Tuesday, 15 December 2015

HEGEL on bodybuilding: Die Wissenschaft der Logik (of weightlifting)

This week, The Fitness Philosopher interviews Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831) on what philosophy can do for fitness.

ME: Thank you Hegel for taking the time to talk about philosophy and fitness.


HEGEL: Call me George. I thank you for the invitation to come and speculate.

ME: What can philosophy do for fitness?

HEGEL: While I have something to say philosophically about every little detail involved with the idea of fitness, but I propose I discuss only weightlifting and its relation to the Absolute.

ME: Well, yeah sure.

HEGEL: Think of oneself as a thesis or a moment. Think of a heavy barbell as your anti-thesis or dialectic. Normally your body is free to move forward through time and space. However, when you put a heavy barbell on your shoulders, your freedom is taken away. Yet the possibility of resistance is there, and so you resist the weight and squat, but you squat until you drop. Now dropping, something happens, the thesis is transformed by the antithesis. A new you, a new synthesis of the old you has been transformed by the squats. In the coming days, with proper food and rest, a new body is born. This can be repeated over and over in the name of perfection, just as the spirit transforms through history. 



ME: Ok, that was pretty heavy, thanks. So what type of training would you recommend?

HEGEL: Heavy, ok try a lift this one. As I once wrote in a letter. “I adhere to the view that the world spirit has given the age marching orders. These orders are being obeyed. The world spirit, this essential, proceeds irresistibly like a closely drawn armored phalanx advancing with imperceptible movement, much as the sun through thick and thin. Innumerable light troops flank it on all sides, throwing themselves into the balance for or against its progress, though most of them are entirely ignorant of what is at stake and merely take head blows as from an invisible hand.”

ME: Hmm, let me think about that for a couple months. And training?

Only a part of Arnold Schwarzenegger's Advanced Volume Workout-MWF


HEGEL: Volume, volume, volume. So that means of course being very aware of the relationship of quantity and quality. The exercises themselves, when executed correctly, matter less than the overall lifestyle one surrounds that particular piece of time and space with. Meaning, use basic bodybuilding exercises, medium weight, with good form for plenty of reps and sets. Hit all the body parts equally, but aim for the long run, as in do not overdo the training. Nevertheless, do not skip cardio. Follow with sufficient rest and adequate nutrition. However, one must do, it is more than just the thought process. As I wrote in the Science of Logic, “…as if one could learn how to digest and move about by studying anatomy and physiology.”


ME: Thanks very much George, very German approach. 

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