It’s easy for us to focus our attention on the “work” in the workout - the vein pumping effort, the sweat-drenched final reps, and the PAINZ of making GAINZ. We’ve all seen the marketing tactics and fitness gimmicks showing us how to get “shredded” or “6-pack abs” in some absurd time frame. The before and after pictures may be convincing, but often these images are fabricated and fake. These “fitness programmes” are scams that abuse the general public’s ignorance on the subject of health and fitness, despite countless studies that have proven that fitness isn’t an “overnight” sensation.
A painting at the National Gallery: farmers working in a field, they are busy reaping the wheat and don't notice a passing comet.
A picnic with friends: no-one cares about the guy in the distance holding a perfect one-arm handstand. "Anyone can do that", they cut short dipping their breadsticks into the hummus.
An afternoon in the gym: an invisible man doing 25kg strict bar muscle-ups.
These scenes got me thinking about the causes of indifference. We are all very busy with our own lives, we need to rush and accomplish, be focused on the task at hand, and yet I have the impression that our blindness might not depend on an exaggeration of focus but on blurred vision. We are willing to pay to see performances but can't stop and appreciate performance when it's in front of us, not even in a context (like in the last example) where we ourselves are working to improve. Missing an extra-ordinary event can happen: it could definitely happen in the 16th century when no previous notice was available to the public. Art doesn't need to be understood to be appreciated: to say it with Adorno, the German philosopher, it is just participated.