Thursday, July 17, 2014

A man should be strong

The very first post I made on this blog was about strength.
I was rereading Alasdair MacIntyre the other day and something that had never seemed terribly significant or controversial jumped out at me. This: 
  • At least some of the items in a homeric list of the aretai would clearly not be counted by most of us as virtues at all, physical strength being the most obvious example. (After Virtue p181) 
I should preface this by saying that MacIntyre is surpassed by only Jane Austen in my personal pantheon of moral thinkers. 
That said, I still think he is wrong. Physical strength isn't the most significant virtue but I think it is a virtue and I think we all know it is.
I am more convinced than ever of this truth. A man should be strong. I appreciate that there are men who are limited in their ability to become strong for genetic reasons or because of disability or disease. Otherwise, if you are a man, you should be strong.

I don't mention that as a moral imperative, although it is. But forget morality: you will be better and you will have a better life if you are physically strong.

The temptation at this point might be to say that we value moral or emotional strength more than physical strength. Perhaps, but here is the thing, you will have more moral and emotional strength if you are physically strong.

That has really been hitting home for me as I get older. I feel swelling emotions sometimes—most recently it happened while listening to The King Sisters sing "Aloha Oe"—and this tells me that my hormones are getting out of whack. I need more muscle and less fat or else I'll become more and more emotional and that is not a good thing in a man.

A big part of my self-improvement project is going to physical training. I'm going up my strength training for starters. And I'm going to work on running, nothing too long, up to 5k with lots of intervals to build speed.

I've also been reading about diet modifications that will help with hormones and I'm going to start doing that too.

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