Moral Courage: A Tribute to Mike Mentzer
Eric S. Kingston
Changing anything requires more than just an idea. An idea is the seed of a beginning, and though "nothing will stop an idea whose time has come", an idea whose truths go beyond the norm, takes absolute moral courage to root to bring its fullness into fruition.
To me, what Mike Mentzer brought into the world was not about bodybuilding alone. It was about higher truths and refinements and the changing of the status quo. Far too often people who take these steps into the world pay tremendous prices for their courage.
Hemingway said, "If people bring so much courage to this world, the world has to kill them to break them, so of course it kills them. The world breaks every one and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break, it kills." Yet Archimedes, the inventor of the level, stated, "give me a place to stand and I shall move the world."
I believe Mike followed this ideal.
Many people remember Mike Mentzer as a bodybuilder, just as they view Bruce Lee as a Martial Artist, but really, these are secondary "expressions" of who they were as human beings. In other words, being a human being first, you could say, "I'm looking for the truth. I will use bodybuilding as a "way" to seek out this truth and to express myself "honestly" through this medium."
Mike Mentzer shrugged off the old, outdated, wornout ideas of yesterday and approached his "expression" free of the constraints of yesterday. Just as in the novel of Ayn Rand:
"If you saw Atlas, the giant who holds the world on his shoulders, if you saw that he stood, blood running down his chest, his knees buckling, his arms trembling but still trying to hold the world aloft with the last of his strength, and the greater the effort the heavier the world bore down upon his shoulders-what would you tell him to do?"Mike Mentzer may be gone, but his ideas continue to blossom as links in the chain of all the ideas that have brought us one step closer to a higher understanding of ourselves. Mike's is a life of courage, and "moral courage", said Robert F. Kennedy, "is a rarer commodity than bravery in battle or great intelligence. Yet it is the one essential, vital quality of those who seek to change a world which yields most painfully to change."
"I…don’t know. What…could he do? What would you tell him?"
I write this letter not because someone taught us to lift a piece of metal better, or to build more muscle, I write this tribute to remember all those brave souls of "moral courage" who did something for others outside of themselves.
All That Is Yet To BeWith Humanity In Thought,
written for Mike Mentzer
You cannot change the world by going where others have been
follow instead your own breeze, the small voice in the wind
many a person stumble when they tread new paths
but the brave continue forward saying, "My mind makes me who I am!"
You cannot change the world by going where others go
learn from yesterday, but shrug off what doesn't flow
and hold within your heart the flame that is the seed
and though your duty be heavy, awake that sleeping dream
For you can only change the world by following inside
the footprints yet to be made by the self brave enough to strive
so do not say "I can't" for all change starts off as dream
and in that little seed of thought is all that is yet to be
in that little seed of thought is all that is yet to be
Let us not get so lost in rituals that we forget the fluid living reason and
purpose of humanity - to evolve.
Eric S. Kingston
Remember, you can run from the world, but you cannot hide from yourself.
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