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Ignorance, Stupidity & Confusion
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John Peterson John Peterson is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2008
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07-13-2017, 11:08 AM
Hello Everyone,

I received an e-mail from a man that is very angry with me for having written the article: "Do You Still Think Weight Training is Wrong?"

He wrote saying that the way the article was written made him feel as though I was saying that everyone that trains with weights is ignorant and stupid. This is how he worded it in his email, "I'll I admit that I have had lots of injuries over the years and in just a few weeks I am having shoulder replacement surgery. But you need to come down off your high horse because your article makes me ( and I am sure lots of other people) feel like I brought all the pain and injury on myself because of my own ignorance and stupidity."

First off, I had no intention of making anyone feel ignorant or stupid...NOT EVEN REMOTELY.

Here is the article:

But since he brought it up lets look at the words ignorance and stupidity in the relation to what people are being taught about exercise. I'll make it very brief.

Ignorance: can be defined in this instance as doing something without having any idea of the negative consequences that could be attached to whatever action it is you are doing. In other words, you simply do not know. In one way or another we have all been there. For example, I ran long distance of 10 miles or more on a daily basis for more than a decade and also ran both marathons and ultra marathons having no idea of the harm I was doing to body or even my hormone balance at the time. Why was that the case? Because I bought into the propaganda about the benefits of running and never gave a thought to the down side. Why was that the case? Because I believed Runner's World and the pro running propaganda it presented. In my case I was ignorant to a point because I read only pro running propaganda. Then in 1984 Jim Fixx the author of 'The Complete Book of Running' died of a coronary while out on a daily and it was then that I began investigating the downside of distance running. I went from ignorant to informed.

Stupidity: in some cases can be defined as being totally aware of the negative consequences of an action but going ahead and doing it anyway. In my case as mentioned above, I became totally aware that distance running did not have anywhere near the benefits ascribed to it in Runner's World but I kept running in spite of it until 1987 when a friend of mine died on his early morning run. At that point, I realized that this it was stupid to continue running 10 or more miles daily (some days many more) and that it was in no way enhancing my physique or protecting me from heart disease. I gave up long distance running. I still ran but most of my runs were 3 to 5 miles. Now days I train Intervals. For me to have kept running 10 or more miles daily and knowing what I knew would have been the height of stupidity.

There is however another word that was not used in the man's e-mail that may fit what has actually happened to him and the vast majority of other men that have taken up training only to become disillusioned. That word is "confusion".

Confusion: is neither 'ignorance' or 'stupidity' but it is what happens when we buy into a certain paradigm with the best of intentions and after devoting ourselves to it we discover that the promised results were/are not forthcoming and in some cases the exact opposite has happened. In other words, our own personal experience tells us that whatever it is "ain't workin'" and it is then that we become totally disillusioned and confused. It is when we work through confusion that we attain wisdom.

Bottom line: I think most of us in one way or another have been ignorant, stupid & confused at some point. The good news is that we can also become very wise as a result of having experienced and worked through 'ignorance', 'stupidity' and 'confusion'.

---John Peterson

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