Chazot Thoughts 84

Science: The inoculation against charlatans.

He was next to me listening to Neil de Grasse Tyson’s interview. “For me science is vaccine against charlatans. It enables you to know when someone is full of sxxt and when they ‘re not. And that’s power. It’s power of protection for yourself so you will not be exploited by those who do not have your best interest in mind. “ (Neil de Grasse Tyson) I asked if he was talking about politicians and he responded.  “Indeed, politicians are the worse charlatans, but they are not the only ones. Con artists exploit candor playing the sensible string in every aspect of life.  Politicians lead the pack but in every fields, business, religion, sport, therapies, there are con artists playing peoples naivety, ignorance or plain stupidity. The antidote is effectively knowledge but there is a complaisance that is difficult to understand. Look at the politicians. As soon as they are elected, they strip the ones who elected them from all their rights including the right of being a decent human been. A few months before the next elections, they change their tune saying what peoples want to hear and amazingly, they are elected again.” The same absurdity runs the equestrian world. Even if ignorance damages us more surely than aging or accidents, ignorance is more accepted than knowledge. “Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.” (Charles Darwin)

Knowledge is power but many riders would rather be fooled by ignorance than facing knowledge questioning their core belief. Charlatans are home in this incongruity of human nature. They exploit fallacies such as stretching would increasing our range of motion, because the familiarity of the concept immunes the concept form intelligent question. A great percentage of our joints and other structures functions under the principle of tensegrity. Tensegrity allows our joints to absorb considerable forces without reaching enormous mass and weight, and yet riders believe in stretching and relaxation and question obvious evidences such as respecting our natural frequency or cadence. Oxymoron such as urging us forward, which we do stiffening our thoracolumbar spine, and then stretching our back to release muscular contractions, are sold as “classical” principles of equitation. This is as dumb as electing a politician knowing that he is going to rip us down to the bones the day after the elections.

The main function of our back muscles is protecting our thoracolumbar spine from an amplitude of movement that would exceed our thoracolumbar spine possible range of motion. Of course, we are not going to stretch and swing our spine to please riders’ ignorance. The primary function of our back muscles is precisely protecting our thoracoumbar spine from such abuse. Our muscles are composed of cells, which contract, and tendinous materials which store elastic energy. Both have to be tuned to the proper frequency. The elasticity of our muscles is for a great part ensure by filaments named filament titine that have to be tuned to the frequency of the muscle use. Every corner of science underlines the importance of respecting our proper cadence and yet, con artists preaching urging us forward, gain riders suffrage based on the infantile belief that if our body move fast, we are building up impulsion. As says Caesar “If my rider was dumb enough to elect a politician who will betray him as soon as elected, I feel sorry for his dumbness. What I have a problem with is when my rider listened to pretenders selling the fast forward syndrome ruining my body.”

 I like when he mimics a violin player talking about theories that please human fantasies but are unrelated to our real functioning. “We are being sold products and social scenarios that appeal to our fantasies but ultimately fail us.” (Fred Ritchin) The problem is that, while humans, are the ones buying theories appealing to their fantasies, we are the ones suffering from the theories. For instance, regularly sold is the false theory that our alighting hind leg propels our body upward as soon as ground contact. Your ancestors might have believed such theory because it was the impression given by visual references. The belief is false but is the stone base of the driving seat and fast forward syndrome; engaging our hind leg so we can propel ourselves into lightness. This is not at all the way we function. Measurements effectuated in 1995 demonstrated that our forelegs created greater upward forces than our hind legs. “In horses, and most other mammalian quadrupeds, 57% of the vertical impulse is applied through the thoracic limbs, and only 43% through the hind limbs.” (H. W. Merkens, H. C. Schamhardt,G. J. van Osch, A. J. van den Bogert, 1993). Of course, con artists will dispute the findings; their whole business of selling theories loading our forelegs, driving the horse onto the bit, long and low, etc., is in jeopardy. However, the other reason why many of us are still rushed on the forehand, is that many riders rather risks our soundness than accepting the fact that they have been fooled. “It is easier to fool a person than to convince that person they have been fooled.” (Mark Twain)

When science contradicts conventional beliefs, the umbrella of tradition is the weapon of the ones who do not have our best interest in mind. This is a disgrace. Paraphrasing François Robichon de la Gueriniere, respect for tradition is at the contrary, about improving the art with the support of science. 

In motion, our alighting hind leg decelerates, during the first part of the stride, our body resisting gravity that is pulling our body down to earth, and inertia force, that is pushing our body forward. This sequence of the stance is referred to as the breaking or decelerating phase. The propulsion occurs during the second part of the stride as out limb is moving backward. The net effect of our hind limbs propulsive activity is a force in the direction of the motion. Of course, cons will deny the findings as they blow their theories of forwardness and balance control. The ones who made up the theories did not know better, but the ones who repeat the theories choose ignoring knowledge. 

“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” (Maria Angelou) Well, humans know better, or at the least, have the opportunity to know better, but many willingly remain doing what they regard as the best they can. You have the opportunity to prepare efficiently our physique for the athletic demand of the performances and yet, you rather believe that repeating the movements will educate our physique. The belief allows regarding judging standards as training technique and blaming us for our difficulties and injuries. We naturally execute the move protecting whatever muscle imbalance, morphological flaw, or other issue being part of our body state as you ask us to perform. Our difficulties or reluctances are directed by our survival instinct protecting our physique form an athletic demand that we do not have the capacity, as is, to perform. Instead of analyzing our difficulties, as you are intellectually capable to do, you judge us regarding our difficulties or resistances as challenging your ego. If you know better, do better. If you don’t know better learn, but don’t ask us to complete your failure. The problem is that we will try and be physically and mentally damaged because we try to perform moves for which our body is not properly developed and coordinated.

“The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.” (Stephen Hawking) We are guilty of this one, because we try. We give you the illusion of knowledge because we perform out of our talent even if your technique does not prepare adequately our physique for the effort. We are willing to try, even when our physique is not adequately developed and coordinated, and yet you judge our difficulties as “behavior’.

What you have not understood, because you judge us from your myopic lens of self-importance, is that we are willing to partner with you as soon as you teach us how to use and coordinate our physique efficiently and therefore effortlessly. We have to protect ourselves from discomfort and pain. At the contrary we will further your teaching when you teach us how to use our athletic abilities with greater efficiency. We do not resist a movement; we resist pain and discomfort. We protect our body state. We are more willing than humans are; we respond immediately to a dialogue that understand and respect us even if we have spent years in protecting our body from irrational training and dysfunction. Humans are not capable of such integrity. Maybe you remember the story of the Roman Emperor who elected his horse as Senator. Maybe he was not as crazy as history claims. Maybe he had understood that if humans were capable of regarding us for who we really are, the planet earth would be a better place.