Sunday, July 08, 2007

More Lack of Understanding

Following on from the last post this is another example of an academic not understanding running.

In this puritanical age in which we live, it is perhaps unnecessary to labour the point that one should not always give way to immediate gratification. Paradoxically, it may be more important to stress the folly of avoiding such gratification without checking that the long-term benefits are really worth it. America has become a nation of masochists who spend hours aimlessly jogging and depriving themselves of all but the nastiest foodstuffs. No rational hedonistic calculations are made… These self-punitive tendencies are just as irrational as Aalways clutching at the nearest pleasure… the desire to live forever and the self-punitive activities that accompany it are surely as much caused by fashion as the crinoline and the mini-skirt. And behind it all lies the most widespread, irrational and powerful fear of all, the fear of death.

I suppose that if you find even the thought of running uncomfortable then it probably inconceivable that others can find pleasure where, for you, there is only pain and discomfort.

Although it is an error of thinking to be totally bound by your own viewpoint,I would not be too harsh on this. Firstly it comes from a rather wonderful book Irrationality by Stuart Sutherland, which strips bare the ways that we all mess up in our thinking. Secondly, underneath, there is the life-affirming message that one should not stop doing, or eating, what we enjoy. The subconscious assumption that there is a big pay-back for all pleasure is irrational. We should not look for and then celebrate false virtue.

However if it had been me I would have used another example but only because I like running.


beanz said...

I used to support MrB at races and wodner why they all did it - when you see folk who've run their hearts out, if you don't do it you do wonder why ...

b-z said...


the thing is, i dont enjoy running at the time-its usually a struggle

but if i DONT run, I feel terrible
Does that make me a masochist