There are some things we are. And there are some things we are not. This isn’t to be confused with the notion that there are some things we can do and some things we cannot do. It’s a matter of form and function.
For example, a bird doesn’t climb trees. Or, more astutely, it doesn’t have to. It flies to the top of a tree with ease, never having to get its claws dirty on the way up. It has wings, so it can use air in a way that we can’t. This allows it to hunt and gather in a way that is unique to animals with wings. No matter what we do, we will never be able to fly with our ape shape, unless we use some kind of machine or material to counter our genetic limitations. We need extra power and lift, combined with a lighter total mass, that we simply have no biological access to.
'Your heart beats for a body that's performing a function that's unique to it.'
We don’t match a bird in function, nor in form. We have no need for pretty feathers - because we have no need for flight - instead having found a use for fur. One should also never underestimate the significance of having an opposable thumb to be able to grip those branches. True, both birds and us apes have two eyes, four limbs, and one heart, but even that heart beats for a body at performing a function unique to it. The bird’s heart beats for its wings to obtain flight, while ours may beat for our magnificent mind to do so.
The outcome? We both survive. The difference, however, is that the bird will never be able to build things like we can. They lack a certain cognitive sophistication. The bird can get better and better at flying, practising multiple times per week, but it will never have the biological, cognitive capacity to build, say, a plane. Why would a bird ever need to build a plane? Well, even with the ability to fly, perhaps they believe that there is something more to be obtained at higher speeds, at more dizzying heights.
What a strange idea... a bird hoping to build a plane so it could fly faster than its limitations. An ape seeing a bird and wanting to fly makes sense. But a bird being unsatisfied with its preordained ability to fly? Or even more bizarre: a bird that thinks they’re an ape who grew wings.
'If you’re a bird with beautiful, sinewy wings, then you go there to fly.'
The gym is like our jungle. We go there to train our bodies by climbing metal trees or flying high with ease. In fact, one would think it’s a place that you’d go because you like to climb trees and because it makes you feel good. Likewise, the birds spread their wings and practise their craft, and it makes them feel good too.
But the jungle isn’t a place you go to build a plane. It’s a place you go to train. To do. To execute. To perform a function. If you’re an ape that likes to climb, you go and climb. If you’re a bird with beautiful, sinewy wings, then you go there to fly.
If you’re an ape, you aren’t going to grow wings any time soon. It’s not possible (no matter what the people who are trying to sell you things might tell you). But, if you set your magnificent mind right, you could potentially create something so awe inspiring, so powerful, and so meaningful, that even those birds will look at you and think ‘man, I wish I could do that’, before returning back to the top of the tree from whence they came.
The moral of the story: don’t try to take on a form that isn’t yours when your heart beats to perform a very different function. Go to the gym and move your body so your heart can get better at fuelling your mind, but not in an attempt to construct a pair of wings that you’ll never have. At the end of the day, the gym is where fit people go to be fit. Go build something meaningful instead. Like a freakin’ plane.
Nathan helps people to express themselves at home, at school, and in the workplace, all around the world. He's passionate about thinking, and engages in it regularly. He's not overly fond of writing in the third person though. It's weird. Connect with him on Facebook to continue the conversation, make a video at colourbeat.com, or even share a dance with him at movewithcolour.com!
There are some things we are, and there are some things we aren't. Be honest with yourself and figure out what they are.
Your body performs a function that is unique to you. It serves to move your mind.
Find a form of exercise that makes you happy and leaves you feeling great, not one that constantly reminds you of a perceived deficiency.