The older I get, the more obvious it becomes to me that to keep breathing, one has to keep moving. Standing or sitting still for long periods of time simply isn’t a viable option. That kind of prolonged inactivity has but one possible outcome. Well, you’re going to get the same “outcome” no matter what, but regular movement will, at the very least, improve your odds of putting it off for a bit longer. That, of course, goes for your brain as well. Once it stops working, you might as well throw in the towel.
Not that aging is a prerequisite for that kind of stagnation. These days inactivity seems to be the rule across all age groups (at least in this country). We’re not only getting soft in the middle, we’re getting soft in the head as well. Looking for some evidence? The recent midterm elections here should provide adequate proof of that hypothesis. How else do we explain some of the Tea Party nonsense? On what planet does nominating people like Christine O’Donnell or Sharron Angle to be U. S. senators make any sense? Richard Nixon might have been a crook, but he was no village idiot. No, we’re definitely in decline as far as a national IQ is concerned. Maybe it’s the internet (that’s my wife’s theory, anyway) or maybe it’s the deterioration of our educational system, or maybe it’s something else. Most likely it’s a combination of things. Whatever the cause, we’re losing ground fast.
Personally, I think there is some kind of inverse correlation between physical girth and mental capability. Put simply, the more sedentary we get, the dumber we get. Collectively, I mean. There are obviously very intelligent couch potatoes in our midst. And there are those who are dumber than a box of rocks who can run marathons. But they are outliers, I think. In general, as people become more and more immobile, they also become less active mentally. Their idea of mental stimulation is watching “Jeopardy” every night. And maybe a few reality shows like “The Biggest Loser” or “Dancing With the Stars” or maybe Sarah Palin’s new show on TLC.
Heck, if you followed the recent elections and saw some of the massive Tea Party group hugs, you saw a hell of a lot of those kinds of people. Most of them were carrying signs saying something about “getting back to the constitution”. And most of those same folks had no freaking clue what’s in that particular document. Much less what it might mean.
Scary stuff. Thinking has apparently become obsolete. Thinking while in possession of actual facts even more so. I suppose the rationale is simple. If “journalists” like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, and the rest of that crew can say whatever pops into their heads, why can’t Joe or Jill Sixpack? All they’re really doing is regurgitating the same toxic nonsense that’s been poured into their ears.
Is there any hope? Well, we survived McCarthyism some 60 or so years ago. We also survived the Manifest Destiny crowd in the middle of the 19th century. So we’ll probably survive this bunch. Some measure of sanity will return. Eventually.
As for me, I’ll just keep moving and breathing and (hopefully) thinking. Swimming upstream, so to speak.