So I had an enthusiastic reader send in what I thought was an excellent synopsis of “Movement & Meaning” and I am including it here.
Even though the book is written in a narrative non-fiction format and takes you on a wild ride through history, there are some key points here you may want to review if you’ve read the book. If you haven’t I wouldn’t suggest skipping the book, but this could wet your appetite for more learning and self-discovery.
I’ve included my comments in bold after the reader’s comments:
What a coincidence to see your email. I literally just finished reading your book. I’m on the return leg of an awesome vacation , and it was the perfect opportunity to finish your book.
I read the ebook version on iPhone kindle ap and made some notes as I read to go back and review some of the more profound ideas you touched on (a bit nerdy but that’s me). Here are my notes, book report if you will:
1. We are a species that was created to be on the move in order to survive. It’s on our DNA and when don’t stay true to our intended biological purpose our minds and body start to reject a non active lifestyle with symptoms to the mind and or body.
At our very core, we are a species built on movement. When we are not moving, we are not functioning as we are designed and this presents physical and mental health challenges.
2. We all need “escapes” from our stressful realities as a way to recharge and balance our lives. Some escapes are good/great. Addictions are simply extreme forms of unhealthy escape driven by avoidance to problems.
Life is difficult. Some of the things we do to distract ourselves like drugs, alcohol, debt-fueled shopping, overwork, illicit behavior, compulsive behavior, and other things are negative, while positive outlets for anxiety give our lives meaning and fulfillment – spirituality, friendships, family, work, religion, community, hobbies, play, exercise, study.
3. Best to face realty head on (avoidance to major problems will cause level of unhealthy stress).
When we don’t deal with problems head on, they get bigger.
4. Mostly We’ve been sold a bill of goods in form of Meds to treat poorly diagnosed mental health issues. Workout can be just as effective with no side effects.
There is a place for meds, but they are probably overprescribed. Change is what is needed.
5. I really was impressed with the thoughts on pursuit of happiness. I liked the quote about life is hard when it’s easy and easy when it’s hard. Recognize happiness will never be a permanent state of mind and the less you pursue it and just live life the best you know how the more likely you’ll be happy.
One doesn’t become happy by trying to be happy. One becomes happy when ones is happy with one’s self. Virtue is hard but it creates happiness.
6. Great book references especially want to read now
The coming dark ages by Maggie Jackson and a. Huxley
Brave new world…(wow Huxley sounds right on the money!!! Very scary ! ). I saw 1984 and was like a horror movie for me back in the day.
Bureaucratic manipulation and manipulative relationships are an everyday part of our lives, and most people are not even aware of things being this way. They can contribute to mental illness.
7. The natural conflict of how we see our true self and what we present to the world if it’s out of whack will tear people up inside.
Being obsessed with pleasing others and status consciousness can contribute to depression and mental health challenges.
8. Reality can be hard to swallow when our ego is invested in some others perspective that is not real and we have based our actions and beliefs on a falsehood .
We lie to ourselves, and sometimes these lies are destructive. It is best to be honest and courageous about life and what we need to work on and improve.
9. I love your concepts of territories vs hierarchy. Reminds me of coveys perspective on “roles”.
The heroic age, the tribal age, the Christian Medieval age, and even the industrial age all had strict social roles and hierarchies. These hierarchies created a type of psychic comfort and roles for people by which they could find meaning. The technological information age has torn down many of these structures, for better or worse. This is one reason mental illness is so prevalent- people don’t know where they belong. Hierarchies are not necessarily bad, and will always be with us, but one way to create structures of “knowing” is to view life as “territories”- predictable and / or structured hobbies, relationships, and work. This is art, work, religion, family, and so on done for it’s own good, not because it’s been forced on us or dictated to us by an unchosen authority.
10. I’d like to understand more of your perspective on the Chinese proverb “3 rules”.
If you’re going to play the game decide ahead of time 1) The rules 2) the goal, 3) the quitting time. Many people are manipulated in social structures they did not choose to participate in. Life is inherently social and we must have the courage to be social, and I am an advocate of embracing roles but I think it is wise to choose which social structures build up people and communities and which types tear them down. This comes down to honest communication- with yourself, with others.
11. A family member has early onset dementia and I am interested if exercise can slow it down. Will discuss with my family. The whole idea of keeping active and social and fit is all interrelated and by excluding yourself you keep your mind less active you’re actually making it worse.
Try something new! Novelty builds brain cells, the more awkward the better.
12. Think of life in terms of telling a story.
This is a HUGE concept, and one I will be exploring in great detail in essays to come. I stumbled on this in the research for the book, but what I included was only the tip of the iceberg. For life to make sense, we need to be part of a bigger story. Otherwise, we can turn in on ourselves in fear, paranoia, or anxiety.
13. Exercise won’t solve all your problems but it’s important piece of the overall puzzle to a fulfilling life.
If you enjoyed the book, please send in your comments.
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