I read through the entire article on Jessica Ennis, the Heptathlon Gold Medal winner in yesterday’s UK Daily Mail. There was a lot of material there, I surprised myself on the discipline I allowed myself to start at the top and, as the Mad Queen of Alice advised, to keep going until I reached the end and then stop.
In that aftermath, I am delighted to discover that there is a blossoming generation in the world who have not mistaken the splendors of discipline for odious routine.
An error accomplished to excess by my generation of the 60’s.
In fact, Ennis has, along with the multitude of trainers she chose, managed to not fall into a trap of throwing oneself into repetitive, grueling and disastrous repetition. It’s very inspiring indeed to read about the way they decided to train, because contrary to all conventional wisdom, they discovered that variation and flexibility in routine makes for a better organized body and mind.
Now that’s kind of fascinating. And I’m thinking well hoorah for Ennis and furthermore, hoorah for the human body! The soldier-like drilling that has gotten so much credit in the past of pushing just to the edge of disintegration was abandoned by this Gold Medal winner. Which leads one to inspect how often that has been accepted and whether or not it worked.
Hitler’s soldiers were disallowed infractions, for instance, which led to a befuddled robotic state in which common sense went unpraised and was indeed a dangerous side step. I include the troops of Stalin, Chairman Mao, Mussolini, Emperor Hito, Muslim extremists, and all other hysteria-driven life-of-anyone-others sacrificing dictators.
God knows what the Spartans actually did, the troops of Alexander the Great, but they won battles which, though just as deadly to the enemy, did considerable transforming with improving the state of civilization in their wake.
Back to the main point which is that we are witnessing a brilliant new approach to extraordinary discipline which led to a Gold Medal Olympian Win. For Ennis, and likely in some or all ways, the other winning contestants in this world wide battle.
The Olympics also had an air of not just trouncing the opponent, but pushing the human body and human experience to previously unattained heights. And in the process discovering what the human body likes and responds to best. Understanding ourselves. Which I suspect will have untold ramifications in all human activity, including the elusive understanding of the universe in which we find ourselves and what we are doing in it.
Hoorah for Olympics 2012, for the newly energized Brits, and the 41 Gold Medal Winning Americans!