Consider the statues of Laocoon & Sons, or Farnese Hercules (1st and 4th centuries BC)— How could their original sculptors have conceived of such powerful (and anatomically correct) physiques without a real-life reference? These sculptures hail from a time before bodybuilding emerged as a separate discipline to functional (military) training, and are more yoked than practically any pre-anabolic bodybuilder1.
Also note that the physiques of antiquity were not produced by bodybuilding for aesthetic purposes, nor was a visually appealing physique considered an end in itself. Rather, visual appeal was epiphenomenal to a life of military training and luxuriant aristocratic repose. In modern bodybuilding, the physical attributes which are the secondary effects of a vigorous life become a primary goal — the practice is aimed at attaining an appearance of vitality by optimising for its signifiers.
The conclusion I draw from this is that the daily lives of the men of that time were characterised by such vigour and spiritual wealth as to produce a hyper-anabolic hormonal disposition. By the time photography was invented and an early bodybuilding practice emerged, the average person was so emaciated that a physique like Eugen Sandow’s was considered freakishly muscular, despite being lesser than the heroic archetypes from which he took his inspiration, and indeed lesser than a great many natural bodybuilders and athletes today.
Design and Manufacture of the Ideal Man
Each society and era naturally selects for its own concept of an ‘ideal man’ through sexual/cultural selection. The ‘ideal man’ is an image of a man, agglomerated from a blend of traits deemed to be good on the basis of constant negotiation among all members of the society. This constant negotiation means that the concept is perpetually in flux. However, influence in this negotiation is also weighted by how well a person embodies this ideal image, making the memetic evolution resistant to drastic change.
The society approaches the ideal man asymptotically, such that a particular society can be thought of as a self-refining sociological formula for the production of ever-closer representations of a particular image of an ideal man. To this end a society leverages cultural machinery like art and religion, along with an incredibly complex network of other tools. In much the same way are all cultural concepts negotiated and subsequently realised as cultural product.
Acknowledging the above, it is clear how a longstanding warlike culture can produce cultural products, lifestyles, values, and habits which transform its men into natty juicy beasts coursing with psychogenically-stimulated endogenous gorilla hormones and possessed of genius-level intellects, experiencing Golden Reality constantly, fully submerged in the bone-cold torrential stream of Ultimate Existence, living lifetimes each second. Strong, thick, and tall, with a long dick and balls.
Physiological feedback loops
I do believe that the external world is malleable from within the mind, in much the same way that a projected image can be warped by modifying the projector or lens. Indeed, the ‘external world’ is in large part a projection of consciousness through the prism of the mind.
Further, I do believe that very powerful hormonal effects and physiological feedback loops can flow from changes in mental scenery. Alexander believed himself immortal.
Further still, I do believe that the shrewd pupil will be able to leverage similar forces in his own individual life through the development of a consciously cultivated set of beliefs, thoughts, inputs/outputs and internal realities which serve the purpose of turning him into the entity which he desires to be — I have tried to do this since about the age of seventeen, with success that astounds even me.
The mind is malleable from within through conscious exercise of agency. This includes rituals and practices such as the tailoring of sensory input and control over thoughts, effortfully adopting mental frames of power and shifting beliefs through discipline. It is important to understand that this framework entirely rejects the usual conception of beliefs and attitudes as being formed only unconsciously, through experience and learning. The Truth is that realities can be WILLED, and that these realities, as internal experiences, are just as powerful in establishing and reinforcing beliefs as external experiences — it is possible for the shrewd pupil to train his internal experience through discipline, and thus change the world he lives in. The Hellenes lived among gods.
My intolerance for unbeautiful sensory input is so great that when I use a dirty public restroom, I close my eyes so as not to see the disgusting toilet — usually, I end up urinating all over the floor.
See: Eugen Sandow, Steve Reeves, Reg Park, John Grimek. Some get close, but none achieve the size, chest development, exposure of oblique musculature or low body fat of Laocoon or Hercules. ↩