Friday, September 21, 2012

 Ask a fish, “How’s the water?” The fish replies, “What water?”

The question is, if land life emerged from the sea, imagine what that evolutionary step might look like when humans become fully acclimatized to their environment of gravity? 

“We don't know who discovered water, but we know it wasn't the fish.”
“One thing about which fish know exactly nothing is water, since they have no anti-environment which would enable them to perceive the element they live in.” 

― Marshall McLuhan

The great man once again makes a great point. You will recall, "The medium is the message." 

As far as we can tell fish indeed don’t know about their living medium: water. As such, anyway. And definitely not in an intellectual, conceptual way — in the way, for example, we humans know about gravity; it is, if you will, our environmental, living medium. But, like the fish, because gravity is for us so everpresent and constant we too are not aware of it, as such.

The creatures of the sea, however, do seem to have adapted quite thoroughly to their aqueous home. They clearly have a fully evolved proprioceptive relationship to it. A darn sight better that humans have with theirs.

Unlike the fish we have the ability to differentiate the world we inhabit. Though we still don’t know what gravity is in the full scientific sense, we do have knowledge about its workings. Every architect and building trades worker knows that things have to be put together so at their center it's “plumb and square”; in ordinary terms, straight and level. It doesn’t take long before the child knows the blocks have to be stacked up nicely in a straight line in order to stay upright in a tall high stack.

From birth, humans too, have a proprioceptive relationship to their medium, the field of gravity. In our infant years the pull of gravity may not be recognized as such, but it certainly factors into our first attempts to sit up and stand up. Then on throughout our lives as a constant factor  in all our movements and designs. To put a point on it: no gravity, no Soap Box Derby.

But, in a very real sense the creatures of the sea have something to teach us. We can plainly see, whatever we may have to say about what they know, the swimming things know how to get around in their habitat. On the other hand, if you look at humans with even a simple textbook understanding of anatomical design and the laws of physics you will plainly see that us walking folk are not anywhere near our full potential to be adapted to the dictates of gravity.

The average human being manifests only a rough approximation of uprightness in the makeup of their body that we know is possible (essential?) from anatomy and physics. Sure, the Leaning Tower of Pisa is a charming sight, but a similar situation in the culture of humans is so commonplace it goes unnoticed. Oh we see it alright, but don't register a firm grasp of the obvious, there is a fight with gravity going on.

What price do we pay for not noticing? In this instance, we are discussing the way gravity works on the human body. Plumb and square is the core design for every structure on earth; perhaps it’s time for us to recognize the dictates of gravity, not just as a concept, but as a percept. Something to be inculcated into the fabric of our tissues. Straight and level.

The simplest way is to start using your body correctly. The pattern will adjust itself accordingly. For personalized assistance, Rolf Structural Integration is definitive and peerless.

Since I am a dedicated lifelong practitioner of this approach to human health and well being naturally I would like everyone to, as they say, "Come on down!" But an essential part of the contract we have with our clients is to foster independence and self-reliance. So, since I know you have all that you need at your fingertips, let me tell you that I am not attempting to convince you to do anything other than what your inner prompting tell you. Take this as encouragement to become conscious of the very direct signals your body is sending that tell you when you are with gravity and when you are against it. Keep doing the former, adjust the latter.

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