Liftosophy Part I- Satan, Nietzsche, and Schelling
Single most important thing I’ve learned as a
personal trainer: Ain’t nobody gonna get strong if I can’t get in their mind.
I’m less a coach and more a supremely underqualified psychoanalyst. The
problem’s definitions: Folks are all
ate up with the word virus and think they know what “strong” means when the
strongest person they ever knew was that one roommate back in college that
could carry all the grocery bags in one trip. What ever happened to people
reading the Bible? At least the book of Judges should be required reading at
least once a year, make people meditate on the idea that Samson–with 1100BC nutrition and exercise
equipment and no wrist wraps or pre-workouts–killed a lion with his bare
hands, slaughtered an army regiment with a donkey’s jawbone, then pulled down a
lack of squat shoes, belt, notebooks, and fucks given. Who ever said the Bible
had nothing to offer?
“But ahhhh, no, that’s not scientific!” Sure.
But you’re still subscribed to Nutritional
Trends Monthly, which told you that saturated fat was Satan incarnate (and
not in a fun way), rather than venerating it as the nigh-unmatched sex-and-muscle fuel it is.
Science, schmience. It’s just another
epistemological system among many, and not even a particularly good one for our
purposes.By nature, it deals only in
generalities: Gotta have enough test subjects to allow for statistical
significance. But nobody is in any sense a generality. We’re indisputably particular, so science doesn’t apply, at
least not without a significant leap of faith. Science is the delusional acid-head
that ran through your freshman dorm screaming that every thought he had was
some final epiphany, that all humanity is One. “Eureka!”
A better epistemological framework for
lifters: Spirituality. Jamie has talked about the usefulness of chaos magic on
this blog before, but spiritual liftosophy could use
some more elaboration:
In his thunderfuck banger of a dissertation, The Birth of Tragedy, Friedrich Nietzsche explained a basic duality
by which to organize behaviors. Shit’s either Apollonian or Dionysian. The
Apollonian is your average modern powerlifter. Numbers, thorough thoughtfulness
and a clear head. Fairly self-explanatory, really. Apollo was the only god
boring and routine-oriented enough for the other gods to trust him to pull the
sun across the sky every day. He wore knee sleeves into battle and would only
do three sets of javelin throws per day for fear of overtraining. (Read this in
the Iliad somewhere, but I can’t for
the life of me remember the page.)
The important half for us is the Dionysian.
Dionysus was the half man, half goat god of orgies, metal, and getting
smashed–basically the ancient Greek GG
Allin. It was Dionysus that Benny Podda channeled as he “ran straight through a wall, Wile E. Coyote-style”
to warm up for a lift.
Nietzsche, ca. 1867. According to eminent scholar Dr. Rector T. Luge, in his
prime Nietzsche could deadlift six average-sized tightrope walkers while
simultaneously pleasuring an entire Prussian brothel and breaking a wild horse.
Check out Dr. Luge’s book, Empathology, from German metal label and publishing
house Bleeding Heart Nihilist, for more on this legendary badass. The book
drops in early 2019.
The mental difference between channeling
Apollo and Dionysus? Same difference as the one between Jehovah and Satan. You
can guess which is which. The god of rules and the god of freedom: The god of
artifice and the god of nature. There’s good, sound reason that Satan and
Dionysus are generally depicted with the same horns.
Which brings us around to a somewhat more
obscure philosopher. Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling. In his face melting
opus Ages of the World, Friedrich,
maybe unintentionally, lays down a description of the opposition between
Apollonian and Dionysian (or Jehovah and Satanic) action. His idea is that the
force that drives personal development–and even time itself–is the conflict,
in each individual person, between “Being” and “what-is”–or, we could say,
between verbiness and nouniness.
Schelling himself is clearly working from a
Christian basis. But the way he describes “Being” is far closer to Satan than
to the Jehovah with whom he identifies. The conflict, he says, between Being
(or verbiness, unrestrained activity) and what-is (or nouniness,
self-reflective identity) is that each person’s verbiness struggles toward development, fights to burst out of the
restrictive embrace of nouniness.
