katy bowman

"Don't Be A Stupid" from Katy Bowman's Movement Matters

I've slowly been making my way through Katy Bowman's Movement Matters: Essays on Movement Science, Movement Ecology, and the Nature of Movement, digesting each paradigm shifting essay one by one. Katy uses human movement -- its mechanics, its history, and its theory -- as a tool to blow holes in the way we think. About everything. Because her essay "Don't Be A Stupid" is such a clear, concise, and convicting read I'm reproducing it here in an effort to tease you into buying, borrowing, or kindle-ing the whole book. You won't regret it.


Don't Be A Stupid

In a Huffington Post article "Sitting May Harm Health Says AARP," Ann Brenoff discusses the metaphor likening sitting habits to smoking habits. She isn't all that impressed by the information and isn't going to stop sitting because, frankly, it appears she believes that "mounting evidence" deserves sarcastic quotes:

Why don't I stand, you ask? For a few reasons. I once worked next to a woman who insisted on placing her office computer on a pedestal sot that she could stand all day in front of it instead of sitting. For her, it worked out well. For everyone else, not so much. For one thing, nobody appreciated being towered over. Her standing blocked our already limited view of office life (mostly people sitting in front of their computers in little cubicles) and projected her already-loud voice to an intrusive level. An office community is a delicate balance of personal needs and consideration of others. The others must trump the personal needs if there is to be harmony and productivity. It took mere minutes before my co-worker's standing raised people's blood pressure. She eventually sat down.

I get it. She doesn't want to stand because she feels that standing disrupts others' personal needs and so forth. To each their own -- or to each everyone else's own, I guess.

But look at this part (emphasis mine): "You may never convince me that sitting is the greatest threat to my health; whereas smoking certainly remains one of the chart toppers. Smoking is a choice that some stupid people make..."

I read this as saying that people who smoke do so because they are stupid, and people who sit do so because they are considerate.

This attitude, that those who are doing the "right" thing are somehow smarter or better than those who aren't, doesn't appear to contribute to our health and happiness. 

I guarantee that no matter how well informed or well-read or degreed or dressed up or dressed down or organiked (a word, right?) or McDonalded or well-behaved or radical-ed up your life is, there is someone out there, right now, who is doing it better than you. There is someone out there messing up their kids less, eating better, doing more for the planet, doing more for humankind, using less fuel, giving more money, and being kinder to others. Which, by the reasoning used in the quoted article, makes YOU the stupid one.

People who do not share your views or behaviors are not stupid; they just don't share your views. They may never share your views in the exact same way that you may never share theirs. Who's to say which views are correct?

Your faith in your beliefs is equal in magnitude to the faith of every other person on this planet in their own beliefs. Every second of time you spend lamenting that others don't think like you is time spent not honoring your beliefs. If you believe improvements in your personal health, the environment, and to human rights are that great, wouldn't your time be better spent actually working on them?

Before you so easily drop the "S" bomb on others, realize that someone has just dropped the Stupid all over your head. And it sucks to be stupided on. The end

P.S. This is the letter I am writing to myself; I'm just letting you look at it.