Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Recreation in Transition

Rob Hopkins writes on "Does Transition mean buns of steel?"

One of the things that YouTube does is to offer you other videos you might enjoy once you’ve finished the one you’re watching. . . Plenty of head-scratching here therefore when . . one of my talks is accompanied by a featured video called ‘FlexMini Firmer Buttocks’

Apparently the Buns video only showed up in the UK.

One of the commenters, Jennifer, responds that some folk over 60 still cycle long distances. This is my response to Jennifer, with all respect:



I think there is another side to physical activity.

Many of us on the cusp of 60 or past grew up under the influence of cultures at home, that were handed down from times of harsh necessity. Gardening, carpentry, masonry and other construction without power tools set standards of "work" that emphasized strength, endurance, and manual skill. The emergence of power tools is still transforming that expectation.

But the insidious changes come from mass media. From cartoons to watching talking heads relate news, it is demonstrated that "work" today is measured in cash received for intangibles. Where the odd clerk task used to be acceptable but not highly revered, today governments and big money make desk work and computer work the epitome of desirable work.

Here in America, the "war on poverty", the "social safety net" and unemployment payments tacitly approve not working at all.

Cycling for pleasure, like watching TV or playing video games, or the proliferation (and cash flows!) of professional sports is a form of recreation. My grandparents relied on drink and cards, and family gatherings, for recreation in odd, cherished hours. Modern life presumes a degree of indolent lifestyle, even in the absence of affluence, without the physical activity of earlier times or the lifestyle discipline of those actually affluent.

In one sense, then, I suppose Transition recognizes the need for lifestyle change. One of the impacts of that change is to choose to reject the application of cheap energy to eliminate boring, repetitive, and/or arduous daily tasks. but I suspect the (desired?) impact will be bodies that are tougher, and people less engaged in frivolous obsession with body shapes and coverings. That is, the buns might tighten, along with the rest, but fewer will be paying attention.

Gardens will be tended, food and shelter secured, families will thrive. Those are reasons health is needed. Active skills are useful in helping neighbors, or in rebuilding after ravages of weather, flood, fire, and other mayhem.

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