In less technical terms, we each struggle
internally between being active and
being defined–or between being
frenetically free and being restricted by definitions and planning.
It’s easy to see which of these categories
correspond to and oppose each other. Frenetic freedom-Satanism-Dionysian vs.
Look like anyone we know?
So, there’s a whole metric shitload and a half
of philosophical jargon. What’s the point? Point is from the corpsefucking beginnings of Western Civilization in
Greece and all through its development and into the present day roughly the
same duality has dominated philosophical discourse and individual lives. And
that same duality is what separates really fucking great athletes and really
fucking mediocre athletes right fucking now. Which grouping of characteristics
fit to which group of athletes should be abundantly clear at this point. If I
were to ask, “Which divine force caused the Irish warrior Cú
Chulainn’s calves to twist to the fronts of his shins before he ran
off into battle to slaughter armies and fuck bitches?”, nobody should answer,
The question, then, becomes, “How do we fill
ourselves with the celestial goaty light of Dionysus?”
The answer: Don’t try so fucking hard. The
process is one of letting go, not of
doing one more anal-retentive thing to move one step further. Fuck that Kantian
progressive noise. Kant was a cunt, and that’s
the end of that.
We’ve come, now, through a multidirectional
philosophical framework, to the reason drinking is generally way better than people expect for lifters.
Getting smashed off your ass, in one way or the other, is the sacrament of the
cult of Dionysus, the cult of the verbs rather than the nouns, the cult of the
berserkers, those who can, by their indomitable Spirits, progress by more than
0.87% RPE per week, and who will then go and fuck enough men/women/donkeys to
make Lars von Trier and a coast full of Colombian men blush, then pour
Karo syrup in the gas tanks of every piece of industrial equipment they can lay
their eyes on, until they finally exhaust what’s reasonable for any demigod in
a single day and return home to sleep, caring not whether they hit eight hours
or whether they awaken at the dead end of a sleep cycle or whatever bullshit is
trending right now.
The point is not technique. There comes a point in a lifter’s life where they
can perform a perfect squat while sleeping and solving a Rubik’s cube. The
point is not planning. There likewise comes a point in a lifter’s life where
they know exactly what they should do and when, simply by feeling what it’s
like to inhabit their body. And the point is not calculations. It is not
empirical verification. And it is certainly not double-blind whatever-the-fuck
or optimal peri-workout vitamin L ratios or electrolytes or foam rollers or squat
shoes or X-brand straps or Y-brand sleeves or Z-brand belt or ß-brand chalk or
monohydrate/malate or monolift vs. walkout or conventional vs. sumo or wide vs.
narrow or natty vs. cousin fucking
juiced or macromesomicro molotov-cycles or any
of that overanalytical horseshit.
The point is that if you’re living any type of
life that any self-preserving psychologist would call “pro-social” or
“well-adjusted,” lifting may well be the only chance you have in your
day-to-day to praise fucking Satan, to metaphorically whip your dick out and
swirl like a bloody calloused dervish into a maenad-and-satyr orgy. To leave
the strait-jacket embrace of self-conscious “stability” required by virtually
every profession and vocation–to forget where your body’s and mind’s boundaries
are and flood the whole earth with exuberance.
what we’re going for is a sense of self that looks something like this painting.
And if you value it as such, it can be
transcendent. And if it’s transcendent, your performance in it will be exactly
as transcendent. Congregation, flip your Bibles to Arnold Ch. 69 verse 666:
“When I am weightlifting it is feeling like having sex, and when I am having
sex it is feeling like weightlifting.” Sure, genetic anomaly, blech,
whatever–fuck all that spiritually diseased slave morality crab shit. Again, not the
point. Point is he did exactly what this
whole article has been talking about. There are very few moments of
full-force release offered by the
sick caricature that is modern society. So, it is in every decent person’s
mental and physical best interest to embrace such moments when they’re
That is, the point is not even performance.
The point is to go fucking berserk because it’s a great time. The rest will