By Brendan Heard and Iásonas Lupus.
The gymnasium (from gymnós meaning naked) is not meant to be a past-time club for hobbyist fitness. It is an essential institution in public life for a ↑ striving society (something lost for the foreseeable future, but that changes nothing). It is essential to everyone, and in classical times It was a place for socializing and intellectual pursuits as well as for training.
When Alexander conquered the world he left in his wake captured cities populated with Hellenistic bathing facilities, palaestra (devoted to wrestling, boxing and ball games) and gymnasiums ― a civic triumvirate of ↑ patriarchal culture (along with libraries). In these gymnasiums the conquered peoples, some with bitterness, some with gratitude, trained their bodies and their minds beneath marble statues of Herakles. Training was conducted in the nude, a practice which was said to encourage aesthetic appreciation of the male body, and to be a tribute to the gods. Certainly this ups the ante in terms of competitive aesthetics, dedication, and inward conviction before personal frailties.
If we are to more accurately recreate this institution in its true form, we must functionally consider the gymnasium space itself, as it must be perfectly executed and not lacking in aesthetics or any considerations conducive to a correct mindset for the trainees. Essentially concerns which are esoteric must be applied, organically, and while it is foreign to our quantitative finance-capital ears, it is no small concern whatever. The aristocratic virtues of patriarchal wizards require buildings made from stone adorned with dignifying statuary, press machines from wrought iron, and weighted bags and balls of deeply grooved leather (never plastic). The music must be energizing and acceptably masculine, and there must be included classical oration, bardic poetry, and combat training. It must be thought of as a school, not a hobby. As in time of old, there needs to be gymnasiarchs (public sports officials who direct the schools) as well as gymnastai (teachers, coaches, and trainers). As did the classical Greek gymnasiums, ours must also hold lectures and discussions on philosophy, literature, and music, and each gym should have a private library.
Our gymnasium, like the classical, must not neglect any aspect of training, neither the physical, the mental, the aesthetic, or the correctly spiritual. In this regard, this should be our attitude: If you’re too intellectually lazy to read the works of Plato, Plotinus, Proclus, Xenophon, Homer, Virgil, Iamblichus, Plutarch, Gemistus Pletho, Lucretius, Sallust, Marcus Aurelius, Seneca, and other classical thinkers, you must leave the gymnasium. This is how you separate the academic careerist from a potential patriarchal wizard. If you’re too physically lazy to exercise your whole body, too frightened to practice martial arts and fencing, you must leave the gymnasium. An esoteric gymnasium should be about acquiring the fire of the dragon, the thunderbolt of Jupiter, and the gold of the alchemist, so the members of the gymnastai can purge away their petty fears and thoughts, and the trainee can acquire the wisdom of Olympus. Life is about the intensity of Jupiter’s thunderbolt.
Only adult male citizens were allowed to use the classical gymnasia, and it is arguable that it should be so today. While it is energizing to see ladies working out in the periphery of your vision, and can even add some percentage to lifts and to stamina, the long-term effect in practice has been the feminizing of that space (like so many others) so that entering the gym is now like entering a cheesy dance-club for eighteen year old girls, with loudly pumping, frivolous, estrogenous, dancy-music forcing most men to wear headphones. I can myself recall small local gyms in the distant past that played exclusively hard rock, and the feeling of additional energy this provided to lifts. This energy likely far outweighs the boost from seeing yoga-pants-ass on the treadmill, while being persecuted by intellectually insulting and utterly empty modern pop music and dancy-patsy-tunes. Again, not a small concern. For this reason, the ladies require their own gym, something they seem to gravitate towards anyways, although of course this is allowable in the modern context only if simultaneously men-only gyms are ‘not allowed’ (perfectly exhibiting our fallen state). This inclusivity-oppression is the inevitable result of allowing women into these spaces to begin with, and requires reversal, likely by cajoling them into the already existing female-only spaces with promises of exclusivity and freedom from ‘male gaze’.
There is no ‘difference’ between training the physical and the mental, as there is no difference between art and science, or culture and religion. A human life is wasted when it is not spent in self-betterment.
1 thought on “The Gymnasium”
The music and the multitude of distractions are probably reasons why some lifters tend to workout at home.
I do it myself and try to keep a book at hands to read between pauses or right after a session, which is a good way to regulate breathing and cool down.