Edward Yu, the popular author of The Art of Slowing Down, has a new book about the fitness world: The Mass Psychology of Fittism. Yu nods to Wilhelm Reich’s The Mass Psychology of Fascism in the title, connecting a driven and mechanistic approach to the ideal body with some of Reich’s views. The book is full of fresh perspectives into what it really means to be fit. Yu accomplishes this through critiques of some of the current trends in the fitness world and suggestions for generative approaches to being fit, based on our evolutionary history.
Yu employs Nikolai Bernstein‰۪s fundamental concept "degrees of freedom: and Claude Shannon's Information Theory to analyze both human movement in particular and human learning in general. In doing so, he demonstrates how conventional fitness programs tend to stifle learning as well as inhibit sensorimotor development. By taking a deeper look into fitness and comparing Darwin's original concept of the word to our dominant culture's interpretation of it, Yu further reveals how conventional fitness programs, when measured against less conventional and more exploratory ones, tend to minimize, if not reduce, our level of fitness.
"The Mass Psychology of Fittism is a brilliant book - entertaining and informative, and for many, possibly life-changing. Edward Yu not only questions the current fads in the fitness world that rule how people think, feel and act, but leads us into a very thorough discussion of what fitness could actually mean if we were better informed about artistic, aesthetic, and scientific studies of the body and mind.
-Frank Wildman, PhD, CFT author of Busy Person's Guide to Easier Movement Founder of Feldenkrais Movement Institute
"The Mass Psychology of Fittism is an outstanding, well-written critique on the reductionistic thinking that lies behind the simplistic perspective of fitness culture; a perspective in which the path to the body completely bypasses the role of gravity and the brain in development, learning and healing. This book provides a much needed counterpoint to the mechanistic thinking of our time."
-David Zemach-Bersin, CFT author of Relaxercise: The Easy New Way to Health and Fitness Co-Founder of Feldenkrais Institute of New York
"There is a microsecond moment between when a motor plan or habit forms when it be either unconsciously carried out or consciously stopped. In that moment one can learn to suspend even the most deeply rooted habits of action. This book will help you move from the culturally determined habits of obsession and compulsion to a way of living with dignity and the freedom of choice."
-Jeff Haller, PhD, CFT Founder of Ideal Organization and Profound Strength Academy