The Purpose of Physical Culture

I’ve been terrified to write this post for 18 months.


When I first started this blog I named it Physical Culture. I decided to name it that because I wanted this to be a long-term writing project so that I could build a body of knowledge, thoughts, and ideas. I knew that in order to keep a long-lasting interest I needed to have a focus with enough breadth that I could feel like it is unconquerable so I could always have an edge to operate from and yet not small enough where I would get bored and stifled after a few years.

Over these last few months, I would see that Purpose of Physical Culture post sitting there as a draft in my queue. Waiting to be written. Taunting me. The clarion call thundering and yet, I sat there, with trepidation and uneasiness to march forward. All the while knowing that it needed to be written so that I could have a sturdy foundation to build from. It wasn’t until recently that I started making some headway in my mind on the beginnings of a framework so I can begin having some overall cohesion and unity in my writing here.

The foundation of this framework on physical culture is going to be built around utilitarianism. The principle of utility states that actions are ethically and morally right if it “produces the greatest balance of pleasure or happiness in light of alternative action.” Many people will know this as the common moniker of having the greatest good for the greatest amount of people. In essence, your actions and thoughts should produce the greatest amount of good. It’s important to note that by ‘greatest good’ we are not talking about the self, else we fall into the triviality of hedonism. Instead, we are speaking to the greater good from the standpoint of the entire human community – both now and future.

Where I believe physical culture fits into ‘the greater good’ is in its ability to increase functional longevity. The greater portion of the population that is living longer and able to produce a net positive impact back into society equates to a greater good. The key statement in the last sentence is ‘still able to produce a net positive impact’. A person who is 75 and has taken care of her/his health is likely in a much better position to contribute than someone who has difficulty with simple day-to-day tasks.

In essence, physical culture, to me, is merely a means to an end that allows for more meaningful time to be spent on your work and with your loved ones. I don’t mean to say that is all there is; far from it. Every person has a different value system and with that comes the expression and meaning of their physicality in different ways.