Doug Glanville has an important editorial in the New York Times today. He’s saying that our culture’s deepest fears drive athletes’ use of steroids, i.e. fear of aging, failure, vulnerability, being replaced, etc.
‘Play without steroids despite your fear’ is his summary advice to players, which is what he reports he did himself as a pro baseball player.
He’s touching into much more than professional sports. Everyone, athletic or not, has to accept the painful way that nothing in life stays the same. If something exists, it will eventually change, whether our bodies, mental abilities, careers . . . . or our use of fossil fuels.
Though I just jumped from the individual lens to the societal lens, the truth is the same. I think change, even wrenching change, is in the DNA of the universe. And change is often uncomfortable and inconvenient as hell. But we’re capable of it. Human history is a history of constant change.
As we grow older we can’t cling to youth without making fools of ourselves. Rather, we’re compelled to change the way we do things. And we can’t cling to 20th century lifestyles based on free-flowing fossil fuels while claiming we’re acting with integrity or morality. The suffering that climate change will cause and is already causing is too sharp and scientifically clear. We have to sharply reduce our carbon emissions, and therefore, our lifestyles.
We have to get past our fear and climb into our courage, as Doug Glanville states so well.