library as soon as possible.

    1. touche. Yes, I agree that the modern understand of mind/body unity was definitely missed by the Stoics. Thank you for you comment and clarification. My point in noting Seneca here was simply to remind myself to not get carried away with the body which I had tended to do in my younger years.

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