Imagine it’s just another Sunday. You have just woken up. You reach out for your phone either by habit or volition. Last night was as wild as it could ever be. The kidneys received their fair share of alcohol, and the stomach had their fair share of calories.

With a pinch of guilt in the background, you now open Instagram, and one of the first videos that pop up is a jacked dude flexing harder than North Korea flexes its nuclear arsenal. The caption in the video says ‘WE GO JIM’ and is presented as motivational, as could be seen in the hashtag used. 

The pinch of guilt gets now supplemented by a pang of envy and osmosis of internalized imitation. Now, what I see with many non-verbal-cinemato-fitness-influencers these days is cladding up their narcissistic project as an act of virtuous service.

(I have to be careful here not to murk up the works of those who are information-centric with the breed I am talking about)

In this article, I will try to analyze some of the social media fitness motivation problems that are untraceable to the naked mind.

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What does motivation imply?

When directly said or implied that ‘I motivate people,’ it exhibits a double-sided arrow in that it emanates from a source and is directed at somebody. So, the word acts in a two-party system; therefore, no hegemony can be availed of. 

 I will now introduce two terms that are highly discussed and debated in Philosophy called Sufficient and Necessary Conditions. 

 Sufficient and Necessary Conditions are often used to remove any ambiguity involving Causality. When I say that pouring water into plants causes them to grow, I mean that water doesn’t cause plants to grow. 

 It is just a sufficient condition for their growth alongside sunlight and soil. On the other hand, there is no rain without clouds. So, clouds are a necessary condition for rain.

 In our case, someone posting a video or a photo is not the necessary condition for X to rush into adopting the fitness lifestyle. Instead, what you are doing is providing them a ‘reason,’ which is akin to a sufficient condition.

 If someone says that he could not bear the baggage of insecurity and started working out, that is another sufficient condition. 

 The necessary condition, however, remains you bringing your body to locomotion.

 Understanding the difference between sufficient and necessary conditions is crucial to militate yourself against vesting too much importance upon external stimulus. Words like motivation and others of the same genome and don’t mean anything if there is no capacity for reception in someone’s mind.

 In the case of words like aware, it may be argued that the more you talk about something, you set a condition for exposure, and hence more people would develop that capacity. It is worth noting that once certain impressions are built, all attempts to make someone aware or motivated are futile.

 Should we start using words that consider even exceptions, and the double arrow we talk about should have just the arrow symbolizing emanation?

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Motivational or just aesthetically pleasing?

The non-verbal-cinemato-fitness-videos (social media fitness), I posit, is a narcissistic project in that the gratification provided by conceiving the self that exudes a standard of aesthetics. One residue of this projection is the internalization of specific scenes and the subsequent imagination giving an overall ecstatic feeling, and further giving a sense of robust individual identity.

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 It could be stated that it is not the content of the act ( the workout itself) that motivates them but rather the amalgamation of all cinematic features. The song used in a particular video, the effects, the lights, the tone, the pacing, the depth, every element contributes to it. Perhaps, cinema in itself has to be blamed for this propensity. So, what is aesthetically ecstatic is what becomes motivational. 

 The narrative of gym as an escape 

 The narrative of the gym being an escape from reality or a blatant romanticization fascinates me. Regardless, the fact remains that it is a place where specific equipment is kept, which is another sufficient condition for your metamorphosis. 

 Upon further analyzing, the emotional wreckage or any unpleasing moments that drive you towards the gym is a cinematization, a sort of cultural story similar to rags from riches that our ‘constructed’ self revels in. 

 This romanticization can also be likened to the major wars and the idea that there is no greater deed than serving in them. There, the propaganda was perpetuated by the government, and here it is perpetuated by social media.


Food for thought

 We are standing on top of a copious amount of knowledge, a knowledge that even includes making extraordinary changes to a meager muscle-bearing body. The narrative that hinges gyming to health evades problems as long as it is understood in terms of sufficient condition. However, we are now confronting a question.

 Given we have access to more individuals and their projections than ever before and the similar cultural subtext cutting across geographies, are we vying for individuality? Is the social media fitness or any other content that Instagram is pushing reflect a race to assert identity, or is it motivational?

 Where do you stand in all of this? Let me know in the comments.


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