There’s a certain line that goes around when we talk about well-being. It’s the concept of the renaissance man. He’s a Jack-of-all-trades character. He can change oil and discuss Marxism.
It’s sort of an impossible feat. Always has been. Our economy relies on division of labor.
But there’s a minor form of this idea with developing sound minds and sound bodies.
“Quality is an attitude of the mind,” says Architect Norman Foster. That means being the best you can with health and intellect, and letting the trash of culture go to the side.
I’m not necessarily talking about productivity here. Nor am I referring to hustle culture.
I’m talking about putting your best self forward.
I did Pilates with my wife this week. Today was my second time.
I’ll admit I was worried at first. The last time I worked out in front of somebody was over a decade ago. Being self-conscious is part of my modus operandi.
But I’ve also always tried to be as open minded as possible, and while I cant say I’ve gotten better, I do think it’s a base trait of mine that is…admirable.
Going to Pilates is a detective series about your own body. You’re unraveling clues that point to muscles and parts of yourself you didn’t even know existed.
I’m doing planks and pivot maneuvers that remind me of the versatility of the body, its many avenues and lanes and paths. Like Sherlock and his London, I’ve realized that many alleys in my body have gone dark. It turns out that so many parts are unnecessary to the case of living, of typing in a chair, or even of running on an elliptical.
Coronavirus is teaching us the same things about society. It’s a stress test, what Sam Harris has been calling the “dress rehearsal” for the much bigger pandemic around the corner. We’ve learned that, logistically, we are far from prepared.
And as the virus spreads, we’re going to learn how under equipped our medical facilities are.
When it comes to the body, and when it comes to the mind, how do we put our best self forward?
Doing the Pilates workout reminded me that there are so many facets to my own selfhood. And that just as I’ve approached my abs with trepidation, we have also turned a blind eye to mass sickness.
Staying open minded can help us develop sound minds and bodies. And those creatures of well-being that we nurture can weather the hard times in the future.
When the stocks hit rock bottom, and people lock themselves in their homes, we are in dire need of a renaissance. Lets start with the selves we’ve been given.